City Communications said: 'We will be posting about that shortly' when asked about fireworks on Canada Day

By Staff

June 30th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This just in from the City Communications department:

We will be posting about that shortly.

Got this at 2:42 in the afternoon.

We had asked if there were any plans to cancel the fireworks scheduled for Canada Day.

At this point it would see that the city is going to do what most of the other municipalities are doing.

Stand by.

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Could the Canada Day Fireworks be cancelled due to the amount of smoke in the air?

By Staff

June 30th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Will fireworks take place?

A reader asked:

Some places have cancelled fireworks due to the wild fire smoky air everywhere.

Will there be any fireworks in Spencer Smith park by the lake this weekend? Thank you and Happy Canada Day!!

Good question:  We’ve reached out to Communications at city hall for some answers – they don’t get to their desks until 8:30 am  It’s 4:08 am at my desk.

Will the amount of smoke in the air be cause to cancel the fireworks on Canada Day?

If a decision is made to cancel fireworks due to the smoke in the air – who at City Hall will make that decision.

And when?

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Brant and other downtown streets to be closed for part of Canada Day

By Staff

June 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

New this year on Canada Day – Brant Street will be closed for pedestrian use only.

Weather permitting, the Burlington Downtown Business Association will be animating Brant Street from noon to 3 p.m.

Activities range from musical and dance performances to a craft tent, various giveaways, a game station, pedal bikes and lots more.

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The working-from-home illusion fades. It is not more productive than being in an office, after all

By Staff

June 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city of Burlington has a significant number of its staff working from home.  As a reporter and publisher of the Gazette I was never certain that working from home was the right thing to do – always had my doubts but it wasn’t my city to run.

A lifelong subscriber to The Economist, the best news magazine in the world in my opinion and a summer intern at the Globe & Mail where I was able to watch some of the best writers and editors in North America put out a newspaper six days a week I look for every opportunity to give the readers more than just local news

The working-from-home illusion fades

It is not more productive than being in an office, after all

A small gradual reverse migration is under way, from Zoom to the conference room. Wall Street firms have been among the most forceful in summoning workers to their offices , but in recent months even many tech titans—Apple, Google, Meta and more—have demanded staff show up to the office at least three days a week. For work-from-home believers, it looks like the revenge of corporate curmudgeons. Didn’t a spate of studies during the covid-19 pandemic demonstrate that remote work was often more productive than toiling in the office?

Unfortunately for the believers, new research mostly runs counter to this, showing that offices, for all their flaws, remain essential. A good starting point is a working paper that received much attention when it was published in 2020 by Natalia Emanuel and Emma Harrington, then both doctoral students at Harvard University. They found an 8% increase in the number of calls handled per hour by employees of an online retailer that had shifted from offices to homes. Far less noticed was a revised version of their paper, published in May by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The boost to efficiency had instead become a 4% decline.

A call centre

The researchers had not made a mistake. Rather, they received more precise data, including detailed work schedules. Not only did employees answer fewer calls when remote, the quality of their interactions suffered. They put customers on hold for longer. More also phoned back, an indication of unresolved problems.

The revision comes hot on the tails of other studies that have reached similar conclusions. David Atkin and Antoinette Schoar, both of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Sumit Shinde of the University of California, Los Angeles, randomly assigned data-entry workers in India to labour either from home or the office. Those working at home were 18% less productive than their peers in the office. Michael Gibbs of the University of Chicago and Friederike Mengel and Christoph Siemroth, both of the University of Essex, found a productivity shortfall, relative to prior in-office performance, of as much as 19% for the remote employees of a large Asian it firm.

Another study determined that even chess professionals play less well in online matches than face-to-face tilts. Yet another used a laboratory experiment to show that video conferences inhibit creative thinking.

The reasons for the findings will probably not surprise anyone who has spent much of the past few years working from a dining-room table. It is harder for people to collaborate from home. Workers in the Fed study spoke of missing their “neighbours to turn to for assistance”. Other researchers who looked at the communication records of nearly 62,000 employees at Microsoft observed that professional networks within the company become more static and isola>Some of the co-ordination costs of remote work might reasonably be expected to fall as people get used to it. Since 2020, many will have become adept at using Zoom, Webex, Teams or Slack. But another cost may rise over time: the underdevelopment of human capital. In a study of software engineers published in April, Drs Emanuel and Harrington, along with Amanda Pallais, also of Harvard, found that feedback exchanged between colleagues dropped sharply after the move to remote work. Drs Atkin, Schoar and Shinde documented a relative decline in learning for workers at home. Those in offices picked up skills more quickly.

The origins of the view that, contrary to the above, remote working boosts productivity can be traced to an experiment nearly a decade before the pandemic, which was reported by Nicholas Bloom of Stanford and others in 2013. Call-centre workers for a Chinese online travel agency now known as Trip.com increased their performance by 13% when remote—a figure that continues to appear in media coverage today. But two big wrinkles are often neglected: first, more than two-thirds of the improved performance came from employees working longer hours, not more efficiently; second, the Chinese firm eventually halted remote work because off-site employees struggled to get promoted. In 2022 Dr Bloom visited Trip.com again, this time to investigate the effects of a hybrid-working trial. The outcomes of this experiment were less striking: it had a negligible impact on productivity, though workers put in longer days and wrote more code when in the office.

