It took less than five minutes to decide we wanted to become a disaster – so much for being # 1 mid-size city in Canada.

By Pepper Parr


January 14, 2014

It took city council less than five minutes to decide they wanted to be seen as a disaster area.  There was the possibility of some provincial funding coming to the city and for a couple of thousand dollars – maybe more – the city seemed prepared to take a pass on being the best mid-sized city in the country and become as disaster area along with the rest of Halton.

The provincial government set a ridiculously short deadline to get forms in stating that the Region wanted in on the province’s Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).

Does this quality as a disaster and will it get the city some provincial relief money?

In order to apply for the assistance the municipality must adopt a resolution requesting that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing declare a disaster area within 14 working days of the onset of the disaster. If two or more municipalities have been affected by the same natural disaster and wish to access the public component of ODRAP, the council of each municipality affected by the event must adopt a council resolution requesting a declaration of a disaster area. The Minister may declare one disaster area to cover all the affected municipalities. The Region will be the lead on this with all four municipalities being part of the request.

Burlington did a quickie, stopped what they were doing as a Standing Committee and met as a Council to pass the motion the Region needed to send on to the province. 

The storm produced freezing rain, ice pellets and wind resulting in wide-spread power outages due to downed power lines from fallen trees and tree limbs. The area of north Burlington was particularly hard hit.  Approximately 7,500 Burlington Hydro customers were impacted by outages.

The provincial legislation allows for disaster relief for both the public and private sectors which the city thought it would get in on – but a closer look at the fine print and the city decided to take care of themselves and let private people look to their insurance companies for financial relief.

The application for Disaster Relief funds will be for the city only. 

As of January 8, 2014, expenses incurred are approximately $1.1 million. That number got boosted to $1.6 million by the 145th. The clean-up and repairs could take months to complete and debris clean-up is expected to extend into the Spring.

One wonders if the cheque from the province will have arrived by then.  There is talk of a provincial election in May – and there is nothing as nice money coming in from the province to make us all feel warm and fuzzy and decide that perhaps the government isn’t that bad after all.

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What is the first clue that the email shown below is an attempt to steal your identity?

By Staff


January 14, 2014

Identity theft is a BIG business, and a rather successful one for some people as well.  This message came floating in earlier today.  What are the clues?

Well, first the receiver of the email is not an Apple product user, second look at the email address it was sent from and then note the date at the bottom of the email.

Look at the language – there is no way Apple is going to let a message that poorly crafted get sent out.

If you use Apple products you might have thought this was a legitimate message. It isn’t – phony as a three dollar bill.

The full message reads:

This is an automatic message by the system to let you know that you
have to confirm your Apple ID account information within 48 hours.
Your account has been frozen temporarily if order to protect it.

The account will continue to be frozen until it is approved And Validate
you account information. Once you have updated your account records
, your information will be confirmed and your account will start
to work as normal once again.

This will help protect you in the future. The process does not take more than 5 minutes.

To proceed to confirm your account information Click here

Copyright © 2013 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.

If you click there you are in the process of telling thieves, probably in Nigeria,  more about you than they should know.

If the message doesn’t make sense to you – delete it.


Identity theft is a BIG business – the purpose of which is to steal your money.

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BAC holds 35th annual art auction: An original Bateman work on the list.

By Pepper Parr


January 14th, 2014

More than one hundred works of art and fine craft by Canadian artists will be up for auction at the Burlington Art Centre on February 7. The event is a fundraiser for the Art Centre that gives anyone with a ticket an opportunity to be the highest bidder on original artwork and take home a new treasure.

The Burlington Art Centre wants you to imagine what an original piece of art would look like in your home.

A total of 600 artists were invited to submit recent works for the auction, including internationally acclaimed wildlife artists Robert Bateman – who has agreed to put up an original work – and Chris Bacon, noted Japanese dollmaker Komiko Koyanagi, Hamilton ceramist Reid Flock. Juried artwork from both emerging and well-established artists adds further depth to the exceptional selection. There is something for everyone on this special evening.

Auctioneer Nello Romagnoli brings a light and entertaining touch to the auction welcoming bids from both novice and experienced art buyers and collectors.

Live and silent auction previews will take place at the BAC, 1333 Lakeshore Road, on February 5 and 6, 11 am – 9 pm, February 7, 11 am – 5pm. The previews are free and open to everyone interested in deciding in advance the artworks they want to bid on during the auction.

Every art collector starts somewhere. They tend to grow!

New this year is a Free Pre-Auction `How to Start a Collection` Seminars led by Denis Longchamps, Director of Programs and Jonathan Smith, Permanent Collection Curator.  They take place Wednesday January 29th: 7 p.m. and Thursday February 6th: 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The actual auction is a ticketed event: BAC Member $35.  Non-Member $40 and $45 at the door.  Advanced bids and telephone bidding are welcome, but must be arranged ahead of time by calling 905-632-7796, ext. 302. 

Previews: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 11:00 am  – 9:00pm, Thursday, Feb. 6, 11am – 9:00 pm Friday, Feb 7, 11 am – 5pm There is no charge for the Auction previews

Friday, February 7th Doors Open 6 pm.  Catered Reception through to 8:00 pm.  Silent Auction closes at 8 :00pm.  Live Auction starts at 8:30 pm

Your ticket includes:

•             Opportunity to attend a free How to Start a Collection seminar

•             Fete of Local Food and Wine Tasting Reception

•             Entry to the Art Auction and Previews

•             Full-colour Catalogue

•             Bid Number

Visit the BAC website for additional details or call 905-632-7796 x326

If all your questions have not been answered pop a note along to Kim Varian.

The Burlington Art Centre has celebrated its 35th Anniversary.  Formed by groups of artists who are now resident at the Art Centre as Guilds the operation is now part of the city of Burlington’s cultural offering.  The Centre is open seven days a week and has an Art Etc shop that has an amazing variety of arts and crafts items on sale.  The Art Centre has one of the largest collections of ceramics in North America and is sought out by ceramic artists frequently.

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Mt nemo plateau could become a Heritage Conservation District. Ramifications for some property owners would be significant.

By Pepper Parr


January 13, 2014

There they were, all seven of them, smiling and apparently happy to be back at their desks after a rather protracted holiday absence.  Your city council was in session as a Standing Committee

And they were busy little beavers as well.

City council wants to seriously consider turning the Mt.Nemo Plateau into a Heritage Conservation District. Further study was approved at a Standing Committee earlier today.

More detail will follow but the city is taking a hard serious look at creating a Heritage Conservation District on property north of Dundas, west of Walkers Line to the municipal border and north to Britannia Road.

A total of $50,000 has been spent on a report that sets out the cultural heritage of that part of the city and the reasons why this part of the city should be considered as a Heritage Conservation District.

The first thing that happens when this is approved – and it look as if it will be – it got through the Standing Committee unanimously – is the implementation of an Interim Bylaw that would freeze all development while the matter is studied.   That is a huge step.

More on this one later in the week.

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You want to start a personal art collection and are not sure how to start? Free seminar at the BAC.

By Pepper Parr


January 13th, 2014

Is art collecting just for those with bags of money?  If it’s for the rest of us – where do you start?  How do you find out how to start?

The Burlington Art Centre (BAC) holds an annual Art Auction where some pretty impressive names appear on the list of items being auctioned.  This year Robert Bateman is doing a piece especially for the Auction.  He is a little out of my league but at what point does one include a Bateman – even if it is just a print in their collection?

This year the BAC is putting on two Pre-Auction Seminars on How to Start a Collection.

Don Graves, a Burlington artist in the process of selling a piece of his art to a young woman who was on the Art in Action Tour and wanted to begin her personal art collection. She bought the painting.

One will be led by Denis Longchamps, Director of Programs who will tell you about the first piece of art he bought, which he still has.  Denis will also tell you that while he is no longer all that fond about the piece, he kept it because it was the first piece he bought.

Jonathan Smith, Permanent Collection Curator will talk about collecting ceramics.  Not nearly enough people know about the very impressive collection of ceramics Burlington has; one of the very best in North America and considered the best in its field.

The Seminars take place on Wednesday January 29th: 7 p.m. and Thursday February 6th: at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

For those who attend this event you will have the pleasure of hearing both Smith and Longchamps who will each speak for 15 to 20 minutes on their individual areas of expertise and then open things up for questions and answers.

