Bridges, bicycle paths, roads and the way we get around in this city. Resident suggests we may not be getting it right.

By James Smith

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 2, 2013.  This past weekend yet another young man, 27, died on the railway tracks near Dixie Road in Mississauga. Another family is now linked with Burlington’s Denise Davy and her family by grief over the loss of a loved one on the Lakeshore rail corridor. More than just sad, this news is devastating because when someone dies like this, a family is left not only with the ache in their heart over the loss, but also left with so many unanswered questions. How and why did this happen?  Is it misadventure, suicide or is there something else at work? What are we missing in this picture that motivates people so they feel they have to cut across tracks in the first place?

I’ve never met Ms Davy, but I’ve been impressed with her commitment to attempting to get action on preventing other deaths on the tracks in Burlington. Ms Davy has successfully brought this issue to the front of mind, not only of Burlington City council, a success in its own right; Ms Davy has moved council to direct staff to act.

A couple of really inadequate signs alongside a path that leads up to the railway tracks – crossing is a snap until one realizes there is a train that you didn’t see or hear when you started crossing.

As I write this, I’m sitting on a GO Train making my way into Toronto and I can see how very easy it is for one to make it onto the tracks. Pulling into Bronte station, I saw two men walking away from the tracks. (Did they just cross them?) They likely didn’t give the train and the tracks a second thought. Just something to get around. One does not need to be an expert to see what danger lurk on the Lakeshore corridor.  Just look out from the seat of a GO train as I’ve just done to see the trails and paths, the tree forts, BMX jumps and graffiti.  Pretty quickly one can get the idea of where people regularly walk, play, lurk and take shortcuts. With GO moving to half hour service in June the peril on the tracks is about to become far greater. To mitigate the danger, I notice more brush being cleared and new fences on the rail corridor throughout Mississauga. Will this project carry on to cover Burlington and the rest of the GO network? I hope so – and I hope it happens soon.

Fences are only part of the answer, the spot where the latest death occurred happened on a section of track already with new fences installed.  To improve rail track safety Burlington and other cities need not so much better city planning around railways, but better transportation vision. Being hived off into four parts by railways and highways Burlington has created a neat two kilometer grid that isolates pockets of development as little land-locked islands ironically surrounded by transportation corridors. How do people get in and out of these islands? By car, or for the foolhardy, taking a chance crossing the tracks on foot.  This is a result of the dominant planning regimes of the mid-20th century where land use was neatly divided up into its own little planning ghettos.

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Roseland residents take a hard-nosed look at their community. Looking for ‘character” they find characters.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. May 1, 2013.  Burlington is holding the second “neighbourhood character” study, which is part of the Official Plan Review.  The first study was done with the people of Indian Point where there are some differences as to what can and what shouldn’t be permitted in terms of lot severances and the kind of housing that can be built on a piece of property.

 The ‘what kind of housing’ gets built is one of the reasons these  “neighbourhood character” studies are done.  People who live in a neighbourhood chose to live there and take offence to anyone who wants to come in and build a house that they feel is “inappropriate.

 Who gets to decide what’s appropriate?  The person who owns the property, the neighbours, the planning department?

Roseland is made up of large two and a half storey homes on great lots that were built before the depression.

The community also has large and small bungalows that were built after the depression and on into the 40’s.

Who decides what a neighbourhood’ s character actually is?  The people who live there or course – but you know that within the residents there will be differences in view point.

A few days before Roseland goes through its own ‘character” study the Roseland Community Organization held an event and did a SWOT exercise and looked at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to their community,

Each of the 40 some odd people at the meeting wrote down their thoughts under each term on Post-It notes and put them up on a board where everyone could read them.  They are set out below for you to review and think about how your community would rank and be reflected under a SWOT analysis.

 These are the results, unfiltered.






Trees – age

Neighbours who care

Continued development on Rossmore north

Trees and landscaping

Homes being built are too homogenous

Tall trees

New houses look like a subdivision

Safe streets where kids can play

New houses

Quiet street

Neigbours do not know each other as before

Proximity to Lake

Roseland Club different


House flipping

Family culture

Overly large house on lots

Traditional architecture

Power outages

Grand property sizes

Old hydro poles

Lots of green spaces

Loss of old trees

Roseland Community Organization

Old trees that are weak or sick causing damage

Mature trees

Not enough support from community

Open spaces

Water table, flooding

Beauty due to variation in styles, character, trees, lot sizes and boulevards

Aging trees


Some apathy to selected lots and absentee landlords

Not gated – open visitors, walkers, bike riders

Too attractive to developers

Friendly neighbours

Starting a feeding frenzy for developers to move through an area – their activities pushing neighbours out, allowing more homes too big


Unclear development guidelines

A good investment for a home owner

No or little pre consultation


Decaying trees

Large lots with setbacks allow large tree

No guidelines to Committee of Adjustment – have too much leeway to interpret the by-laws

A forest in the City with a neigbourhood in the woods

Weakness in the City in terms of protection of ambience

A real neighbourhood – a sense of community, a history as a community

No protection trees on private property


New homes totally out of scale, devoid of design to fit neigbourhood


Street lighting

Overall Ambience, especially trees

RCA membership too low

Spaciousness of lots  and space between the houses

Construction madness – it goes on and on in some areas – weak or no enforcement, the developers skirt the law on the street blockage

Varied architecture

Inappropriate severing

Role of Roseland in history of Burlington as a prestige neighbourood

Traffic as motorists avoid Lakeshore traffic

A place for visitors from far and wide to walk, walk their dog, to drive and ride through

Existing by-laws too weak or not enforced

Keystone properties that set the character of the area

Garages in front lawns – suburban style

Diversity and scale of architecture – houses fit their lots

Developers put enormous homes on small lots , so that smaller neighbourhood homes are dwarfed