The price of happiness

There is more to work (and life) than productivity. Perhaps the greatest virtue of remote work is that it leads to happier employees. People spend less time commuting, which from their vantage-point might feel like an increase in productivity, even if conventional measures fail to detect it. They can more easily fit in school pickups and doctor appointments, not to mention the occasional lie-in or mid-morning jog. And some tasks—notably, those requiring unbroken concentration for long periods—can often be done more smoothly from home than in open-plan offices. All this explains why so many workers have become so office-shy.

Working from home has an upside – no commute.

Indeed, several surveys have found employees are willing to accept pay cuts for the option of working from home. Having satisfied employees on slightly lower pay, in turn, might be a good deal for corporate managers. For many people, then, the future of work will remain hybrid. Nevertheless, the balance of the work week is likely to tilt back to the office and away from home—not because bosses are sadomasochists with a kink for rush-hour traffic, but because better productivity lies in that direction.

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Freeman Station will not be open on Canada Day

By Pepper Parr

June 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It came to us as a short notice.

At a Standing Committee yesterday Council heard a report the city Museums people would bbe taking over the operation of Freeman Station. Exactly when that will actually happen is a very open question.

There is a much bigger story here but that will have to wait for another time.

One of the best citizen initiatives this city has seen is on pause – and that is not good news.

There is a lot to do on Canada Day – unfortunately touring Freeman Station is not going to be on the list of opportunities.

Freeman Station

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School registration can be done during the summer

By Staff

June 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Schools are closed in July and the first three weeks of August. The Halton District School Board is offering families of elementary students the opportunity to register their child(ren) for school this summer for the start of school in September. Registering at this time helps the HDSB prepare for the upcoming school year and provides students more time to become familiar with their new school.

The following elementary schools are open to families to register their child(ren) starting Kindergarten – Grade 8 in Halton:

In-person registration for all elementary schools in Oakville is available at Oodenawi Public School (385 Sixteen Mile Dr, Oakville) July 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

In-person registration for all elementary schools in Milton is available at Rattlesnake Point Public School (1385 Kovachik Blvd, Milton) July 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

In-person registration for all elementary schools in Burlington is available at John William Boich Public School (2474 Sutton Dr, Burlington) July 11, 12, 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Preschool and eager

Families can find their local school by visiting the HDSB’s Find My Local School webpage. For more information, visit the Register for School in the Summer webpage on the HDSB website.

Secondary students (Grade 9-12) new to the HDSB can register for school when all secondary school offices reopen on Monday, Aug. 21.

All HDSB school offices will reopen the week of Aug. 21. The first day of school for students is Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.

Families are asked to bring the following original documents when registering:
• Proof of age: birth certificate, passport, or baptismal/faith record for your child.
• Proof of address (any two of the following documents): lease or deed, car registration, utility bill, residential telephone bill, moving bill, property tax bill, bank statement, credit card statement, correspondence with a government agency. Note: A driver’s license will not be accepted as documentation for “proof of address”.
• Proof of citizenship: birth certificate, passport, Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Permanent Resident Card.
• If you are not the parent and your child is under 18 you must provide proof of custody (court order).

For more information, visit the Register My Child for School webpage on the HDSB website.

Ready for the start of a school year

Welcome Newcomer Families
Newcomer families ready to begin the school registration process must complete the Welcome Centre Intake Form for Registration. Families new to Ontario and who speak an additional language other than English are asked to complete the Where Do I Register My Child? Form to determine where the registration process begins.

The Welcome Centre will follow regular office hours (8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday to Friday) for the week of July 3. The office will be closed July 3. From July 10 to Aug. 10 inclusive, the operating hours will be 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Thursday, with the Centre closed on Fridays.

The Welcome Centre is open to visitors and can offer assessments on an appointment basis. Beginning Aug. 21, 2023, the Welcome Centre will return to regular office hours: Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. To book an appointment, email welcomecentre@hdsb.ca or call 905-335-3665 ext. 3440.

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Developer takes a different approach to brand development: They want to be seen as more than just a developer

By Pepper Parr

June 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Creating the image and the message you want your market to have is an art more than it is a science.

In Burlington, many business operators will give a portion of their profits to a local charity. Car dealerships will loan a vehicle to an organization and have their name well displayed on the vehicle.

Alinea , the largest developable land owner in the Region, was formed when the Paletta brothers found that they didn’t see the world the way they used to when their father was alive and decided to distribute the significant assets between them and each go their own way.

Alinea now needs to grow their brand. Paletta as a developer was a little rough at the edges; Alinea wanted to move away from that image. How to tell the story ?.

They found a way to work with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation and has offered to match dollar for dollar in their You are more than just a business campaign. It isn’t clear whether the Hospital Foundation pitched the idea to Alinea or Alinea went to the hospital.

