Police seize weapons at Halton Region home.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 6. 2013   We live in a society that has some very violent people. The Halton Regional Police Service Integrated Drug, Gun & Gang Unit received information recently that a handgun was being stored within a residence on Sixth Line in the Town of Oakville.

Viscous devices meant to hurt people seized during a police search of a Halton region home.

Members of the Integrated Drug Gun and Gang Unit, with the assistance of Oakville uniformed officers, executed a Criminal Code search warrant at the residence. During the search, a number of prohibited weapons were seized including the following:

•              Gabilondo .22 calibre semi automatic handgun

•              49 rounds of ammunition

•              3 Shuriken

•              A Morning Star

•              2 sets of Bladed Brass Knuckles

The resident at 6th Line was released unconditionally due to a number of medical issues. The investigation of the seized weapons is continuing.

Anyone with information related to guns, drugs or other criminal activity within Halton Region, are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service at 905-878-5511 or contact 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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Council doesn’t seem to want to record how they vote at committee level; not their smartest decision this year.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 5, 2013   In a review of the Procedural bylaw, a document that sets out how members of city council are to behave, a Staff report revealed that council members don’t want to have how they vote on matters at the committee level recorded.

In Burlington everything that gets approved by city council first goes to as Standing Committee.  At that level the debate is often quite vigorous and citizens can delegate and speak for up to ten minutes.  Delegating is a simple matter.  

Delegations are heard and council members can and often do ask questions.  Some citizens come to meetings very well prepared and they get into a healthy question and answer session with council members.

When the delegations are completed Council members will ask questions of staff.

This significant seven, the ones that determine what you are going to get in the way of services and how much you will be taxed don’t want to take the time to allow for recorded votes at the council committee level. But you’re going to give them a pay raise this year.

After that council members are free to make comments.  At any point in this process any member of council can move the report, which means they get to vote on what they want to do with the document.

The document that is being moved usually has a recommendation attached to it.  Council members can make amendments, they can amend each other’s amendment (which gets funny at times because they get lost in their own paper work) and eventually they vote on what they want to do as a committee.

And that for media is where the problem crops up – these votes at the committee level are not formally recorded.  Those of us at the media table often can’t tell who voted for or against a report.  Each council member has their own unique way of indicating to the chair that they are for or against something.

That’s not what the democracy we are teaching in high schools is about – and we are teaching high school students what democracy is about aren’t we?

Here is the way this was explained in the Staff Report:

“With respect to recorded voting at standing committee meetings, members of Council

on the review team expressed differing viewpoints. Acknowledging that

recommendations from committee are intended to be a preliminary position on a matter,

it was felt that recording a member’s vote at that stage of deliberation could inhibit a

member from changing his or her position later at Council should new information

become available. It was also noted that recorded voting would slow the transaction of

business at committee meetings. As the review team did not have consensus on the

matter, a recommendation on recorded voting is not included within this report and

would require direction from Council. Nonetheless, the sentiment of the review team

was that if recorded votes were to be permitted at Committee, these would be restricted

to the main motions (and main motions as amended) but would not be applied to

amendments themselves or any secondary motions tabled.                        

That has to be some of the limpest explanation you are likely to read about this Council.

Recording a vote at committee level could inhibit a member from changing their position at Council: it certainly didn’t stop the Mayor from changing his position on the Lakeshore bike issue.

There is nothing wrong with changing ones vote.  New information becomes available or there is a flood of pressure – remember these men and woman are politicians and they have to be re-elected if they are to keep their jobs.

The report got even sillier when it said recorded votes would slow the transaction of business – that’s a hoot.  The report did suggest members of council could be more obvious in how they vote – and in the last few days they have been putting their hands up a little higher.

When the matter came up for discussion at the committee level the only member who spoke to the report was Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward who regretted that the report did not call for recorded votes.  No one else said a word; something to keep in mind next election.  We’ll remind you.

The upshot of it all was:

Without a consensus from Councillors polled, the procedural by-law review committee has not proposed a revision to the procedural by-law at this time on the use of recorded votes at standing committee.

Council did spend a lot of time on a public opinion survey that told us, again, how wonderful we are.  We paid $10,000 for the report.

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Less than twenty people show up at the BAC for first peek at the 2013 city spending plan. City manager lays out the options.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 5, 2013  Budget time for the city.  This is going to be a tough one for Burlington to get through.  The amount of money coming in is lower and the amount that different boards want to spend is higher and the city has some core decisions to make on what lines of business it wants to be in and what it might be able to get out of.

In a survey the city had done recently, (cost – $10,000) Burlington tax payers were said to be satisfied with most things and were compared to other medium and large organizations.

These charts compare satisfaction levels in Burlington with other Ontario large and medium size municipalities.

Each year the city invites the public to a presentation of the budget and asks those attending to take part in an exercise  that gives the room instant answers to questions asked.  Each participant is given a little device – sort of like a TV remote – which they use to indicate what they think about the questions asked.  The results are tabulated immediately. This process gives the city a first look at how the public – make that taxpayers – are reacting to the spending plans.

The audience this year was considerably smaller than that of last year when the fireman showed up in force – that show of force was almost intimidating.  There were about 40 people in the room at the Burlington Art Centre this year – of which 19 were public and 18 city hall staff or politicians.

Hopefully when the library opens in Alton Village next year the city will hold an event in the northern part of Burlington; those people have been left out of the loop for far too long.

This is where the money raised is being spent.  The amounts shown are for every $100,ooo of property assessment.  If your property is assessed at $300,000 multiply the numbers shown by 3.

With so few people taking part,  it was not easy to see a tend except for comments on the funding increase the Burlington Performing Arts Centre has asked for this year – and projected out for the next three years as well.  One citizen wanted a referendum held to decide if the place should be kept; a little too late for that question.

Burlington’s historical tax rates with Consumer Price Index shown as well as tax increases for other urban municipalities.

Transit was also an issue for some people. What was evident again this year was how quickly staff would dig out the specifics on a spending question a member of the public might have and how pointed most of the questions were.  Most people had “their” agenda and they spoke to that.

This is the dirty one. It shows the estimated renewal requirement for 10 years along with the 10 year budget – we are short by 60% + and if not caught up we will have to rebuild roads completely at a very significant cost.

Local boards want an additional $1.4 million.  The Economic Development Corporation wants $1 million.  Transit spending that was pulled from the 2012 budget shows up in 2013

This is where the money comes from.

This is the time line the city will work to for completion of the 2013 budget.  If they don’t make the schedule – not to worry – the treasurer has authority to mail out a tax bill.



The city is undergoing a very significant change in the way it manages itself.   Three new concepts are in the process of being introduced:

Results Based Accountability, a process that will measure outcomes and better manage performance.

Business Process Management, which is a much tighter look at evaluating the capacity the city has to improve on the services it delivers.

Service Based Budgeting, which defines the services being delivered and matching the value of those services to the budget the city chooses to live within.

The condition of our roads wasn’t a question but it was certainly an issue from the city’s point of view.  Last year $1.2 million was spent on a procedure called “shave and pave” that extends the life of a road considerably – delaying a very costly re-build.  Burlington expects its roads to last 50 years before they have to be completely re-built.  The amount to be used on road repair for 2013 was set at $2 million

The city collects money for the Board of Education and for the Region, which includes the cost of the police force.  Of every dollar the city collects – 60 cents gets passed along to others.

The public meeting was preceded by a city council meeting where City Manager Jeff Fielding outlined the issues as he saw them and added that he is going to have to recast the capital budget and would rather have produced a two-year forecast rather than the traditional 10 year capital forecast.

Burlington is moving to an “asset management” approach to the facilities they have.  They will use an approach called “life cycle costing” as they city moves into a stage where residential tax revenue will stall and commercial tax revenues will undergo a reduction until the city gets a better grip on how its employments lands can be better utilized.

The capital budget proposed amounts to $551 million and covers roadways, storm water management, facilities and buildings, parks and open space, parking, fleet vehicles, information technology and corporate initiatives.

Fielding explained to Council that he was going to be able to hold the tax increase at 1.85%, which he thought was pretty good given the challenges the city faces.  Where Fielding was gulping was with the growth items that would add 4.5% to the tax hike – an amount Councillor Meed Ward saw as “untenable” and no one else wanted to get attached to either.  Mayor Goldring did say at that meeting that 6.5% was not on but that there was going to be something more than the just over 2% last year.

