Why does your city council want to sell waterfront property rather than create a stunning lake front parkette?

A two part series on the selling of waterfront land owned by the city

Part 1

Part 2

October 7, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Our city Council is adrift.  They have lost their way.  Six of the seven council members, the ones that talk about the jewel on the lake and the need to give the public access to the lake, last week put up their hands to approve, in principle, selling waterfront land to a very small group of residents.

A portion of the land at the foot of St. Paul Street that city council wants to sell the private property owners instead of putting in a park they say the community doesn’t need.

These Council members have lost sight of one of the guiding principles behind every policy the city has – save as much of the waterfront as possible, stop the quarrying on the Escarpment and keep highways out of north Burlington.

This Council is prepared to basically obliterate a functioning, albeit small,  community to create a massive park but seems prepared to actually sell of a small strip of land that is right next to the water.  It’s not a very long strip of land but it is land, and as a Texas land owner once said: “Sister, don’t give up the land. They are not making land anymore.”  But your city council doesn’t see it that way

Burlington spent millions on the City View Park, the biggest in the city, in a part of town few people get to, but prefers to sell land rather than have a small parkette on the waterfront.  That is dumb.Despite layer upon layer of policy from the province, the Region and city hall – this Council decided they should sell the property to the three residents who want to buy. 

In selling the land the city is selling the birthright of every citizen and that of all future citizens.  They are not selling the blood of the city – they are selling the bone marrow, for once that land is sold it will take more guts than anyone in this city has ever had get it back.  Burlington will be forever changed – all because six people you elected don’t feel the city needs another park.

Councillor Taylor said the city already has enough parkland.  Not in that part of the city, but that’s not the point.  There is a large goal, a larger objective and that is to get as much of the lakefront land in the hands of the city so that it can be made available to the public.

There is nothing wrong with people owning property on the lake front.  They bought and paid for it and it is theirs to use as they wish.  At some point that property will be back on the market and the city can, if it so chooses, look for ways to add to the land bank that will at some point in the future allow for more space for people to walk along the edge of the lake just the way they do now walk along Spencer Smith Park and the way they go out to the pier –  in droves.

The Pier – remember – it was the “Mistake on the Lake”; hundreds wanted it torn down.  Today there is hardly an hour of the day when people aren’t out there.

The trail through what is now Beachway Park – that was once a railway line.  In the early 1900’s few would have thought the rail lines would be torn out and a walking path put in.

The issue is the portion shown as parkette. The city had three options: keep the land and develop it as a parkette, lease the land to adjoining property owners until the city decides on its long term use or sell the land. The want to sell it.

We kept hearing people say that there would never be a real waterfront trail along all of the edge of Lake Ontario.  Perhaps not in our lifetimes – but if the city keeps the land that it has and adds to what it has over time this city might have a waterfront like that in Chicago.

The Bruce Trail started out as an idea and look what they’ve done with that vision.

The issue is less than half an acre of land – but like everything about property it is location, location, location.

To vote to sell this strip of land is to forget about what Burlington is all about. Should the vote done at Committee be approved at Council on the 15th a part of the waterfront we now own will have been lost for a very long time, probably forever – because six clowns chose to forget what the city is really about – the waterfront.

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Eat this, don’t eat that! Wow – all these rules. Will they make a difference?

October 8, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayman

BURLINGTON, ON.  On the heels of my last submission on food as medicine and its real impact on all aspects of health, I now find it necessary to give readers a glimpse into food as choice and exactly what it is we are feeding ourselves, our children, and our loved ones each day. I’m not lecturing those of you who chose to eat a certain way, or those who consume certain foods by what I refer to as “dietary default”. My intention rather is to put what we know about food, on the table, and remind us all about the importance, impact and value of not only what we put into our bodies, but what we ultimately leave out.

I’m referring to those who consume foods without truly thinking about what or why they consume the foods they do. The term “dietary default” refers to a multitude of references when it comes to our association and relationship with food. Within the context of this discussion, I’m referring to those who consume foods without truly thinking about what or why they consume the foods they do. And out of fairness, it also stoutly refers to foods the average population so simply shy’s away from and leaves out. To delve into this even further, it refers to those who almost automatically follow a routine eating regimen, eat the same foods week to week, and most importantly, rarely, if ever, truly think about the impact of what they eat, or how it will ultimately consume them in the short and long haul with respect to health.

Advertising plays a large role in what we decide to east.

It has become glaringly obvious that societal impact grossly influences the choices and food we ultimately serve on our plates. Yet, with the ever so abundant “way of life” when it comes to our choices (or lack of) with respect to diet and food, the unmistakable contrary reflection also positions itself just as clear and states: “those who do choose what and how they wish to live in harmony with food, do so with absolute clarity and passion, and make it a way of life in order to maintain and pursue continued improvement toward better health”.

We know food affects health. We are also becoming more and more aware of which foods are most important, which are not, and which of the same foods contend as healthier choices over others. Some of us default to the convenient way and eat within the “fast food peril” of life. While others, albeit a smaller, yet ever-growing movement of people, place food and its nutritional value as one of  the most prominent elements in life. These people live “against the grain” in terms of what society dictates we should eat. These are the people who won’t simply surrender to the “conveniences” of today’s living, and make it a true effort to do what is necessary in order to preserve the short and long term health of themselves as well of those they love. What do I mean by this? Well let’s serve it up in the most simple, succinct, digestible way…

... you can and will feel better, stress less, live healthier ...With the overwhelming amount of mass media making use of its privilege to feed us its messages on what/what not to eat, how to eat, when to eat, why to eat, where to eat etc., it’s no wonder there’s an endless endeavor to try and figure it all out. Let alone pressures from others on our way of eating, we end up living in a whirlwind of relentless persuasions about what is best for ourselves and others.  I’m here, as a Naturopathic Doctor, within a profession strictly to support and better the health of those that can be reached, and without alternative motives, to do what I can to lay it out, in plain English, what it is we need to begin allowing our lives to let in, in the most natural and least invasive way.

There is almost no limit to the food that can be bought at a Farmers Market.

We’re all aware that balance in life is a precious gift, and one we, at some level, strive for (some more than others) each day. However, today’s message is that food, and food alone, can and will impact that balance to a more positioned and eloquent equilibrium. There’s no question many of us know what to eat and what not to eat, yet most of us either don’t know how or are lost in terms of where to start. Well, the truth is that it’s not always easy, there’s not one simple answer, and we’re all moving at various paces and levels within the food-life conundrum, yet by recognizing a few simple and effective “food-life rules”, you can and will feel better, stress less, live healthier, and learn that food truly is one of our most precious resources. We all need to treat food as food, and as a living entity, not as a product, a skew, or packaged commodity. So here’s where we’re at, a simple, realistic checklist of where to start, and a reinforcement to those that are already there:

·        Follow the Dirty Dozen Plus & Clean 15 when it comes to buying conventional and organic.

·        Become aware of GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) and which foods contain them (use 1 less GMO per shopping trip per month – a GMO pepper is proving much riskier than a non-GMO organic pepper)

·        Add one new vegetable per month (to start), preferably organic, into your meal routine

·        Eat a vegetable (you know, that stuff that grows from the ground?) at most meals

·        Try an outing to a local farmers market. Local food is great, however local pesticide, herbicide and anti biotic free is even better. You and your children will enjoy the excursion.

·        Eat less meat. And spend the money on more healthy, clean meats

·        Make more of an effort to drop in at your local health food store. They’re local small businesses. Do your duty and provide your support

·        Realize that fast food and eating out essentially supports only your busy, unplanned schedule, it adds no value to your life. It will catch up with you, unless of course it already has

·         Drink organic herbal tea. It curbs cravings and adds endless benefit to your health

·        Begin thinking of food in terms of its nutritional impact. To eat for the simple value of being hungry or for calories is like living in terms of simply “eating to survive, not thrive”

·        If you are not happy with your current weight, either accept you will remain like this and continue to allow your health to regress, or stop making excuses and commit to the effort of making a change

·        Figure out a way to realize that spending more on healthy food now costs you much less than fighting for your health in the years to come

·        Combine lean protein, vegetables and healthy fat within each meal

·        Plan for goodness sake. We’re all busy, yet some of us still make time for our health. It won’t take care of itself

·        Seek out support if you don’t know where to begin. You’re spending enough on unhealthy choices already, it’s time to commit to putting that spending money toward better value

·        Naturopathic Medicine and other natural health professionals are here to help. Our ultimate goal is to make our planet and those within it healthier.

·        Drink clean water. 2L minimum per day to start

·        Make yourself proud. Do something for your health that in the way of better food choices that most wouldn’t have the nerve to try. Trust me, everyone will admire you in the end, yourself included.               

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Is your city council about to sell your birthright? Waterfront land just east of the downtown core may be sold.

Part one a two part report on the city selling waterfront property.  

Part 2

Salt with Pepper – Opinion

October 5th, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  City Council, sitting as a Committee last week voted 6-1 to sell small parcels of land it owns on the waterfront between Market and St Paul Street to property owners whose land abuts the city property.

The Market Street and St. Paul Street windows are land already owned by the city.  The land shown as parkette is also land owned by the city which council has indicated it is prepared to sell to private landowners.   The property is actually owned by the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and the city.  MNR has apparently said they will go along with whatever the city wants to do.

This report came to a city council committee as the result of a Staff Direction put forward by Ward 2 Councilor Marianne Meed Ward in 2012. .  It’s genesis goes back to the since sunset Waterfront Access Protection and Advisory Committee(WAPAC) that was formed by former Mayor Cam Jackson.

The since sunset Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee produced a report with good graphics that set out what existed in the way of city owned land that could be opened up more effectively to the public.

One of the smarter things WAPAC did was forward a recommendation to city council that the matter of actual access to the lake be improved.  That committee did an excellent report on just what existed in the way of waterfront access and where the public’s right to access to the lakefront was being impeded.

 During the WAPAC committee discussions Rob Peachey, Manager Parks & Open Space appeared looking less than enthusiastic when he told the committee – “this is not one of my favourite files”.  We know now why Peachey made that comment.

At the time some residents were pushing for more and better public access to the waterfront in this part of the city

 Burlington once had a very proud history of opening up access to the lake and was the city in which former Toronto Mayor David Crombie officially opened the Waterfront Trail that now runs form Niagara Falls to the Quebec border and reaches into parts of Lake Erie.