In the world of art there is no such things as a dumb question.  So don’t feel you have to know a lot to attend – this event is for those who don’t know all that much and want to know more.  And you are not likely to find two people more than capable of telling you how to get started.

To register call the Burlington Art Centre ; 905-332- 7796 Ext 326  Leave a call back number – they may want to talk to you.

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When you know what the rules are, it is a lot easier to play the game. Air Park situation takes on a different look.

By Pepper Parr


January 12, 2014.

The legal tussle over what can be done at the Burlington Executive Air Park is one of a number of “issues” the city’s Solicitor has to deal with.  The argument with the owners of the Air Park hinges on whether or not they have to comply with municipal by laws.  City says they must, Air Park says they are federally regulated and they don’t have to concern themselves with the city’s rules.

The Air Park got away with those arguments for a number of years, as far back as 2006 when Vince Rossi took over the operation and brought some pretty big ideas to the table.

Vince Rossi, president of the Burlington Executive Air PArk and believed to be the sole shareholder of the private company, met with north Burlington residents. He took all the comments made “under advisement”..

No one questioned Rossi’s argument – everyone seemed to take it as face value – for which there should be red marks placed on their copy books.

It was when Vanessa Warren, chair of the newly formed Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition  delegated to the city and the Regional Council that people at the political level began to ask serious questions.

Whenever there is a political issue the bureaucrats at every level perk up and pay attention.

General manager Infrastructure and Development, Scott Stewart, the man holding the Air Park file, has been trying to get some traction with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) over the matter of the landfill that has been dumped at the Air Park site and testing for just what is in the ground up there.  Vanessa Warren called the place an “unlicensed land fill” – the city wants to know what that landfill is made up of and the impact it might have on the ground water.

It has been an uphill climb for the city but they are now meeting with the MOE person who wrote the regulations which Stewart says is very useful.  “We want to know more about the Ministry’s intent when they wrote the regulations” said Stewart.

That culvert is leaching out water from a 30 foot pile of land fill which no one can say with much certainty where it came from. Property owners in north Burlington draw their water from wells.

What the city needs is a more cooperative relationship from the province on the fill that is on the property and the impact it may have on ground water.  It also wants a better working relationship with the federal department of transport who regulate airports.

A recently released  Advisory Circular from the federal transportation department appears to suggest that they are beginning to realize that municipalities do have a place at the table and that their bylaws need to be obeyed.

The document sets out for federal bureaucrats what means what and who the players are and something on their role.  It suggests municipal governments have a role to play on what happens at an Air Park as long as they don’t intrude on the actual landing and taking off of an aircraft.

Some of that language used in the Advisory is interesting and very relevant to Burlington and the situation it finds itself in.  While the document is lengthy – the complete document location is shown below, there are several sections that are very relevant.

This stuff is as dry as toast - if you’re a bear for punishment – read on.“There has been considerable discussion on the definition of an “aerodrome” and the application of federal, provincial and municipal laws at aerodromes. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for TC officials and others on land use issues and jurisdictional matters surrounding aerodromes.

“This document applies to Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) personnel, delegates, the aviation industry, provincial and municipal authorities and the public.

 It is intended that the following reference materials be used in conjunction with this document:

    • (a) Aeronautics Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-2);
    • (b) Part III, Subpart I of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) — Aerodromes;
    • (c) Part III, Subpart II of the CARs — Airports; and
    • (d) Part III, Subpart V of the CARs – Heliports.

Definitions and Abbreviations

The following definitions are used in this document:

(a) “Aerodrome” means any area of land, water (including the frozen surface thereof) or other supporting surface used, designed, prepared, equipped or set apart for use either in whole or in part for the arrival, departure, movement or servicing of aircraft and includes any buildings, installations and equipment situated thereon or associated therewith.

(b) “Airport” means an aerodrome in respect of which a Canadian aviation document is in force;

(c) “Certified

The owner of a property on Appleby Line stands at her property line. Plans submitted to the Region at one point had a large helicopter pad sitting atop the 30 foot pile of earth. The owner of the property on which the heliport was to be built claimed he did not have to get site plan approval from Burlington. A Judge disagreed with him. That decision is being appealed.

Aerodrome” for the purpose of this document, means airport, heliport or water airport; and

(d) “Heliport” means an aerodrome in respect of which a heliport certificate


(1) Under Canada’s Constitution, the federal government has jurisdiction over aeronautics, including aerodromes. This is expressed through the Aeronautics Act. Transport Canada’s role as regulator is to verify that aerodrome operators comply with the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). The CARs pertaining to aerodromes are focused on aviation safety. The federal government is not involved in private property issues.

(2) The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) distinguish among three types of aerodromes:

(a) Certified Aerodromes: (airports and heliports) are those with scheduled service or which are located within built-up areas or are certified in the public interest.

(b) Those that are registered – those aerodromes that are published in the CFS or WAS where information, such as, location, physical characteristics, specific approaches, services, etc. is provided; and

(c) Those aerodromes which are neither certified nor registered.

It is construction like this, being done without city site plan approval that has Burlington involved in what will probably prove to be a protracted court case.

(3) Recently the Department has been dealing with issues surrounding the development of aerodromes and aerodrome operators/developers expressing the belief that the Aeronautics Act makes compliance with provincial legislation and municipal by-laws unnecessary. Questions have arisen respecting the use of contaminated fill, paint fumes, the improper disposal of solvents and paints in local drainage system, the building of hangars, etc. and the application of provincial and municipal laws to these activities.

(4) It has consistently been the Department’s position, which has been supported by jurisprudence, that activities and structures at an aerodrome that are integral to aviation cannot be impaired by provincial or municipal laws. In circumstances other than these, valid provincial, municipal or territorial law may apply to an undertaking or activity that is conducted or occurs at an aerodrome or to a structure that is built at an aerodrome.

(5) Two recent decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada (Lacombe and COPA) confirm and clarify the federal jurisdiction over aeronautics.

(6) These decisions do not change the way the Department regulates aerodromes, nor do they require Transport Canada employees to give advice to air operators regarding the implications of the cases, or the application of provincial or municipal bylaws in the context of an aerodrome operation. The decisions do not preclude the application of a valid provincial, municipal or territorial law. The Aeronautics Act does not grant immunity to an aerodrome operator/developer from compliance with all other valid applicable provincial legislation or municipal bylaws.

(7) There was another decision handed down in May 2011 in the Ontario Provincial Court concerning a proposed aerodrome in the Township of Scugog. This decision was a prime example of how provincial or municipal laws could apply to activities at an aerodrome. In the Scugog case, an aerodrome operator used a substantial amount of landfill to construct a runway. The township issued a revocation order and a stop work order with respect to the fill activity. In this case, the town’s by-laws were found to be valid and applicable to an aerodrome. Transport Canada’s position with respect to the applicability of provincial or municipal laws has been consistent with the Scugog decision in that the jurisdiction of the federal government over aerodromes and their operation does not necessarily exclude the application of provincial or municipal laws.

(8) For those structures or activities that are determined not to be integral to aviation, it is expected that the proponent of an aerodrome comply with all applicable provincial legislation and municipal by-laws. It is expected that the proponent comply with all applicable federal legislation regardless of whether or not structures or activities are integral to aviation.

(9) Standards Branch has developed a document providing guidance on the definition of an “aerodrome”.


(1) Certified Aerodromes: Specific regulatory provisions which apply to aerodromes include CAR 302 for airports and CAR 305 for heliports.

(a) Meeting technical standards that include physical characteristics, obstacle limitation surfaces and visual aids for navigation, to name a few.

(b) Additional considerations dealing with wildlife management, rescue fire fighting, emergency planning and security, airside vehicle operations and safety management systems.

Regulatory requirements for those aerodromes that are not certified include CAR 301, and;

(a) The Minister may refuse to register an aerodrome where the operator of an aerodrome does not meet the requirements of sections 301.05 to 301.09 or where using the aerodrome is likely to be hazardous to aviation safety. In such a case, the Minister will not publish information with respect to that aerodrome and the aerodrome will not be registered.