The budget process got a little bumpy as well this time around.  Fielding thought part of his job was to comment on the budgets submitted by the local boards (Library, Museum, Art Centre, Performing Art Centre and the Economic Development Corporation) and was brought to heel by the Library Board when they objected to his comments on the way they were staffing for the new Library in Alton Village.

Fielding wants a “governance” discussion that will clarify his role.  He told the Council he serves that “we do have to have a governance discussion…the boards represent you at arm’s length. They have more power than I have as a civic administrator.  You gave them that authority to run the service and you look to those boards for the advice you need.  They did that.”

“You saw the push back from the library when we even asked if they could find the staff they need for the new Alton Village library from within their current staffing compliment.  You saw that they were offended.

Fielding wants Council to decide if he is to have anything to do with the budgets the boards produce.  He’s in a bit of a bind; he has no oversight but he has to find the money they ask for.  “If you change your minds and want me to do that work and review their growth items then you need to make that clear to me and also make it clear to the boards.”  We have a bit of a turf struggle going on here.  The city manager should win this one.

This is the third budget this council has delivered and it will be significantly different from the last two.  The Burlington Performing Arts Centre wants an additional $225,000.  The Economic Development Corporation wants close to $1 million to restructure.  The Museums came in with a different story and announced that they had raised close to $85,000 in grants and didn’t appear to need any financial help.  They do want $7,000 plus to convert a part-time curatorial position to full-time.  The Burlington Arts Centre wants a  $125,000 addition to their base funding in 2013 and the same amount in 2014 plus $45,00 to align their compensation with provincial regulations. Sound of Music is asking for $37,000 more.

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre needs a $225,000 touch up as well.  All these “asks” add up to $4.5 million which will add more than 4% to the tax rate.

Meed Ward isn’t on for this even though most of the people with their hand out are within her ward.  She talked of the “lived” experience her constituents have to live with where they are asked to “reduce spending by 2% to 5%” while Burlington has put in place an across the board 2% for the boards.

Councillor Craven, who can fume almost as well as Councillor’s Taylor and Craven, said he agreed with Taylor about the need to look at the budget numbers but disagreed with Taylor on where the changes have to take place.  Craven says the cuts have to be made by Council and that “we can’t continue to push this onto our staff. “It’s about leadership”, he said.

The focus for 2013 is going to be infrastructure and the hospital levy.  The others are going to have to learn how to cut corners.  The Performing Arts people are probably going to be told to use their reserve to cover the 2012 short-fall.

The Burlington Economic Development Corporation might take the biggest hit.  “I don’t know” said city manager Fielding, “if the Economic Development Corporation has a future going forward.”  That’s code for – polish the resumes fellow, the gig is over.  Fielding said this is “something her has to look at.”


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Things are getting a little hurried at city hall; legal department is scurrying around to get reports into the hand of Councillors.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  February 4th, 2013  A confidential report on the pier being built at the foot of Brant Street was scheduled for a meeting of the Budget and Corporate Services Committee tomorrow.

The Development and Infrastructure Committee meeting for the first time in its new format was advised this afternoon that the confidential report in the pier would be discussed at the evening portion of the Infrastructure and Development committee – which got the ire of Councillor John Taylor going – he didn’t want to go into a closed session of council to discuss a report that he has not yet read.

Usually an easy man to get along with – but grumpy, grumpy, grumpy when reports are not ready for him to read and review. John Taylor does nothing on the fly – legal department is going to have to smooth his ruffled feathers.

Councillor Taylor can get touchy at times with sudden changes.  While he groused city solicit Nancy Shea Nicol took him aside and explained that she would not be giving the a report because there were “some financials” that were not complete but that she would be giving a verbal report that would be followed up by the full document.

OK – but what’s the rush?  The report wasn’t due until Tuesday – tomorrow.  Is there something going on out there that the public has not been told about?

You bet your bippy there is.  The city is has entered the discovery process that has each of the parties in the dispute asking each other questions based on the documentation that has been provided.

That’s when the full story comes into focus and that is when lawyers ask themselves – is this something we should try to settle now or is this something we are solid on so we will go to trial?

The reason for the hurrying

and scurrying is that someone wants to talk settlement.

The reason for the hurrying and scurrying is that someone wants to talk settlement.  Who – that would be guessing.  Who has the most to lose?   The city is in the middle of all this – battling both Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. and AECOM for the princely sum of $7.5 million.  If they lose council members will have a lot of explaining to do – not something you want to get into when you are into the second half of their term of office.

Having spent a princely sum on legal fees to date the city has to be looking at any offer to settle that might have been made.

Last week the city disclosed that it had spent $2.1 million on fighting the Nelson Aggregate application for an additional permit to quarry on the Mt. Nemo plateau.  That was a good fight that took many, many months of hearings.  The cost of the legal stuff on the pier will make the Nelson hearings look like chump change.

Next week, Henry Schilthuis undergoes discovery as does the city’s Director of Engineering Tom Eichenbaum.  Ir is interesting to note that neither Phil Kelly or Tim Commisso are part of the discovery process – both were key players and on the city’s payroll when the problems with the toppling crane and the concrete pour that failed took place.

It’s getting interesting down at city hall.  Different Councillors are beginning to talk casually about where the developer is wrong and that the city has a solid case.

Stay tuned.

As for the actual construction of the pier – that’s going great.  There is every reason to expect the thing to open officially during the Sound of Music festivities in June of this year.  The contractor (one of four who bid on the pier)

Early morning view of the pier in September.  Some time was lost in October due to weather but November and December weather was decent enough to get some work done.  Rails and the node that will have the tower with the observation deck in place are now into fabrication.

who won the tender with a bid of  $6,429.700 is on time – on budget wouldn’t apply to this job because of the nifty way the city has handled the amount that was saved when the wind turbine got thrown under the bus at a Council meeting.



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Heritage month gets off to a lively start; library filled with exhibits, re-enactors all over the place..

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  February 3, 2013   The provincial government encourages municipalities to promote and preserve both the Cultural and Built Heritage of the Province through the promotion, education and support of heritage conservation projects through public and private agencies and organizations.

This reenactor explained to a very attentive boys what it must have been like to have fought in the war of 1812 that the province will continue to celebrate in 2013.

Burlington, the city that has struggled for years on how it wanted to preserve its heritage housing got into the game with the decision to highlight, and recognize the work being done by different groups to further education and promotion of Heritage by way of displays, seminars and presentations to promote Heritage both Cultural and Built Heritage in Burlington.

With bullets flying all over the place during battle, medical services were desperately needed.  This reenactor delighted in telling his audience how teeth were pulled and legs cut off.

They got off on the right foot on Saturday  at the Burlington Central Public Library by hosting the Heritage Fair, a free day of seminars, interactive displays for children, poster contest and exhibits by local heritage organizations.

As we wind our way through the month of February there will be a Burlington Built Heritage Award that will recognize property owners who contributed to the preservation of our built heritage for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Unfortunately, one of the very best “built heritage” examples is a home owned by a member of  Heritage Burlington, the city’s Citizens Advisory Committee on matters of heritage, and that may disqualify her from receiving an award.  The Advisort committee report to city Council through the Development and Infrastructure Committee and are the best example the city has of a well-organized and focused Advisory Committee.  Burlington has had problems with some of its advisory committees in the past.  City council decided to sunset one and another asked to be sunset.

The Transit Advisory committee has undergone a significant re-organization and it doing very well.

Period costume always brings out a story.  A woman here explains part of the life lived by women during the province’s the war of 1812.

The city is currently looking for volunteers to serve on several of its Advisory Committees.  If you have experience and sincerely want to work collaboratively and can leave your personal agenda at home – this is something you might want to look into.  You work hard, you have to do your homework as well but it is satisfying and personally rewarding work.

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Male chooses to expose himself to women in underground garages. Police believe they are looking for just the one suspect.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  February 2, 2013  Police are investigating two separate incidents that had a  male exposing  himself to women in Aldershot.  I don’t know about you but that was both disgusting and stupid.

The suspect police are looking for lurks in underground garages and exposes himself to women.  He assaults those who challenge him verbally.  The photo above was captured on a surveillance system and is of a person the police want to meet with.

Very late on January 29th 2013, a male approached a female in the underground parking lot of an apartment building at 695 Surrey Lane Burlington. The male exposed his genitals to the female and then walked away without any further incident.

The suspect is described as male white, 20-30 years old, approximately 5’8″ with a slim build.  He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, light coloured track pants and black and white running or skateboarding shoes.

There was no other detail given to the police.