 When Crombie was in Burlington in 2011 speaking to WAPAC he touched on Burlington’s past Waterfront achievements and said there was a time when Burlington was a leader in waterfront access but that that was no longer the case.  At the time, mayor Goldring, who was sitting beside Crombie didn’t say a word.  We should have seen his vote of last week coming.

 Crombie was back in Burlington recently to witness awards being given in his name to the two women who did most of the yeoman’s work in making the Waterfront Trail a reality.  Burlington had much to be proud of then.

 In her Staff  Direction Meed Ward asked Council to: Direct the Manager of Realty Services to report back to the Budget and Corporate Services Committee regarding the portion of Water Street located between St. Paul Street and Market Street providing the background and history and options available to the city.

 That Direction resulted in the report that was before Committee October 2nd,  along with it was a confidential legal report that has certainly muddied the waters.  Unfortunately the contents of that report are not public.

 When a municipality makes decision it has to refer to and comply with the policies of those levels of government higher up the food chain: Regional and Provincial

 The Halton Regional Official Plan designates all of Burlington’s shoreline as“Regional Natural Heritage System” Part of that policy is: “To protect and enhance the Halton waterfront as major resource t hat is part of the Provincially significant Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay shoreline.”  It is also to” “Encourage the development of trails within the Regional Natural Heritage system” and “Encourage the Local Municipalities to: Acquire public open space on tableland adjacent to water courses and along the waterfront within the Urban Area and  Identify and designate along or near the waterfront of Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay,a continuous waterfront trail,making use of public road allowances in locations where public waterfront properties are not available”

 Burlington’s Official Plan calls for The acquisition of land to create new or add to existing Windows-to-the-Lake/Bay, as a means to increase public access to the waterfront.

This is the lakefront at the foot of St. Paul.

Burlington uses three types of access:   The Waterfront Trail, Windows on the Lake and small Parkettes. 

Waterfront Trail is a continuous Trail that was to be implemented through development-and/or redevelopment along Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay where there is sufficient land between that water and a public or private road.This trail maybe composed of two components: a shoreline trail immediately abutting the Lake or Bay, and near shoreline trail located in the general vicinity of the Lake or Bay.

Windows-to-the-Lake are described as small public areas located on city road allowances next to Lake Ontario or Burlington Bay; established to increase public access to the waterfront. They are typically developed with the following amenities: Seating areas, Walkway connections to the community, bike racks and refuse containers, fencing or barriers to control access to the water, parking located in the widow or on street depending on size, existing vegetation and configuration, bollards or railings to keep vehicles on the road allowance and signage to identify the location  as a Window-to-the-Lake.

Parkettes are described as small landscaped venues intended to contribute to an area’s urban design, provide passive/rest areas and lower level park amenities and are typically developed with the following amenities: Seating areas, walkway connections to the community, bike racks and refuse containers. Some include creative playground structures, tree and shrub plantings, park signage and some fencing for demarcation of public and private property.

Waterfront Trail policies were introduced in the 1997 Official Plan.  Since that time limited development along the waterfront has occurred.  Waterfront Trail policy development objectives have resulted in the city expanding the waterfront trail and public ownership including Easterbrook town house development at the Royal Botanical Gardens, where the city required public waterfront access through he official plan amendment and rezoning application resulting in Spring Garden Trail.

Another splendid addition to the waterfront trail network is the pathway at the bottom of the Bridgewater condominium hotel development at the foot of Elizabeth Street where the city will take ownership of the waterfront trail and the shoreline protection work required through development agreements.


 That’s the policy base the decision at the Community Services Committee made their decision within.

The Staff Report that got voted on put forward three options:

 Option #1: Create a city parkette: connecting the St.Paul Street  and market street road allowances.

 Option # 2:  Develop Windows-on-the-Lake at St. Paul and Market streets and retain ownership with an exclusive lease to the abutting landowners until required for public use.

 Option # 3: Develop Windows-on-the-Lake and dispose of the Water Street parcel.

Option #1 would have the city purchasing Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) portions of the waterfront between the St. Paul’s and Market Street road allowances and using that land along with the old Water Street road allowance to create a new waterfront parkette.

Option # 2 would be to preserve land for future public use by purchasing the MNR land and retaining ownership of the land the city already owns then entering into lease agreements with the owners that abut that land.  The two pieces of land on the east and west sides would be turned into Windows-on-the-Lake.

Option #3 would dispose of the Water Street land and still develop the Windows-on-the-Lake on the East and West sides of the site where the city owns the road allowance. 

This is market street. It is hard to tell but that patch of land on the left is actually a city right of way that anyone can walk along to the edge of the lake. The city has never put signs up advising the public they can walk on the property – which is the way the property owners along the street like it.

This is the land at the end of Market Street, owned by the city, public but there are no signs to indicate it is public. Few people walk past that bright sign. The city would turn this into a full window on the Lake.

Wonderful place to sit and watch the sun rise or set – and it is public property that the city has agreed in principle to sell the people with adjoining property.

Staff recommended Option # 2: preserving the land for future use.  They justified their decision based on Regional and city official policy and the Waterfront Trail policy.

Opportunities for waterfront access, financial considerations and those legal considerations that the public knows nothing about because they were the contents of the reports the city solicitor provided and had council declare confidential, are lost if the land is sold.

The sale of the land would be a fabulous deal for the three property owners.  They grump about the cost of maintaining the sea wall.  Were it not maintained their property would at some point face serious erosion.

Staff offered a lot of common sense when they said a decision to retain the property in public ownership maintains the table lands between the Windows on the Lake for future access to the waterfront.  Future access is ensured with the retention of the Water Street parcel.

Over the short term access is improved with the development of Windows-on-the-Lake, which should have been done years ago.

What would the different option cost:  Both capital and current budget impacts for each option would be as follows:

Option #1 Option One- Create a Parkette on Water Street Parcel includes costs to construct and maintain Windows-to-the-Lake.  Capital Budget Impact: $182,000  Current Budget Impact $7,500/per year.  Other considerations:    Land costs and shoreline protection which are set out in that confidential document that you don`t get to see.

Option Two- Preserve for Future use:  Includes costs to construct and maintain Windows -to-the-Lake. Capital costs: $80,000 and current budget cost of $3,500 per year for Windows-to- the-Lake.  Add in land costs and shoreline protection as set out in that confidential document.  One has to wonder just how much the city is obligating itself to pony up within that confidential document.  Last within option # 2: Future cost to develop Parkette is $102,000

 Option Three – Dispose of Water Street Parcel and develop Windows-to-the-Lake.  A capital cost of $80,000 and a current budget cost of $3,500 per year for Windows-to- the-Lake.  The upside for this option is the revenues from sale of lands.  That confidential document doesn’t let you know what that revenue might be.

 In the Staff report mention is made of how all this costs will be handled.  Mention is also made about a community engagement process.  This is rich:

“Upon receiving direction from council on an approved option, staff will develop and undertake a community engagement process which outlines the purpose, outcomes and participation goals of any engagement opportunity.  Outcome of the public engagement process will be reported back to Council with the concept plans for the Windows-on-the-Lake and parkette development.

What this means is you will get to have a say on what those Windows on the Lake are going to look like and how the parkette might be designed – but you won’t be asked whether or not you want waterfront land sold.

Six of the significant seven are going to do that for you.  The family jewels will be sold off for the puniest of reasons and the opportunity for a trail that actually lets people see, hear and feel the waters of Lake Ontario will be gone forever.  For once lakefront land is in private hands it seldom gets back into public hands.  One those few occasions when privately held land does get back into the public realm it is frequently at a price equivalent to a King’s ransom.

Why are we doing this – we already own the land.

 

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Grenade found in the ground in the Kerncliffe Park area found to be inert.

October 4, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Just after 10:00 a.m., Saturday morning, a volunteer group doing maintenance in the area of Kerncliffe Park located a grenade buried in the ground.

Kerncliffe Park – site where an inert grenade was found by volunteers cleaning up the grounds.

A number of volunteers were safely evacuated and members of the Explosive Disposal Unit were summoned to the scene

It has since been determined that the grenade was inert.  

A portion of green space to the west of Kerns Road and south of a nearby parkette remains cordoned off while a secondary ground search is undertaken.

There are no secondary public safety concerns at this time.

Police later declared the scene as totally safe.

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Business is meeting people – meeting people is good business – both happening Thursday at BPAC

October 6th, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   Do you know where you are going to be at about 5:00 pm on Thursday October 10th?  You might want to be at the Business Week – Social Fusion Networking & Trade Show and mix with some 500 odd avid networkers at the Performing Arts Centre.

Who will you have the opportunity to meet with?  Small business people, trades and services people for the most part.  There are the regulars who use the occasion to keep in touch with a large group of people at one location.  There isn’t a bar in town where you are going to be able to network with hundreds – and all of them sober.

Social Fusion Network’s first trade show and meet up at the performing Arts Centre – well attended.

Run by James Burchill, the Social Fusion Networking group is for people and businesses doing business in Burlington Ontario. SFN Burlington (aka BiB – Business in Burlington) is not the Chamber of Commerce. There are no memberships, no fees, no agenda – just show up and you’re in.

Burchill, a shameless promoter, defines himself as Marketing Strategist • Author • Trainer • Speaker. He has done what a lot of independent people set out to do and that is find a niche he can work and grow.  On occasion he has had a flashy red Ferrari parked outside the location he is using; some lucky person will get a chance to drive the thing.

Burchill – regularly in the Gazette

Burchill also writes a column for the Gazette where he tends to assuage his technical bent.  Type the word Mojo into the search box – and you get to see everything the man has written for us.  His take on Tweet going public was interesting and his background on wearable devices are both worth a read.

For the Business Week event the marketing angle is a cool $500 cash gift.  You have to be in the room to personally take that cash home.

Many people wonder – are these events worth the time?  There are just under 2000 people who have registered with the Network and show up on an infrequent basis.  Originally held at the Waterfront Hotel Burchill had to find a venue with more room and is now at the Ivy Kitchen and Bar on the South Service Road.

Burchill probably has the best collection of relevant business cards in the city.

Finding the metric that tells if the event worked or not isn’t as simple as counting the number of people who came through the door.  There is nothing for people to actually buy – other than a drink at one of the most impressive bars in the city, so there are no sales numbers.  How any people return – something in the range of 250 – 350 each month; on occasion it climbs higher.