  • (1) The Department recommends that an aerodrome operator/developer consult with local land use authorities prior to establishing an aerodrome and seek the necessary legal advice on compliance with the applicable laws. Any question, concerns or clarification respecting the application of law, division of powers, or jurisdictional issues should be directed to a lawyer.

Had this document been available to the bureaucrats at both the Regional and city levels there is reason to believe that the court case the city is involved in would not be on the Court Calendar.

The wheels of justice grind slowly – but they do move.

Background links:

Court find city site plan by law is valid.

Landfill dumping comes to a halt.

Who knew what when.

It all started last June.

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Local Aldershot lad wants to make good by getting a seat on city council.

By Pepper Parr


January 12, 2014

“When people use the services we offer – they are buying me” is the way Jason Boelhouwer explains the franchise business he operates, which is the providing of services to people who need help taking care of themselves.

And Boelhouwer wants the people of Aldershot to buy him in the 2014 municipal election because he thinks it’s time for a change.  The incumbent has been in place since 2000 and, Boelhouwer, a believer in term limits, would like to see current Councillor Rick Craven step aside.

Jayson Boelhouwer wants to represent Aldershot at city council. He thinks its time for a change.

Boelhouwer has been involved in Aldershot civic affairs for some time.  He sits on the Plains Road Village Vision, right beside Craven; sits on the Aldershot Business Improvement Area, along with Craven.

Boelhouwer maintains that he had a chat with Rick Craven back in 2010 and let him know then that he was interested in running for the seat at some point.  Boelhouwer says Craven led him to believe that the 2010 term might be his last. “I talked with him again about 18 months ago and began to realize that he might well run again so I decided 2014 was going to be the year I ran for the council seat” said Boelhouwer.

Councillor Craven commented at one time to this reporter that taking a run for the office of Mayor was not out of the question.  Given that he has yet to file his nomination papers – we may see a race for the job of Mayor but it isn’t something I would count on.

The old Mercedes-Benz site was developed into a small housing project. Councillor Craven supported this kind of growth. Boelhouwer doesn’t have a strong position on development other than wanting enough people to draw a supermarket to the west end of the ward.

Jason Boelhouwer is Aldershot born and bred.  He brings all the strengths and weakness a small town produces in a personality. High school was in Aldershot followed by the earning of a degree at Brock University in St. Catharines.

Boelhouwer would not do all that much canvassing door to door. “You spend three hours covering a street and you get to talk to maybe 30 people, that’s not very effective” said Boelhouwer.

He isn’t all that keen on lawn signs either – doesn’t think how a person is going to vote is anyone’s business.   Boelhouwer would choose to put really large signs at major intersections where there is a lot of traffic and speaks the way only someone who knows everyone can speak.  My friend at – and names an intersection – will put up a big sign for me.  He believes as well that having a small sign in the windows of commercial establishments will do the trick.

Will Pluckers become campaign central for Jason Boelhouwer? He kind of likes the fireplace inside.

Boelhouwer plans to sit in front of the fire-place at Pluckers on Plains Road and let people know he is there ready to talk to them.  Id he picks up the bat tab for those that drop by – he will do well.  Otherwise B will not come before C in the final vote count.

Boelhouwer will tell you that there are seven hair dressers in Aldershot but no LCBO or supermarket in the west end of the ward.  The supermarket he understands is because there isn’t the population needed to justify that kind of investment by one of the chains but Boelhouwer points out there has been significant growth in Aldershot population – but he doesn’t speak as if he expects a supermarket in the near future.

Local politics are about pot holes and swimming pools and keeping the roads plowed.  Boelhouwer complains about the parking laybys that don’t get the snow cleared out of them making it difficult for people to park in front of the library for example.

Boelhouwer wants to see a Seniors’ Centre in Aldershot. “Oakville” he explains “has three locations for seniors but Burlington has just the one” and that is too tightly controlled for Boelhouwer’s  liking.

Aldershot really doesn’t have all that much in the way of destinations – there is IKEA at the east end and the RBG at the west end – other than that it’s Tim Hortons if you want to get together with people.

Planters along Plains Road have given what used to be a provincial highway a much more suburban look. Hasn’t slowed traffic down enough for most people – except for those who drive through the community.

Don’t talk to Boelhouwer about traffic – its bumper to bumper starting at about 3:30 he will tell you and they want to cut the west end of Plains Road down to just two lanes – ridiculous from Boelhouwer point of view.

Boelhouwer will give Craven credit for what he has done.  He has achieved what he set out to do – the Waterdown Road ramp to the 403 is in place and the King Road grade separation is done. Boelhouwer   sits on the BIA board and thinks Craven has far too much influence on the job that Bob Meehan does as Executive Director of the association and adds that it was the same with the previous occupant of the job.

Boelhouwer isn’t a fan of the Performing Arts Centre, he wouldn’t have approved the pier.  He did serve on the Museum Board for a period of time.  While Boelhouwer has toured the Performing Arts Centre he has not attended an event.

Earlier in life Jason Boelhouwer played soccer; today that sport is now one he coaches.  Jason and his wife have two children, a daughter in first year at Carleton University in Ottawa and a son at Assumption High in Aldershot.  His wife teaches at the same high school.

So what does he want to see Aldershot grow into?  That’s not entirely clear.  He doesn’t want to see five and six storey buildings going up along Planes Road that come right out to the edge of the sidewalk.  He wants to see more localized transit for people.  He would like to see a Seniors Centre added to the Arena and changes made to the transit service so that they could get to the location. Boelhouwer still calls the place the Kiwanis rink.

Boelhouwer believes he can build his name recognition.  His wife teaches at Assumption, he attended Holy Rosary.  His Mother was once a columnist for the Gazette when it was a print publication.  His is a strong parish member and an active participant in the Men’s club there.

While Boelhouwer  will tell you he does not have an identifiable political affiliation – all his advisers are Tory’s which may be more a reflection of Aldershot than Jason Boelhouwer.

More candidate than Craven could manage? Sandra Pupatello on a trip through town looking for local support for her Liberal leadership bid. Craven was prepared to let the party romance him.

Craven is a known active Liberal, who has toyed with the idea of running against Jane McKenna – he thoroughly trounced her when she took a run at municipal politics in 2010.

Boelhouwer expects it will be difficult to reach the under 40 voters. “They are a disparate group and they are very busy people.  He hopes he can catch some of them at Fortino’s in the east end and at the Aldershot Go station as well.

Boelhouwer comes across as a likeable guy.  Folksy, friendly very much a part of his community.  He isn’t going to set the world on fire, there is no burning objective, there is no “plan”.  What he does want to make very clear is that he isn’t a copy of Rick Craven.

We look forward to what he has to say during the campaign.

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Poor cousins get hand me down service from the city. Beachway residents complain of lousy service.

By Pepper Parr


January 12, 2014

It was always a poor cousin part of town.  Young people were told by their parents that nice people didn’t spend much time in the Beachway part of town.

The railway line ran yards away from hundreds of homes at one point; the beaches were often packed with close to a thousand people.  There are many that remember and celebrate the vivid sense of community that was once the Beachway – but that was a long time ago.

Today it is a bit of a backwater that the city is waiting to see totally changed and turned into some kind of a park – with no clear picture as to what kind of park they really want.

Burlington has always been a little at odds with the Beachway – the sewage treatment plant is in the middle of the community which doesn’t do much for the optics of that part of town – who wants to live next door to one of those.

The 30 homes in that part of town are in a kind of limbo – or real estate hell, while they wait for the Region and the city to figure out what they want to do.  That decision won’t be seen until April of 2015.  In the meantime all the people in that community know is that they won’t be expropriated and they aren’t going to get the services other parts of the city get.

Flooding along Lakeshore Road in the Beachway Park – home to some 30 residents. Poor ditch maintenance prevents the water from clearing.  View is from the front seat of a car.

The warm weather is melting the heavy snow we had at a very rapid pace.  People have been asked to ensure that the catch basins are cleared so that water can run into the sewer system.

There are no sewers along the part of Lakeshore Road that runs through the Beachway Park.  The ditches that would normally carry the water away tend to fill up with sand that gets blown in from the lake just yards away.

And the city doesn’t spend much time taking care of those ditches – the result is large pools of water on the roadways with what the local people call very poor signage warning people of the danger.

