Mayor leaves money on the table, spends just over half of his allowance.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, on March 23, 2012  – Now this is the way to run a government.

Frugal - is that what previous Mayor's would call him?


When you are spending public money – tell the public what you spent it on.   Mayor Rick Goldring released his use of the $32,000 budget he is allocated.  He spent 54% of what was available to him, leaving $14,777.62 sitting on the table.  The real sharpies in this town will now expect the Mayor to pick up the lunch tab given that he appears to be rather frugal.

Every Council member should post their figures – each is given $9,000 to spend.  We look forward to seeing those numbers.  Full details here.

Is not spending the funds made available to him a good thing?  Are there things he should be doing with those funds?


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This is one OMB hearing that isn`t going to be “dry and technical”. Prepare for some community theatre.


By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON March 23, 2012   It has the potential to be one of those David and Goliath things – the little guy going up against the big developer who hides behind numbered corporations with lawyers galore involved.

Richard Szymczyk, a Queensway community resident fought along with his neighbours for a different kind of development in his community.  A developer bought up six properties that had small tidy bungalows on lots that were half an acre in size.  He asked the city for a zoning change to permit the building of  a total of 78 townhouses on the assembled land.  There were public meetings, community input, reports from the Planning Department – all the usual stuff surrounding a change in a community.

One of six houses that have been demolished to make way for a 54 unit townhouse development the community is opposed to. Community appeals city zoning decision to the OMB.

The city eventually settled on 54 units and thought the matter was a done deal.  So did the developer – but that`s when Richard Szymczyk said “not so fast” and appealed the city`s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Few people were even aware that the Queensway community existed before the development application came before city Council.  Then when the Bridge over the CN railway tracks that defines the southern edge of the community had to be closed because it was deemed unsafe everyone in the city knew about the place and the city was certainly paying more attention as well.  They have decided to spend close to $400,000 to do a five year patch on the bridge and have made a mental note that sometime after that five year period they are going to have to come up with something in the order of $3 million to either put up a new bridge or tunnel under the railway tracks – but that is in the far off future and that kind of thinking and headache gets left to the city treasurer who has to find the money to pay for these things.

Community residents have held up the construction of these homes as they fight a city decision to change the zoning on six properties.

Right now the city, through the OMB, is going to have to deal with Szymczyk  who is getting ready to put on his armour and do battle with AMR Homes,  known as 1066834 Ontario Limited which seems to be attached to another numbered company that starts with the numbers 938

Szymczyk felt the rezoning was a mistake primarily because of the significant increase in density and the total lack of compatibility with the rest of the community to which Szymczyk  added traffic safety issues.

The planner who represented the developer argued that the development fit in very nicely with the provinces Places to Grow policy that requires Burlington to come up with a significant number of new housing units.  At the time several members of city council was just getting a handle on their jobs and appeared to take the view that growth was required and the Queensway community was as good a place as any to plunk down some townhouses.  The location was very close to the GO station which would give people access to good transit – heck they wouldn’t need a second car in this location.

The arguments for the development and the arguments for cutting it down to size or getting rid of it all together get made before the OMB hearing on April 18th – 10 am in Room 247 at city hall.  The Queensway community is fresh from winning the fight to have their bridge repaired.  They had eight people delegate at a council committee which included young girls reading poetry and very upset young mothers taking several council members to task over their attitude and comments.

The OMB hearing might find itself facing a handful of angry residents.  If it were a weekend or evening event they would pack the room for sure.  What the “guys on the other side” have failed to adequately contend with is Szymczyk  himself.  He was at one point in his career secretary to John Boich when he was with the school board and any one who could work for Boich and last more than a year is someone to be respected and in some circles feared.

Szymczyk  was a school principal and taught at the Fishers Corners School that once served the community but was declared surplus and then torn down to make way for a widened QEW.

Szymczyk  has the capacity to be very, very direct.  Along with his issues with the planning “mistakes” he wants to know why he got telephone calls from someone in the developers office. Szymczyk takes privacy very seriously and getting his personal telephone number is harder than pulling teeth from a hen. Szymczyk  is convinced someone at city hall, he suspects it was within the Planning Department, gave the developer his phone number.

This school was built in 1872 to replace the original log school built in 1835 on one acre of Peter Fisher's farm.The first school, at the corner of Guelph Line and the Middle Road (now the QEW), had been called Fishers Corners School. This more architecturally elegant school was named the Grove Academy, in honour of the bush surrounding it, but continued to be called Fishers Corners. It burned down in March 1924 on a Tuesday afternoon when, owing to the teacher's illness, the school was closed.A third school was built in 1925 and served the area until the QEW overpass was built. Glenwood Public School replaced it in 1946.

The lawyers for the developer asked the OMB to cancel the hearing because, they claimed, Szymczyk no longer lived in the community and therefore had no interest in the matter.  Szymczyk  responds rather haughtily that where he lives is nobody`s business and that he has a right to appeal a city decision if he thinks the change in zoning was a mistake.  Trying to catch Szymczyk  on a technicality is probably a mistake.

It should be quite a hearing.  It certainly won`t be the typical dry, drawn out event – those who are in the room can expect some good theatre.   Szymczyk’s witness list will prove to be interesting.   And someone in the city’s Clerks office should begin preparing an answer for the question: Who gave out Richard  Szymczyk’s  telephone number and why was it given out?