Anissa Hilborn, President & CEO of the Foundation has a very good reputation for coming up with innovative and interesting ideas.

Alinea, wants the public to know they are more than just a developer and wants local commercial interests to tell the public they are more than just a business. It’s an interesting approach and so far well executed.

The campaign reaches out to the business community and giving them an opportunity to show they are more than just a business.  For every dollar a local business raises Alinea will match it up to $100,000

Alinea is positioning themselves as a different kind of developer. As part of their working relationship with the hospital foundation they are getting their message out.
The sign in the photograph is being installed on the outside of the hospital – we aren’t quite sure where the sign is – we will dig that out.

They produced a video (Link here) telling the story

The message to the business community is: You’re a team of hard-working people who want to help our community thrive. You don’t just do business in Burlington; you live here, you raise your families here, and you know how important local healthcare is. So show your customers, employees and friends that you’re doing more for your community.

The objective is to raise $100K IN 100 DAYS!

This retailer wants her customers to know that she is supporting the hospital and invites you to join them

It’s an innovative approach, well executed so far. Look for the signs participating businesses get to put in their window or lobby.

It is your hospital – you want it to be there when you need it,

On a slightly negative note – the people of Burlington wanted some reaction to a feature article that ran four pages in the Spectator on problems at the hospital. Not a word in the way of response from Eric Vandewall · President & CEO at Joseph Brant Hospital who, apparently, has yet to learn that the way to handle a negative news story is to get in front of it.

Joseph Brant Hospital is more than just a hospital – it is the place you go to when you are seriously ill and you need help.  The public needs to trust you.

Related news stories:

Spectator does feature on problems at Joseph Brant Hospital

Alinea is a new name in the development field

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Free transit for Seniors and Free Transit for youth evenings and weekends

By Pepper Parr

June 28th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It has been a long time getting to this point – but starting August 1st transit will be free for Seniors all day, every day and free for Youth, evenings (after 6 p.m.) and weekends.

The decision got through the Committee meeting easier than I expected.

Jim Young delegated at Standing Committee in support of free transit services for Seniors and Youth. It was a long time getting to this point.

Jim Young, who I expect will be outside his building at daylight wanting to be one of, if not THE first senior to take advantage of the service.
What was voted on yesterday has to get approved at Council but given the way Council members commented that would appear to be a given.

The Chief Financial Officer was instructed to incorporate the $160,000 annualized revenue loss in the 2024 budget.

PRESTO system restriction to allow for only one time-of-day pricing category to be active at a time.

Council has often split over transit matters. A small group of transit advocates pressed for more than a decade to get to this point, arguing that transit was not only necessary but vital if the city was to avoid serious traffic congestion and meet its climate change targets.

Bfast was the citizens organization that kept the issue before council. There efforts were validated yesterday.

There was a need to change attitudes towards public transit and give people an opportunity to use the service.

Jim Young pressed Council to get to the point where transit in Burlington was a free service for everyone at anytime.

The decision today was a solid first step in that direction.

Implementation of Free Transit for Youth
The Free Transit for Youth program with a budget impact (revenue loss) of $84,000, will allow riders aged 13 to 19 to ride Burlington Transit for free on evenings and weekends, starting August 1, 2023.
Like the original approach that applied to seniors, eligible riders will need to obtain a PRESTO card with the youth category defined, to allow for free travel after 6pm and all-day Saturday and Sunday.

Current Free Transit for Seniors Program
In 2019, Burlington City Council approved the Free Transit for Seniors pilot, which enabled seniors, 65 years and older, to ride Burlington Transit for free Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The pilot started in May 2019 and was made permanent in the 2022 budget that allowed free transit Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

From May 2019 to February 2020, senior ridership increased by 41 percent. This was directly attributed to providing free transit for seniors. Senior ridership is currently at 91 percent of pre-pandemic levels and was 22 percent higher in the fall of 2022 compared to the fall of 2018.

The Presto card plays a major role in how the Free Transit service will operate.

PRESTO System Restrictions
Due to PRESTO system implementation restrictions, time-of-day pricing can only be assigned to one fare category. Therefore, to implement free transit for youth on evenings and weekends, it is recommended to make transit free for seniors all the time.

When a senior, youth or child obtains a PRESTO card, they must provide their date of birth to ensure the proper fare category for the card. This allows the system to validate the card holder and allows the rider to travel seamlessly.

When a youth rider turns 20 years of age, they are automatically moved into an adult fare category, and the youth fare program is no longer accessible on their card.

By requiring the use of the PRESTO card for free transit, it mitigates the potential risk of fare evasion by ensuring riders are the appropriate age. It also mitigates the need for the operators to question the age of our riders, which has resulted in harassment and/or a negative transit experience.

Passengers who use PRESTO cards benefit from seamless connections with our neighbouring transit agencies and to GO Transit.