One of the indicators that says a lot is the number of people who commented on the event on the web site – there were 321 feedbacks for the first trade show.  I didn’t see anything negative when I scrolled through.

This “trade show” is the second Burchill has held.  The take up on this event has been better than that of the first – so he is on to something.  The Gazette met a woman at one of the MeetUps who now writes a regular column for us – and we didn’t even have to buy a ticket to get in.  So for us, networking clearly works.

Burchill has taken to calling his operation the Social Fusion Network – it works and the five $100 bills he is waving in the air may turn out to be the enticement that moves his numbers up.

Is the event worth the time – yeah it is something you want to take in.  Don’t break a great dinner date opportunity to get there but if you’re looking for a place to relax a bit and have a cool one as James would say – drop in.  Starts just after 5 pm – runs till 7:30. Bring your wallet – you might need a place to stash the cash.

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Is the Prime Minister moving into gunslinger mode? Is Canada about to become a major arms manufacturer?

October 4, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  Memorable leaders leave noteworthy accomplishments behind them.  In the US ObamaCare will be that president’s legacy, even though it represents a glass half-full to us in Canada.  Tommy Douglas is remembered for introducing universal health care, while Premier of Saskatchewan in 1962; and Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson credited for implementing it nation-wide.

Avro Arrow – fighter plane that was to make us the envy of the western world.

Pearson also gave us our flag and won the Nobel prize while positioning Canada as a global peacemaker.  John Diefenbaker’s biggest accomplishment was drafting our first Bill of Rights but he will only ever be remembered for killing the best fighter jet in its time, the Avro Arrow.  Brian Mulroney led an effective anti-apartheid lobby, but his name brings up the US free-trade deal, the dreaded GST and that nasty Karl-Heinz affair.  

Trudeau eliminated the terrorist FLQ, introduced bilingualism and multiculturalism, made Canada a global entertainment force, implemented a half-hearted metric system, and really got Albertans ticked with his energy program.  And Jean Chretien gave us the long-gun registry – a bill which had the early support of a newly minted Calgary MP named Stephen Harper, voting against his own colleagues with the Reform Party caucus. 

One of Harper’s first actions, as PM, in 2006 was to arm our border guards – who had never needed nor wanted the guns.   He is a tough cop as PM, introducing mandatory prison sentences here, extending Canada’s role in Afghanistan, and sending war planes into Libya.  And this summer Harper got to actually fire a rifle while reaffirming his determination to maintain sovereignty in the arctic.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper – showing the troops how its done as he fires a service long gun while in the Arctic

Few people have difficulty supporting a tough-minded PM, trying to keep us safe from threats of internal or external violence.  So his change-of-mind on the long gun registry and his cancellation of the program, a much celebrated event by his party, was bizarre.  I thought banning guns was ‘de rigueur’ for a sheriff taming the Wild West.  Perhaps he has bought the US Tea Party line that private guns are the only defence against an oppressive government.

The long gun registry had given Harper a wedge issue to solidify his right-wing base and adjust his moral compass to accompany his change-of-heart.  His next step was to deconstruct his firearms advisory committee, and pack it with members of Canada’s National Firearms Association, Canada’s NRA. https://nfa.ca/news/nfa-supports-sensible-government-approach-att  One of the new committee’s early recommendations was to legalize the sale of assault weapons, which the government fortunately ignored.

 Weren’t we all stunned when the PM rebuked the RCMP in High River?  He ordered them to return the weapons they had found, stored illegally, in the flooded homes in that Alberta town.  The Mounties were only enforcing the law, so does this now mean that we can ignore the rest of Canada’s gun laws with impunity?  What is this pre-occupation with guns anyway?  I know a six-year-old boy who is also fascinated with guns – but aren’t we supposed to grow up?  

Last week Canada announced that we would not be joining over 90 other nations, including gun-loving USA, to sign the UN Arms Trade treaty, which is intended to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorist nations and terrorists.    At first this was puzzling, then the penny dropped.  The Harper government has a strategy to transition Canada into a future as a significant arms manufacturing country.  It all makes sense now.

...create gold out of that dark place called war, thereby bringing jobs back to the voters in Canada’s industrial heartland ...Stephen Harper, already the nation’s historic gunslinger, wants to be its gunsmith as well.  Is this the industrial strategy Ontario and Quebec have been looking for?  We’ll build weapons systems for rogue states and fuel them with oil from the tar sands.  Harper’s quest is to create gold out of that dark place called war, thereby bringing jobs back to the voters in Canada’s industrial heartland and reversing the folly of Diefenbaker denying the Avro Arrow. 

Canada will be completely transformed from historic peacemaker to ‘nouvelle’ arms-maker.  That will be Harper’s mark, his legacy, and how he will be remembered after losing the next federal election. 

A knight, without a horse, walks off into the darkest night…

On a quest for a treasure, that shines so bright.

A six-shooter on his left, his right he cannot use…

In search of a dark tower, others can only muse.

(The Gunslinger’s Tale – Ellen Walmsley, 1999)


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IKEA move in jeopardy? Getting all the paper work done is going to be a challenge. Is the province cooperating?

October 3, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It is going to be a scramble to get all the paper work done in time for IKEA to meet some deadlines that are out there.

The first hard date is October 21st when the Development and Infrastructure Committee will go over a report that covers details that have to be approved at that Committee level.  It is vital that the report staff produces be approved at that Committee meeting.

Red line at the op is the railway line – that isn’t going to move.  Dark line on the right is the creek that has to be dealt with and Conservation Halton isn’t making that easy.  Lot of room for the interchange upgrades that are going to be needed to handle the volume of traffic.

The schedule is now so tight that council members will move from meeting as a Standing Committee on the evening of the 21st into meeting as a city council to pass the zoning by-law change IKEA needs to build its new office/retail operation on the site.

There is a mandatory 20 day comment period when a change is made in a zoning by-law.

While everyone waits out that 20 day period, documents from Conservation Halton have to be signed.  Conservation is involved because there is a creek running along the east side of the property.

But that isn’t the only issue that has to be resolved and, longer term,  it isn’t the toughest one.  The intersection at Walkers Line is reaching capacity.  Changing the configuration of an intersection like Walkers Line is no small matter.

Currently located on Plains Road in Aldershot IKEA has wanted to move for some time and committed to staying in Burlington – why not this is a great market and IKEA is a top tourist draw for the city. Then the complications set in and the project is getting close to needing life support.

IKEA has been toiling away since before March of 2011 on plans to move their operation from Aldershot to a piece of land on the North Service Road just west of Walkers Line where there are multiple problems that someone didn’t see coming their way.

IKEA made a corporate decision to move and put together an agreement with Hopewell, the company that owns the land on the North Service Road.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see immediately that the North Service Road could not handle the traffic that would be created with an IKEA on the Hopewell property.

Widening the North Service Road would be necessary but there were problems there because North Service is cheek by jowl with the QEW which itself is going to be widened in the not too distant future.

A walk along North Service between Guelph Line and Walkers Line suggests that property could be bought to widen the road but there is at least one large structure that is going to have a road very close to it when widening takes place..

Add to that the Creek that winds its way down the east side of the property and dips under the QEW and is governed by Conservation Halton rules and you get a sense of what IKEA is up against.

Did the planners that IKEA engaged not do their homework?  Did they not make themselves aware of all the problems they would incur?  When they first talked to Burlington’s planners did the Planning department not brief them?

The IKEA development is the first initiative seen in what the city calls one of its prime development areas.  This one is called the Prosperity Corridor and covers both sides of the QEW from Appleby on the east to Brant on the west with the focus at this point on the Guelph Line – Walkers Line stretch.

City hall is realizing that a change made to Walkers Line and the QEW ripples through to the other major intersections.  City hall has also learned that you just don’t come along with a development application and expect the province to take a serious interest in what you want to do.

The province takes a much longer term approach and the next time the Burlington intersections along the QEW come up for a hard close look with a cheque book in their hand is 2016 – and that’s when they begin looking at what might be needed.

IKEA wants to be OPEN in its new location the spring of 2015 with shovels in the ground before the end of this year if they can get the paper work out of the way.

North Service Road looking west: There is room to widen the road; not sure how Leon’s will feel about giving up some frontage so people can get to IKEA.

Report providing information regarding 3455 North Service Road (IKEA Properties Limited) (PB-82-13) (Referred to the October 21, 2013 Development & Infrastructure meeting)

 The city has growth plans that cannot be met without significant development in the Prosperity Corridor

The Walkers Line /QEW upgrades are critical

Land west of Walkers Line has been purchased for the development of 300,000 sq/ft of industrial office space.  It is not clear at this point if this is ‘new development’ and what stage it is at.

IKEA alone accounts for half of the new Industrial Commercial construction forecast for 2013 – thus if the deal in the works now doesn’t close before the end of the year – there  goes the forecast and up go residential taxes – unless the finance people raid some of those fat reserve funds the city has tucked way.

One of the city’s top tourist destinations is going to move to the property on the left.  Widening this road to three lanes isn’t going to handle the traffic – and left hand turns are going to be terrible.  Lots of work to be done on this file – and the clock is ticking.

Making the North Service Road work as a development site is not going to be easy and the city knows now that it needs partners from the private sector as well as more from the Region and the province.

Problem is the province doesn’t think the city needs the kind of help it is talking about.

The agreements that are being readied for signature have IKEA paying all the short term costs – these will get spelled out in the report that wasn’t tabled last night.

The city and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will pay all the costs for the long term – which refers to the cost of reconfiguring Walkers Line and the North Service Road.

This would seem like one of those situations where Burlington General Manager Scott Stewart needs to get all the players in the same room at the same time and give them a solid dose of his “tough love”.  He once took on a group of soccer Moms and if a deal can be worked out with that crowd, IKEA should be a cake walk.

But it doesn’t look like that today – does it?

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Friday is not a casual dress day for city’s legal department. Airpark court case to be heard Friday.

October 3rd, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  If you want to talk to people in the city’s legal department this week – do it today, because most of the brains in that department will be in Milton on Friday, sitting in a Courtroom hearing an application that has been made by both the city and the Burlington Executive Airpark over who gets to call the shots when it comes to changing the way land is used.

What was thought to be a sleepy little airport became a massive problem for the city

The city creates by-laws and believes everyone has to abide by the bylaws in place.  The Airpark argues that they don’t have to follow the city’s bylaws because they are regulated by the federal Department of Transportation.