On January 31st 2013 at approximately 3:00 am,  a male approached a female in a townhouse complex at 699 Marley Road. The male exposed his genitals to the woman who verbally expressed her disgust at his behaviour. The male then assaulted the woman by punching her in the face. He then fled the area on foot.

This suspect is described as male white, 20-25 years old, approximately 5’10” with a slim build. He was wearing a black bomber style jacket, blue baggy jeans and white running or basketball type shoes.

Police investigators believe they are looking for just one suspect.

Investigators are requesting public assistance in identifying a male party who was observed in the underground parking lot of 695 Surrey close to the time of the first incident on January 29th. A surveillance photo of this individual is attached to this release.

Anyone who can provide information pertaining to either one of these incidents is asked to call the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825 4747 ext. 2315.  Alternatively any pertinent information can be forwarded to 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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City looking into making home based business`s legal; will this solve part of the economic slowdown?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  January 31, 2012   Burlington’s Public Involvement Coordinator is setting up a focus group with people from each ward in the city to talk about home based business’s – which at this point aren’t legal in Burlington – although there are tons of them in the city.

Christine Iamonaco, Burlington’s Public Involvement coordinator is facilitating a focus group to gather views and feelings about the current home-based business bylaw.

By not being legal the city means you cannot employ a person and have that person working out of your house.  You can be a hair dresser and toil away by yourself – but you can’t hire another person as a hair dresser and pay that person a wage.

It’s been a bit of a sticky issue.  People who provide a service feel they should be able to do so and hire other people to work for them.  The man who fixes out lawn mower works out of his garage – is that considered his home?  For a lot of guys the garage is home – but I digress.

There are people in some neighbourhoods who don’t want abnormal traffic coming and going to a home that has a couple of woman working as hair dressers.

The city appears to want to review the bylaw that governs all this.

Home-based businesses have been described as a growing and dynamic part of Burlington’s local economy with   hairdressers, music lessons and pet grooming given as examples.

City staff is looking for 6 to 8 people to take part in a 1 ½ -hour focus group conversation about home-based businesses in Burlington. They want to learn about your experiences with home-based businesses in your area.

Should people be permitted to run a dog grooming business out of their homes? Focus group being held to get answers to that question.

The city is looking for one person from each ward; people who operate a home-based business; • people who live next door to, or near-by to a home-based business and  people who live in single detached, semi-detached, or multi-residential units including townhouse, condo, or apartment.

The focus group session will take place on February 5, 2013, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Burlington City Hall. Compensation for participating is $50.00.

If you think this might be something that interests you or something you have an opinion on answer the questions below and email them to christine.iamonaco@burlington.ca by Feb 4, 2013. If you are selected for the focus group, city staff will phone you to confirm your participation.


Cut and past with the answers in place and email to: iamonacoc@burlington.ca  Put words focus group in the subject line

Home Based Business Focus Group Participant Application

Name: _____________________________

Ward and/or Postal Code:____________

Dwelling type: single detached house semi-detached home or multi-residential unit

Indicate if you are: a home-based business operator OR a home-based business neighbor or near-by resident

Phone number(s):________________

Your E-mail address:________________



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Burlington Chamber of commerce releases Business Confidence Update – our part of Ontario feels they are doing well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  January 30, 2013  The Ontario Business Confidence Index, an index produced by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce,  shows that most Ontario businesses are confident in their own outlook (72 percent) and are planning to expand over the next five years (60 percent). However, the same businesses are unsure about the overall direction of Ontario’s economy–41 percent express confidence.

The index is a survey of 2,386 businesses and was conducted as part of Emerging Stronger 2013, a business-driven economic agenda for Ontario released today by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, along with their research partner, the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto.

A lot of money was spent on the presentation but the clientele needed to make a go of it just didn’t appear.

Emerging Stronger 2013 is a transformational agenda aimed at accelerating Ontario’s economic growth. It identifies Ontario’s challenges and advantages, and sets out practical and detailed recommendations for government and business.

Some of its key recommendations include: enabling better access to capital for start-ups and small businesses through crowd funding; encouraging businesses to employ more Aboriginal people and people with disabilities; opening up more government services to private sector and not-for-profit delivery; utilizing Ontario’s large immigrant population to grow exports; and, allowing more employers to participate in training.

The shingle had to come down after more than a year of solid effort – the customer base just wasn’t big enough for Celestial Beauty. The disposable income that many thought would drift from the several condominiums on Lakeshore Road just didn’t make its way to this shop.

The agenda comes days after Kathleen Wynne was named Ontario’s next premier and is intended to provide a non-partisan platform that should appeal to all three parties.

Keith Hoey and the Chamber of Commerce Emerging Stronger agenda will sit well with parts of the commercial sector but the several small business types in the core that went out of business this month don’t see it quite that way.

“The OCC’s Emerging Stronger agenda is truly transformative for Ontario,” said Keith Hoey, President of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “It outlines a plan for the provincial and federal governments to work together with private and not-for-profit sectors to achieve success.”

“The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has crisscrossed this province engaging and hearing from local chambers and their 60,000 members,” said Allan O’Dette, CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are confident that Ontario has all the assets to prosper, but we need to act collectively, strategically, and with purpose.”

“This Index is one of the largest surveys ever conducted of business opinion in Ontario,” according to Dave Scholz, Vice President of Leger Marketing, the pollster. “Business sentiment is very much ‘glass half-full’ in the province right now.”

Among the survey findings are:

Ontario is falling behind on productivity: only 10 percent of respondents believe their sector is a global leader in productivity.

Some sectors are much more confident than others: the financial services sector is the most confident in their own outlook (74 percent say their business will expand in the next 5 years).

Businesses are struggling to diversify their exports: 45 percent of Ontario businesses view China as the most critical market in the next 5-10 years. Yet only 1.4 percent of Ontario’s exports are bound for China.

Some regions are more confident than others: Greater Hamilton Area businesses are most likely to respond that the economy is heading in the right direction (48 percent), while Eastern Ontario businesses are the least likely (36 percent).

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City finally tells citizens that fighting the Nelson quarry battle cost us $2.1 million. It was money well spent.

By Pepper Parr

Burlington, Ont. – Jan. 31, 2013—They are learning – they are trainable.  They are capable of being transparent.

Burlington city council is usually pretty timid when it comes to talking about how much they spend on legal fees – we’ve not heard a word about how much we’ve spent on the attempt to recover $7.5 million from the people who screwed up the first attempt to get a pier built at the bottom of Brant Street.  But we now know how much was spent on legal fees to fight the application for a second quarry.

This is the quarry that is currently being mined.  Its productive life will end in a number of years and over time fill with water.  The city and the residents of north Burlington have an opportunity to decide what they want to see this property become.

$2.1 million and while there will be some grousing – this city will get very good value for those dollars.

Burlington spent $2.1 million on legal and consulting fees to protect the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, from a quarry proposed by Nelson Aggregate Co.

In a unanimous decision released on Oct. 11, 2012, the consolidated hearings board (Joint Board) dismissed Nelson’s application for permits that would allow a new quarry and aggregate processing on the Mount Nemo plateau.

“For protection of the unique and sensitive ecologic areas of the Jefferson Salamander habitat, particularly the two known breeding ponds within the prescribed habitat area, the Joint Board finds that Nelson had not made sufficient provision for the protection of these unique ecologic and environmentally sensitive areas in the event that Nelson’s projections are wrong,” the Joint Board decision stated.

This is a topographical map with the existing quarry that is currently being mined outlined in orange.  The patch at the south of the current quarry is the land Nelson wanted a permit to quarry in the future.

In December 2011, City Council approved a policy that allows Council to disclose legal costs following the completion of a matter, as decided on a case-by-case basis.

Details of the city’s legal process, including services provided by legal counsel Rod Northey of Fogler Rubinoff in Toronto, were shared with City Council in a confidential meeting in December 2012. The city’s legal costs for the Nelson Aggregate matter were approved in segments between October 2008 and January 2012, with funding coming from a contingency reserve fund.

The Joint Board’s decision was released after a four-year hearing process, including several preliminary hearings and a main hearing that lasted several months and included nearly 300 exhibits. The board heard from 60 witnesses, including 47 experts and 13 members of the public. The city retained nine expert witnesses who appeared before the board and provided evidence covering hydrology; hydrogeology; biology; wetlands; salamanders; agriculture; air quality; human health; and planning.