Options Considered
Burlington Transit considered other options to accommodate free transit for youth and seniors based on time-of-day pricing:

1: Manually Track Youth Rides (not recommended)
To identify youth riders, Burlington Transit investigated the option of adding a sticker or visual validation for youth riders. This is not recommended due to the increased staff time to validate age and hand out stickers; and it creates an additional barrier for youth, who would have to obtain a sticker yearly. Transit operators would also be required to manually track the youth ride through the bus fare box. Manual collection of data is not recommended as it is prone to errors and omissions.

2: Offer free transit for youth at all times (not recommended)
This option has a significant annual revenue impact and due to capacity and service limitations, is not recommended at this time.

3: Work with PRESTO to implement a ‘Pass’ product on the card (not recommended)
The Burlington Transit team investigated this option with PRESTO, and it would require riders to have a specialty pass loaded onto their PRESTO cards that would enable free transit during the set time. This would require riders to have passes loaded in person at the Transit Terminal every year and would require additional resources to manage the increased number of customers. This is not recommended.

The next step for Burlington Transit is to move the fleet from diesel buses to electric vehicles.

4: Offer free transit for seniors all day, every day (recommended)
By removing the time-of-day limitation for seniors, it would allow for youth riders to travel for free on Burlington Transit during the set time of evenings and weekends. This is the most cost effective and seamless option.

Financial Matters:
Extending free transit for seniors to all day, every day, effective August 1, 2023, will have an impact on Burlington Transit’s 2023 revenue.

Free transit for seniors will have an ongoing revenue impact of approximately $117,500 plus the Region’s SPLIT (Subsidized Pass for Low Income Transit) contribution of approximately $42,500 for a total revenue impact of $160,000 on the overall transit operating budget.

With the Free Transit for Youth, evenings and weekends, program commencing on August 1, 2023, the revenue impact in 2023 is estimated at $35,000 compared to the approved budget of $84,000.

The total impact for the remainder of 2023, to fund free transit for seniors all day from August 1 to December 31, will be approximately $17,670.

Transit has always been a contentious issue in Burlington. Former Mayor Rick Goldring looks on while a citizen berates both the Mayor and the Director of Transportation at the time.

Source of Funding
Subject to the City’s overall year-end financial position, the decreased revenue of $17,670 for 2023 could be funded from a draw from the provincial gas tax reserve fund. The annualized revenue loss of $160,000 will need to be incorporated into the 2024 budget.

Public transit plays a critical role in local climate mitigation. Free transit programs encourage transit usage and reduce the use of vehicles within the city. Every ride on Burlington Transit takes one car off the road and reduces CO2 emissions and traffic congestion.

Each year, transit staff release a rider survey which enables riders to provide input and commentary on transit within Burlington. The 2023 survey had close to 1000 responses.

 

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Freeman is free on Canada Day - every other day it is open as well

By Pepper Parr

June 28th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

It took the work of a relatively small group of men and women who would not give up saving the station from being sold as kindling,. Others followed the original group and did the scrubbing and painting it took to get the building to the point where it has become a destination point for visitors to the city.

 

Given that this country was made coast to coast by the railways it is fitting that it too be celebrated on Canada Day.

Sir John A, Macdonald did everything legal and illegal he could to dig out the money needed to get to the point where the Last Spike was driven in on November 7, 1885, at Craigellachie, B.C, marking a momentous occasion — the completion of Canada’s trans-continental railway.

Freeman Station was a part of the railway that took produce from the farm fields around Burlington to retail locations in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

For the city it was more than just a railway station. It was a symbol of progress, connection, and community for the people of Burlington. For almost a century, it served as a gateway to Canadian travellers, immigrants, and workers.

This station was built in 1906 by the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR).

Volunteers raised the funds to have the structure moved to its final resting place. There is a coin embedded in the concrete – how many people can tell where the coin was placed and what the denomination of the coin is? Put you answer in the comments section.

Today, after over a decade of fundraising and a full restoration by an all volunteer group, Friends of Freeman Station, the station stands in its relocated home on 1285 Fairview Street, open only during our public events, class visits and station rentals.

The original location of the station is but a short walk away on the other side of Brant Street.

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What Burlington at Brant and Caroline once looked like

By Pepper Parr

June 27th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An exceptionally good aerial of John Street (the northern part is actually a lane), Brant Street and Locus Street.

The area is currently the subject of a Heritage Planning study to determine what has and what doesn’t have the criteria to be designated.

The photograph of what we know as the Brant Plaza where the supermarket is located shows some commercial brands that no longer exist.

 

The commercial world has crept into the west side of Brant – so much so that there isn’t all that much that can be designated as historical.

Was the Woolworth location the last of the five and dime stores in Burlington. And why would Loblaws give up the location ?

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Merits of heritage protection & tools City could use to protect each property or area.

By Staff

June 27th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The heritage consultant has finished preliminary heritage evaluations for the eight individual properties and six study areas. They are available below for viewing. The documents contain a short summary of research findings, a preliminary conclusion about whether or not the property merits heritage protection, and a list of tools that the City could use to protect or recognize each property or area.