The airport began making massive changes to their site about five years ago.  The city, the Region and Conservation Halton didn’t pay much attention to what was being done at what had been a sleepy little rural airport.  They understood that the airpark came under federal jurisdiction and were content to leave it at that.

When it became evident that the airpark  was being upgraded significantly the city asked then ordered the airpark management to apply for the necessary permits.

Nope said the airpark people.  There was some back and forth – the city sued them, they sued the city and it became evident that there were serious differences of opinion over how the laws the airpark were relying upon were to be interpreted.

So, back in late August, lawyers for both the city and the Airpark met in a Courtroom and agreed this had to be resolved and set October 4th as the day a judge would listen to arguments on arcane points of law.  Both the city and the airpark brought in big legal guns and for the past seven weeks have been doing their “examination for discovery”, which is that period of time when they get to ask all kinds of questions.

Each side then prepares its brief and files it with the Court.

Someone in the Court house decides which judge is going to hear the arguments and at just after 10:00 am a bailiff will call out All Rise, the Judge will enter and the game begins.

There will not be any witnesses, there won’t be any television type court room drama; just some very smart lawyers arguing important differences on what was meant when a federal law was written and how that law impacts on a different level of government.

North Burlington residents have taken it in the ear over this issue – they have put up with trucks driving up and down the roads hauling landfill.   When they found out how much fill was being taken onto the airpark site they were alarmed and made their concerns known to city hall and the regional government.

Delegations were made at both city hall and the Region during which it became evident that Burlington didn’t know what was going on and the Region didn’t appear to be at all concerned.  Some in Milton kind of like the idea of an airport being close to their part of the Region.

The residents were having none of it.  They formed an interest group and showed up everywhere they could to press their point.  Both the Region and the city got the message.

How does this kind of site alteration take place without a permit?  If you’re an airpark and federally regulated – this is what you can get away with.  The space atop that hill is where a helicopter landing is going to be located.

It quickly became very clear that the airpark people were not going to budge so the city sued.  That got us to the point where everyone is before a judge who will hear an application for an interpretation of just what the law means.  These are called judicial interpretations.

Each side, the city and the Airpark were originally given two hours to give their interpretation of what the federal law means.  When all the talking is done, the judge tells them that the decision will be reserved and in a couple of months (this won’t be a case that is decided upon in a couple of weeks) a decision will be handed down and both sides will read that decision very, very carefully.

And then you can bet the wine allowance that the side most unhappy with the decision will appeal.  There is the possibility that this case will go from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime the Airpark development plans are frozen and that suites residents on Appleby Line and Bell School Line just fine.

One small question: Why did the city’s Community Services Committee go into Closed session to discuss a Confidential Legal department September 18th report regarding the Burlington Executive Airport?  Were the city’s lawyers seeking direction?  Was there a glitch in the case law they were relying upon to make their case.  It just seemed a little odd that there would be a Confidential report that close to the hearing date.

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Councillors forgot how to play nice – behave like a couple of alley cats.

REVISED

There were errors in some of the data and facts in the original version which had to be confirmed.  That took longer than expected.  with the facts confirmed we can now re-publish this piece originally published September 25th,

October 3, 2103

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Burlington has held City Council meetings that were done in less than half an hour.  In and out, which is the way Mayor Goldring likes to see things happen.

In Burlington, Council members like to say that all the heavy lifting gets done at the committee level but the decisions is made at a Council meeting.

Monday night they held a Council meeting and they certainly made decisions that will impact this city for some time.

The first development this city has seen for some time will get the approval it needs – once some of the paper work is cleaned up.   The Mayor got the unanimous vote he felt he needed with the Beachway Park as it now heads to the Region for a decision.

The environmentalists got left on hold with their ask for something in the way of a private tree bylaw.

There were far more delegations than usual at a Council meeting and yes, the Marsden’s made their regular delegation on the matter of accessibility.

The tension between Councillors Meed Ward and Craven is close to measurable, Neither has ever been a fan of the other and on Monday evening the feelings got spilled onto the horseshoe of the Council chamber

And we saw some pretty nasty back and forth between the Council members for Wards 1 and 2.  Rick Craven and Marianne Meed Ward had at it for a minute or two and the public saw the acrimony that exists between those two.  Synonyms for acrimony are bitterness, animosity, spitefulness, asperity and spite which Councillor Craven has had for Meed Ward almost since the day she became a member of Council.

The two have significantly different operating styles and Craven seems to be unable to control his dislike for Meed Ward.  Last night he opened up and Meed Ward gave back as good as she got.  The two sit beside each other which makes for some awkwardness.

The harsh words came out during the debate on the Beachway Park which happens to be in Ward 1 where Councillor Craven is not exactly supporting the wishes of the people who own property in the area.  Craven appears to want city hall to stick to a plan that is decades old and is no longer a reflection on how parks are developed. 

He gets apoplectic over what he believes are encroachments and changes to property that have been made without the required permits.  Craven just does not want those people in that park and has done as much as he can to ensure the houses get purchased and torn down.

Councillor Meed Ward on the other hand is a very strong advocate of a community within the park and she makes no pretence about how she feels.  For Craven this is messing around in his ward – Meed Ward feels she is the Councillor for the Ward 2 but responsible for the sane development of the city which is more than Craven can stomach – Monday evening he did the equivalent of an upchuck and let it all come out.

Craven caught the attention of the Mayor who was chairing the meeting and said he had two comments he wanted to make about the presentation Councillor Meed Ward had made about section 37 agreements. ‘We heard yet again said Craven for the 3rd , 4th and maybe 5th time how section 37 agreements work.  That is not what we heard from Meed Ward this evening and I don’t understand why Meed Ward doesn’t get it.

The Mayor then spoke about the problem the city had with this file and the need to get a better grip on just how social housing needs were going to be met.  Mayor Goldring seldom speaks extemporaneously but rather reads from notes which results explanations that are a bit stilted.  The information is in there – the passion and commitment don’t seem to come through – it’s just not something this man does all that well.

Councillor Meed Ward sits looking a little glum before she responds to Councillor Craven’s personal attached and asks that he stick to the issue and stop belittling residents, delegations and her as a council member.

Meed Ward puts up her hand to speak and she lets fly.  Councillor Craven she said “I am going to ask you to stick to the issues – stick to the point.  You have a habit of making it personal.  You’ve done that to residents, you’ve done that to delegations and you’ve done it to me.”

“Stick to the issue.  Tell me we don’t need affordable  housing when I think we do.”

Mayor Goldring, looking for a way to take some of the tension out of the air asked that council members keep the tone civil.

Councillor Craven asked for the floor again and commented that it “was the member for Ward 2 who raised the issue of the Official Plan and that in Ward 1 there were two affordable housing projects.”

The public is now seeing some of the nastiness that has been behind the scenes with this council.  It is close to impossible for most of the members of this council to say anything positive or nice about Marianne Meed Ward – but she has a following and they expect her to be Mayor of this city some day.

Hopefully she learns how Section 37 of the Planning Act works or the province gets rid of it before Meed Ward places the chain of office around her neck.

That will be a very, very hard day for Rick Craven.

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Come on, come all – war chest needs to be built up.

October 3, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. If you wondered whether or not there would be a provincial election in the Spring look no further than Jane McKenna’s invitation to spend some time with her WHEN

Electronic invitation from the office of Jane McKenna – she wants you to attend her fund-raiser.

The Gazette has yet to see a single press release from the office of Burlington’s representative at Queen’s Park but when it comes to a fund-raiser the invitations go out to everyone.

The word would have gone out within the Tory caucus at Queen’s Park – start raising funds, there is going to be an election and McKenna is going to need a substantial war chest to win next time out.

The province might well see a provincial election before it experiences the scheduled municipal election in October 27th  of 2014.

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Burlington takes a big step to fully recognizing its role in the War of 1812. Took long enough.

October 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was a bright sunny day, one of those last reprieves summer sometimes gives while suggesting there is an Indian summer still ahead of us before the harvest season is over.

The bikes were out on the trails along the edge of the lake, Doors Open, the event that has historic and interesting places opening their doors for people to walk through and look around.

Rick Wilson, back to camera with War of 1812 enactor Robert Williamson talking over details of the desperate battles that played themselves out off the shores of Burlington 200 years ago.

A small group of people, some dressed up as re-enactors,  were gathered on the promenade jutting out from the Naval Walk at the western end of Spencer Smith Park.

A classic photo-op that is drenched in Burlington history. The design of a plaque that will be installed on the Naval Walk commemorating a battle that was later seen as the turning point in the War of 1812. That stony stretch of beach in the background is where the Brant Inn was located. It was the jumpingest place in town in its day. People traveled from across Ontario and the United States by train t hear the great bands of the time.

The 50 square yard space was just drenched with history.  Looking to the west is Burlington’s Bay, the entrance to one of the most industrial harbours in the country where tons of ore is  brought in to fire the furnaces of the steel plants.  A couple of yards from where an interpretive plaque that tells the story of a War of 1812  battle that took place out on that lake – out there in front of us is a stretch of stony beach that was once the location of the Brant Inn.  It was a place that put Burlington on the map for many.  In those days Burlington was a “jumping” town. 

On this Saturday morning – exactly 200 years ago an event called the Burlington Races took place.  The name come from a magazine article published 100 years ago that mis-represented what was happening with ships under full sail firing their cannons at each other was really all about.

It was a war that taught the Americans that Canada could perhaps be invaded but could not be conquered.

If the lakes were won said the better history books of the time, the war of 1812 was won.  The British brought superior seamanship and better ships to the battle.  The commanding officers of each fleet both held flag rank – Commodores both.  

Burlington`s Mayor and the council member for the ward took part in the unveiling of a design that replicated the plaque that will eventually be put in place. 

A great painting, full of dash and energy but the scene it depicts never took place. The artists didn’t know that when the work was done.

To commemorate the event and give it a level of legitimacy there were War of 1812 enactors on hand; Commodore Yeo of the British Navy and a  British Royal Navy captain circa 1810 played by Gill Bibby.

Yeo was represented by Robert Williamson a Canadian Navy Commander who served as a Reserve officer, one time Commanding officer of HMCS Star in Hamilton. Williamson was a high school history and geography teacher.

Rick Wilson was the Burlington resident who used the research done by others to advocate for the removal of a plaque at the Burlington Heights in Hamilton which has been proven to be historically incorrect.