Poor cousins indeed.

The people living in the Beachway are loathe to call their council member – they just want to see him booted out of office.  So when there is a problem they turn to either the Mayor or Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who always comes to their aid. Mayor Goldring tends not to involve himself in ward matters preferring to leave it to the council member.

The people in the Beachway are not shy about voicing their views: “Beach residents have repeatedly and publically mentioned the ditches need to be dug down because the wind blows the sand off the beach which fills up the ditches and the water has nowhere to go. City staff have been present at many meetings – obviously, this has also fallen on their deaf ears.  It’s an easy fix” according to the residents.

Meed Ward agreed with the residents and in an email to that community said: “Very treacherous, thanks for sending. By copy of this email, I will ask our city staff to check when Lakeshore Road in this area is on the list for reconstruction and proper storm water management.”  Meed Ward and Craven don’t exactly have  a working relationship.  Her answering calls from the Beachway community will drive Craven bananas.

A major upgrade to the water sewage treatment plan has heavy trucks using the Beachway Park portion of LAkeshore Road.  Residents shouldn’t expect to see that road rebuilt for some time.  However the ditches could be serviced to allow flood water to flow.

The city isn’t going to do very much on that part of Lakeshore Road – heavy trucks use the road daily while the hospital is being rebuilt and the sewage treatment plant continues with its major upgrade.

Extreme flooding as ice melts due to lack of road/ditch maintenance, very poor signage creating an extremely dangerous situation and fatal accident waiting to happen claim the residents.  Immediate action is required.

With this much noise – something will be done.  The residents shouldn’t have had to make any noise at all.  The Beachway is a part of the city where taxes are levied and collected – and where services should be delivered.


Meed Ward Craven relationship.

Fate of the Beachway community.

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Getting the horses into the gate is taking some time; starting buzzer doesn’t go off until September. Lots of time?

By Pepper Parr


January 11, 2014

Getting the horses into the gate is taking a bit of time.  The Usual Suspects are not rushing to actually commit – other than the Mayor, none of the incumbents has marched down to the Clerk’s office to file nomination papers.

Is this a picture we are going to see frequently> Will there be a change in the name on the name plate at city council?

There is clearly a race in ward 1 where two candidates have filed their papers; they now wait for the incumbent Rick Craven to file his papers.  One total newcomer, Katherine Henshell and a solid Aldershot resident, Jason Boelhouwer, who thinks it is time for a change, have filed their papers.

Often, whenever ward 1 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward appears at events with the Mayor she sounds more “mayoral” than the man who wears the chain of office.

Ward 2 might be very quiet election night – there is every chance that incumbent Marianne Meed Ward will be acclaimed unless the hurt feelings within the developer community are big enough to have them find a name that can be printed on the ballot to run against Meed Ward.

It will be something to see Meed Ward sit out a campaign – she lives for the game, loves the play and the interaction.  A side-lined Marianne Meed Ward is not a pretty picture.  Trust her to find a way to insert herself into the election even if she is acclaimed; she could well use 2014 to begin her 2018 race for the office of Mayor.

That kind of thing happened in ward 1 when Jane McKenna took the bait an unhappy property owner put out and ran against Craven – only to be severely trounced.  However, that did give her a bit of a profile and she took the bait a second time when Keith Strong came calling with the Tory nomination in his hand.  This second run had a well-oiled machine behind McKenna and got her into office.  It will take more than a well-oiled machine to keep her there come the next provincial election.

John Taylor, Dean of city Council clearly doesn’t believe in term limits.

Ward 3 could be a cake walk for John Taylor – his profile is so high that it will take an exceptional candidate to overcome his name recognition.  While Taylor has served the people north of the 407 well, he isn’t one of them and you have to live on one of those side roads to fully understand what rural life is.

For reasons this writer doesn’t understand the rural community has not been able to find one of their own to represent them.  Ward 6, which has a large swath of land within its boundaries, is also represented by someone who lives in the suburban part of the city.  Burlington’s city council, and the Regional Council as well, desperately needs someone who can speak for the rural folk and represent their interest and life style.

Ward 4 will offer the most interesting race.  The incumbent is in trouble but he is redoubtable and is superb at the June to September campaign he runs where he cycles through every street in the ward which runs from Upper Middle Road, Appleby Line, Guelph Line down to the lake,  and pours on his charm and bats the baby blues.  They have worked for Jack Dennison in a number of his initiatives in his life.  Don’t count him out.

Brian Heagle – seen as a candidate for Ward 4. It is not the dog that wants your vote – could it it beat Brian were it to run?

Brian Heagle will run again.  Burlington will not be any better off should he win – and he did get within striking distance last time out.  They were separated by 1184 votes with Dennison getting 5292.  Had he worked a bit harder he could have taken the brass ring – but that’s the problem.  Heagle doesn’t do the hard work – and changing his political stripes hasn’t helped him

AND, there is a dark horse out there, thinking it over and taking his time while he decides if elected office is a next step in An already successful career.  If this horse is in the race don’t be totally surprised if you find him and Jack Dennison at your doorstep.  It is not unusual for an incumbent to decide it is time to leave and do so on the highest note possible.  Giving your blessing to a high quality candidate who could well go on to become Mayor in 2018 would add a little lustre to a damaged image in the ward.  It might even get Dennison into the Roseland Community Organization.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Ward 5 looks as if it is going to produce a flock of candidates.  There will be at least three in the race this time with a couple of other potentials mulling it over.  There were 9 candidates in 2006 and 7 in 2010.  Incumbent Paul Sharman has his work cut out for him.  If he can convince his community he has picked up some people skills and can deliver a bit more than parking spaces on the street and make a sound contribution during the budget debates and not throw everything off track the way he did with his 0% increase in the 2011 debates, he might prevail.  The ward has a history of putting forward a number of candidates that often turns into a crap shoot with the tumbling of the dice rather than a clear decisive vote count determining who wins.

Ward 6 – another part of the city with significant rural geography but not all that much in the way of population north of 407, has an incumbent who needs to change the image that has emerged.  The former Beauty Queen image doesn’t track anymore outside the die-hard Tory base.

Is north Burlington ever going to get the kind of representation it needs and deserves? It is going to be up to that community to find a local candidate that can draw support from the people south of 407 down to Upper Middle Road. Sarah Harmer – where are you when we really need you?

If a solid candidate emerges Blair Lancaster could be in serious trouble.  There is however an opportunity for her to show that she is indeed much more than a pretty face with a pleasant smile.  Serving as chair of the Development and Infrastructure Standing Committee  gives Lancaster an opportunity to show she does have “cajones” and can deliver on the level ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven does as a committee chair.  Only time will tell if she can pull it off.  She does have the city’s best General Manager in place to guide and support her. If she does make it happen – there will be no stopping her.  A strong performance as chair is essential for her to stay alive politically.

The race for the Chain of Office worn by Mayors is totally unknown.  Mayor Goldring has filed his papers but other than that there is no sign or sense that he has done anything which kind of reflects his first term as Mayor.  We would really like to see a better Mayor Goldring and believe it is in there – somewhere – it’s just not visible – yet.


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Film fest to showcase short pieces by 12 directors; is Burlington about to become Hollywood north?

By Staff


January 11, 2014

If the idea of short, short films – some not much longer than a television commercial, appeals to you Burlington’s first ever Short Film Festival might interest you.

The list of films, there are 12 of them being screened in a two sessions schedule on the same evening.

The evening, Friday January 17th ,  begins with a 6:00 pm reception at the Burlington Art Centre.  

Session 1 is made up of six films which run from as short as 4 minutes to 16 minutes.

The line up is:

Promise – 8 minutes:  Longing to be reunited with her dead husband a grieving widow visits his grave for one last goodbye when a phone call changes her life. Directed by Collin Chan & Johnny Chocolate

Wanderlust – 4.5 minutes: A young boy searches near and far for his purpose. Directed by Mike Martins

Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay will present her 11 minute short film on the a day in a record store.