Too many developers interested, killing the goose that lays the golden egg

Good Neighbours

The culture in this seems to be to roll over, giving them variances they want

Roseland Club

Intensification mandates


Existing by-laws

Great place to raise a family

Pass through traffic

Wide boulevard streets


Roseland park


Sense of community


Excellent lot to dwelling proportions


Attractive homes of character


Lot width and space between houses


Places for kids to play safely


Wonderful people and neighbours


Unique home designs – not a subdivision




Roseland Park


Wide streets






Community events

The stakes are so high, it is worth it for a developer and his consultants to always try, and to go to the OMB – relentless

Acknowledge the history of Roseland development from 1925

Due to large lots, the threat of severance always hangs there

More control of development

Roseland being stereo-typed and not listened too

Stronger protection in the Official Plan

Uncontrolled development, severances

Better and stronger direction to the Committee of Adjustment


Careful selection of Committee of Adjustment members to be sensitive to communities

Lot severances

Replace aging infrastructure


A tree maintenance and plating project – a public private venture

Old hydro poles

Clarity on appropriate development

Uncontrolled development

Need by-laws to protect lot sizes, to make by-laws hold, and not be undercut

Desire or market demand to over build- greed


City planning – intensification

RCO provides an opportunity to maintain the unique quality of the neighbourhood

Developers profiting from the ambience of the neigbourhood they are destroying

Think of ways to bring everyone together again – use the Club

Only planting dwarf trees as replacements

Ability to be vocal on problems – the community has much capacity to react

Having water table changed with super size basement

We need to use political clout, stay organized

Monster homes, gorilla additions

Increase commitment to maintain qualities of Roseland

Insensitive infill

Tree maintenance

Loss of neighbourhood loyalty

Official plan study

Over-sized Homes on rebuild lots

Tree by-law

Loss of character homes

Push City to pass tree by-law

New builds that lack elegance, imagination and variation

Keep “variances” minor







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What do you do when you are the ward’s council member and the “country club” blackballs you?

 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 1, 2013.  Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison arrived, uninvited,  to the semi-Annual meeting of the Roseland Community Organization last Thursday.  He was not a member.

Dennison applied for membership one half hour after the Press Release was sent to media; he had made no effort to join the organization before that time.  RCO has been around for a year now.  The group was organized to appeal a Committee of Adjustment decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Dennison’s behaviour at a Roseland Community meeting – to which he was not invited was seen as “aggressive”.

“Dennison’s membership application was declined for reasons that should be apparent”, said a member of the RCO`s Board.

That same member said Dennison was there to hand out flyers to our Members. I needed to ask him to remove himself from his position beside the sign in table at the door.  “His efforts”, added the Board member, “did not have the desired result.”

This Board member said: “I came early anticipating he would show up and he did not disappoint. About twenty minutes prior to the start of the meeting, I saw Mr. Dennison and his girlfriend walking through the parking lot toward the door. I was unaware that they had actually followed me in until I went to bring out a chair for the sign in table. I did ask him to leave and he excused himself to the main lobby of the Church. His girlfriend did remain behind sitting in a chair about 15 feet from our meeting door. Our meeting was 15 minutes late as he was engaging members at the door with his literature.”

“His attendance was considered to be aggressive. It is always desirable to have personal boundaries and be respectful. I did not interfere (as I drove by) with his street canvassing on this issue. His attendance did not have the result he was looking for. You can well imagine the response from Members.”

“It is clearly his last term or he would not be acting in defiance of a neighbourhood who has supported him in the past. I look forward to the overdue, delayed Roseland Study and trust that there is no mechanism other than his being a resident, to shape future planning policy for Roseland.”

“Official Plan reviews are rare events and the requested Roseland study is a first. The neighbourhood does not deserve to have to deal with any legacy effects from his own attitude toward severance.”

Roseland will be the location for the second neighbourhood character study that takes place at the Roseland Park Country Club, 3079 Princess Blvd.E – event starts at 6:30 – and you don’t have to be a member to attend this event.

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A half a day of sunshine and everyone wants to plant trees: Scouts got into the game last weekend.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 30th, 2013  The Region partnered with Conservation Halton and local Halton Scouts, to raise environmental awareness and enhance the landscaping of the Halton Waste Management Site (HWMS) by participating in an annual tree planting event. Approximately 100 Halton Scouts planted 250 trees at the landfill site located at 5400 Regional Road 25 in Milton.


Seven year old Scout Toby Lawrence gets his spade into the ground as he plants one of the 250 trees put in at the Regional Waste Management site.

“With the ability to absorb as much as 50 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, the trees planted will have a direct impact on protecting the environment and our community,” said Regional Chair, Gary Carr. “Many thanks to Conservation Halton for supplying the trees and educating the Scouts about preserving our natural environment.”

Conservation Halton provided the trees, the Scouts provided the energy and Ken Phillips, Conservation Halton CAO provided a few words when he said: “Halton-area Scouts, many of their leaders, family members and volunteers also participated in the tree-planting event.

 “Conservation Halton is pleased to be part of this successful partnership with the Burlington Scouts and Halton Region, which has resulted in the planting of 1750 trees since 2000,” said Phillips. “It’s very rewarding to see a sense of stewardship being instilled in Halton’s youth through this tree planting.”

Since 2000, over 1750 native trees have been planted at the HWMS by Halton-area Scouts, which is an example of the sound environmental practices applied at Site operations.  Other practices include collecting rainwater from building roofs for reuse on site for tasks such as garden watering and washing equipment and utilizing over 35,000 passenger car tires in the asphalt used to pave the Site roads.

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Beachway Park report is out – doesn’t look all that good for the residents at first glance.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 30, 2013.  The good people over on the Beachway Park got a strong dose of reality yesterday when Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven delivered copies of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Comprehensive Background Report (BBRWPCBR) which we will just call the Beachway Background.

It runs some 250 pages plus – the index runs to six pages so you get the sense that there is all kinds of information – which there is but there isn’t a clear recommendation in the Executive Summary.  The issue is – what to do with the 30 homes that are located within what is a park.

A part of the city that was once a vibrant community with a railway line running through the middle of it is today a park that is for the most part underused and badly in need of a makeover.

A park that is populated with property with property owned or managed by federal, provincial, regional and municipal agencies.  In the report there is considerable detail on how the 30 homes that are left have changed hands.