“I am impressed by the efforts of city staff, including the legal team, on behalf of the Niagara Escarpment,” said City Manager Jeff Fielding. “The city has worked collaboratively with other levels of government and community groups, such as Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, to keep this treasure intact.”

Burlington now has to decide what will become of this property once it has been mined out.  There is an opportunity here for the city to create something that will invigorate the northern part of the city and still keep it rural.

PERL, Protect Escarpment and Rural Lands, the group that led the fight, would certainly like to see someone pick up the significant legal tab they incurred; when they announce their fund-raising event – be sure to attend.

Nice comment from the city manager but it is really a canned statement which he probably didn’t write.  As impressive as Fielding is – he wasn’t the city manager when this battle took place.  Better to have said nothing than permit a statement like this to be made on his behalf; almost as bad as a photo-op.

Big bucks; one tenth of what the pier is going to cost but this time we are getting long-term value.

Much of the detail in this piece came to us as a media release from city hall.


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Male in early twenties walks into path of a Via Rail train near Cumberland: killed instantly.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. January 31, 2013   Shortly after 6:30pm yesterday Halton Regional Police were called to investigate a fatality involving a Via train and a pedestrian in Burlington.

A lone male pedestrian, in his early twenties was observed entering onto the CN tracks in the area west of Cumberland Avenue. The man was seen approaching from the south side of the tracks, crossing  two sets of tracks before entering into the path of a west bound Via Rail passenger train, which was carrying passengers at the time.

The pedestrian was struck by the Via train and pronounced dead at the scene. A second west bound Go train which was travelling a very short distance behind the Via train in the middle track was also carrying passengers and delayed by the incident, although not involved. The tracks were closed for approximately two hours while police investigated the incident.

Halton Regional Police Collision Reconstruction Unit attended and assumed control of this investigation. None of the passengers of either train sustained injury from this collision.

The police would appreciate hearing from anyone who may have seen the victim in the area of the incident prior to the collision . Call the Halton Police Collision Reconstruction Unit.  Detective Constable Oliver Caves, 905-825-4747  ext 5124 is the investigating officer.

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35×3 – translates into the number of regional artists involved in the Art Centre 35th anniversary auction.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  January 30th, 2013  The Burlington Art Centre (BAC) appears to be going all out to raise funds and promote the work of regional artists.

They are holding three different auctions that involve 105 Canadians artists.

A Yukon Indian fishing creel done by K. Crowder.

One of the auctions is a live event that takes place on February 8th at 8:30 pm.  Reception before the bidding begins.  A couple of glasses of wine should goose up some of the bids.

The second is a silent auction that runs from the 6th to the 8th of February.

And the third is an on-line auction.  This is the first time the Art Centre has auctioned art on-line.  We set out below some of the questions – with answers – you might have.  It can be kind of fun to look for an item you like and watch the bidding climb.

Bless your wee cotton socks; a delightful folk art ceramic by S. Merritt.

Each auction will offer 35 pieces – tying into the 35th anniversary of the Art Centre.

The on-line auction has already begun and will continue to February 7th.  Slip over to the BAC website, register  and begin looking at what has been put up for auction.

Doors will close on the silent auction and live previews at 5 pm on February 8. The pre-auction reception open to anyone with a ticket starts at 6 pm and offers a final chance to bid on silent auction items, while mingling and enjoying a drink and hors d’oeuvres before the live auction.

You’ll need a $40 ticket that lets you take part in both the silent and live auctions.  That ticket gets you into a reception prior to the live auction on February 8.

The online auction at theBAC.ca/35online is ongoing until February 7 and already has bidding wars. Register now and join in.

Tickets can be purchased online at theBAC.ca/auction, by calling 905-632-7796, ext. 326, or at the Art Centre ,  1333 Lakeshore Road in Burlington.

The Art Auction is a fundraiser for the Burlington Art Centre Foundation, in support of BAC programs.

Photographs are courtesy of the Burlington Art Centre and copyright is held by the artist.  Seek their permission before using please.

How do I place a bid?

To place a bid, you must first be logged into your account. Once logged in, simply select ‘Start Bidding Now from your Account Profile or go to the Auction Items page. Click on the auction item you are interested in to see the full description and bidding box. Place your bid and optional comment and hit the button ‘Place Bid’.

The BAC has the best collection of Canadian ceramics in North America.This bowl by Scott Barnim comes out of that tradition.

How does the bidding Process work?

By placing a bid, you are committing to this amount and the actual amount displays immediately. The system does not use a maximum bid feature (like eBay), where a bidder enters the maximum amount they wish to spend and the system bids incrementally on their behalf until reaching that maximum. This means you need to monitor your bids. This is easy to do, as you are notified by email each time you are outbid.

What is the Bid Increment?

The Bid Increment signifies that the next bid placed must increase the current bid by a specific amount. For example, if an item is currently at $100 and the Bid Increment is $25, the next bid must be at least $125.

B Darcy is offering this painting: Harvest time

Will  I get email confirmation messages during the auction?     

Yes! We will send you an email when you have been outbid. Auction emails will come from do-not-reply@dojiggy.com so please add this email address to your “acceptable email list” to help avoid spam filters.

Can I delete a bid?

If you accidentally place a bid, please contact your auction administrator.

How I change my password or other account information?

By logging in to your account, you will be able to:

  • Update your profile (including editing your email, address and phone)
  • Change your password
  • Review your Bid History
  • Donate an item for the auction

What technology do I need? What browsers are supported?

Please see our requirements page at: https://www.dojiggy.com/app/services/requirements.cfm

** If you have any questions about specific auction items or the organization holding the auction, please contact the auction administrator directly. **

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Is Burlington talking to one of the companies it is suing over the construction of the pier about a settlement?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  January 30, 2012  City council going into a closed session is not unusual.  They do seem to go private a little too much when the pier is involved but that is a legal mess.

Monday evening the Mayor advised Council that there would be a Closed Session at the end of the regular council meeting.  Again – not unusual.  But when he said it was to “discuss a confidential legal matter about the Brant Street Pier” my ears shot up.

Wasn’t it earlier in the week that the Mayor said in his State of the City address that all was well on the waterfront?  Yes, he did say: I am very pleased to advise that meaningful progress has been made on the Brant Street Pier in 2012. Work has continued in the winter and staff expect the ribbon to be cut in June.

Is that an offer to settle rising above the under construction pier or have the lawyers in Hamilton just turned on the lights over there?

This wasn’t surprising.  Construction is going well.  The contractor has managed to pour some concrete and while 11 days were lost when Sandy hurricane hit the United States all was well.  So well that plans for the Official Opening during the Sound of Music festival were underway if only in a preliminary way.  The largest service club group in the city is talking to staff about some ideas they have.

While construction is going well – things on the legal side are actually beginning to move along as well.  That process lawyers call “discovery” where each side gets to ask the other about information that has come out of documents each side has made available to the other begins.  Because there are so many players in this game close to a month has been set aside.

This legal quagmire is not just the city suing Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. , and AECOM plus a bunch of smaller players  for $7,500,000. Schilthuis is counter-suing the city for $2,699,344.32.

The first version of the pier was to be built for $6.9 million – that figure worked it’s way up to the $15.9 million the project has cost to date.

The rocket scientists out there can do the math with those numbers.  Do you see the “win-win” for the city in there somewhere?

February 4th – Ross Steel goes through the process

February 5th – PV&V gets its turn

February 6th – Lombard Insurance gets to talk and answer questions

February 7th – Brave, a concrete company gets its turn.

February 8th     EFCO Canada Company

February 11th , 12th and 13th Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. is in the room

February 14th  Burlington’s Director of Engineering, Tom Eichenbaum gets to answer questions.

February 15th – Zurich Insurance is up.

The Judge handling this case has apparently allowed extra time for Eichenbaum to answer questions.

At this stage in the proceedings all the evidence is on the table.  The city has turned over 23,000 pages of information consisting of emails and reports – anything that was written down relating to the construction of the pier.  The prime contractor Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. has given the city 17.000 pages.

With all the evidence on the table lawyers on both sides question witnesses and delve into the details as they build their case.  Why did you say this in that document; what did you mean when you wrote that – that kind of thing.

Lawyers get a pretty good sense of where their case is going once they have gone through all the documents and if there is going to be a settlement before a case goes to court – this is the time to have a conversation.  Who takes that first step and how they take it is a critical part of the legal dance.

One side doesn’t want appear weak by asking if “perhaps we can talk”.  That’s what lawyers do for a living.

Knowing this – one had to wonder – what was it that the city solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol wanted to talk to city council about in a closed session?