Allusion – 11 minutes:  So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately that Alice had begun to think that things indeed were really impossible. “Allusion” is the story of a day in the life of a girl who works in a record store and the odd people who visit during the day. Directed by: Vanessa Crosbie Ramsay

New Domain – 11 minutes: A commentary on Generation Y relationships online.  Directed by Andre Rehal

Wade’s World – 16 minutes: Wade faces the long awaited trials and tribulations of being an imaginary friend when his best friend, 29 year old Dan, falls in love. It ain’t easy being imaginary. – Directed by Matthew Yipchuck

Kids Town (Episode 5) – 12 minutes:  12-year-old Brian Russell is the new kid in town, again. As he navigates another set of unwritten rules of the school yard Brian finds himself tangled in the strings of small town politics when he clashes heads with the Mayor’s son, the local press owners youngest, and the Librarian’s pretty daughter. A family series as much for adults as their children, KID’S TOWN is about young love, friendship, small town civics, power struggles and the universal need to figure out one’s place in the world. – Directed by Mikelle Virey

The organizers scheduled the program to allow for  break; a chance to mingle with people, meet some of the directors and decide which films should be award winners.

Session 2 opens with Tasha and Friends – 15 minutes:  Local children’s show host, Tasha, decides to shut the show down. Her puppet co-stars, however, want to shut her down…permanently.  Directed by Greg Kovacs

Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi director of For Clearer Skies.

For Clearer Skies – 7 minutes:  A man struggles to decide whether or not to pursue survival as his race nears extinction. Directed by Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi

One More For the Road  17 minutes: A married couple go on a road trip to rekindle their marriage, leading to disastrous results. Directed by Navin Ramaswaran

4 – 11 minutes:  Four alternative versions of one young man deal with various conflicts in their everyday life – all involve confronting someone about something that has been taken from him. Directed by Mike Chantaj, Sydney Cowper, RJ Kemp and Cameron Veitch

Yeah Rite – 6 minutes:  An atheist and a blind priest perform their first exorcism. – Directed by Michael Penney

Shhh – 12 minutes: Shhh is a fantasy/horror short tale about a young boy, Guillermo, who uses his imagination to overcome his bully: a hair-eating monster. Tired of being scared, Guillermo eventually takes matters into his own hands. It’s only then that we realize the monster might not be as fictitious as one may have thought. Directed by Freddy Chavez Olmos, Shervin Shoghian

The Burlington Short Film Festival plans to pay the directors for their participation.

The Short Film festival organizers have committed to having every film producer getting paid and will announce the awards at the end of the program – then it is a short walk along Lakeshore to SB Prime (on Elgin across from the Queen’s Head) for the after performance party.  A media release from Tottering Biped, part of the organizing group, said: “In a move that is a departure from major international Festivals such as TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) where no fees are allocated to the films, the Tottering Biped Film Festival will be compensating Artists for their work.

Will the organizers of the event come up with a party that compares with what takes place at Cannes or Toronto’s TIFF?  One never knows.  A year ago even the idea of a film festival in Burlington would have been resulted in polite snickers but Burlington is changing and we are seeing a much different cultural community that wants to be recognized and at the table where cultural policy is determined.

A great party might be just the thing to make an impression.

Tickets, which include the pre-screening reception and after party, are available either in person at the Burlington Art Centre (905) 632-7796 or via paypal

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No one it Ottawa seems to know where the “buck” stops: they do in other city’s.

January 10, 2014


By Ray Rivers

The dealer in a wild-west game of poker was  selected by the position of a buckhorn handled knife rotating in clockwise fashion after each hand.  If a player didn’t want the responsibility of dealing, he’d pass the buck to the next player.  Former US President Truman was given a sign to that effect, which he placed prominently on his desk.  The buck stops here – meaning: responsibility will not be passed beyond this point.

Former US President Harry Truman made sure everyone knew where the buck stopped.

New Jersey Republican governor Christie is in the news.  One of his staff had shut down a couple of  lanes of traffic on a very busy bridge linking his state with New York.  This was purely a political action aimed at punishing the mayor of a town at the base of the bridge, a democrat, who refused to endorse Christie.  So Christie, a 2016 presidential hopeful, trumpeted that the buck stopped with him then passed it on, denying any responsibility for what his office had done, blaming his senior staff and then firing them.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?  Stephen Harper claims he was unaware that his Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was trying to influence the outcome of an audit into the expense claims of Senator Mike Duffy.  Harper the micro-manager, who once told Parliament that he had personally reviewed and accepted the expense claims of Senator Pamela Wallin, orchestrated her and Duffy’s removal from the upper chamber for exactly that reason, both of whom had been his personal appointees.  He then fired his chief of staff for trying to keep Duffy quiet and announced the matter closed.

 In 2008, 23 people died and 57 others were sickened from eating listeria contaminated cold cuts prepared by Maple Leaf Foods.  CEO Michael McCain was praised for his handling of the aftermath of this catastrophe.  Maple Leaf is a huge company and this was clearly a mistake, an oversight, by plant staff and the inspectors.  But 23 people died and he is still CEO.  The federal agency responsible for food safety, CFIA, and its minister had commended McCain on his deportment during the crisis but shrugged-off any responsibility on their part – they just passed the buck to the plant operators. 

Hogs slaughtered and ready for butchering.

Perhaps that lack of accountability helps to explain why some four years later CFIA inspectors turned a blind eye at Alberta’s XL Meats.  This plant which processes 35% of Canada’s beef had a deregulated inspection system but the company’s own inspectors ignored the deadly e-coli bacteria contaminating the meat tenderizing machines.  Fortunately only 18 unwary customers were poisoned by the e-coli bacteria.  In a system without consequences why expect things to change?

It was also e-coli bacteria in the water supply, which had killed 7 people and sickened half of Walkerton’s 5000 residents in 2000.  The town’s water plant operators received criminal penalties, but the Mayor and his council committee just passed the buck.  And the Harris government also passed the buck after having deregulated provincial water testing without considering ways of preventing this kind of incident.

And on the topic of deregulation, the disaster at Lac-Mégantic last year involved a shifty railroad entrepreneur, given a special exemption by the feds to run his train with only one operator.   Unsurprisingly, the workload was too much for a single operator who didn’t or couldn’t set all of the train’s brakes, allowing the train to escape and destroy the downtown, killing just under 50 people. 

The federal transportation safety agency is trying to shift the blame for this incident to other factors, which they should have known about – the explosive trend of moving petroleum by rail, and the documented inferior tank car design being used.  This week there was another fiery train derailment, in New Brunswick.  Oil shipments by rail in Canada have leapt from 529 cars in 2005 to 160,000 cars in 2013, but the number of dangerous goods inspectors has remained relatively constant.  The ratio of inspectors to oil carloads over the period has crashed from 1:14 to 1:4000.  Is there any wonder we are seeing this?

China experienced a tragic health event in 2008 when its state-owned Sanlu Group poured melamine (a product associated with kitchen counters) into infant formula to artificially raise protein levels while they watered down milk in the product.  After several babies died and hundreds of thousands were sickened (imported pet food in North America was also affected), Chinese authorities beheaded those who had engineered the deadly plot and imprisoned the milk company CEO for life.

China takes responsibility seriously although the buck did stop short of the communist party.  Beheading is not yet a part of Mr Harper’s tough-on-crime policy and in any case we need to observe that higher law – you know, the one in the scene from the Mikado – let the punishment fit the crime.  So life imprisonment and beheading are out of the question even if you chose your senators poorly and are a control freak. 

Under Mr. Harper’s crime legislation there is a mandatory six month prison term for anyone cultivating as few as six marijuana plants in their backyard.  Yet, I have never heard of anyone dying from smoking pot, not even Rob Ford.  So what about some time in the ‘big house’ for those whose crimes really kill, like e-coli, listeria and flaming trains.

British Columbia’s fragile aquatic environment could be at risk.

Who will be passed the buck when the first tanker full of Northern Gateway dirty oil hits a reef in the fragile aquatic environment of B.C.’s coast – a project exempted by Harper from proper environmental assessment?  Who will the buck be passed to when the federal government finally admits Canada will never meet any of Harper’s international commitments on global climate change – but will, instead, further increase our emissions, contribute to climate change and more of the unpredictable weather events we saw in 2013.

Perhaps our federal leaders misread Truman’s famous phrase, thinking he was referring to a dollar bill –  even though those don’t exist here anymore.  And the US sawbuck (ten dollars) is crashing over our own ten dollar bill as our exchange rate keeps deteriorating.  That has got to be hurting snow birds looking for that much-needed southern break each year. 