The city held a Workshop to get input from citizens – it was well attended but there wasn’t much in the way of a consensus at that event.

The report needs detailed study – which we will give it in the days ahead.

There was once a very healthy community along the edge of the lake – that disappeared when the leases residents had from the railway lapsed and the region took over.

The issue comes up at a Community Services Committee meeting May 8th – expect that one to be boisterous.  The residents of the Beachway Park have always been noisy.

There is a very good argument for keeping the housing in the Park – that works exceptionally well on the Toronto Islands where there is a healthy community that co-exists with the visitors that use the three ferry’s to get across the lakefront to the Islands.

There is an opportunity here for the city to come up with something really great – but the leadership needed doesn’t seem to exist at city hall – the residents have a tough fight on their hands.  A first read of the Beachway Report suggest there isn’t a lot of room for them to work within.  If the residents are going to succeed there is going to have to be a significant change of attitude on the part of the resident; their ‘chippyness’ does not serve them well.

More when we have read the report from cover to cover.  It is available on-line at the city’s website.  However, when you print out the report the type is far too small for a decent read.  Reading 250 pages plus on-line is a challenge

The policy review confirmed that the area is intended to be in its entirety public open space. Statements like that sort of sets the tone doesn’t it?

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Organic Farmer’s Market shifts schedule and will operate on Sunday’s – opens May 11th –

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 30th, 2013.  The Organic Farmer’s Market will open for the first time this season on May 11th and operate on Sunday’s from 9 to 12ish.

Traffic last year was decent but many people found the Friday a difficult day; people who worked weren’t able to stroll over and enjoy the setting.

Last season tables were laden with fresh vegetables, organically grown  Expect to see an even wider selection this season.

Barry Imber, the energy behind this project said “ the hope is that the hood will stroll over in the mornings and take their time to enjoy the people and the various things that local farmers have to offer.

“We will also have a few new vendors in addition to possibly a breakfast vendor and Tamp Coffee doing his specialty pour over coffee for the crowd. We’ll have the picnic benches out and will encourage everyone to chill out and take their time.

The Chef’s Shootout last year.  A light rain didn’t stop the event – the food was delicious.

Burlington Tourism is looking for ways they can get behind the project. While the market is hosted in a commercial location, in the parking lot behind Centro’s on John Street, the net result is a place for community and Imber hopes it is cherished and embraced as well as promoted to make it stronger.

The closing event last year was a great idea – A Shootout between two Chef’s from Spencer’s on the Waterfront – took place even though it was raining.  The Chef’s did a great job and the 40 or so people stood there with their umbrellas enjoying the food.

Wet but fun.  Hopefully Imber will hold at least one of these Shootouts this year.

The market is set up behind Centro’s on John Street.  Downtowners can just stroll on over and nosh.

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City council directs staff to ask all kinds of questions about rail track safety & report to the public. Good start.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 30, 2013.  Progress on getting something done with those locations where there is no barrier at all making it very easy for anyone to skip across four railway tracks.  Problem is that in the first three months of this year three people were not able to skip across quite fast enough and they were killed by a train whose path they could not get out of.

Denise Davy brought the problem to a Council committee earlier in the month and brought enough information and data with her then to convince Council to do something.  They issued a Staff Direction with seven parts to it that called for staff to:

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to consult the Minister of State (Transport) and request that:  The Railway Association of Canada and Transport Canada investigate the issues of safety and access to rail lines throughout Burlington.Report publicly the investigation and its findings; and

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to consult with Go Transit and Metrolinx on participating in the investigation through the Ministry of Transportation; and

 Direct the Director of Transportation Services to consult Police Services, Health and Public Works Departments in the Region of Halton to participate in the investigation; and

 Direct the General Manager of Development and Infrastructure to involve City of Burlington staff to assist with the above; and

 Direct the Director of Roads and Parks Maintenance to review publicly held lands that abut railway properties and take the appropriate corrective

action; and

 Direct the City Clerk to notify the Region of Halton and its lower -tier municipalities (Town of Oakville, Town of Milton, Town of Halton Hills) of the

staff direction; and

Direct the City Clerk to notify Jane McKenna, MPP-Burlington, Mike Wallace, MP-Burlington and Lisa Raitt, MP – Halton of the staff direction.

That’s a pretty impressive Staff Direction – the 18th that has been issued this year if you count those sorts of things.

With GO train traffic  to increase to 500 a month passing through Burlington by the end of June, Denise Davy feels the city doesn’t have much time to get some kind of barriers in place at those locations where people tend to scoot across the railway tracks as a short cut.

So what next?  Well there will be a meeting at city hall and then the different players in the game will be pulled together and another meeting will take place.  The public might see something come before council before the summer break in August.

Denise Davy has gotten the easy part done – now to get the wagon moving.  Polite badgering and reminding them all of the Mayor’s words when he said “If there had been three people killed on Fairview Street in the past three months we would have been all over this.

Time to do just that – get all over this and hope that there is not another trespass death before some action is taken.

 Davy is an experienced journalist and knows how to work a source – now she has to work six of them and constantly ask; what’s been done.

 It won’t be easy.

Denise Davy will have tucked herself into bed Monday night knowing that she did well by the son she had who was tragically killed in an accident on a set of railway tracks.

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So that’s what those storage units are used for – I thought you put furniture in the things.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 29, 2013.  A drug arrest leads to a firearm seizure.

The two District Strategic Support Team concluded a three-week investigation into a suspected drug trafficker operating in Oakville.  On April 26th, three males were observed engaging in a drug transaction in the parking lot of an Oakville apartment building.

 Two of the males were subsequently arrested and found to be in possession of approximately 5.5 ounces of cocaine, 69 oxycodone tablets, 4 grams of heroin and over $1,000 in Canadian currency. The third male was arrested shortly thereafter outside of his residence.

They are safe, they are dry not all that expensive either. Great place to store stuff you don’t need or don’t want other people to get at.  Most of these storage places have video surveillance – which the police will now go over with a fine tooth comb.