The Mayor had said all was well on Thursday.

Construction of the pier was going just fine in the fall with very little time lost due to weather.  The legal case was moving along just as well.  Will there be a settlement before the pier is opened?

Methinks someone has suggested there might be a possible settlement before things go any further.  Who talked to who and when?  We don’t know but we are pretty sure the city is engaged in a conversation.

The Closed Session lasted for about 50 minutes after which council decided to:

Refer memo dated January 28, 2013 from Nancy Shea Nicol, City Solicitor, providing a litigation update on the Brant Street pier; and Direct the City Solicitor to provide further information to the Budget & Corporate Services Committee meeting of February 5, 2013.

What that means is that the city solicitor sent Council a memo; they discussed that memo in a Closed Session of Council and then directed to city solicitor to provide more information to a council committee that meets next Tuesday.

We can’t wait to hear what gets said:  will they do that in a Closed Session as well?

Stay tuned.



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Halton Police investigating a suspicious fire in Aldershot; arsonist shown on security camera footage. Amazing pictures.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  January 30th, 2013  At around 6:30 a.m. Friday, January 11th, an O.P.P. officer was approached by a citizen and advised that a nearby business at #650 Plains Road E. appeared to have had its windows smashed.  Upon further investigation it was also determined that the premise and a neighbouring business had been flooded by water.

Burlington Firefighters and Halton Regional Police officers were called to the site.  It was soon determined that a fire had triggered the sprinkler system inside the building.  Due to the nature of the origin of the fire, police have deemed the fire suspicious.  No injuries were reported due to this incident.

The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall has some of the best forensic minds in the country doing the investigations.   They have rarely seen the kind of footage found in the Aldershot pizza store fire.

The building was secured and the Ontario Fire Marshall (OFM) notified.  The Halton Regional Police Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU), which also investigates fire scenes, was called and commenced an investigation with Forensic Identification Services officers.

A joint investigation between an OFM Investigator and the CRU will be conducted.

That investigation has produced some security camera footage that is amazing.  You see the crime taking place and in several places the video is taken into slow motion giving a viewer an opportunity to look carefully at the person being filmed.  The footage is of an arsonist at work – seldom seen.

The arsonist is wearing hood making it very difficult but there might be enough for someone to identify the arsonist.

Halton Regional Police are appealing for anyone with information on the deliberate fire set on January 11, 2013 at 650 Plains Road E in Burlington to contact The Collision Reconstruction Unit at 905 825-4747 x 5065, 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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Burlington flicks tickets better deal than in Oakville; seniors get an even better break.

Pension day – the funds are in the bank if you’re using automatic deposit.  If you’re on a fixed income then every dime counts.  Walter Byj, our newest correspondent  has discovered that the theatre prices are better in Burlington on Seniors’ Tuesday.

By Walter Byj

BURLINGTON, ON.  January 29, 2013   Want to see the latest blockbuster movie at a price that feels decent and leaves you a couple of coins for popcorn?  And you don’t know which theatre offers the best deal?  I’ve some helpful tips for you.

Believe it or not, Burlington has better theatre prices on Seniors’ Tuesday than Oakville.

Pricing is not uniform in the theatre offerings. If you want to go to your local (Burlington) Cineplex theatre, know that if you are 14 to 64, the price for a ticket at the Silver City in Burlington is $11.50 while the same ticket is $12.25 at the Silver City at Oakville, a difference of $.75 per ticket.

The pricing for children and seniors is lower, at $8.99, for both theatres.  Those prices don’t apply to Imax or 3D movies.

Some of those first dates were a trip to the movies – for seniors there are deals in Burlington on Tuesday’s.

Perhaps you want to go on a Tuesday night when prices are discounted.  The pricing at the Silver City in Burlington is $6.99 for everyone, while at the Silver City in Oakville the ticket price is $7.25.

If an evening outing is not your style – there are afternoon presentations.   Burlington does not do afternoon screenings except in July and August, vacation periods and school breaks

There are two additional theatres nearby that offer seniors’ discounts.  The Ancaster Silver City where the admission price is $6.99 or to the former AMC theatres located in Mississauga.  They are now known as Cineplex Odeon Winston Churchill Cinemas and the admission price is $7.50.

If you’re taking in a movie at one of the Cineplex locations (we call them Silver City in Burlington and Oakville) and you’re over 14, be sure that you sign up for a Scene card.  It is free and offers a number of benefits.  You will get 250 points when you initially get your card and will earn 100 points each time you purchase a ticket.  Note that if you purchase a ticket for a child, you will get an additional 50 points.  However, if you purchase a ticket with an accompanying adult, you will not get points for their ticket.  Get a separate card for your wife – that way you both get points.  You also earn points on concession purchases along with 10% discounts on movie snacks and 10% discount on Tuesday tickets.

When you reach 1,000 points, you are eligible for a free ticket that can be used anytime.  Go to the Scene web site and register for your card.

There is another theatre in the Burlington/Oakville area that offers good prices: the Encore theatre , in Oakville on Speers Road.  General admission is $9.00 while children and seniors pay $6.50 on a regular basis.  On Tuesdays, everyone pays $6.00.


Walter Byj has been a Burlington resident since 1975.  Raised in Brantford,  a job at Dofasco brought him to the city and he has been here ever since.  Walter “took the package” after 31 years with a consumer products company where his last position was as Sales Operations and Planning Manager.  He serves as a volunteer tutor with the Literacy Council.  Married with two children and the one grandchild, Walter and his wife usually cannot be reached on Tuesday – they’re at the movies.


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City hall dropped the ball on this one – they’re going to kill what little history we have.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  January 29, 2013  Did you know that CoBALT Connects is the managing partner of the City of Burlington’s public art program? They are! And they are going to be “on hand this Thursday and Sunday at various Burlington locations with New Brunswick artist Peter Powning as he makes “Cultural Mulch” with the community’s prized possessions, turning those objects’ outlines into the bronze cast that will form the facade of his piece.

Jeremy Freiburger, the media friendly maestro who sent us this information about the Cultural Mulch might be the only person in the room – along with the artist of course,  who we are looking forward to meeting.

The city does not appear to have spent as much as a dime promoting this event.

The Spiral Stella sculpture that is going to be placed outside the Performing Arts Centre is going to be around for at least 100 years – if this world lasts that long.  Tens of thousands of people will look at it and see what we thought was important to us as a community to tell the story of our past.

Powning wants to take artifacts the people of Burlington bring in – make a mold and then a casting that will be used in the sculpture.

There have to be hundreds of people who have “stuff” in the attics or their basements that artist Peter Powning  would like to consider.

Touchstone was above all a collaborative community enterprise. My idea of asking the community to take part in creating it’s own narrative was the germ of the project. By providing me with objects and artifacts that had a part in defining Canmore for them personally, people gave me the source material for the bronze relief that is at the core of this sculpture. I wanted to encourage community involvement.

But if people don’t bring out their artifacts – there won’t be anything to make a casting of and nothing for the public of the future to see.

At some point in the future there will be a tourist standing in front of the sculpture and asking: “Is that all this city has to show us about their past?”

Burlington has this annoying habit of getting the Mayor out there to have his picture taken every time there is a donation or an award being given.  Last night he was at a table signing the Freeman Station Joint Venture document – a project he really didn’t get behind.  At least we didn’t hear him say very much when the Friends of Freeman Station (FOFS) were struggling to find a home for the structure.

Peter Powning on site in Canmore, Alberta where he installed touch stone, a sculpture along the same lines as the planned work for Burlington.

Powning will be in Burlington so dig through the keep-sakes trunk and bring an object that matters to you. It’s a great way to be a part of the artistic process and to either contribute an object, or simply watch the process in action. Objects will not be damaged in the process, and will be returned after the mold is cast (about five minutes).

Sessions are on:

Thursday, January 31st: Burlington Public Library, Central Branch, 10 am to 3 pm

Thursday, January 31st: Burlington Performing Arts Centre, 7 pm to 9 pm

Sunday, February 3rd: Burlington Art Centre, 2 pm to 4 pm



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When Dad goes missing – you’re terrified and not sure what to do next; a useful resource, log in and bookmark this one.

By Staff

BURLINGTON. ON.  January 29, 2013    We see a couple of these reports each month and we can expect to see more as our population ages.  A recent police media release went like this:

Male Missing:  Elderly Man with Alzheimer’s Believed to Be Lost in the Toronto Area

The Halton Regional Police Service and the Toronto Police Service are seeking the assistance of the public in locating a missing elderly male person who is believed to be lost in the Toronto area.