Robert Williamson was doing research on the Scourge and the Hamilton,  simple merchant ships that were pressed into service for the American Navy just prior to the War of 1812. They went down in a gale and now lay at the bottom of Lake Ontario.   

It was while doing this research on the Hamilton and the Scourge that Williamson accidently came across the existence of the log of HMS Wolfe which revealed facts that no one knew about. In is correspondence with Burlington Heritage Planner Jenna Paluto, Williamson set out the bigger picture:

“After the American naval victory on Lake Erie by Commodore Perry on September 10, 1813, a powerful United States fleet comprising ten ships under the command of Commodore Isaac Chauncey appeared off York (Toronto) on the morning of September 28, 1813. Their objective was to complete the American bid to gain control of the Great Lakes or at least create a diversion allowing the shipment of American troops from the Niagara frontier to the St. Lawrence River for an attack on Montreal.

“The  smaller British fleet of six vessels, commanded by Commodore Sir James Yeo, was in the harbour but on the approach of the enemy, set sail to attack. After a sharp engagement the British flagship, HMS Wolfe, having  suffered sail damage limiting her maneuverability, led the British squadron to a convenient anchorage in view of the present day City of Burlington. Commodore Yeo then had his squadron anchor close in shore with springs (heavy ropes) on the (anchor) cables allowing his ships to pivot and present powerful broadsides from  a strong compact defensive unit that could not be enveloped from behind. The American fleet, having suffered battle damage as well, recognized the strong British position and withdrew to the protection of Fort Niagara, leaving the Royal Navy to quickly repair the sails and mast of their flagship, but still firmly in control of the lake.

“Control of Lake Ontario was essential to the British for the defense of Upper Canada (Ontario). By preserving a formidable presence on the lake, the British squadron was able to capture Fort Oswego in May 1814 and transferred General Drummond with 400 British reinforcements and supplies to the Niagara frontier in July to defeat the United States Army at Lundys Lane, the last invasion of Canada.”

It was that superb seamanship by a British naval officer off what Williamson believes was Bronte Creek that sent the Americans back to their home port.

Magazine writers who paid more attention to imaginative thinking than to historical fact

Williamson set out to correct the record which he did with a number of excellent papers. 

Rick Wilson, the citizen who agitated and advocated for a correction to a grievous historical error.

Rick Wilson, a history buff, got hold of the information and began to agitate for a change that would correct the historical errors.

Wilson knocked on any door he could find – meeting with Burlington’s MP Mike Wallace who, while intrigued, had to back away because the plaques were a provincial responsibility.  Wilson was able to get exactly nowhere with the office of Jane McKenna but he persevered and with the help of the Heritage Advisory Committee the city took on the task of creating a plaque.

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Former economic development honcho suggest potential council candidates Stop, Look and Listen

October 2, 2013

By Don Baxter

BURLINGTON, ON.  Hopefully Burlington Council members had a chance to recharge their batteries over the summer, and they are now fully engage with Burlington and Halton business. But at this point in a 4 year term, elected officials begin to think about whether they should run again. For those of us longer in the tooth and with more gray hair, this period is comparable to Pierre Trudeau’s infamous walk-in-the-snow. But our elected officials will thankfully have better weather for their walk. Perhaps they should walk out to the end of the pier, look out, see that we have a second pier, and think of Burlington from pier to shining pier. This takes vision – think of a tree-lined boardwalk running the entire length, full of residents, tourists, joggers, cyclists,  hospital workers, and patients out for a pleasant walk. Do you have vision or is your eye sight too weak? And surely, you see past the bureaucratic response and understand the tourism and human value of leaving locks on the pier.

So Councillors or prospective Councillors, when you take your walk to the end of the pier – STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. If you don’t hear anything over the squeaky wheels and the vested interests demanding their property rights over community interests, extend your walk.

That’s my point – the vision thing. Burlington is experiencing its own version of a spring awakening the vision thing. Burlington is experiencing its own version of a spring awakening  – new community groups are forming, like my neighbourhood – the Roseland Community Organization, or the beach residents, Roseland Heights Community Association, St. Luke’s precinct, the airport, Burlington Green – to name a few. Why is this happening? In an established community, which Burlington is becoming, providing good leadership and good governance is complex – a kind of a Rubric’s Cube. It means citizens and community groups will become increasingly involved in every decision you make. If you do not have vision and a strong sense of community values then you will just be oiling the squeaky wheels – and in terms of dealing with change, this short-term approach will lead to a downward spiral for our community.

But a Council who temporarily closes a road to allow salamanders safe crossing, who doesn’t even entertain the idea of a casino operation, or who didn’t take the easy way out and abandon the Pier, cannot be considered weak. In these instances, there was and is a clear sense of the community values, and when leadership and vision blend, good decision-making follows.

Community values are more than individual property rights. Developers moving into a neighbourhood do not see the property they have purchased as a home but rather a business opportunity to be exploited. The precious qualities of an existing neighbourhood that have been built through good stewardship over time,conveniently add to profitability of the developers short-term business proposition. They may live in the home for tax avoidance or warranty reasons, but they do not have long-term perspective for building or adding to the sense of community. Rather, they only see short-term business prospects. Trees or heritage on your property are an asset as long as they do not get in the way of their building envelope or planned pool and Jacuzzi.

Community values are more than individual property rights.They do not see either trees or heritage, for example, as a community asset because they cannot accept long-term community values getting in the way of their construction schedule. Their quick solution clear-cut the trees or heritage house, go for your permit, make a lot construction noise and dust, and plant a few shrubs.

Getting back to my fundamental argument, a good Council recognizes and acts upon community values, not the business values of these pick-up truck companies cashing in on something they did not build. I hasten to add, Burlington has its share of great developers who are good community builders. They recognize the value of community, and you see their names on every wall of dedication where good deeds are done in Burlington.

Get my point? In the municipal environment, community values drive good government, not vested corporate interest. This sounds odd from a fellow who used to run economic development for both the City of Burlington and Metropolitan Toronto but my concepts for neighbourhood preservation are not anti-growth for the City, not at all.  Direct corporate interests to where they belong – into intensification and commercial/industrial corridors. The risk proposition for developers who want to move into established neighbourhoods is going up quickly, and flash mobs may become regular features at Committee of Adjustment hearings for severances and variances.

The pier those without vision or imagination might want to walk out on.

So Councillors or prospective Councillors, when you take your walk to the end of the pier – STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. If you don’t hear anything over the squeaky wheels and the vested interests demanding their property rights over community interests, extend your walk. But if you have vision and a sense of value for established communities, downtown and waterfront regeneration, a protected escarpment, strong arts and culture, tree canopy protection, design-intense development solutions, neighbourhood protection and ongoing infrastructure renewal, then stay put. You can probably run a balanced government responsive to citizens and communities, not just a wanna-be-business on behalf of taxpayers.

You don’t have to be loveable to be leaders in Burlington, just sensible, and clearly, not self-serving.


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Bronte Creek in Lowville Park is a fish sanctuary – poaching is however taking place. Get you cell phone cameras out.

October 2, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  There are Lowville residents who are very upset about what they understand to be illegal fishing in the Bronte Creek that runs through Lowville Park.

Salmon spawning started last week and it is reported that there are people fishing in the Creek

At least one person was seen walking from the creek early in the morning with bags of fish since this is the best run in years and people are just scooping them out of the water.  The salmon are exhausted so it’s easy pickings.

Salmon swimming in Bronte Creek – fish run is very strong this year.

A valid Ontario Fishing License is required for those 18 years of age and over and Ontario Fishing regulations apply.

The Conservation Halton web site says:

Special regulations, including permanent sanctuaries, seasonal sanctuaries and extended fall seasons apply to various sections of the lower reaches of Bronte Creek.

But then say absolutely nothing about the specifics of the sanctuaries and what regulations apply.

Not very helpful.

However, the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources was much more forthcoming.

Bronte Creek – as it winds through Lowville Park in City of Burlington – is a fish sanctuary

No fishing allowed from Jan 1-Fri before 4th sat in April and from Oct 1-Dec 31.

Even if it wasn’t a sanctuary the season for trout and salmon closed almost everywhere on September 30.

The MNR Enforcement officers are aware the situation in Lowville and are looking into it.

To report a natural resources violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local MNR office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). If someone has photos of natural resource violation being committed they should mention that when they contact the TIPS line and keep the photos in case of further investigation. We discourage anyone from putting themselves at risk to get such photos.

 

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Burlington just may have had its first look at a new, major Canadian novelist.

October 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was going to be Janet Turpin Myers day.  Her first published book was going to be launched in the community hall in her community at Cedar Springs.  A woman who is usually in jeans and running around barefoot was dressed in a sleek, very trim fitting sort of wine coloured dress that she could hardly move in was there to talk to her friends about her book and autograph copies.

The line on the other side of the room was for the bar – it was shorter. This was a book event.

There were two lines, one on either side of the room.  One at the bar, the other at the signing table – the signing table was longer.

Myers had worked for years to get to this day.  She knew from very early in life that she was meant to write, to craft words and put feelings on paper that other would absorb and mix into the way they saw the world.

Friends galore showed up, both daughters were on hand; one delightfully pregnant and the other in a foot cast with husband Mike ensuring that things went smoothly – they did.

Myers made up treats that came right out of the book “Nightswimming”.  If you’ve not read the book the significance of the treats or the ‘flat fifty’ Black Cat cigarette tin Myers had on display would have meant nothing to you.

What was interesting was the number of people who had three, five – one person had eight copies of the book in their arms as they waited to have them autographed.  While it was a significant day for Janet Turpin Myers it was one her publisher was delighted with.  Selling books after the editing, design, production and marketing of the title is what book publishing is all about – and in Canada that is a major challenge.

There are very few presses that take the risk on an unknown writer.  Maureen Whyte, president of Seraphim Editions was kept away from the launch due to health issues.

At every book launch the author is expected to tell how hard they worked and thank everyone who was with them on the journey.  Myers did the usual – 18 months to write the book – six more to edit it.  How she lucked into finding a publisher.

Myers however went a little deeper than most and explained how the story came to her.  She did summer in the Muskoka’s as a young girl but Nightswimming is not a story about Janet Turpin.  The story came to her in bits and pieces.  The first picture man saw of the earth taken from space amazed the young girl.  The Apollo mission fascinated her and the Vietnam War mess kept intruding into her thoughts. Myers told her audience that she finds she wants to “nourish imaginations with the truth” which is getting down pretty deep.