The findings were reviewed with owners and stakeholders at a series of meetings starting on Monday, June 19, and the comments and input will be considered as the consultants finalize the assessments over the summer. Assessments were based on evaluation criteria and/or definitions presented in Ontario Heritage Act Regulation 9/06, 1997 Official Plan (In force), and Provincial Policy Statement (2020).

 

An example of the detail in the reports prepared by consultants for the Heritage Planner

518 Brant St Evaluation
524 Brant St Evaluation
530 Brant St Evaluation
574 Brant St Evaluation
612 Brant St Evaluation
620 Brant St Evaluation
2012 Victoria Ave Evaluation
CHL- Burlington Ave and Lakeshore Rd Summary
CHL- Downtown East Summary
CHL- Foot of Brant Summary
CHL-Locust St Summary
CHL – St. Luke’s Summary
CHL- Village Square Summary

The Village Square Summery is not correct, it is shown as a repeat of the St Luke’s Summary,  We have asked for a correction and will put it in place when it is available.

The preliminary heritage evaluations for the eight individual properties and six study areas in the Downtown Heritage Study are available for viewing and downloading on the project web page. The documents contain the consultant’s preliminary assessments on the area or property’s potential heritage value and in some cases discuss potential heritage protection options. Over the summer, the consultants will be further assessing the properties and study areas, integrating feedback received to date from property owners and the public, and refining study recommendations. Study recommendations have not been fully developed at this time. When recommendations are fully compiled, they will be shared with you to give you further opportunities to provide feedback.

Thank you to everyone who attended the individual and group consultation meetings between June 19th and June 26th 2023. We came away with valuable feedback to consider as we refine the research findings over the summer and begin work on developing study recommendations to be considered by Council. The meetings were not recorded, (In a previous report we had a participant report to us that the meetings were being recorded) however summaries of each meeting will be posted to the website shortly. If you have additional comments about specific properties, or questions about the project please share them with the team by June 30, 2023 by sending them to me at john.oreilly@burlington.ca.

There will be a public meeting in the fall. The consultant and O’Reilly will finalize a date and venue shortly and notify everyone well in advance using this email list and the mail-outs they have been sending throughout the project. In an earlier email O’Reilly did specify a date and venue.  The date given is not final. Early September can be a busy time after summer holidays and return to school and we believe it could make sense to push it later into the fall to maximize attendance and input.

The exact timing of our report to Council has also not been finalized and will depend on the timing of the public meeting and progress over the summer.

Once the final report is ready for Council and a presentation date has been chosen, the public will be updated.

 

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2024 budget fundamentals - the final figure could touch more than 8%

By Staff

June 27th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An understanding of what you will see in your 2024 tax bill is set out in the following four paragraphs and two graphics.

Financial sustainability on a multi-year basis will continue to be our key strategic priority. The budget will continue to face rising pressure from inflation, infrastructure renewal costs, limited revenue growth, and completion of the 4-year work plan initiatives representing visions to meet important community needs. These factors ultimately impact property taxes and reserve fund balances to maintain / enhance existing service levels and quality of life.

A high level look at the 2024 budget forecast

Staff will prepare the 2024 budget taking into account the budget pressures and aligning them to the city’s long-term financial plan and the important policy decisions of council.

While staff will work closely with services to mitigate the tax increase for 2024, it is important to understand that our ability to respond to urgent existing and future needs across many areas is clearly and directly tied to Council’s support for additional tax funding. City treasurer Joan Ford tells tax payers where the rubber is going to hit the road.

It is also important to note that known budgetary pressures that are deferred in the proposed 2024 Budget will need to be incorporated into future years thus increasing the forecasted tax increases identified in the multi-year simulation for 2025 and beyond.

Projected tax rate through to 2028

The Staff report was lengthy; some time will be needed to fully understand the forces the city is up against – it comes down to either raising taxes or reducing service levels and if services are to be reduced – which ones.

 

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How a simple boundary review got turned into thinking about a significantly different council size and different governance as well

By Pepper Parr

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Staff report was a post-election review of what took place and any lessons learned.

We did learn that the turnout was as bad as it could get and that the city spent $598,190.00 up from $495,543 in 2018

Part of the report included a section on ward boundaries changes.  The last ward boundary review for the City of Burlington took place in 2004/2005 with implementation for the 2006 municipal election. After review six ward boundaries were redrawn and seven-member council composition was maintained. Despite the growth and development in the City, ward boundaries have not changed since then.

There have been calls to redraw or change the boundaries of Wards 1 & 2 to include the neighbourhood of Mapleview in Ward 2.

Spot boundary changes are not feasible and require a wholesome approach of reviewing the boundaries of all wards. Key to the ward boundary review is ensuring extensive public consultation throughout the process leading up to passing of any by-laws to re-draw any existing ward boundaries.

Any by-law establishing new boundaries must be in force before January 1 of the election year which would be January of 2026
.
The by-law establishing new ward boundaries may be appealed to LPAT, and in order for the boundaries to be permanent, the notices of appeal must be withdrawn, or the Tribunal must have issued an order to affirm or amend the by-law before January 1 of the election year.