It is little comfort to know that your government will not increase your taxes when all your other costs rise instead.  Canada has always been a trading nation but why have we decided to start trading our living standards down to third world standards.  And who will take responsibility for the failed and divisive economic policies that are leading us to this economic state – a government fixated on tar sands oil development at the expense of economic development in the rest of the country, or even Alberta.  It’ll be somebody else’s fault I’m sure.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Background links:

The Buck Stops Here   Chris Christie   Maple Leaf Foods   XL Meats   XL Meats 2

Melamine in China   Lac Megantic  Punishment Fit the Crime


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Rising temperatures and rain = flooding. Keep kids away from fast flowing creeks and clear the catch basins.

By Staff


January 10th, 2013

You do know that all that snow is going to melt at some point.

The weather people are forecasting higher temperatures and some rain – and that will certainly flush out that snow.

There is a catch basin under there – ice needs to be cleared away so that water can flow.

The water will quickly work itself into the streams that run south from the Escarpment through to Lake Ontario – and that water can run pretty swiftly when there is enough of it.

The predicted above zero temperatures along with approximately 10 to 15mm of rainfall for today and tomorrow is going to mean a lot more water in the creeks.  The Conservation Authority is expecting some blockages at bridges and culverts that could result in localized flooding concerns.

Widespread flooding is not currently anticipated. The reservoirs are holding at winter levels which allow for larger storage capacity for circumstances of this nature. 

Families are asked to ensure that children stay away from watercourses, bridges, culverts 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 further messages as necessary.

Catch basins – those places where water flows through to get to the sewer system.  Vital that you clear them.  Ice buildup impedes the flow of water.  Get out there with a shovel – a spade works well in getting through that ice – and clear the entrance to the catch basins.

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Collard wants another chance, Carr wants his third go at it and Simpson likes the look of Ward 5. All ramping up for the October election.

By Pepper Parr


January 10th, 2014

Amy Collard – running again as School Board trustee in ward 5.

Amy Collard, the Public school Board trustee for ward 5 is in for another four year run. She filed her nomination papers yesterday as did Gary Carr who thinks he can keep himself sharp for another four years. Given that Carr was acclaimed last time out and there doesn’t appear to be a bright star on the Regional horizon – although we did hear a politically connected type wonder if aloud if the Region was a possible target for Burlington’s ward 6 council member.  The glow is thought to be wearing off the tiara in Burlington but in a new market – one never knows.

Ian Simpson has thrown his hat into the ward 5 contest, a Burlington ward that tends to produce three, four and sometimes five candidates each election.  Mayor Rick Goldring comes out of that ward 5 cauldron.

None of the city council members have filed their papers yet but all, except for Jack Dennison, have said they intend to run.  We will keep you posted.

Amy Collard was acclaimed in ward 5 in 2010 and proved to be an eager little beaver as she learned the ropes and grew to the point where she served as the chair of the board of trustees last year.  However, her performance as chair of the Board of Education was not seen by her peers as strong enough fr her to get a second year as chair.

Carr has worked at two things in his life: hockey and politics.  His hockey career was limited to the minor leagues and farm teams for some impressive hockey organizations (Boston Bruins and Les Nordiques).

Current Regional Chair Gary Carr as a goal tender.

As a professional hockey player he played at Michigan State on a hockey scholarship and then returned to play for the Toronto Marlboros. He was the All Star goalie on the Memorial Cup Champion Marlboros in 1975.

Drafted by the Boston Bruins, Carr played 4 years in their farm system in the International and American Hockey Leagues. He then signed as a free agent with the Quebec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche), where he played 2 more years in the American Hockey League.

Carr has a certificate in Business Administration from Ryerson University as well as an advanced graduate diploma in management from Athabasca in 1999. He also has received his MBA from Athabasca University in 2002.

There comes a time in the world of sports when the body just can’t do it anymore.  Gary Carr turned to politics where he has served at the federal, provincial and Regional levels of government.

Carr served in the provincial legislature – Queen’s Park – where he was first elected in 1990 as the Member for Oakville South. He was re-elected in 1995 and again in 1999 to represent the new riding of Oakville. He served as Deputy House Leader, Parliamentary Assistant to the Solicitor General as well as serving on the Finance and Economic, Justice, and Public Accounts Committees.

Gary Carr served as Speaker of the Provincial Legislature during the Mike Harris government.  He frequently ruled against the government.

In October 1999 Mr. Carr was elected speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and held that position until November 2003.  Carr decided to quit politics and take up an opportunity to coach hockey in the United Kingdom.  The hockey gig didn’t pan out but Carr had made some decisions that were seen as an attack against the Progressive Conservative government – so the game at Queen’s Park came to an end.

Having burned his Conservative bridges Carr got himself elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal for Halton in 2004 and was defeated for that seat in 2006 when the Liberal party was decimated federally.

He then ran as Chair for the Region of Halton, was in 2006, was elected  and then acclaimed in 2010.  The filing of nomination papers earlier this week has Carr going for a third term.

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Burlington artists have some of their work added to the province’s permanent collection.

By Staff


January 8, 2014

The Ontario Archives has purchased two more pieces of artwork from the Burlington Art Centre Art Sales and Rental collection.

Claudette Losier’s  “Night Vision” has been purchased by the province as part of its permanent collection.

The work purchased this time was by Marc L. Gagnon and Claudette Losier.   Ms Losier recently won a  prestigious award.

Marc L. Gagnon did “Horizons” which is also now part of the provinces permanent collection.

This is the second occasion for such a purchase.  The Ontario Archives has built a state of the art facility to temporarily house the artworks before they begin their journey to municipal offices throughout Ontario.

The artists are paid 55% of the selling price, BAC gets 45%. Net revenue goes to the BAC, to help support programs and services.

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Major drug bust in Oakville – Burlington media invited to tag along.

By Staff


January 8, 2014

They are selling the stuff legally in Colorado where a member of their Legislature sent an email to her supporters Monday night with glowing praise for her state’s recreational marijuana sales, which began New Year’s Day.

“It was a big week in Colorado,” the legislator wrote. “Across the state, recreational marijuana was sold for the first time. And guess what? The world didn’t end.”

But in Burlington – raiding residences and seizing every ounce possible is the name of the game.

If the laws of supply and demand applies to the drug trade – prices for marijuana should rise.  Maybe they are like gas prices where the supply is manipulated.

The police wanted the public to be fully aware of what they are doing and invited media to tag along on the raid that took place.  Very early this morning members of the Integrated Drug, Gun and Gang Unit executed three Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrants within apartments situated at 41 Speers Road, Oakville.

 Police located three highly sophisticated cannabis marihuana grow operations in each apartment. It is believe that all three locations are associated to one another and operated by the same suspect(s). Upon entry, police seized 1605 marihuana plants in various stages of growth and over 30 pounds of dried cannabis marihuana.

 This investigation is currently ongoing and police are seeking the public assistance to identify the persons responsible. Police have information regarding one suspect who is described as an Asian female in her middle thirties.

 Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web  or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Great idea – the new deadline will give people a decent chance to participate in September.

  The deadline for this event has been moved to February 15th         

By Pepper Parr


January 8th, 2014

While it is one of the tightest deadlines we have ever seen, a week to pull together pictures of your work, write a statement setting out what you do and add a resume as well – BUT the event is certainly worthwhile.

The Burlington Art Centre (BAC) , the Region’s Newcomer Strategy and the Multicultural Council have combined their efforts to create an event that will focus on the contribution newcomers to Burlington can make to the arts and culture of the city.

If you know anyone who is new to the community and the surrounding region – let them know about this event.  As newcomers – they probably won’t know much about local media.  Perhaps they are your new neighbours.  Clue them in

Great idea – the execution is just poorly done.

Having gotten that off our chests – here is the event: An International Art & Craft Festival that  will take place on Saturday September 6, 2014 to Sunday September 7, 2014 at the Burlington Arts Centre.

It has been planned as a weekend of arts, crafts and multicultural performances.  The BAC would like to invite musicians, dancers and performers who are newcomers to the region to submit a proposal to take part in the festival. Each performer or group will be allotted 10-20 minutes to perform a show based on their own culture of origin.