Born in Montreal, moved to Ontario, graduated from Nelson High, went to McMaster to study political science and social work, earning Bachelor level degrees in both – a typical Burlington story.

Guests with three, four, five and at least one with eight books ready to be signed. A very successful book launch

Worked as a social worker in a field she knew absolutely nothing about but read up the day before the interview and aced it – got the job. “Bullshit will baffle brains every time” explains Myers.  And there we have an insight into the woman.  She is forward, aggressive in an acceptable way, holder of opinions that she will share with you at the drop of a hat and adventuresome.  She lives in Cedar Springs which suits her.  The outdoors is all around her; she doesn’t have to deal with the social constrictions in a neighbourhood – but is instead a part of a community of people with shared values.  The setting is rural but not farm country.

Myers revels in the place where her home is spacious, dark and filled with artifacts she has picked up.  An old wall phone that you cranked to get the line which was shared by many people.  The house phone is a rotary dial. Local transportation is by golf cart – which Myers drives like a Mad Hatter.

Yoga is a large part of the daily regime for Myers and following the equinox and the movement of the earth and its relationship to other planets are all part of the way Myers orders her life.  There were 108 sun salutations that time had to be made for. Yoga, four or five times a week is also part of the routine and it comes as no surprise when Myers tells you that she has meditated since she was 16.

Janet Turpin Myers works in a bright, sunlit room filled with the smell of cedar trees when the windows are open.

Typing was a bird course for her at Nelson High – it taught her that she was never going to be a secretary despite a disappointing conversation with a guidance teacher.  Latin opened up the world of words to her and she couldn’t wait to get to McMaster where she saw the possibility of reading every book she would ever want to read.

For Janet Turpin Myers “it all just falls into place”.  She listens, she hears and she writes.

There are two books that could be ready for publication; one that will never see the light of day.

There is poetry that has been published.  Some piece are light – funny, fun.

G@Twitter

Hustlers, hecklers, wisdom-crackers,

hero-worshiping sycophanters,

lonely poets, pondering fellas,

chatter boxes and joke re-tellers.

Lady-celebs with silicone augments

slinging sex and nonsense comments.

Hyperactive urbanistas

with tips on lattes

from bored baristas.

Holy-quoters, pissed-off voters,

lefties, greenies and Kickstart totallers,

politicians with hidden missions,

and office girls Instagraming kittens.

Advisors, enthusers, philo-so-phisers,

dictator smashers and hashtag dashers.

Celebrities who follow none

and non-entities the hipsters shun.

¬Quips about the daily sorrows

from twitter geeks that no one follows.

Freedom fighters and witty writers

of pithy quotes for Lit-insiders.

It’s more or less that less is more

Twitter is crack from the dollar store.

Janet Turpin Myers, April 2013

Others are more profound.

Find Me

come and find me in the hallway

beyond the breathless corner

where darkness pulses ripples

of permission and desire

come and find me in the hallway

do not dive into my eyes

but lock your bigger hand onto my wrist

making this no frantic random clutching

but a sure thing

decided

single-minded

come and find me in the hallway

then take me

as I have been yours

forever

for the taking

Janet Turpin Myers, November, 2012

 All her work is given time, the kind of time her grandparents used when they polished silver; you rubbed and you rubbed a bit more and then you have it done.  Myers does this with words.  The first collection was made public last Sunday.

The more than 500 acres that make up the Cedar Springs community are the range that Myers roams – where she can howl at the moon and run around barefoot.

Launch day was full but the day was not over when the chairs had been put away and the last of the guests thanked.  Sitting at home, yards away from the community centre, the phone rings. Janet’s eldest daughter, delightfully pregnant during the launch gave birth to a boy – “my daughter had her baby last night! This is my first grandchild. A baby boy. He came 3 weeks early, but he’s strong and healthy…just needs to fatten up a bit. My daughter was in labour for 1hr 45mins, start to finish. We got her to the hospital at 11:03pm and the baby was born at 11:27!”

It was a very full day indeed.

Burlington may have witnessed the introduction of a major new writer.

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Three alarm blaze on Michael – damage limited to garage and basement – no personal injury.

Three alarm blaze at Michael Street residence.

October 2, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  It didn’t look like a bad fire but it brought three trucks to the Michael Street residence Tuesday evening where the fire was limited to the garage area of a two-story home that had experienced a fire about ten years ago when it had a different owner.

There were no personal injuries.

The fire was persistent however and fire fighters kept applying water to an area.

Fire appeared to be limited to the garage area of the two storey house where fire fighters returned several times with hoses.

No report on the extent of the damage to the structure.  Power was cut off but there did not appear to be any damage to the structure other than a lot of water that would have flown down to the basement.

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Remember the Happy Gang? “We’re happy, we’re healthy – the heck with being wealthy.” Well we are certainly wealthy.

October 1, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It wasn’t hard to figure out what the major message was behind the 2013 version of Burlington’s Vital Signs report is: there are many in the community who just don’t have enough – and it isn’t just the “poor” people that are going without.

The Burlington Community Foundation, around since 1999, released, along with 26 other communities across  Canada, a report that touched all the usual bases and added in a significant push on the pressing needs for better access to mental health services.

The Vital Signs report is data driven and uses graphics very effectively to make the point.  The cartoon cover page is Burlington: there’s the gazebo (I met my wife for the first time there) there’s Pepperwoods, there is  Benny’s and the gas station.  The drawings are all in colour and attractive in their own way.  Cute – it isn’t until you get to the second page that the point is made.  Well – compare the two versions and you know in an instant what the report wants to talk about.

The report is the second published by the Community Foundation.  The 2013 report covers eleven key areas of focus, including physical and mental wellness, poverty, youth, and seniors.

 “This year’s report again emphasizes that Burlington is a city of contrasts. We are a prosperous community, with higher than average levels of income and education, with remarkable environmental features such as our escarpment and waterfront. Yet, there are people struggling in our community, in ways that are often unseen, as we drive and walk through our neighbourhoods”, said Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) President and CEO, Colleen Mulholland.

Who are the people that collect all the data and tie the different strands that are woven into the tapestry that is our city?

Established in 1999 as a centre for philanthropy, Burlington Community Foundation is a local knowledge broker and one of the most reliable partners in the non-profit sector. They collaborate with donors to build endowments, give grants and connect leadership. Responsive to their donors, the  grant making experts help people give, build legacies, address vital community needs and support areas of personal interest. The Foundation helps people, agencies and corporations improve the city’s vitality.

Cover: 2013 Vital Signs report commissioned by the Burlington Community Foundation.

Take away the good stuff, the nice stuff and the picture is that of a different Burlington – not one we all get to see.

The report argues that “connections are critical to community vitality” but how do you do that?  You’ve heard it before and with a municipal election just over a year away you will hear it again from every one of the rascals running for office: – Burlington is ranked as the top mid-sized city in which to live in Canada.

We drive – everywhere, in part because local transit has yet to develop to the point where it serves the community as well as it is going to have to. Biggest reason – we like our cars.

And we drive our cars – to everything.  79% of Ontarian’s commute to work by car, truck or van.  That number is 86% for Burlington where we have an excellent, frequent train service that has three stops in the city with plenty of parking – free. 

We vote – in the last federal election 66.5 of us voted while the  Ontario average was 61.5%.  Didn’t do much for us in terms of the quality of our elected members though did it?

We have one of the best educated populations in the province.

We are a well-educated community – check out the charts.

Burlington is doing better at both the number of people with jobs and the number that are unemployed.  But there are other indicators that reveal serious problems.

Our people are employed – they need to be – our housing is amongst the most expensive in the province and rental accommodation is not easy to come by.

Median household income levels are 24% higher in Burlington than the provincial average but according to Statistics Canada, almost 1 in 10 youth under 18 lived in a low-income household.

In 2012, 36% of all items circulated by Burlington public libraries were in the child or youth category. Attendance at children and youth programs at Burlington libraries was 35,195.

Overall, the age profile of Burlington is getting older and more so than the Ontario average – in 2011, there were 29,720 seniors 65 years of age or older living in Burlington, comprising 16.9% of the population vs. 14.6% in Ontario.

Young people in Burlington are preforming well in school compared to the Ontario average but there are some opportunities for improving the lives and outcomes for our youth, starting as early as kindergarten. Some issues we need to tackle  as a community are obesity, bullying and mental health.

Burlington residents are better educated than the population of Ontario and Canada. 67% of Burlington adults 25 years of age and over have completed some form of post-secondary education, compared with 60% of the population of Ontario.

Among Burlingtonians 25–64 years of age, 95% have completed high school – this is a big positive change in a 10 year period: in 2001, 79% had completed high school.

In 2011, there were 143,510 people 15 years of age or older in Burlington. Within this age range, 93,030 people were employed and 5,755 were unemployed for a total labour force of 98,785.

Burlington has stronger employment statistics than Ontario as a whole. The employment rate among people 15–64 years of age was 65%, compared to 60% for Ontario. Burlington’s unemployment rate was 6%, compared to 8% for Ontario.

For the past 10 years, the rate of unemployment in Burlington has been consistently lower than elsewhere in Ontario and in other communities across Canada.

Here are some quick facts about jobs and businesses in Burlington, according to the Halton Region 2012 Employment Survey, released in June 2013:

The City of Burlington has 4,638 businesses providing 74,216 full and part-time jobs.

While Burlington accounts for 35% of the 15–64 year olds living in Halton Region, jobs in Burlington accounted for nearly 40% of Halton’s total employment.

Approximately 80% of jobs were in the service-based sector – the leading ones  being  the  retail  trade, professional,  scientific  and  technical services, and health care and social assistance.

Can we blame the air quality problems on Hamilton?

Air quality good – but could be better

Burlington has good air quality, compared to downtown Hamilton. Hamilton has more poor to moderate air quality days (22%) than does Burlington (16%).

However, Burlington’s location in southern Ontario – in Canada’s manufacturing heartland and downwind from the industrial centre of the U.S.   – increases the number of poor to moderate air quality days relative to more northern parts of Ontario and cities in other parts of Canada. For example, in each of Sudbury and Ottawa only 8% of the days in 2012 had poor to moderate air quality compared to 16% in Burlington.

Price increases are great if you own property – tough market to get into for first time buyers.

The average price of a home in Burlington in the first half of 2013 was $486,669 – up 7% from 2012.