The missing male person is a 82-year-old senior who resides in the City of Burlington in the Regional Municipality of Halton. The missing person has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The missing person is dependent upon certain medications and his health may deteriorate without his prescribed medication, and may appear confused. The male will be reluctant to accept help if approached.

At approximately 10:53 p.m. a member of the Halton Regional Conservation Authority Parks Department was on routine patrol.

In this situation the follow up was a good news story:

A Parks Officer came upon the scene of a single motor vehicle collision on Milborough Town Line north of Campbellville Sideroad in the rural area of MILTON.  Sometime prior to the officer’s arrival a single motor vehicle had left the roadway and struck a tree.

It was determined that the vehicle involved in the collision belonged to Gerard HOOLBOOM, who had been reported as missing to Halton Regional Police earlier in the day.

Mr. HOOLBOOM was found conscious, near the vehicle. The officer immediately rendered first aid to Mr. HOOLBOOM for minor injuries and summoned EMS and police to the scene.

 The Halton Regional Police take these calls, broadcast the missing person to the media and we do what we can to get the message out to the largest possible community.

Because this is such an emotional issue for any family that goes through the experience the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Centre for Information on Missing Adults (CCIMA) have provided a guide that is very well put together.

CCIMA is a bilingual online resource that provides information and acts as a referral centre for Canadian families and friends of missing adults.

The guide provides families with useful and practical information to help cope with the realities associated to having a missing adult.  Bookmark this page – you don’t want to have to search for it if you need it.

The police are behind this: “We wholeheartedly support the efforts of CCIMA in their development of this comprehensive guide for families of missing adults to assist them in what is often an emotionally overwhelming situation,” said Deputy Chief Andrew Fletcher.



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Don’t miss the Winter Market on Saturdays @ TERRA Greenhouse in North Burlington.

By Margaret Lindsay Holton

BURLINGTON, ON  January 31st, 2013  Looking for something a bit different to do with the family or grand-parents on a cold Saturday morning this winter? Bundle up the gang and head over to the TERRA Greenhouse on the north side of Dundas Street between Guelph Line and Brant Street.

Perfectly situated on the dividing line between North and South Burlington, the downtown lake-side crowd will be pleased that they don’t have to venture too far up into the ‘unknown hinterland’ of the escarpment. North Burlington country folk will be pleased that they don’t have to ‘dress up’ to descend into the tony suburbia of Burlington. This well-placed winter market is casual, inviting, and tasteful. Literally.

Large & lush TERRA Greenhouse welcomes vendors and visitors on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.

As you stamp off the snow from your boots, your tootsies will soon warm up in this well-heated sun-lit huge glass greenhouse. You’ll be welcomed by tasty samples of a wide range of delectable consumables, like raspberry-saturated truffles or mouth-watering bacon-smoked fresh salmon. Taste testing is encouraged by most vendors, but careful what you nibble.  I had one mouthful of the smoked salmon pate and promptly plunked down ten dollars for a critical winter’s supply …

Smokeville’s husband-and-wife team offer mouth-watering smoked rainbow trout and a variety of delicious smoked salmon products.

Exotic highly spiced teas compliment a wide variety of freshly baked ‘local’ pastries. Hardy rustic uncut sour-dough bread loaves beckon, as do delicately decorated orange-chocolate cup-cakes. Fresh meat pies can be had with a quart of well-scrubbed late-harvest turnips or beets. And don’t forget to get your quota of concentrated sour cherry juice: an excellent all-round good health elixir.

A familiar face from the Burlington Mall summer market, this mother-daughter team offer concentrated sour cherry juice, guaranteed to fix what ails you.

Artfully arranged around the greenhouse’s bubbling fountain, strategic floral arrangements by TERRA green the space. Tables are stacked high with local wares by food and craft artisans. There’s really something for every taste. Yes, a tad more expensive then your local super-market, but frankly, it’s such a pleasing mish-mash of enticing stuff, you’ll soon find yourself enthusiastically supporting these local mum-and-pop enterprses.

Tired of standing? Rest your bones in the convenient festive TERRA garden furniture displays. You never know, you just might decide to re-do your summer patio. TERRA attendants are on hand to assist with your purchase if you do. I found their service helpful and informative, not pushy.

The Little Truffle Maker offers her wares. Taste testing is obligatory! 

If you’re not interested in the excellent food produce, you can always sniff exotic expensive hand-crafted soaps or hand-made packets of room freshening lavender. Or, try on a well-knitted toque and scarf combo in a wide variety of joyful colours. Grab a budding cactus or ruby red orchid on route.

It’s always great when a new venture hits pay dirt. Timing is everything. Would this IDEA have worked two years ago? Hard to say. But today, the TERRA greenhouse on Dundas Street has a ‘hit’ on its hands. So much so, there’s talk of opening another Winter Market up in Milton.

Nothing succeeds like success. Without a doubt, this is a win-win venture.  The TERRA greenhouse could well have remained dormant over the winter months, but this resourceful interpretation of ‘space’ welcomes all who seek an enjoyable and novel Saturday sojourn. Local food vendors now have a warm and inviting place to sell their specialty items without incurring a crushing overhead.  Visitors won’t be disappointed.  It is a festive and welcoming event.

Pies ‘n Such offered great gift packages of 5 tasty items for five dollars.

Do head over earlier rather then later. Doors open at 10am on Saturday and close at 3pm. The place was packed last Saturday by 10:30am.

The Winter Market runs until the end of March. Free parking. Free entry.

And don’t forget to try those FREE lip-smacking taste-testing morsels.
Don’t miss the Winter Market on Saturdays @ TERRA Greenhouse in North Burlington.

Margaret Lindsay Holton is both an environmentalist and a community activist.  She is an artist of some renown and the designer of a typeface.  She is also a photographer and the holder of opinions, which are her own, that she will share with you in an instant.   She appears as an Our Burlington columnist every two weeks. All photographs are by MLH unless otherwise indicated.






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They got them – the three who beat up a taxi driver are under arrest – but they could use that witness to get a solid conviction.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  January 29th, 2013  Three thugs who didn’t want to pay a taxi driver who hauled them from Hamilton to a Woodview Avenue address in Burlington were arrested and charged with assaulting the driver of the cab.

Detectives from the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau arrested and charged:

Paul SMITH, 22 yrs of Hagersville;

Jonathan VORICH, 20 yrs of Burlington;

Alanna-Marie VORICH, 19 yrs of Burlington,

with Aggravated Assault and Fraudulently Obtaining Transportation charges.

The crime took place Saturday January 26, 2013 at 2:30 p.m., when a dispute over the taxi fare broke out and escalated to a physical altercation, that had the taxi driver being knocked to the ground.

A passerby intervened and assisted by calling 9-1-1, however he did not identify himself to the call taker at the time.

Police and EMS responded and the taxi driver was transported to an area hospital where it was learned he sustained several fractures to his arm and face.

Halton Police would like to talk to the witness that made the 911 call.  If the police happen to be people you don’t want to talk to – Call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).

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The deal has been done – the Friends of Freeman Station now have what they need to get on with restoring the station.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  January 29, 2013  Finally, the document was signed and the Friends of Freeman Station (FOFS) could get on with the task of moving the structure from its storage site the couple of hundred yards from where it sits beside the Fire Station on Plains Road to its restoration home on property they have rented from Ashland Oil.

The City of Burlington and The Friends of Freeman Station have signed a joint venture agreement that outlines the shared responsibility for relocating Freeman Station, the city’s historic train station.

Much of the railway level thinking that is part of the FOFS task, was done by the John Mellow, shown here talking to the Mayor.  On the far right Reg Cooke.  In between is Ron Steiginga , ther man at city hall who stick handled all the paper work between the city and a multinational corporation located in Burlington that owns the land.  The Mayor signed the agreement on behalf of the city.

It has been a grind – but it’s done and now the team moves on to the next step.  And it didn’t take this crowd long to get a move on.  They signed contracts to move the building onto the new site and they signed a contract with the company that is going to oversee the actual restoration less than two hours after the agreement with the city was signed.

The building will get moved onto its new location and will then have the basement dug and put on its new foundation.  The idea is to get the structure moved – it’s been sitting in sort of storage for far too long.

FOFS station expect to have the move done late in April

Freeman Station, built in 1906 by the Grand Trunk Railway, is being moved from the Burlington Fire Department headquarters on Fairview Road to corporately-owned land nearby, thanks to an agreement between the city, the Friends of Freeman Station and manufacturer Ashland Inc.