That’s when things got even more interesting for the police who obtained two Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrants; one warrant was executed at a residence in Oakville where a small quantity of cocaine was seized. The second warrant was executed at a storage unit in Burlington and investigators seized the following items:

 Ruger .357 caliber handgun with six rounds of ammunition

Approximately 2.5 kilograms of cocaine

7 pounds of cannabis marihuana

11.5 ounces of heroin

310 oxycodone tablets

15 grams of methamphetamine (crystal meth)

 The estimated street value of the seized drugs is $180,000. Additionally, approximately $45,000 in Canadian currency was seized.  Thy would have been wiser to have put that cash in a sock and buried it somewhere.

 Charged in relation to the investigation are:

 Adam PINKUS (22 years old) of Oakville

Possession of a Controlled Substance (cocaine)

 Kyle VANDERPLOEG (29 years old) of Oakville

Trafficking a Controlled Substance (cocaine), three counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (cocaine, oxycodone, heroin), two counts of Breach of Probation

Highrise storage lockers are safe, dry and easy to acces, Problem crops up when the police get the key.

Both PINKUS and VANDERPLOEG are scheduled to appear in Milton Court on June 4th in relation to their charges.


Aseef MUHIT (22 years old) of Oakville

Trafficking a Controlled Substance (cocaine), five counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (cocaine, marihuana, heroin, oxycodone, methamphetamine).

 MUHIT is also charged with a total of nine firearms related offences, and two counts of Breach Probation. He was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

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Artists, photogs asked to show their stuff: City wants artists, Region wants photogs Knock yourself out – give your best shot.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. April 29, 2013.  If you’ve a creative bent to you or your children are good with a set of crayons – there are two opportunities to get you name in lights and be known for being creative.

The city of Burlington wants to celebrate National Public Works Week and the Region wants to promote tourism in the Region.  Both give you an opportunity to express yourself artistically.

 The city wants you if you are a resident 18 years of age or younger to put your artistic talents to use as part of an art contest. Participants are being asked to create a piece of art that celebrates this year’s theme: Because of Public Works…

The city is looking for people under the age of 18 who want to show what Public Work’s is all about. If they know and can draw – send in your best effort.

Scott Stewart,  general manager of development and infrastructure, who couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler explains that the public works departments play an important role in the building and shaping of our communities”.  He should know – he oversees those departments.  “Recognizing public works week through the art contest and other activities helps us share with the community the important role public works functions play in running a city. Events like this also give us an opportunity to showcase the various career choices available to our youth in public works.”   It also softens up the image of the department when they fall behind on road repairs.

Entries for this contest will be accepted up to May 10, 2013.  A panel of local judges will select winners based on the relevancy to this years’ theme: Because of Public Works…, composition and creativity. Winners will be selected from three age categories: six to nine years, 10 to 13 years and 14 to 18 years of age.

 Artwork will be displayed at City Hall during Public Works Week, May 19 to 25, 2013. The winners from each category will be recognized at the City of Burlington’s National Public Works Week Touch-a-Truck event on Saturday, May 25, 2013, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

That event will be held at the city’s road and parks maintenance facility on Harvester Road. Children of all ages will have the unique opportunity to get up close and even sit in the driver’s seat of many of the city’s vehicles including a fire truck, snow plow and a hybrid aerial truck. 

Contest rules and an application form are here:    or call 905-335-7600 ext. 7770.

The Region is focusing on tourism with their contest.  They have decided that Spring starts here! And they want you to “Spring into action” with your camera and tell the Region’s story as you see it.

This contest is open to both residents and visitors – and there is a cash incentive – a chance to win a $100 Mapleview Mall gift card.

Share your favourite local spring activities in a new “Spring into Action” photo contest. Submit a photo during the month of May with your favourite spring outdoor activity or location for a chance to win a $100 Mapleview Mall gift card.

Regional chair Gary Carr calls Halton a true four season community and he wants people to share photographs of things they have done in the Region.

There might be hundreds of people submitting picture for the Regions Spring photo contest.  If there is just the one – you could win the $100 Gift Card.  Send then your best shot.

The communications people plan to use the pictures that get sent in as part of their social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to share submissions. All photographs will be judged by Halton Tourism staff on the basis of originality and seasonality.

Other prizes include copies of Halton Hikes and a Family Day Pass to Conservation Halton Parks.

Learn more about the contest, which runs May 1 to 31, here:  or dial 311, or, if you can handle ten digits give them a call at 905-825-6000, toll-free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833. These people are doing everything they can to make it easy for you to reach them.

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Burlington columnist links the Boston Bombings, Justin Trudeau and Tory attack advertisements

By Ray Z. Rivers

Ray Rivers will write weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat after which he decided to write and has become a  political animator.

BURLINGTON, ON. April 29, 2013.  ‘Root-causes’ you say?  Justin Trudeau dared to utter that phrase in his interview with Peter Mansbridge, shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings.   Trudeau was “committing sociology”, the Prime Minster accused, as if that was one of the unforgivable crimes the PM had included in the government’s new ‘safe-streets’ legislation.  

Afghan women being taught some of the basics through funding provided by the Canadian International Development Agency – getting at the root causes of political violence.

National Post right-wing columnist Barbara Kay had earlier taken her aim and fired a volley at the young leader – showing his ‘inner sophomore’, she accused.  She went on to draw a comparison to his father, when as PM he brought out the army to quell the FLQ hostage crisis of 1970.    True enough he activated the War Measures Act, but Pierre also dealt with some of the “root-causes” – the disenchantment and estrangement of Quebecers’ from their rightful role in the federation.  Lest we forget, he introduced official bilingualism, regional economic development, and the inter-provincial equalization program.

Of course Kay and Harper are playing politics, aren’t they?   Everybody knows that for every effect there is a cause…and a root-cause.  I mean why else is Canada providing social and economic aid to Afghanistan, except to remove the kind of ‘root-causes’ that contributed to 9/11, right?  Under Stephen Harper, Canada, proudly, has become one of the world’s top donors of economic development and educational assistance in Afghanistan, raising the levels of education, ensuring greater food security, and regional development of that nation, one of the world’s poorest. 