Sufficient lead time is required to be factored into any ward boundary review timeline. Staff recommends a ward boundary review to ensure that the division of wards in the City reflects widely adopted principles of effective representation.

Staff are recommending that committee/Council direct them to prepare a preliminary report. If there are additional items or aspects that need review, the direction should be amended to reflect these additions. Some municipalities have delayed undertaking their ward boundary review, due to the Regional reviews that are in progress by the Province.

In planning for the 2026 election, the team hopes to streamline processes and find efficiencies where possible, however, the planned budget must consider inflationary cost impacts and additional costs for any new initiatives undertaken.

Should the team receive direction to prepare the preliminary ward boundaries review report for Q1 2024, any costs associated will be covered by the current operating budget. Pending the approval of the proposed report in Q1 2024, staff will work with Finance to build a business case based on approved scope for the proposed ward boundary review, and municipal comparators.

Source of Funding
The source of funding for the election is the reserve fund with an annual contribution of $160,000. The Election Team will work with Finance and ensure due diligence to put forth a business case if it is determined that an increase in the contribution is required.

Mayor Meed Ward put some expansive thinking on the table.

City is growing – shouldn’t the size of Council grow as well? Maybe – but by how much?

That was what Staff put on the table. The Mayor had a bigger idea. “Why stop at looking at the ward boundaries – could we not also look at the size of Council ?” she asked.

Meed Ward said: “I thought it might be good to ask this question in public and with counsel just to see where folks heads are at and I’m wondering if the this review the boundary review would also be an opportunity to review Council size and if that’s contemplated as part of this review and if not, whether committee would like to review Council size as part of this conversation.”

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon followed saying: “That is why we put that recommendation in there – seeking direction. So if there’s anything you want us to look at that may be a little off the drawing of the lines, now’s the time to let us know so that we can start to work on that and start to conceptualize that build – this conversation is timely.”

Meed Ward then said: “I am very interested in that being at least part of the discussion we have with the community. If it requires an amendment to the report, I’m happy to insert the words and a review of council size and see where the conversation goes. So I will move that and then see what my colleagues think about that.”

Councillor Stolte: Likes the idea of Councillors at large

Councillor Stolte who had her own ideas on what a future city council might look like thanked the mayor for “bringing that up. I think that’s a great idea. Would it also be able to include wording that might indicate a new format? We have had conversations in the past about councillors at large and other options that that might be available. Would we need to have something like that in there or does Council size kind of encompass all of that?”

“Yes”, said the Mayor, “I’m open to a completely holistic conversation with the community. I think that we owe ourselves that. I would look to the clerk to determine how specific you want us to be. Maybe it’s including Council size and composition, if that’s a word that captures, how Council is constituted or some other word if you can. Council size and governance. I don’t know I’m open but if we can have another word in there, that would kind of signal we’re interested in the full range of options to come back. I’m in your hands on that and completely supportive of that.”

“I think the conversation we just had is just fine. And I think in the end the governance model could be put into the review as well.”

Councillor Sharman followed with: “My only question with this. I think it should be evaluated and I think it’s good to review. But the question is the process for that review could be quite significant, quite a bit more than what we’re looking at right now. That require additional resources, a different time frame.

Councillor Sharman: But the question is the process for that review could be quite significant, quite a bit more than what we’re looking at right now.

“How much are we opening up here and what can we look at and what would we be expecting because the public aspect would probably be quite important and not what was envisaged in the report. Maybe Kevin, that’d be a question for you.”

Clerk Arjoon responds with: “We have a bit of time so I think the one worry would have is on the staff side and the timing in terms of the deadlines.

“I think we have to have the boundary set before the election year. And then there’s also the appeal process too. So we’ll take that into consideration when we bring that report back in Q1 2024 But we needed some direction now for some preliminary research and maybe some preliminary engagement before we brought back sort of preliminary report as well.

“So I think that’s just where we’re coming from as well – resources. We’re working on that in the background for sure. In terms of the resourcing for the ward boundary review, and then staffing resources in the clerk’s office. So we are working on that and we’re mindful of that as well.”

Chair Galbraith: “Okay, sounds good – seeing no further questions I’ll just read it into the record.

“Receive and file report CL-07-23 regarding the 2022 municipal election review, and direct the office of the city clerk to prepare a report on a potential city of Burlington Ward boundary review for consideration. The report should include timelines, a proposed budget scope and a review of council size and governance model by Q1 2024.

“Any questions or comments? Seeing none, I will now call the vote – reminder to raise your hands – all those in favour. And any opposed? Seeing none that carries.”

And just what could this mean – get ready for the amount of work this is going to involve and how this council will tie itself in knots getting to the point where anything gets changed – unless of course the province comes in and does to the Region of Halton what it just did to the Region of Peel.

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Four Regional High School Students awarded prestigious scholarships - none from Burlington.

By Staff

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is proud to announce that four students are recipients of the Schulich Leader Scholarships:

Evie Bouganim, Grade 12 student at Oakville Trafalgar High School
Ella Chow, Grade 12 student at Milton District High School
Caroline Huang, Grade 12 student at Abbey Park High School
Manasva Katyal, Grade 12 student at White Oaks Secondary School

The scholarships total $440,000 to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in their post-secondary education.