Similar increases were seen in the neighbouring cities of Hamilton (+6%) and Oakville (+7%), with Burlington housing costs continuing to be intermediate between these two cities

Burlington’s rental market is tight – far too tight. The city thought it had a hope recently with close to 100 affordable units coming on line – but that one got away on us.

People looking to rent – particularly those with more modest incomes – can find it difficult to find affordable rental housing in Burlington. In fall 2012, Burlington’s rental vacancy rate was 1.3%. For reference, a vacancy rate of 3% is considered necessary for adequate competition and supply. By comparison, Hamilton’s vacancy rate was 4.2%, and in Ontario as a whole it was 2.5%.

In 2011, Halton had a higher percentage of households (4.6%) on waiting lists for affordable, rent geared-to-income housing than was the case for Ontario as whole (3.2%). Further, the demand for this housing greatly exceeds the supply, as only 0.5% of Halton households were living in affordable, rent- geared-to-income housing in 2011.

In Halton, between 2010 and 2011 there was a 47% increase in households waiting for rent-geared-to-income housing. Families with children are the hardest hit.

The kids think they are getting the exercise they need – caution, this is “self-reported” data.

Residents of Halton are more likely to rate their overall health as “very good” or “excellent” (72%) compared with Ontario residents as a whole (61%).  Moreover, positive health ratings increased from 2011 (66%) to 2012 (72%).

Over 75,000 Burlington residents 18 years of age and older are overweight or obese based on their self-reported height and weight. That’s just over half of the adult population who have an increased risk of certain health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain cancers.

Mental health is now at least being talked about – it isn’t something we hide the way we used to – that was an improvement for the better.  Now we have to address the problem and it is not going to be cheap.

“Mental health concerns cut across all socioeconomic levels, all races, both genders and across all age groups in our culture. In fact, 70% of all mental health disorders experienced in adulthood have their onset before the age of 18.”  The Canadian Institute for Health Information tracks the performance of  over 600 health care facilities across Canada on a variety of indicators of effectiveness of treatment, patient safety, appropriateness of treatment, and accessibility. JBH is either at or better than the Canadian average on all of  the indicators.

Seniors need different services. The city currently has one Seniors’ Centre and at least five high schools. Will we need additional Seniors’ Centers that can be converted to high schools 30 years down the road? There are some significant problems to need solutions and we don’t have a lot of time to find the answers.

Canada’s age profile is getting older, and this trend will continue for several decades into the future. For example, the proportion of people 65+ years of age in Ontario is expected to grow from 14.6% of the population in 2011 to over 23% by the year 2036.

Burlington’s age profile has historically been older than that of Ontario as a whole, and the difference has been increasing over time. As of 2011, 16.9% of Burlington’s population was 65 years of age or older, compared to 14.6% of Ontario’s population.

Burlington has more of the Region’s senior population – do we have well thought out plans to meet their needs?

Based on Statistics Canada measures of low-income from the 2006 census, 5.6% of Burlington seniors have low-income after tax. However, the prevalence of low-income is particularly acute among female seniors in Burlington: this prevalence is higher than the Ontario average, and higher than other Halton region communities.

In 2006, about 1,800 senior households in Burlington spent 30% or more of their total household income before tax on mortgages, electricity, heat and municipal services. Of these, almost 500 spent 50% or more of their income on housing, which leaves very little money for food, medications, or other necessities.

In the Age-Friendly Communities Forum: A Seniors’ Perspective – an initiative of the Elder Services Advisory Council In Halton Region – the Burlington participants identified a need for affordable housing as one of the top 3  issues for seniors in Burlington, and noted that “some people are moving out of the community as they cannot afford to live here.”

We love the place.

Burlington residents tend to see the quality of life in the city as improving: 27% said the quality of life in Burlington has improved over the past two years, compared to only 11% who said it has declined.

Survey respondents were asked which factors had the greatest impact on quality of life in their city. What set Burlington residents apart particularly was the importance of a low crime rate, and a strong sense of community.

In a survey of Burlington residents, 76% said culture is “essential” or “highly important” in their daily lives. There are many types of cultural experiences. For Burlington residents, the top 6 are festivals (86%), museum & local history (81%), art galleries (78%), going to the theatre (75%), public art (69%) and family heritage & traditions (69%).

Benefits to Burlington from community cultural organizations include:

624,000+ visits to local festivals, events, productions and exhibitions

89,000+ hours of cultural programming offered to all ages

Burlington residents spend 37% of their cultural time in Burlington, and the remaining time in other cities such as Toronto and Hamilton.

These numbers are the reality for many.  A person cannot live on the minimum wage – it has to be close to doubled – and that’s not something a municipality can do.

Ontario has a legally mandated minimum wage of $10.25 an hour. However, a person working full-time at the minimum wage rate will be living in poverty, as they will earn less than Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut-off.

The concept of a “living wage” is motivated by the following question: What does a family working full-time (37.5 hours a week, year-round) need to earn in order to pay for the necessities of life, to enjoy a decent quality of life, and to be able to participate fully in the economic, political, social and cultural life of the community?

 The answer to this question depends on family composition and on where you live. Community Development Halton has tackled this question for the Halton Region, including Burlington.

What is included in a living wage, and what is excluded? “A living wage isn’t extravagant. It doesn’t allow families to save for retirement, to save for  their children’s education or to service their debt. But it does reflect the cost of affording the basics of life – something the minimum wage doesn’t do,” states the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Community Development Halton considered three types of Halton households: a family of 4 (two parents, two children – a boy age 10, and a girl age 14), a single-parent family (mother age 30 and a boy age 3), and a single person (male age 32). In each household, each adult is working full- time,  year-round.  The  calculation  of  living  wage  reflects  the  typical  costs  in Halton, as well as taxes and benefits.

The number of youth have grown since 2006 but the senior population has grown more.

The number of youth in Burlington has increased since 2006, but at a slower rate than older age groups. As a result, the overall age profile of Burlington is getting older.

Burlington is an affluent community, but not everyone is well off. In the 2006 census, 7% of all residents lived in low income households. However, this was greater for youth under 18, where 9% – almost one in 10 youth – lived in a low income household.

This is what students have said they did in terms of getting the physical education they need for balanced growth.

According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, youth 12–17 years of age require at least 60-minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity per day.

In the Halton Youth Survey, two–thirds of Burlington Grade 7s claimed to meet the 60-minute-per-day guideline, but only just over half of Grade 10s claimed to meet the guideline.

Girls in the Halton region were much less likely than boys to report meeting the physical activity guideline, with only four in ten Grade 10 girls meeting the guideline.

This is not a healthy number.  Why in a community where genuine financial need is not pervasive?

The Halton Youth Survey, conducted by the Halton Our Kids Network, developed an indicator of involvement in criminal activity based on four self- report questions asking about vandalism, carrying a weapon, selling drugs, and group or gang involvement, and these define what is meant here by “criminal activity”. Note that because this is based on self-report, it includes not only youth accused of crime but also youth who “got away with it”.

Our girls are at very serious risk: do we understand why and do we have programs to help them deal with the depression they are experiencing?

One in five people in Ontario experiences a mental health problem or  illness. Because mental illness can affect people in all walks of life, this is as important an issue in comparatively affluent communities like Burlington as it is in other less affluent communities. When you take into account family members and friends, almost everyone is affected in some way.

The childhood, teen and young adult years are a critical period for the onset of mental health problems. The number experiencing mental illness peaks at over one in four young people during the teen years and among people in their 20s.

Mental illness affects people at all life-stages. However, one of the most significant characteristics of the onset of mental health problems is that, unlike many other illnesses, they are more likely to first emerge and affect people early in their lives.

According to a Mental Health Commission of Canada report, the potential negative effects of mental illness on the lives and prospects of young people are considerable:

“Mental disorders are the most common medical conditions causing disability in young people. Most mental disorders begin before age twenty- five and tend to be chronic, with substantial negative short and long-term outcomes. They are associated with poor academic and occupational success, economic  burden,  personal,  interpersonal  and  family  difficulties,  increased risk for many physical illnesses and shorter life expectancy.”

Early detection and treatment of mental health problems is vital for the young people in our community and for the future health of our city.

 “Recent research in areas like diagnostic imaging and immunology point increasingly to the biological nature of mental health disorders. In other words, mental health disorders are truly health disorders similar to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, etc.”  Access to youth mental health services is not what it needs to be

Only one-third of those who need mental health services in Canada actually receive them.

71% of family physicians ranked access to psychiatrists in Ontario as fair to poor.

While mental illnesses constitute more than 15% of the burden of disease in Canada, these illnesses receive only 5.5% of health care dollars.

ROCK reports that due to mental health funding gaps, as of March 2013, youth and families were waiting for just over 1,000 various services they offer. Wait times for these services range from months up to 2 years.

 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in Canada. One of the most important causes of youth suicide is mental illness – most often depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and substance abuse.

The effects of youth suicide go beyond the deceased, impacting those who survive their death – their parents, friends, peers, and communities.

Do our students feel their schools are safe?

A survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that in response to the question, “In the last 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?”, 7% of Ontario Grade 7s and 12% of Grade 12s answered “yes.”

The Halton Youth Survey asked a somewhat different version of the question, focusing on teens who “sometimes, often or always” had thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months. While the question is somewhat different the results are similar: one in twenty (5%) Grade 7s in Burlington had thoughts about suicide in the past 12 months, increasing to over one in ten (13%) by Grade 10.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by intense negative emotions and feelings, that negatively impact on people’s lives leading to social, educational,  personal  and  family  difficulties.

The Halton Youth Survey created an indicator of being at risk for depression, based on a person saying they “always” or “often” had experienced the following four emotional states in the past week: feeling sad, lonely, depressed, or like crying.

 The percentage of Burlington students at risk for depression increases from Grade 7 to Grade 10, and by Grade 10, one in 10 teens are at risk for depression.

This increase in risk for depression from Grade 7 to Grade 10 is occurring primarily among girls. By Grade 10, one in seven girls is at risk for depression.