Performers should submit the following as part of their proposal:

A list of 2-5 links to videos of your performances posted online.

A copy of your resume including a list of your performance experiences.

A one page performer’s statement describing your performance and how it represents your culture of origin.

All submissions will be reviewed by a jury for selection.

The deadline for submitting proposals is January 15, 2014. Proposals are to be emailed to: Denis Longchamps, Director of Programs  He can be reached at (905) 632-7796 ext. 303.  

Along with performers the Festival wants to hear from artists and craft makers who are newcomers to the region.  Submit a proposal to take part in the festival.  The theme for the Arts and Crafts part of the Festival is Sharing.

Get your material into the same people.

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Budget time: Can the city stick to its 10% promise or will the tax hit over the four year term rise to 14+%?

By Pepper Parr


January 8, 2014

The city will get its first peak at the budget for 2014 next week when a Budget Overview is given to the Community and Corporate Services Committee.

Burlington has revised its Standing Committee, renamed them and set up a schedule that allows for meetings during the day and in the evening when it is easier for the public to attend.  So far however, there don’t appear to be all that many evening sessions.

Citizens diligently reviewing the city budget. Do these public events ever result in any change or are they just a one way flow of information: From them to you.

The public will get a chance to get an up close and personal look at the budget document on Wednesday, January 29th when there will be a Community Meeting and Workshop on the budget at the Shoreline Room at the Burlington Art Centre.  7:00 to 9:00pm – no open bar.

 These public meetings have always taken place “downtown” partly because there wasn’t a decent location north of the QEW.  With the opening of the Alton Campus there is no excuse for not holding a second meeting in that part of the city.  Attendance will be small but once people in the northern part of the city are told, in a meaningful way that they matter – the public will turn out.  And the city will get a point of view they don’t get south of the QEW.

Senior staff facilitate the budget discussions – dies what they hear get any further than the flip chart?  And will the city hold public meetings on the Alton Campus?

Burlington’s budget is broken into two parts: Capital expenses, things like road work, underpass construction (We won’t see any grade separation work done this year – Mainway and Burloak won’t be done this time around) and the maintaining of the infrastructure we have.

The city administration expects to get the Capital Budget & Forecast review covered and approved in a single session that will take place Tuesday February 11th in Council Chambers starting at 9:30 am.  It will then go to Council for a formal vote.

Part two of the city budget – they call it the Current Budget – will be open for delegations on Thursday February 13th before the  Community & Corporate Services Committee in the Council Chambers at 9:30 am. 

Why this session is not being held during an evening session is very difficult to understand.  If the city wants to encourage delegations – truth be told they don’t want to have to listen to a couple of dozen people taking their ten minutes at the podium and giving their opinions.  This is how democracy works in Burlington – it is a recent change and not a healthy one.  In 1947 Winston Churchill remarked in the British House of Commons that:  Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  We paid a very high price for the democracy we have – let us not piss it away.

Council expects to approve the 2014 Capital Budget & Forecast in the Council Chamber during an evening session on February 18th, when delegations can take place.  But, because this is a Council meeting, delegations are limited to five minutes and, as the chairs of the Standing Committees always point out – the “heavy  lifting” gets done at the Standing Committee level.

The Current budget, which will be quite controversial this time out will get debated in Council chambers by the Budget & Corporate Services Committee on the following dates: Thursday, February 20, Tuesday, March 4 and Thursday, March 6 (if required).  All of these meetings are at city hall starting at 9:30 am.

Budget will go to Council for approval on March 17.  Tax bills in the mail a few days later.After all that “heavy lifting” at the Standing Committees the budget will go to Council for approval on March 17th.  That event will be an evening meeting.

During January Council members will have copies of the budget which they will review and advise the Clerks office of any items in the budget they wish to discuss in-depth.  Each Council member fills in a form, the forms get put into a single pile and the Clerk’s office organizes everything so that Council can see which councillors want to debate which budget item.

In the past the city has held what they called a “budget bazaar” that had senior city staff gathering in a room, with each department at a different table so that Council members could go from table to table and discuss in detail a budget concern.

There are significant Current Budget concerns that will have to be addressed in the coming months.  Based on the remarks made by the city manager in December it became evident that the city would not succeed in sticking to the promise to hold increase at not more than 10% during the term of office.  Few Council members spoke of 10% as a target – except for the Mayor and he may have to live with that prediction.

Fielding, in his comments suggested that it was more likely to come in at 14%+ over the ten years.  That is something Council will decide as it moves forward.  The budget recommendations come from the desk of the city manager ever since he took that file from General Manager Kim Phillips.

Jeff Fielding did make it clear as well that 2014 is a transition year for the way the city develops its budget.  He has brought in an impressive bunch of financial management tools that include Results Based Accountability, Business Process Management and Service Based Budgeting.  These tools will result in a move away from the “silo” approach the city has worked with ; one that has each department working its territory when many of the services delivered involve several departments.An impressive bunch of financial management tools that include Results Based Accountability, Business Process Management and Service Based Budgeting

So – for 2014 the question is – will Council manage to stick with the 10% and trample a couple of planned changes – culture could be the place where the pinch gets felt; they want to add an additional full-time employee.  What gets thrown under the bus?  Has transit taken all the pounding it can handle?

Perhaps there is an opportunity to suck out a bigger dividend from Burlington Hydro.  The ice storm may have eaten up any spare cash they happened to have in the kitty.

There is of course a bunch of “reserve” funds – piggy banks with money set aside for a rainy day.  And an election year is seen as a rainy day.

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Performing Arts Centre going through a quiet evolution that has much more small group involvement that most people realized.

By Pepper Parr


January 8, 2014

Brian McCurdy has a big job ahead of him for 2014 – and that is dispelling a bunch of myths that have grown up around the Performing Arts Centre.

The public talks about the budget problems, they talk about the acts that come to the city with little understanding or appreciation for how the entertainment business operates.  Burlington is a small market that is not high on the list of prime venues for the groups that put together a tour across the province or the country.  The Copps Coliseum fits into that category – Burlington has to fit in with a bigger picture.

More than 165 non-profit groups use the space. The first myth he wants to dispel is that non-profit groups are not using the Performing Arts Centre. “We have had more than 165 non-profit groups use the space.  Their use doesn’t appear on the Centre’s web site so people don’t see the activity and other than the people involved and attending – most people don’t know what takes place.

The Centre wasn’t telling its story and if you don’t blow your own horn – no one gets to hear your music.

The Centre recently held a Poetry Slam which was certainly new to this city.  Later this month there will be a short film festival.  Unfortunately with just 12 days before the event no one has learned what the film offerings are going to be.

You could probably get space at the Performing Arts Centre on a Monday or a Tuesday evening – other than that the place is pretty heavily booked.  Turning a profit?  Not yet – it wasn’t supposed to.

McCurdy, who brought years of experience with him to Burlington when he drove up the 401 from Kingston, has a sense of the dynamics he has to work with and has settled into his new gig.

He has a consultant working up some data that will get shaped into a Strategic Plan.  Brian Arnott, a cultural consultant who was in town doing some work for the Burlington Arts Centre (BAC),  stayed a little longer and did a number of one-on-one interviews with people to get a sense as to what the community wanted and didn’t want and what the issues were when it came to the Performing Arts Centre and culture and the city.

McCurdy arrived in Burlington at a point in time when the cultural community began to show itself.  One of the first inklings that they even existed was when Trevor Copp delegated to city council and said he resented having to drive into Toronto to practice his craft and make a living.  He wanted to see a change.

At about the same time the city was  getting the early draft of the Cultural Discussion report Jeremy Freiburger had put together.

Angela Papariza, started work with the city as a Parks and Recreation Planner bur has been shifted to a Cultural Planner; part of the city’s plan to create more cultural presence at city hall.  Trevor Copp, on the right, shook up city hall when he told council he wanted to be able to ply his trade in Burlington and went on to be part of creating the Arts and Culture Collective that lobbys at city hall.

Copp was not prepared to stop with a delegation to council.  He, along with others, called a meeting and invited every arts person they could think of – 20+ people showed up.  That resulted in a second meeting that brought 125 people to a meeting and Burlington’s Arts and Culture Collective was born and the city began to hear from a focused voice.