In 2011, Canada assisted over 1600 schools graduate almost 50,000 students, 85% of them girls.  And we helped Afghan small and medium businesses create over 20,000 new jobs, injecting $325 million in the national economy.  These are very impressive stats for a government that doesn’t believe in ‘committing sociology’ and in considering and reducing ‘root-causes’. 

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Provincially funded, locally trained police officers patrol city streets looking for gang activity, weapons and violent people. It works.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 29, 2013.  Policing gets tougher and tougher.  The violent criminals are still out there and so are the people who are really smart and can manipulate computers and create software that will first steal your money and then clean you out financially.

Drugs are so profitable – until you are caught, that young, poorly educated people into the business.  When you put the profits available in the drug trade together with the violent young men – there is a brew that can only explode and police officers have to deal with it.

The province has funded the training of uniformed officers who work as patrol teams and target areas identified through crime analysis, intelligence and community reports as places where violent criminals are likely to be found. The patrol teams are focused on responding to and preventing crimes related to violence, weapons and gang activity.

 The Halton PAVIS ( Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy) Patrol Team was deployed in the City of Burlington on Friday April 26th, 2013.  That evening they were patrolling and stopped a vehicle on Brant Street.

BINGO! They had one. Subsequent investigation led to the arrest of two males and the seizure of cash, scales, cell phones, other evidence of trafficking and approximately 1 ounce of cocaine.  That wasn’t very much but the scales were the telling bit of evidence.

 Charged: Diljeev RAI (32 years old) of Burlington

Possession of a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Drive While Suspended

 Charged: Yan FORTIER (37 years old)  of Burlington

Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

 Both were released for court on an undertaking.

 Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report any illegal drug, gang or gun activity at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637.



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Three Burlington railway crossing deaths in three months – 7 in the whole province. Intolerable.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 29, 2013.  It takes persistence and facts to bring about change and a city council as small as the one we have in Burlington is not always the easiest to move.

Denise Davy appeared before a council committee earlier in the month and brought to the attention of the city the number of tragic deaths along the railway lines that run through the city.

Davy, an experienced journalist was able to engage members of council and felt the city might be able to do something to prevent these needless deaths – she is back before city council this evening, Monday night,  to see if they will put something concrete in place.

While doing some additional research Davy came up with some startling data. 

There is no barrier at this location that is so well used it has a pathway for people to follow. The signage is pitiful.

Some of the deaths along the railway line are suicides – the police are sometimes not sure which are accidents and which are people deliberately trying to end their lives. 

Some people do choose to end their lives by walking in front of a train; others are looking for a short cut and they scoot across the tracks.

The commonly held view is that if a person decides they intend to commit suicide and they are prevented doing so at one location they will just find another.  That apparently is just not true.

This message is a testament to a death that did not have to take place.

Some research done on what is described as “thwarted jumpers” – people who were attempting suicide but were caught before the actually jumped.  Out of 100 people who had tried to jump less than 6% of these people tried to jump somewhere else and end their lives.  If the data is valid, and Davy isn’t a fool – she digs and does her homework – then there are very solid reasons to put up some kind of barrier along those stretches of the rail line where people can cross easily.

People feel they are safe if they look both ways, see no train coming and cross the tracks.  Councillor Dennison told council he does it all the time.  Great example there Jack – people have the view that it is safe.  The numbers tell a different story.

Davy feels the city might put up short stretches of barrier that dissuade people.  She doesn’t want a Berlin Wall or something like that atrocity the Israeli’s have strung across parts of Israel and Palestine – but a wall that is reasonably attractive, that cannot be damaged and cannot be scaled.

The cost is manageable and the benefit is significant.

For the period of January to March of this year there were 7 of what police call railway trespassing deaths.  Three of those deaths were in Burlington.

We have a problem.

We can go after the railway – in this case that would be GO transit which now owns the tracks, we can chase the federal agency that is responsible for transportation safety and we might actually achieve something – but that will take a long time – governments just work that way.

Would a sign with a HELP number make any difference to someone wanting to commit suicide?

Davy wants to put up the barriers now – even if there are just a few.  She thinks too that it might be possible to get the Kids Help Line to put up some of their signs at the crossings.

We shall see how Council chooses to handle this problem – three deaths in three months is not part of being a great city.

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Burlington tells National Energy Board that an Enbridge pipeline leak would be “catastrophic” for the city.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 29, 2013  The National Energy Board has received nearly 200 applications to participate in the hearings on the expansion and flow reversal of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline that could also be used to export diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. While most are individuals, like Burlington’s Sarah Harmer, many of the applicants are representing citizen groups, private corporations, industry groups, municipalities, or the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

A Enbridge Pipeline monitoring station on Walkers Line, between Sideroad #1 and #2 will monitor the flow of diluted bitumen of the National Energy Board approves a flow reversal application. The city of Burlington has gone on record as being opposed – call the possible consequences “catastrophic”.

The controversial process imposed by the federal Conservative government requires formal applications to participate from even those who only want to submit a letter of comment, and gives the NEB the authority to choose who will be heard and in what way. Local applicants include the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, federal NDP MPs, the Hamilton 350 Committee, the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, Burlington Green, the Burlington office of Environment Canada, and numerous individuals.

Most only intend to submit a letter to the hearings currently scheduled for late August, but others are seeking intervenor status that gives them the right to speak, cross-examine, and call witnesses and present final arguments to the NEB.

The applications from Hamilton and Burlington city councils seek only to provide written comments, but both emphasize the serious impacts of potential pipeline ruptures or leaks. Burlington notes that “a major spill of heavy crude mixed with diluents within city limits would be catastrophic”.

Several applications focus attention on Enbridge’s plans to ship diluted bitumen (dilbit) through the 38-year-old pipe and point to recent disastrous spills of this material, such as in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010 and on Good Friday in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Singer Sarah, a consistent supporter of the environment and a leader in the battle to prevent Nelson Aggregates from obtaining a permit to open a second quarry on the Escarpment has applied to appear before the National Energy Board to speak against approving the flow reversal of the Enbridge Pipeline that runs across her family’s farm.