In the qualitative research project, Halton Youth Voice Road Show (2011), participants suggested the following causes for depression in youth:

Being bullied, which was seen to lead not only to depression but also suicide

Different social groups within a school bullying one another

The fact that sometimes youth were just mean to each other

Technology, since youth don’t actually need to connect to each other on a personal level any more

Images and expectations portrayed in the media

The pursuit of material possessions, with participants saying that it would be better if youth just spent time hanging out instead of shopping

Stress

Not having friends

Being pressured to do drugs

 Youth mental health trends at Joseph Brant Hospital

Trips to the hospital emergency department because of a mental health issue represent the tip of the iceberg for youth mental health and substance abuse issues in Burlington. Emergency department visits can occur when mental health or substance abuse issues are undiagnosed, or are untreated, or treatment is not working. Youth visits to the JBH emergency department because of mental health or substance abuse problems show:

Emergency department visits for mental health or substance abuse issues spikes upwards for youth 18–24 years of age.

The annual number of youth under 25 years of age going to JBH emergency because of mental health or substance abuse issues has increased 30% over the last 3 years.

The rate of increase has been even higher among the subset of youth under 18 years of age – showing an increase in emergency visits of 43% over the past 3 years.

JBH operates the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultation Clinic, which provides support to children/youth under the age of 18 years. The case load for the Clinic increased by 16% from 2010–11 to 2011–12, and the average wait time for assessment increased by 31%, to 47 days.

The Community Foundation serves us all well – now the community has to look at the data, talk about it and figure out where we can shore up the weak spots and ensure that we continue to do what we have done well.

Collen Mulholland plans to hold a Roundtable on Mental Health early in 2014.  How about ensuring that every grade 10 student in the Board of Education’s high schools be given a copy and make it the focus of a civics class.

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Parts of King Road closed for 8 weeks while last phase of grade separation is done; fish are using the aqueduct built for them.

September 30th, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON   Santa Claus just might be able to get to some of the homes in Aldershot if he wants to use the King Road grade separation.  The tunnel underneath the railway tracks was pushed through last thanksgiving – a task that was seen as a major engineering feat when it was done.  Getting a creek re-routed and set up so that it would run over the underpass – as an aqueduct – is now operational.  All that’s left to get done is for the road underneath the railway tracks to be built and King Road re-aligned.  THAT is going to take eight weeks.  

That road, King Road, to the right of the tunnel will soon be gone forever and you will actually be able to drive beneath those railway tracks.

The grade separation project is in what city hall calls the final phase that will see total completion anticipated for June 2014

What the city calls the FINAL road closure starts October 15th at 10am, lasting for 8 weeks, to facilitate the move of the road through the underpass. The October road closure will have pedestrian access maintained. At the completion of the road closure you will be able to drive under the railway tracks.  Expect to see every politician in the Region and perhaps even the Premier, who seems to like Burlington, either peddling bicycles under the railway tracks in a flotilla of convertible cars driving through the newly paved road.  And I suppose the Burlington Teen Tour Band will be out with the flags flying.

The project seems to be talking forever – heck they shut down the rail line LAST Thanksgiving and dug the tunnel under the railway line in three days – so someone knew what a day’s work was.

It was a mammoth project, seen as a major engineering feat by many and the core work got done over a three day weekend almost a year ago. Progress has been slow since then – expected to open before Christmas.

The reconstruction of King Road from Plains Road to south of Highway 403 has also been completed, with the exception of the road at the tracks, which will be relocated to the underpass during the October road closure.

The opening up of the King Road underpass has the potential to draw significant commercial development.  King Road before the work on the underpass began.

The North section is now paved with traffic markings, and has had sidewalks and curbs installed. The creek is now flowing through the channel and over the creek bridge.

The overall scope of work to construct the road through the underpass is to add the asphalt and granular road bases and place concrete curb & gutter and sidewalks within the roadway underpass.

FULL road closures will be in place from October 15, for 8 weeks.  King Road will signed as closed, local access for businesses and residents will be maintained. This closure is intended to reduce through traffic.

Access to home and business during normal construction hours (Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) may at times be difficult.  Additionally, driveways will be temporarily closed when work is being carried out in the immediate vicinity. Either the inspector or the contractor will notify you of access interruptions prior to the closure.

For day-to-day construction inquiries: Jason Forde at 905-335-7600 ext. 7421

When the work is completed will the city see the development of new business opportunities on the northern part of King Road where there is a considerable amount of prime commercial land on the west side?

Will there be some additions to the commercial business on King Road south of the railway crossing?  The whole purpose of the grade separation was to limit the number of times traffic was halted due to rail traffic.  The GO train increase in their schedule to half hour service would have made it all but impossible to rely on that Road for transportation to the numerous businesses north of the rail crossing.

Aldershot now has a road with no stoppage due to rail traffic.  Will that result in business development?  The city could certainly use the tax revenue that comes from the commercial sector.

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Transparency and the free flow of information, searching for what you want at city hall: why is the search box gone?

September 30, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Where is the search tool on the city’s web site?

There are loads of data at city hall but if you don’t know exactly what it is you are looking for you could be out of luck.  There used to be a search box you could type words into and various documents would come up.  It wasn’t a particularly fine tune search tool but it did at least let you get in and rummage around

Can you see a search box on the HOME page of the city’s web site? There used to be one. What happened?

That search feature wasn’t in place early on the morning of September 30, 2013.

Did someone lose it or is the upgrade of the way the city is going to provide information at the point where it got taken out for a short period of time?

Or has the city decided to take away that feature?

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“Nightswimming” – first title for Cedar Springs resident: Quiet, deep, touching language.

September 28, 2013

Nightswimming by Janet Turpin Myers.

Reviewed by Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  In Ontario summer activity for those who are able to get away for the weekends falls into one of two clearly defined groups – the campers and the cottagers.

Janet Turpin Myers, a Cedar Springs resident , writes about being a cottage goer in the Muskoka’ s – Penn Lake to be specific, in her first novel, “Nightswimming”.  It is the story of vivid, delicate, life forming, first adolescent love.

Turpin writes of love on several levels; two sisters who loved the same man that they lost to a war, then of two friends loving the same tanned lithe young boy during that period of time when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.

Innocence pervades each page. Readers see themselves on those pages as Myers weaves pieces of history into her novel and displays a delightful skill with phrases that work right to the heart of the thought she wants to share.

She captures Saturday morning in downtown Huntsville where the locals and the cottagers jockey for possession of the supermarket and takes readers right into those weenie nights they had then for the kids who swam all day and read Archie comics at night.

Not a word about drugs but a painful view of a mother who lost her husband in Vietnam and could not manage the pain without whatever painkiller she could find, sometime wrapped in a cigarette paper other times in a bottle.

“There is something precious about Canadian summers.  This is because they are slender and stream through cracks in the cold rock of the Canadian Shield like melted gold.”  As we experience the end of this past summer and reflect on that sentence – Myers just about got it right – didn’t she?

Myers has the three prime characters, now teenagers, “erupting out of the peaceable plains of childhood into the rift valleys of adolescence.” Add in twin sisters who seem to be part of the landscape and live in the Muskokas where they “sit on a bench in front of the IGA store, smoke Black Cat cigarettes and criticize Torontonians” with the smug superiority that only locals can have for the interlopers that come up each summer.

And Sheldon, whose body had the shape of a triangle with “a trickle of soft hairs that led downward from his belly button.”  Sandra, the book’s narrator “tried not to stare”  He, with the “pudding eyes of a long lost boy”, who the narrator believes is “dreaming on another girl”.

It is a summer time story by a lake where the dock is the community square; where swimming and early teen dreams as the narrator tells of a  “memory that swims up the spine carried on an undercurrent that slips through Penn Lake, around my heart, through my voice but is silent by singing as I relive Sheldon catching me in his arms.  I let the memory rest there, behind my eyes, which are giving thanks for the darkness that is concealing the secret of what Sheldon and I are doing beneath the water’s surface.”

The books shared light, memory soaked language that serves as a guide through experiences we’ve all had; experiences that call back those summer evenings, with sunsets that belong on postcards.

Pearl, the ‘best friend’ with the troubled mother who, unable to contain the loss of a husband, parades nude in a public place while a child pleads “Mom” and with that one word was saying everything she could. “The mother’s in the crowd understood, you could tell by their faces.  They were hearing Pearl’s heart, it was making the sound that comes when you have no power.”

Myers tells a story that evokes feelings and recalls in us experiences we had forgotten; of the way relationships change, when the “white is separated from the yolk.”  And when the boy interest is not seen the same way through the eyes of the different girls who were on the way to becoming women. 

Pearl tells our narrator, “Sandy Bear” “that all of a sudden he rolls on his side, and brings his cute adorable little face close in and then he stops, STOPS, and I’m thinking, come on, come on, do it, pretty please, but I don’t want to make a mistake, so I vibe him, yes with my mind, and he does it.”

The white lies, the fibs “..I’ve pitched a few, that particular one was  genius. Back then a boy who smoked was considered a little bit bad but a boy who smoked menthols was clearly unpredictable.  And a Volkswagen van, especially with a pop-top meant one thing. Shaggin wagon.”

Summers end, that dock, if picked up and shaken like an old mat, would drop a million memories that would flutter from it like dust.”

Sandy Bear leaves Penn Lake, “lugging a load far heavier than the usual comic books and flip flops.”  “I was dragging the contact light of Sheldon’s cheek beneath the water, so much like the feel of his arms around me when we were nightswimming; and something else as well…”

“A picture of those Sheldon eyes: beloved, unmoving afraid.”

Nightswimmers is a small book, the first to be published by Myers.  If it is even a hint of what is to come the name Janet Turpin Myers is one to remember and to watch for her next book.  Published by one of the small publishers in this country it is worth more than just a read; it is worth sharing.

“Nightswimming” by Janet Turpin Myers

Published by Seraphin Editions, Woodstock, Ontario.

Softcover.

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Torontonian arrested in Burlington for human trafficking and procuring for the purposes of prostitution.

September 27, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  Halton Regional Police responded to an assault call at a Motel in the City of Burlington where a female victim reported to police that she had been assaulted by a Brondon Curtis HENRY (28 years of age). The victim suffered minor injuries to her face, for which she received medical treatment.

 Further investigation revealed that HENRY had been forcing the victim to provide sexual services (prostitution) for which he was financially benefiting.

Brandon Curtis HENRY a Toronto resident has been charged with the following criminal offences:

Assault (two counts)

Human Trafficking

Benefiting From Trafficking a Person

Exploitation For The Purpose of Trafficking a Person

Procuring To Become a Prostitute

HENRY was held for a bail hearing and will appear in court on September 28th 2013 in the City of Hamilton.

 

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