Selected for their outstanding academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular activities, Bouganim, Chow, Huang and Katyal are among 100 recipients to receive this scholarship in Canada.

Schulich Leader Scholarships are Canada’s most coveted undergraduate STEM scholarships. One hundred are awarded to entrepreneurial-minded high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math program at 20 partner universities across Canada.

Half are valued at $120,000 for engineering scholarships and half are valued at $100,000* for science and math scholarships. Every high school in Canada can nominate one graduating student each year to apply for the scholarship.

The STEM program in the Halton District School Board got its start at the Aldershot High School – none of the scholarship recipients were from Burlington High Schools.

“On behalf of the Halton District School Board, we are so proud of the accomplishments of these four exceptional students, they represent a shining example of the excellence that permeates our Board, ” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We wish them all the best in their future endeavours and look forward to seeing all that they accomplish in their postsecondary careers.”

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Is the Integrity commissioner costing the city more than most people expected ?

By Pepper Parr

June 26th 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Council received a periodic report from Principles Integrity.

In the report Janice Atwood said there were 11 occasions when the Integrity Commissioner provided confidential advice to members of council.

She also reported that there were 13 complaints filed with the Integrity Commissioner; two of which resulted in a report going to council

Given that there are only seven members of Council the numbers would appear to be on the high side.

One of the complaints was made by Councillors Nisan and Galbraith against Councillor Stolte which resulted in a five day loss of pay for her.

Another that the public is painfully aware of is the complaint that went to the Integrity Commissioner by a member of Staff who felt she had been singled out by what she saw as remarks that would reflect on her performance as an administrative assistant to a member of Council.  The woman’s name was never made public until she filed the complaint.

The issue began when the Gazette published an interview with Councillor Stolte in which she spoke of the administrative staffer who told her that she was not going to be in that position for very long because she wanted to be working in the Clerk’s Office.

Stolte didn’t name the staffer who apparently felt everyone would know it was her.  The Integrity Commissioner didn’t feel a report to Council was necessary.  Stole, who was apparently taken aback, apologized to the staff member immediately.

Mayor Marianne Med Ward

That apparently was not enough.  The Mayor took the reins on this one and revised a Council meeting agenda that called for Stolte to apologize at the beginning of the Council meeting rather than at the end during the comments section.

During 14 minutes of debate that stunned those who listened to it – the Gazette published that 14 minutes as a separate report.

Stolte refused to go along with the Mayor, who at the time was chairing the meeting remotely, while attending the graduation of her daughter from University of Western Ontario.

Stolte put up a good fight, refused to be bullied by the Mayor and walked out of the Council meeting saying to the City Manager as she did so “told you so”

This is what the city spends your money on?

The Integrity Commissioner is appointed to act in an independent manner on the application of the Code of Good Governance and other rules and procedures governing the ethical behaviour of Members of Council.

The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for providing Integrity Commissioner services on an as required basis; they include, but are not limited to, the following duties and responsibilities:

• act as an advisor to Council
• provide advice on and assist with any drafting related to the code of conduct governing members of Council
• conduct investigations regarding alleged breaches of the code of good governance governing members of Council
• provide information to Council as to obligations under the code of good governance, policies and procedures, rules and legislation governing members on ethical behaviour
• provide advice to individual members regarding specific situations as they relate to the application of the code of good governance, policies and procedures, rules and legislation governing members on ethical behaviour
• provide information to the public regarding the code of good governance and the obligations of members of Council under the code of good governance, policies and procedures, rules and legislation governing their members on ethical behaviour
• provide annual reports to Council summarizing the activities of the Integrity Commissioner

Janice Atwood; partner with Principles Integrity

The Integrity Commissioner is required to preserve secrecy in all matters that come to their knowledge in the course of their duties. At the same time, the municipality is required to ensure that reports received from the Integrity Commissioner are made available to the public.

The annual retainer for the Integrity Commissioner is $1500 with an hourly rate of $275 for advice or investigations. Funds spent to date include:

In 2021 the amount billed to the city was $ 25,205.75
In 2022 the amount billed to the city was $ 13,282.25
For 2023, year to date amounted to $ 6,194.64

That’s a total of $44,000 plus over 2 1/2 years  for Councillors who need to be told how to behave.

Integrity Commissioner services is a budgeted expense through the Office of the City Clerk operating budget.

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If you didn't like the 7% increase tax increase - you won't like the 7.82% that was put on the table this morning.

By Pepper Parr

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hang on real tight.

The next budget will result in a tax increase from the 7% last time out to 7.9 for 2024.

 

Here is the schedule that will get all the details to you.

 

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Stained Glass Rose window - Revisited and Reimagined.

By Pepper Parr

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Everyone knows what stained glass is.

A rich example of the stained glass art form.

Most people relate it to churches where stained glass has been around for centuries.

The Rose window at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, seen as the best example of this art form. It survived the 2019 fire that destroyed much of the Cathedral.