Signing what is called the Joint Venture Agreement – a JV in city hall lingo – is the start and the document sets out who is to do what, and, when and where the chips fall if and when the wheels fall of the venture.

James Smith, President of Friends of Freeman Station, and Mayor Goldring signed the agreement, which includes moving details and costs for the move, expected to take place in April or May.  Further agreements are being negotiated to cover the restoration and operation of the station as an educational facility and community space.

JV’s are relatively new to the city – each organization out there using a city owned building or a structure on city owned land will have a Joint Venture agreement with the city.  This practice is one that was introduced by General Manager Scott Stewart. ‘There was a time when the city had all kinds of agreements, some done on not much more than a handshake, with no one at city hall really know what was really going on.”   That practice has stopped.

The city recently passed an evaluation framework for all Joint Venture operations – it will be a sort of report card type report – council wants that document ready for sometime late this year.

Getting the Freeman Station stabilized and then moved is what is going to occupy the FOFS crowd for the immediate future; then the fund-raising that is going to be needed to make it all possible.

Oddly enough – the even bigger step is to determine what they want to do with the building once it has been restored.  Saving the structure has been the focus – and it has not been an easy task.   Much of the credit for giving the FOFS station the time they needed to find a home for the building goes to Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster.  It was their effort that convinced city council to give them more time. The city had totally  screwed up the Stimulus grant it had gotten from the federal government and it looked as if the building was going to end up as kindling for someone’s fireplace.

The city ran an advertisement trying to get someone to just haul it away – even with that there were no takers.  There were some less than generous comments made by a number of councillors during the debates on what to do with the building.  Councillor Sharman’s behaviour was not one he will put in his resume.

All that is behind us – isn’t it – or will we see everyone on this Council taking credit for “saving” the Freeman Station?

Despite a council that couldn’t figure out a way to save the building it has now been saved and while the ceremonial signing of the Joint venture was a quiet event – it is a significant one for Burlington.  Citizens moved in and took over when their council was unable to do what needed to be done; something that needs to be remembered.  Citizens are the last resort.

From the left John Mellow, James Smith, tucked in behind him is Less Armstrong, then Mayor Goldring, then Brian Aasgaard, Councillor Blair Lancaster, Reg Cooke, Councillor Meed Ward and FOFS member Jacqui Gardner.  This picture would never had been taken were it not for the work of Meed Ward and Lancaster.  The Mayor was never a strong supporter of the idea – he just went along with the rest of council when he was just a member.

Now what – building is saved; it will be restored, expect the guys doing the job to provide the city with an exceptional restoration.  The bring passion, energy and enthusiasm to the task.

Les Armstrong on the left knows better than many people in the city what it was like when the railway line ran along the edge of the Lake west of Spencer Smith Park.  Armstrong talks with James Smith, president of the FOFS and a former candidate for the ward 5 seat at the council table.  Is he gearing up for another shot at that brass ring?


While it will sit on a site that is far from where the station will eventually rest – the longer term challenge is to get the station into Beachway Park alongside the old railway embankment where it truly belongs.

That will take some effort on the part of FOFS but they have shown this city council, and this city, that they can get things done.

Their fund-raising drive will start soon – be generous, it is your heritage you’re paying for.  A city that has struggled with what it wants to keep and doesn’t want to keep in terms of buildings took a big step in the right direction last night.

For Burlington to have a Heritage Advisory Committee that is doing great work and to also have a citizens committee that stepped in when its city council couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without tripping – this is a good day for Burlington.  Celebrate!

The Friends of Freeman Station will be at the Burlington Heritage Fair, on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Burlington Central Library, 2331 New Street.  Visitors can see pictures of Freeman Station, get updates on the big move, and view train-related artifacts. Supporters can buy a T-shirt or print of the station, became a member and sign up for email updates.

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A very healthy debate is developing over whether the city should even do the pilot installation of bike lanes on Lakeshore.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  January 28, 2012  A city council committee took four hours two weeks to get to the point where they voted 4-2 to go ahead with a pilot project to collect data on just what having bicycle lanes on either side of Lakeshore Road from Seneca Avenue eastward to Guelph Line would do to the flow of traffic.  That vote now has to be confirmed at a city council meeting tonight.  It is expected to fail.

The public seemed to want Car Free Sundays so that bikes could take over the streets – but that same public doesn’t want the bikes in their own lanes on Lakeshore Road.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison attended a public information meeting a few days later on the water main work that has to be done along Lakeshore Road before the lane markings get put in and said he expects to be tarred and feathered by the people he represents for supporting the pilot plan.  He added that the Mayor is feeling the pressure.  When asked if he thought the Mayor would hold, Dennison gave that look that suggested he too wondered if the Mayor would cave in to the pressure.

And there is pressure. The Mayor is being bombarded with emails and phone calls.

What the city doesn’t have is very much in the way of real, supportable data.  What it does have is a lot of emotion.

I drove the stretch of road that is at issue – Lakeshore Road from Seneca Avenue to Guelph Line – and yes there was traffic but I had no problem making left hand turns into Seneca from Lakeshore nor did I have any problem making a left hand turn back onto Lakeshore from Delaware where I continued along Lakeshore and made a left north onto Green. I then drove along First went south on Beaver and made another left onto Lakeshore.

There was always oncoming traffic – but other than waiting – say maybe 10-15 seconds – I had no problem and there was never a back-up of traffic behind me when I was proceeding east on Lakeshore.

“When did you do this trial run”,  I was asked.  On Monday between 5:05 pm and 5:25 pm.  “You went too early I was told”.

There are a lot of emotions about this issue but policy doesn’t get made based on emotions – does it?

The objective of the pilot is to determine if the changing of the size of the various traffic lanes on Lakeshore Road will affect people who live in the area adversely.

Three of the six council members are directly impacted by any changes to this road: Sharman, Meed Ward and Dennison.  Meed Ward, whose Newsletter is the best of any council member, sets out why she voted against the change in lane markings.  Her comments follow:

Councillor Meed Ward has always been good at listening – is the LAkeshore Road cycling issue an opportunity to lead?

My Take: Along with my colleagues councillors Sharman and Taylor, I support retaining the current configuration of Lakeshore Road, primarily for safety reasons for all road users. Here are 10 reasons why we need to retain the centre lane on Lakeshore Road, and take steps that will actually deliver on the goal of helping residents to use cycling and active transportation.

1. The road is currently functioning safely.

Transportation staff have confirmed that the collision type and number are what you’d expect for an arterial road, and it is not listed on the Top 10 of problem roads in Burlington.   In short, the road is safe for both drivers and cyclists.

2. Current cycling infrastructure in this area is adequate.

The Centennial bike path provides a safe, segregated and beautiful route for cyclists heading between downtown and the east of the city. In addition, there is the multi-use asphalt path on the South side of Lakeshore Rd. That path will be upgraded as part of the road reconstruction. A number of cyclists told council that for speed reasons they don’t like to use either Centennial path or the multi-use path, but the bottom line is that these services exist. No one is required to cycle on the road. Riders who feel safe on Lakeshore Road already cycle there without a bike path; those who don’t likely won’t cycle on Lakeshore Road even with a bike lane.

As an aside, the city is poised to invest heavily in cycling infrastructure – the proposed capital budget for 2013 includes $1.25m for new and upgraded multi-use paths throughout the city – we need to encourage cyclists to use these paths, rather than compromise road safety for everyone.

3. Changes to the road will compromise safety for both cyclists and drivers.

Residents on Lakeshore Road remember when the centre turn lane was installed for the safety of cars turning left onto and off of the road. They noticed fewer collisions after the centre turn lane was installed. I have asked Transportation Staff to provide that data (it should have been part of the initial report). Further, with just a narrow painted median for cars to wait while turning left, passing vehicles will veer into the cycling lane to pass, putting cyclists at risk.

4. Delays will result.

Traffic flow will be impeded by removing the centre turn lane, stealing precious minutes of time from families due to commuting, reducing their quality of life and adding further emissions to the air, affecting both drivers and cyclists. As one resident said in a letter to committee: “Should we not be concerned about the plan’s generation of so much idling traffic, with its resulting air pollution, in such close proximity to a public school and a dense residential area…There’s a Burlington by-law to stop vehicles idling for over 30 seconds; how many violations of that by-law will be directly caused by this plan?”