Singer Sarah Harmer, applying for intervenor status on behalf of herself and her family, notes the Enbridge pipe traverses 400 metres of their Mt Nemo property and has been subjected to blasting effects from the Nelson quarry “at least twice weekly for the entire 38 year of its existence” that has cracked drywall, shaken windows and is “akin to an earthquake repeated a few times each week” at their home. Harmer and others were recently successful in blocking a new Nelson aggregate operation, in which she “engaged expert scientists, planners and government experts in the study of this area” over the last eight years.

There is a public event on Thursday evening at the Baltimore House, 43 King William Street, in Hamilton,  starting at 6:30 pm that will include speakers from several communities affected by Line 9 including Six Nations.

We are grateful to CATCH – Citizens at City Hall –  for the bulk of this report


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Is Burlington looking at a significantly different political hierarchy at city hall?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 28, 2013.  The earth moved; the ground shifted.  It will be awhile before we see the effect of these changes but they are significant for your city.

There is a candidate, described as credible by those who have worked with him in the venture capital markets and in the public service sphere, who has decided that he will enter the public arena and stand for election next year – 2014.

He will win the council seat he runs for and serve a term as a Council member and then, in the 2020 municipal election, he will run for Mayor – whether it is against current Mayor Rick Goldring is something that Goldring will decide, for Goldring will be returned in 2014 and find a very able new addition to a Council that has a combination of weak blood and tired blood on it now.

This candidate deciding to run will bring to an end the Mayoral aspirations of current Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who many feel has done significant damage to the economic interests of the city.

Completing the Pier this year and re-building city council next year would be quite a change.  The Pier has cost us our shirts – will a newer council bring in the kind of business the city needs to see some real growth?

One possible change to this scenario – this candidate may decide that the city cannot afford another four years of Goldring leadership and decide to run for Mayor in 2014 and take a pass on sitting as a Council member first.

One other interesting development on the electoral health of our Council members: the Roseland Community Organization is thinking of running an advertisement for someone to run in Ward 4, currently held by Jack Dennison.  His decision to push for bike lanes on Lakeshore Road was irritating to the community but it was something they believed they could defeat, which they did.

Dennison’s decision to seek a severance of his Lakeshore property was a step to far for the RCO people.  All that can do is impact on their property values and in Roseland that is a no-no.

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Spring has sprung! The grass has riz, there are kids in town in the Lemonade Biz!

 Comments from a casual observer.

BURLINGTON, ON  April 27, 2013  A real  sign of spring is kids selling lemonade and one of our readers spotted this trio out at Elizabeth Gardens where they raised $20 while he was there.

Spring has sprung!  The grass has riz, these Kids have gone into the Lemonade Biz!

The three in were doing a pretty good business Saturday selling chocolate chip cookies and lemonade. By 2:30 in the afternoon  they had made better than twenty bucks, and I had to wait my turn. Don’t know if they’re looking to audition for dragon’s den or not, but I’m sure they’ll be back soon.

As will our reader.  Does this mean Spring is truly here?

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This is what you call “opaque” as opposed to “transparent”. HRPS can do better than this.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 28, 2013.  The originator of this media release from the Halton Regional Police Service was Superintendent Signy Pittman, Professional Standards.  That’s the first clue that there is a problem.

The contact person was a  Staff Sergeant,  Peter Hodgson, 30 Division  The event took place in Burlington.

The subject line was “Collision Involving a Motorcycle: SIU Investigating

 The media release goes on to say that: “At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 27th,2013, an officer of the Halton Regional Police Service was in the area of Snake Road and Waterdown Road in Burlington.  The officer commenced an investigation of a motorcycle.  The motorcycle was involved in a collision and the driver received non-life threatening injuries.  As a result, the Ontario Special Investigations Unit is investigating.”

The release doesn’t say that the police cruiser was involved in the collision with the motorcycle.  Perhaps it should have.  Whenever a person is involved in an accident with the police the SIU – Special Investigations Unit is called in.

But this media release doesn’t say.  Transparency went out the window on this one.

 The Special Investigations Units would like any witnesses to this incident to contact them at 1-800-787-8529.

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Did we miss something? How come Joe Brant isn’t on the list? No opportunity to show our appreciation for the doctors at the hospital..

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 26, 2013.  There probably isn’t a week of the year when we aren’t celebrating something.  Every cause there is wants its fifteen minutes of fame and the doctors we rely upon to keep us healthy are no different from the Association for Unwed Mothers or the Society to Preserve the real Conservative Party in Canada.

The Region’s Physician Recruitment Initiative has asked the media to take part in the 10th annual Halton Physician Appreciation Week

Events are to be held at each of the hospitals in the Region with the Mayor of each municipality leading the parade. 

Oakville in the Physician’s Lounge  Monday April 29 – lunch at noon.  Nice touch – offer a meal and it’s surprising how many media show up – an Open Bar and you’ll have everyone who was ever given a pencil showing up.  Oakville has a really strong story to tell and with a new location under construction there isn’t going to be much negative news during that get together.

An architectural rendering of the Joseph Brant Hospital re-build. Management opted for a re-branding of the hospital for a new corporate look. when the hospital is complete it will change the way the city sees and uses Lakeshore Road; in the meantime 25% of the existing space can’t be used because the hospital says the government hasn’t given them the dollars they need,

Milton gets it call onto the stage Friday May 3 – 7:30 a.m. in the Physician’s Lounge.  They too have a story to tell with the plans for a significant addition underway.  Good news there.

Georgetown will do their thing on Wednesday May 1 – 7:30 a.m. in the Boardroom of the Georgetown Hospital.

Do you see where this is going?

A more direct view of the re-built hospital based on an architects rendering. The parking lot on the left, which will have the Family Medical Clinic on the ground floor will be the first part of a much larger plan,

Not a word about the opportunity to show our appreciation for the doctors at Joseph Brant Hospital.  How come?