One format it has taken in the past is the rose window  – which is basically a round widow.

Cathedrals throughout Europe and the United Kingdom have some truly unique rose window examples. The work at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that was heavily damaged during the 2019 fire wasn’t destroyed; a miracle in the eyes of many Catholics.

Siobhan Lynch

Siobhan Lynch, a stained glass artist who has been working with the medium for 20 years is part of what originally was a five member group that met for dinner once a month to trade ideas and organize exhibits.

They would research possibilities and, through a process of happenstance more than anything, found themselves taking an interest in and have done some very impressive work.  The most recent joint production: The Rose Window: Revisited and Reimagined.

The group describe themselves is as a Collective that has a very determined entrepreneurial streak. While the work they do is an art form that has a long, proud and noble history stained glass was always something that was seen in churches.

Organized is as the Artistic Group of Glass (ACOG) they created a new market and found that there were people who lived in older homes and wanted some stained glass in their houses.

Individually the members of the group work on commissioned assignments and say they do very well. Teresa Seaton has managed to convince people that Stained Glass can and should be used in presentations the city makes. She did the work on the “Key to the City” that Burlington presents to people from time to time; she also did the awards that were given out when the Burlington’s Best was part of the way the city recognized individual efforts.

Perhaps the most impressive store front in the city; Teresa Seaton displays her own work and that of other stained glass artists.

Seaton is a blend of “this is business” and an artist who is known for the creativity of her work. Her studio, a stones throw from the Royal Botanical Gardens (stones throw is perhaps not the best phrase to describe where her studio is located).

She can be found there when people are on art tours that she works at organizing.

The finished work will be on display – after that no one knows where it will go. In some public institution? From the left Joe Highly and Siobhan Lynch with Teresa Seaton and John Highley on the right. Each applied their unique skill set and interpretation to the work.

Siobhan Lynch is Irish; she returns to the land that are her cultural roots every three or four years.  She is a dancer, teaches and a founding member of the AGOC Collective.

What this group has done is brought rose windows back into fashion as an art form and then taken the medium in a new direction.

The ACOG group is changing the way rose window stained glass designs are used – the reimagining has taken the art form in a new direction.

The current window,  that is getting some much deserved attention, was a collective effort. Each person did their part. Window: Revisited and Reimagined

Joe Speck and John Highley worked on specific parts of the rose window that is on display now. It was featured at an opening last week at the Paul Elia Gallery in Hamilton

John Martin was a part of the group but moved on when he was given a long term contract with the company that is renovating the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. That project created work for stone masons, another art form that was disappearing.

The conviction and business acumen of this group has resulted in Burlington being ground zero for stained glass in Ontario.

Siobhan has found herself wanting to paint on glass, moving away for a while from putting small pieces of coloured glass together creating an image that changes the mood of the room in which it is displayed.

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Library offering summer programs for kids and adults: registration required for many

By Staff

June 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Summer Reading Club
Free to join, and open to everyone, including adults.

The Burlington Library kicked this off with two launch parties.

What’s missing in this picture ? No one is glued to a cell phone.

For those who didn’t take part – you can still register online or at any library.

The Summer program for kids is something the kids should really like – the challenge is to get them there. Be a dinosaur detective or help out the turtles. Stretch like a lion, then watch a fun puppet show.

There’s so much to do at BPL this summer. Many of the programs require registration and will fill up fast, so secure your spot now!

Registration page is HERE

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Two shot in the earlier morning hours outside Waterfront Hotel

By Staff

June 24th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Gun fire in downtown Burlington.

Police cruisers and paramedics in front of the Waterfront Hotel. Two transported to hospital; a third person sought by police.

The shooting are believed to have taken place in the parking lot on the east side of the Waterfront Hotel.

Two were injured with a suspect the Regional Police are searching for

The shooting took place sometime after 1:00 am. Police and emergency services responded to a parking lot on the south side of Lakeshore Road near John Street.

Police located two men with “gunshot injuries,” police said in a news release. Both victims were transported to an area hospital.

One of the victims is reported to have serious injuries while the second victim has minor injuries.

One suspect is believed to have fled on foot.

“Investigators will provide updates as this investigation progresses,” police said in the release. “Based on existing information, this is believed to be a targeted incident and there is no known or ongoing threat relating to public safety.”

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Slow moving showers and embedded thunderstorms expected to develop this afternoon and continue over the remainder of the day

By Staff

June 24, 2023 – Time: 12:00 P.M. 

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Conservation Halton advises that slow moving showers and imbedded thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon and continue on and off over the remainder of the day. Total accumulation could be upwards of 50 to 75mm of rainfall before the rain ends this evening.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated, however fast flowing water and flooding of low-lying areas and natural floodplains may be expected.

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts, inlet & outlet structures/grates and dams.  Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous.  Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers. 

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream and weather conditions and will issue an update to this Watershed Condition Statement –Water Safety message as conditions warrant.

This Watershed Condition Statement will be in effect through Monday June 26, 2023.

 

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