5. If you build it they will come only works in the movies.

We’re told that on-road bike lanes will increase the number of people cycling, but this vague hope fundamentally misunderstands why people don’t cycle now. It’s not because there is a lack of on-road bike lanes; it’s because more than half our residents must leave the city to work. Until we focus on economic development and bringing jobs to Burlington, cycling to work will remain a dream for our residents, even with on-road bike lanes. As one resident said in her letter to committee: “I like cycling myself. I cannot, however, find a way to bike my two children to daycare and then down to St. Catharines in order to do the job that pays my property taxes in Burlington….I have found biking over 100km a day to be especially trying in winter.”

6. There is no data to suggest on-road bike lanes will increase cycling in Burlington or has done so where bike lanes have been added.

Creating congestion and traffic delays as a means to get people out of their cars and onto bikes, without taking steps to rectify why people don’t cycle now, only produces…..congestion and delays. We need to balance the needs of all road users; this proposal creates significant safety and other negative impacts for the vast majority of current road users. It’s not balanced. Cyclists and cars are sharing the road well now.

7. Families won’t cycle on Lakeshore Road.

For many families and individuals on-road cycling is too dangerous even with on-road bike lanes. Our residents are looking for dedicated bike paths and separated bike lanes – Ottawa is a good example. This will take more planning and time – a precious commodity in an impatient world of instant gratification – but separated bike paths will go further to achieving the results we want.

8. The “pilot” has no goals to determine success (or failure).

The pilot will measure vehicle counts, travel time, bicycle counts and motor vehicle collisions, but no thought has been given to how many more cyclists will be required to deem the pilot a success, or how many accidents or delays are “acceptable” to deem this a success. Even one accident is too many – we should not be using our residents as guinea pigs to test the safety of the road. The lack of clear targets creates the impression that calling this a pilot is simply a device to push this through without proper data, consideration or due process.

9. Poor process leads to poor decisions.

This project has suffered from lack of good data and poor public consultation – being sprung on residents before Christmas, with a proposed amendment coming days before the final vote. There was no opportunity for a public meeting that would have provided an opportunity for table group discussion to learn from our residents what would help them pursue a more active lifestyle, and whether on-road cycling lanes on Lakeshore Road will have any impact at all on their cycling patterns.

10. We ignore the public at our peril.

More than 125 residents wrote to me and other members of council, to ask that the centre turn lane be retained. An additional 250 residents submitted a petition asking for the road to remain as is. Residents have clearly communicated their concerns, and goals for a balanced approach to cycling infrastructure. Yet those have been set aside. We’ve been told that supporting the on-road bike lanes at any cost to drivers and despite the concerns of residents, is showing “leadership.” Leadership has become the code word to justify ignoring public input.

The best decisions are made by carefully consulting and considering the views of the people most directly affected by our decisions. The city’s commitment to community engagement is built on this premise. It recognizes that elected officials don’t have a corner on wisdom (no one does), but that collectively there is much wisdom in our community if we listen and learn from each other.

When politicians dream about the future and impose a solution, it doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to, and residents are left suffering with the consequences until we fix it. One example will suffice: last week, council members discussed parking problems in the Uptown community of Burlington in Ward 5. This community was designed as high density with limited parking to “get people out of their cars” and onto transit. It didn’t work – people still have to drive outside the community for work, or long distances for shopping or recreation. So now Councillors are having to fix the situation, and have approved relaxed on-street parking rules in the area. Several councilors expressed surprise that the vision hadn’t worked. The reason: without jobs (and shopping and recreation) close by, residents still have to drive.

Making it hard for residents to drive doesn’t automatically get them out of their cars, if nothing else in the community changes. We need to heed this lesson before imposing hardship on the users of Lakeshore Road.

Meed Ward is not going to ignore her public – but she isn’t going to lead it either.

The proposed pilot test of new lane markings on Lakeshore Road would run from Seneca (not Torrance) east to Guelph and have a very small divider lane with exclusive bike lanes on either side.  Residents see that small divider lane as too small for them to make left hand turns.

Dennison who is an avid cyclist, thinks the cycling lanes are part of the direction Lakeshore Road should be going in.

Sharman,  who is also a consistent bicycle user and a strong proponent of the Car Free Sundays appear to be reacting to public pressure.  For a guy who always wants the data he doesn’t seem too concerned about the lack of data on this issue.

The whole idea was to determine if putting bicycle lanes on either side of Lakeshore road would make any difference to the flow of traffic.

The Region ensured that the public got an opportunity to fully understand what was going to happen to Lakeshore Road when the water main was upgraded.  The public was given useful data.  Why can’t the public let the city gather useful data on what separate bike lanes would do to the flow of traffic on Lakeshore?  Perhaps because emotions are over ruling reason?

The road is going to get ripped up to have a new water main put in by the Region and no one is grousing about the problems that is going to cause.  When the road is resurfaced after the water main has been installed the city wants to remark a section of the road and make provision for bike lanes that will stay in place from about September of this year until April of 2014.

What’s the big deal?  If it becomes evident that the road cannot safely, and at little inconvenience to the people who live in the immediate area, handle the change in lane markings, then bike lanes should come out.

After driving about Lakeshore I headed north up Appleby Line to look at a parking problem in the Uptown area and then headed west along Upper Middle Road.  If you want to have to handle traffic and struggle to make a left hand turn, with traffic lights to help – try Upper Middle.  I wanted to go south on Walkers to get home.  The traffic was backed up and it was going to take several lights before I would make it through the intersection.

I went further west to Centennial and was able to make a left and get home.

Upper Middle Road was a lot harder to drive than Lakeshore Road.  And there were bike lanes which didn’t get in the way – but then it was cold, cold, cold and there was just the one brave cyclist on the road.

We have added some material from a city, Minneapolis, that has an active cycling policy in place.  They have snow there and they have the coldest average temperature of any major metropolitan area in the United States.

The City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program is integrated into many divisions and departments at the city. The core staff of the Bicycle Program operates out of the Traffic & Parking Services Division of the Public Works Department. They have the primary responsibilities of educating the public through the Bike Walk Ambassador Program and implementing new projects through the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program. Bicycle Program staff also produces the Minneapolis Bicycle Map and organizes the annual bicycle count. Other staff in Traffic & Parking Services responds to bicycle traffic safety issues and rents out bike lockers at municipal parking ramps in the downtown area.

Elsewhere in Public Works, new off-street bike trail projects, the bike rack cost share program, and the Bicycle Master Plan are managed by staff in the Transportation Planning & Engineering Division. Many Minneapolis bikeways are cared for by crews in the Street Maintenance & Repair Division.

In the Minneapolis Police Department, the Bicycle Recovery Unit stores recovered and abandoned bicycles and holds bicycle auctions. The Traffic Unit investigates accidents between bicyclists and motorists. The Traffic Control Unit enforces parking rules in bike lanes. Police officers in each of the five precincts enforce bicycle-related laws and respond to emergencies. Twenty-Eight percent of the MPD police force is certified to patrol by bicycle.

This is a city with a committed policy and pro-active programs that lead to, foster and support increased use of cycling.

Burlington has a Master Cycling Plan and does make attempts to promote cycling.  The city held a Bike to Work day event at which breakfast was served for those who arrived at city hall on their bikes.  The Mayor was there on the bike that seems reserved for just photo ops; he does not ride to work on a bicycle.

Cyclists have a right to be on every road in the city – not the 400 series roads but certainly on Lakeshore Road.  They have a right to the safe use of those roads.  Bike lanes will be safer.  Will creating exclusive bike lanes make it safer for cyclists and not unduly delay car drivers – that’s what the six to nine month trial was being put in place to tell us.

Will this Mayor on his bike ever get to ride on a separate and safe bike lane on the Lakeshore Road? Not if they Mayor folds at city council this evening.

The cycle enthusiasts put forward some very solid data at the council committee meeting that deserves attention.  Those opposed to the cycle lanes gave anecdotal evidence that had an obstetrician missing a birth because of traffic.  Why didn’t he leave earlier; he certainly knew the road and its traffic patterns.

Councillor Sharman fanned useless flames when he spoke of the possibility of one of his constituents dying in an ambulance because it got tied up in traffic – such rubbish.

Mayor Goldring speaks glowingly of the cycle plans he saw in Portland, Oregon when he visited that city.  The glow appears to have rubbed off – most indications are that the mayor is getting antsy about the vote for the pilot he cast at a council committee meeting.

Looks like we are in for a long city council meeting tonight.

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