Well you see – they are in the middle of a $300,000 re-branding exercise and they are struggling with the need to cut back – by as much as 25% – on the service they offer the public.  There are billboards, newspaper ads and all kinds of media presentations – but they aren’t ready yet to make themselves available for questions.

The hospital is still  smarting over the $9 million C Difficile insurance settlement that was agreed upon and they are working through the painful process of arriving at an amicable relationship with the city of Burlington who is in the process of plucking $60 million from their taxpayers pockets to pay for half of the $120 million the public has to come up with for the very significant re-build the hospital is in the process of embarking upon.

One would have hoped, and the community deserved, a public apology on the C Difficile settlement.  That matter was closed by having the insurance company write cheques.  The problem was at and with the hospital at the time and while there is a new management team in place – thy can’t just sweep this under a rug.

The first part of the re-build at Joseph Brant is a building for the Family Medical Clinic that will be an extension of the McMaster University medical operation that will be on the ground floor of the structure – with two floors of parking on top of the medical offices.  Parking has become the grandest of cash grabs for hospitals and this building is being designed to take on an additional two floors of parking. 

This is what the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital “campus” is going to look like when all the construction is completed in 2017-18 The front entrance will be oriented to the lake. That red circle on the lower right, near the number 4 will become the new entrance. There will be several entrances to the hospital. The emergency entrance will remain where it is. The Family Medicine clinic and the parking garage are at the bottom # 2 There will be a roadway through the “campus” – that’s where the number 8′s are.

The hospital in Burlington doesn’t seem prepared to let any media crawl through the place asking all kinds of embarrassing questions.  So much for appreciating the crowd over there – and so much for the physician recruitment program the Region has in place.  Oakville is going to get the best and the brightest.

Old Joe Brant must be wondering what they are doing to the land over on Lakeshore Road he was given by the British.  Fortunately there is still that Brant Trust.

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Keep your political base happy and then look for ways to bring in those undecided voters. Halton Liberals nominate Naidoo-Harris.

By James Smith

MILTON, ON. April 25, 2013.  It was one of those events that have to take place, you really don’t want to give up your TV programs but you believe in the process so you lift yourself out of your chair and head out to the “nomination meeting”.  You know beforehand that it is going to be uncontested – so why bother>

Is there an election in the air?  Might be. Has your candidate got a hope in Hades?  Actually, in Milton, Indira Naidoo-Harris, has a hope, so maybe this is an evening for me to get out and be part of the process.

The event was the Halton Provincial Liberal Association and they are a little on the pumped side.  Something in the order of 65 to 70 Liberals showed up to confirm the acceptance of the uncontested nomination by Ms Naidoo-Harris who was introduced by former Peterson era MPP and long-time resident of Milton, Walt Elliot, a very enthusiastic, energetic 80-year-old.

Eliot told the room he’s very optimistic of Ms Naidoo-Harris’ chances in the next election. Part of Walt’s optimism is based on having a returning candidate, good fundraising efforts and over 600 members in the association.

Indira Naidoo-Harris accepting the Halton Liberal nomination.  Association has 600 paid up members.

That Naidoo-Harris wasn’t all that far behind the winner last time out has to be laid beside the fact that the Liberal prior to her did better than she did.  

In 2006 there were five candidates: Ted Chudleigh got 42.58% of the vote, the Liberal candidate picked up 40.96 % That’s tight.

In 2011 Chudleigh got 44.4 % and the Liberal candidate, Indira Naidoo-Harris, got 39.1 – Chudleigh, the Progressive Conservative member had a little more room to breathe. 

Ted Chudleigh on the left has been a provincial member since 1995 – he will leave when he chooses to leave.

The Liberals feel they have more strength on the ground this time around.  Tough to go up against an established incumbent.  A lot will depend on the changes in the ethnic make-up of Milton and what the Liberals can do to get out their vote.  It would be a serious mistake to underestimate Ted Chudleigh. He hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself – except win election after election – which in that game is all that counts.  Chudleigh will leave when he is ready to leave and it won’t be because he lost the election.

In accepting the nomination, Ms Naidoo-Harris  said she looks forward to a second chance to run against Ted Chudleigh who has held the seat since 1995.  

Ms Naidoo-Harris,  who was born in apartheid  South Africa, said she was humbled by the support shown her by the people of the Halton Riding. She observed that in her many years living here, the riding has changed and the diversity of this growing community was reflected in the room. Ms Naidoo-Harris feels Halton needs a new face and  fresh ideas to speak for the needs of the people the growing Halton riding.

Ms Naidoo-Harris pointed out that without the support of the Liberal government at Queens Park and the work of Liberal MPPs like Oakville’s Kevin Flynn, who was also in attendance,   Halton would not be opening a new hospital in 2015, rebuilding Joseph Brant  and tripling in size the Hospital in Milton, set to open in 20170.  She went on to say she looks forward to working to bring funds needed to Milton to help develop a new Laurier University campus planned for Tremaine Road.

MPP Kevin Flynn, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transportation Glen Murray, brought greetings and congratulations from Premier Kathleen Wynne.  Flynn went on to say that Ms Naidoo-Harris is not only a good choice for the Liberals in Halton but that she represents a clear choice to the voters of Halton. A choice, Mr Flynn said, between someone who will work for the needs of the growing population of Halton or someone who doesn’t support the needs of the people of Halton. As an example Flynn cited the fact that Halton MPP  Ted Chudleigh  voted against both the new hospital in Oakville and the upgrades to Joseph Brant in Burlington and the upgrade to the Milton Hospital.

Flynn concluded by telling the meeting that while the NDP are at least negotiating and making an attempt to make the Ontario Legislature work, the Progressive Conservatives are simply stalling the work of the legislature.

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Halton police get to rack up another “cold case” that now proceeds to trial after police arrest and return suspect to Burlington.


Halton Regional Police advise that HRPS homicide detectives arrested the accused in Banff, Alberta and escorted Jan Goro back to Ontario.  The R.C.M.P. and O.P.P. did provide investigative assistance. There are many intricacies associated with any homicide investigation, particularly those that go unsolved for an extended period of time.  A great deal of work is still to be undertaken in this case and members of the homicide unit remain committed to securing a conviction.   