As the city moved from the report Freiburger had prepared into the creation of a Cultural Action Plan the Collective improved its organization and pushed to get a seat at the table where the decisions were being made.

The city is now working up a Cultural Action implementation plan that will be part of the 2014 budget deliberations and there is now representation from the artists.

McCurdy has three small white boards on his office wall that set out what’s coming to town and there aren’t a lot of open spaces.  You can book a Monday or a Tuesday but there isn’t much more than that available stretching into 2015 – which is the point where McCurdy thinks he might be able to get by on a little less than the more than THE  $500,000 subsidy that comes from the taxpayers.

Brian McCurdy is kind of pleased with the bookings he has for the Centre.

What the public is seeing under McCurdy’s had is much more community use of the space.  Last week the first ever Ontario wide Poetry Slam took place at the Performing Arts Centre.  Except for a very small, select group of people, Burlingtonians didn’t even know what A Poetry Slam was.

Next week a free dance workshop will take place at the Centre.  Nova Bhattacharya will use lecture and demonstration to take participants on a journey through dance from the classical Indian style and demonstrate how it has evolved into contemporary dance with a South Asian sensibility.

Later the same day she will be offering a 90 minute master class to those interested in learning the basics of bharatanatyam.  That’s another cultural phrase that hasn’t exactly rung in the ears of the city’s cultural community.

The basics of bharatanatyam will be taught at the Performing Arts Centre.

The dance class is part of the Performing Arts Centre’s outreach is funded by an Ontario Arts Council grant and delivered by the  KooGle Theatre Company.

The Performing Arts Centre went through a bit of a bumpy start.  The Theatre Burlington Board which provides oversight of the Centre beefed up its membership and added some needed talent; they actually have a working musician on the board – in the past that board has been made up of people with a financial background. The Board along with some senior staff have taken part in two retreats where they looked at everything.

The Centre did part ways with the first Executive Director and brought in Brian McCurdy.  If the funding plans that are being worked over at city hall actually get through city council, 2014 could prove to be an interesting year for culture in this city.

However, Brian McCurdy is not depending on the city to keep his growth plans alive.  He intends to develop a membership program that will be part fund-raiser and part developing the depth of the cultural community in the city.  Membership will include priority seating, a pre-purchase program and opportunities to meet some of the performing artists in a social setting.

McCurdy has some thoughts on corporate sponsorship as well.  His management style is quiet, he develops relationships over time so don’t expect much in the way of flash from this guy.  Do expect significant solid ideas and plans he actually delivers on.


BPAC board gets beefed up.

It was certainly a different program: Ten Rooms.

Artists showing at the Seaton Gallery

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Incidence of flu high in Quebec, Alberta and BC – the stuff travels – still time to get a free flu shot.

By Staff


January 8th, 2014

The Province, the Region, the city and even the local drug store – all want you to get your flu shot – and do it now.  While the incidence of flu in Ontario is not high – it is surprisingly high in Alberta and British Columbia, and the stuff travels.

The flu shot is free – and it doesn’t hurt THAT much.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King, is reminding Ontarians to protect themselves from influenza by getting the flu shot.  She stresses the importance of getting immunized – particularly with an increased proportion of laboratory confirmed cases of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus in the province and across the country this year.

This strain of influenza affects people of all ages, but children under five and those age 20 to 64 years old appear to be most susceptible.  To date, children under five appear to be most at risk of hospitalization.  Deaths have been reported in adults and the elderly.

The flu vaccine is safe and the best way to keep you and the people around you healthy during the flu season.

The Region announced today that that the last two regularly scheduled influenza (flu) immunization clinics will be held on Wednesday, January 8 and Wednesday January 15, both from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the auditorium at the Halton Regional Centre in Oakville.

The H1N1 influenza virus is currently circulating in Halton and this strain of virus is included in this season’s vaccine. It is not too late to get your flu shot to protect yourself and to prevent spreading the virus. Residents can still get their flu immunization from many pharmacies, clinics and doctors’ offices.

The free flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and is also available for those five and older through specially trained pharmacists at close to 2,000 pharmacies across Ontario – three times as many pharmacies as last year.  Rexall pharmacies in Burlington offer the service as well as others.

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Burlington is about to get its day in the sunshine. When the daffodils burst into bloom – our guys will head to Toronto to tell our story.

By Pepper Parr


January 8, 2014

The people who believe they matter in this city are going to travel to Queen’s Park and tell the Burlington story to just about anyone who will listen.  They plan to do this “ in the Spring”.

The Mayor will lead the parade.  Perhaps they will form a “congo line” from Union Station and dance up University Avenue and into the Legislature – they will travel by GO train won’t they?  As for the rest of the people on that GO train city hall is “still finalizing but there will be Council and senior management team representatives.

Is this team of stellar player travelling into the big smoke to ask for money?  The Mayors Chief of Staff advises “There will be an ask for support but this would include a combination of things. Anything specific we asked: “There will be multi prong objectives to the meetings”.  And if you have figured out what that means – tell us, because we don’t see any information in the statement.

Is Burlington the Rodney Dangerfield of Ontario municipalities – continually looking for suspect?

Burlington is sort of like the Rodney Dangerfield of smaller Ontario communities.  Tucked in between rough, tough, gritty Hamilton and snooty Oakville, Burlington continues to boast about its splendid waterfront (which it is prepared to sell a portion of, if the price is right, or you can scare city council with a law suit – but I digress) and the Escarpment that a lot of people want to drive a road through.

How does a city go about changing the way it is perceived?  City hall thinks our story should be taken to Queen’s Park where they can talk to the people who make things happen in the province and see how they feel about the development charges we have raked in.

Or we could tell them about how we managed to put up a pier that was to cost something in the $6 million range but got ramped up to $14 million and we still have a court case to settle.

Not exactly growth is it. Burlington tax revenue from the Commercial sector is falling and there are no clear signs that it will improve in the very near future.  Revenue has to come from somewhere – residents are an obvious source.

Burlington wants to tell its story – but no one is quite sure just what that story is.  If there is a vision – it’s tough to see it – unless you are looking at all the “happy talk” that comes out of city hall.  Try this for size: “Burlington is widely recognized as a great Canadian city. Not only do 95 per cent of Burlington residents rate their quality of life as excellent or good, but MoneySense magazine has named Burlington the best mid-sized city in Canada and the third best city of any size for 2013.”

The sources of tax revenue.  The yellow and the blue columns have to be grown – no one is sure just how he city is going to do that.

But how do we stay great? , the city asks. In the future, the challenge will be to maintain service levels and high quality of life without significant tax increases. We need to do this in the context of more modest growth, which means we must be proactive in planning and developing resources, especially our land base.

All too true but we have at least one land holder who refuses to work with the city to develop in a moderate intelligent manner.  Paletta International wants to convert lands currently zoned as employment lands into residential where the return on the investment is much more attractive.

There is another developer who has come up with a unique, interesting – even intriguing approach to development that doesn’t follow the traditional pattern.  Evergreen has been sitting on a piece of property at the intersection of Dundas and Tremaine Road for more than ten years that stretches all the way to Hwy 407.  This development has gotten stuck in that quagmire that includes differences of opinion between the Regional Official Plan, Burlington Official plan and the plans that Oakville has – the property sits on the border of the two communities – and Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

“We need to transition: says city hall “from an expanding suburban community to one that “grows in place,” finding new and innovative ways to grow revenues – especially the assessment base – in sustainable ways that recognize the challenges posed by growth limitations.”

That “grows in place” phrase is one you are going to read a lot about in the next few years.  It needs a little more drill down to be fully understood.

“Burlington needs to sustain its revenue base, while maintaining the service levels and quality of life residents have come to enjoy and expect.”

City of Burlington is going to take its story to Queen’s Park in the Spring

To capture some of those challenges, the city has created The Burlington Story. It tells the story of where we’ve been, where we are today and where we’re going.  Watch for Mayor Goldring to grab this story and use it to as one of the major planks of his re-election platform.  That assumes of course that the Mayor will be challenged in his decision to get re-elected next October.

Is the “Burlington Story” the revised version of the Mayor’s vision?

Residents of the city will get their first look at just where our Mayor wants to go when he delivers his State of the City address  January 23, 2014.  The event is hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce.

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