  By Pepper Parr

Burlington, on. April 24, 2013

As cold  cases go – this was pretty frigid but by keeping the file open Det/Sergeant, John Mans,  head of the homicide  with the Halton Regional Police Service was able on April 23, see the arrest of Jan GORO (66 yrs) in Banff, Alberta for the murder of Donald McAvella which took place on April 26, 1976  – 37 years ago.  Det/Sergeant was probably at police college at the time.

The lifeless body of 54-year-old Donald Ross McAvella was discovered in his Burlington apartment.  Mr. McAvella died as a result of being stabbed multiple times.

Witnesses told police they overheard an argument occurring between two individuals in McAvella’s apartment in the early hours of the morning, and following a series of screams, observed a man leaving.  Investigators believed the man who left did so in a taxi destined for Hamilton.

Numerous interviews were conducted, physical evidence was collected and analyzed, and the case remained unsolved. 


News photo published in 1976 of murdered Donald Ross McAvella.  Case solved based on December 2012 information.

In December 2012, as a result of a further review of the case and information coming to light, investigators arrested Jan GORO (66 yrs) in Banff, Alberta, on  April 23, 2013 for the murder of Donald McAvella.

GORO was escorted back to Ontario and appeared in Milton Court on April 24, 2013 facing a charge of Second Degree Murder.  This was 37 years to the day of the murder of Mr. McAvella.   GORO was remanded to this Friday, April 26 at 9:30 a.m.

D/Sergeant Mans spends the bulk of his time on Fraud – which is more than enough to keep him busy in this city.  Homicide is a rare instance but this case shows that they do eventually get their man.  

A spokesperson for the family stated they are relieved that a person has been arrested in connection with the murder

Halton police Chief Steve Tanner acknowledged the investigative assistance provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ‘K’ Division and the Ontario Provincial Police Behavioural Sciences Unit which helped lead to an arrest in this case.

If you have information that would assist in any homicide investigation you are asked to contact the Halton Regional Police Service Homicide Unit at 905 825-4747 x8760, Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS (8477), through the web at or by texting ‘Tip201’ with your message to 274637(crimes).

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Will she get an apology? Meed Ward to meet with Mayor, Clerk and City Manager about how she was shut down at Council. Fireworks?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   April 24, 2013  Four people will meet in a room sometime tomorrow.  It will probably be the Mayor’s Boardroom. They will talk about the way the Mayor and the city Clerk decided to bring a quick, abrupt almost brutal halt to the lengths of time Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward used to talk about issues that concerned her – on this occasion it was the Ghent Avenue development that was approved at the April 8th,  Council meeting.

During the debate, while Meed Ward was speaking, the Mayor nodded to the Clerk and the Clerk nodded back and then reached for a small booklet at her table.

The Mayor then turned to Meed Ward and advised her that she had run out of time and to wrap up her comments. Nothing like that has ever happened with this Council.

Meed Ward was stunned, she protested at the time but she didn’t fully understand the section of the Procedural Bylaw Manual the Mayor was using to shut her down.

Meed Ward talks – always has, always will. Was using a poorly written section of the Procedural bylaw the most effective way to teach her to talk less?

She understands that Manual now and has asked to meet with the Mayor, the Clerk and the City Manager – they will meet sometime Thursday.

Is there an issue here?

There should be.  It is really poor form for the Mayor to collude with the Clerk to limit the privileges of an elected member of Council.  While municipalities don’t have rules as complex as those in the House of Commons what the Mayor and the city Clerk did was deliberately curtail the rights of a member of council.  And that is a no, no – or should be a no, no.

What galls Meed Ward is that no one has ever spoken to her about the length of time she speaks at council meetings.  Meed Ward does speak at length – she does tend to prattle at times.  If she is taking up too much time in the opinion of council members did they not have an obligation to speak to her?  If none of them had the courage to speak to her directly could they not have written her and pointed out the provisions of the procedural by-law.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven tends to lecture when he speaks.  Does the Mayor feel he can tell Craven in a public session that is broadcast live via Cogeco Cable that he should not lecture when he comments?

At times Councillor Taylor gets really emotional over an issue.  Does the Mayor turn to the Council member and ask him to be less emotional and more rational.?

Councillor Dennison can really get into an issue and start talking about the size of the wood that is used to repair a building – and he does go on and on at times. No one has ever called him on it?

Meed Ward is not popular with her fellow council members.  She hasn’t bought into the cliquishness that becomes the way things are done on many municipal Councils.  That for the most part hasn’t bothered her.

Did city Clerk Angela Morgan think it the wise use of her office to collude with the Mayor to limit the rights of a Council member?

This piece of behaviour – it was collusion – on the part of the Mayor and the Clerk is poor form, just wrong and certainly not the way you manage a group of people who are supposed to be working for the better good of everyone in the city.

Leading a Council is not easy but that is what we elect a Mayor to do.  The meeting that should have taken place to discuss the amount of time Meed Ward talks at council meetings is now a meeting in which Meed Ward will want to know why she was treated the way she was treated and at the same time clarify the section of the by-law that was used to shut her down.

Meed Ward should be seeking a public apology from the Mayor at the city council meeting on the 29th.  Should the Mayor choose not to apologize,  Meed Ward should publicly upbraid him for his poor behaviour.

At $29.95, plus shipping, handling and applicable taxes it’s a steal. The Mayor might want to order one for his Clerk as well.

Once this matter settles itself down Mayor Goldring might order a copy of George Cuff’s book that defines what municipal governance is all about. Cuff, a management consultant delivers no-nonsense advice about the appropriate roles of council members, the head of council, and the administration, discussing:


    The art of governance

    Understanding leadership

    Council management problems

    Governance best practices

    Hallmarks of successful elected officials

Using some of his expense allowance for this book will give the Mayor better value than he got from his purchase of the Lance Secretan book; that one led to a dream that died.

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