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Transit Advisory committee needs to know what`s going on within transit before it can advise anyone.

By Pepper Parr


BURLINGTON, ON  March 22, 2012  A little dis-jointed would be stretching the way the meeting went.  Out of the loop for the most part would be another observation of the Burlington Transit Advisory Committee.  They were apparently unaware that the city`s budget committee had actively debated a fare increase but that the motion had not passed.  They just don’t know what is happening at the Council level to whom they are supposed to be advisers.

Lots of talent at the BTAC meeting; Eric Pilon, on the left, former Director of Transit for Oakville has worked with Burlington's Mike Spicer who is heading up the public participation part of the Master Transit Plan.

Mike Spicer, Transit Manager for Burlington Transit sits in on BTAC meetings and  commented that “Transit very much wanted a committee like BTAC in place to give us feedback”, however the committee’s role is not to provide feedback to the transit people but to advise city council on transit matter.  This Committee seems to have lost touch with its mandate and doesn’t appear to have any sense of “Mission`.  They don’t seem to know what they are supposed to do or even how to do their job.

The mandate is pretty clear and its set out on part of the city`s web site.

Provide input to Council and staff on initiatives and strategies affecting public transportation services ….

Review the city`s Accessibility Plan on an Annual basis …

Encourage and establish partnerships that assist with improving accessible transit service and decreasing gaps in service with agencies such as Halton Peel District Health Council … local taxi services

Consider matters related to Dedicated Gas Tax Funds.

These are just a few of the 10 points set out in the BTAC  Mandate.  Taxi rates are up for discussion at the Community Development Committee this week – (March 26th  if anyone at BTAC wants to attend)   How the city is going to manage the use of the Gas Tax Refunds from the federal government was part of the vigorous Budget Committee debate but the subject didn’t get a single word of mention at the BTAC meeting – that`s what you call being out of touch.

Sparsely attended Transit Advisory meeting - staff talent shows up - members appeared to have missed the bus.

The committee did go through a significant membership shuffle – three out of 12 members were returned to the committee last February.  The biggest problem seems to be getting a quorum and holding meetings regularly.  Prior to the March 20th meeting the committee had not met for five months – unacceptable by any standard and what had committee member Kevin Rahmer  voicing opinions that were a little tough for Chair  Joanne Vassell-Pittman to handle.  Other members of the committee – there were just five of them in attendance at the meeting – repeatedly had to ask  Rahmer to be more positive and not keep rehashing old issues.

There was apparently an occasion when Rahmer was to address the committee at some length but he failed to appear – which seems to be an ongoing problem for this committee.

BTAC has a new clerk who is more “den mother” than committee Clerk; that description is intended as a compliment.  Danielle Pitoscia  is one of the best Clerks the city has – I’d go so far as to say THE best Committee Clerk.  The BTAC crowd are going to need a lot of help if they are ever to get to the point where they are relevant and know how to operate as a committee and be able to provide city council with useful advice.  Right now it seems to be a place where people meet to talk about transit but seldom have a quorum and can`t do anything.

Scheduled to meet once a month, the Committee met last in September and didn’t have a quorum at that time.  The twelve member committee has six appointed members and six members from the stakeholder groups.  The committee is currently looking for new members – if you’ve a yen for transit matters and you have experience with a re-growing a committee that needs direction badly – this is a place for you.

At least one new Advisory committee member had not seen the Term of Reference for the committee, which is sort of like wanting to drive a car but not having a driver’s license.  It didn’t appear as if the committee was fully aware of the scope of their Terms of Reference and the opportunities they had to inform the policy side of transit in the city.

During the last round of serious concern over member participation all the committee members said they wanted to continue serving – then they don`t show up and meetings don’t take place.

Smart thing to do with this one is shut it down – they do have a representative on the Transit Master Plan Steering Committee but Peggy Russell didn’t attend the meeting and was unable to report.

The BTAC didn’t delegate to the Budget Committee on things transit.  Other than bicker at their meetings – it`s hard to see what they actually do.

Eric Pilon, a  former Director with Oakville Transit sits on the committee; Burlington Transit always send their  top people.  At times both the Transit Director, Donna Sheppard and Mike Spicer the Transit Manager take part in the meetings.  It is the Committee members who aren’t pulling their weight.  Joanne Vassell-Pittman, Chair, runs a decent meeting – she doesn’t have a vice chair, that`s vacant.  The student representative hasn’t been replaced either.

Kevin Rahmer, who certainly knows the transit file very well, doesn't make it easy for a chair to run a meeting.

Vassell-Pittman is a practiced chair, who is ready now to move on, and has advised her Board that she will not stand for re-election as chair but will finish her term.  During the Tuesday meeting she struggled to keep Rahmer under some control; he certainly knows the transit file, but has great difficulty staying focused and disciplining  himself.  He had to be reminded several times that his comments were disrespectful of the chair.

Peggy Russell, Maureen Van Ravens along with  Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven are on the committee – all missed the bus.

There is a public out there that wants a good, well operated efficient transit service and they have opinions.  Having an Advisory Committee that can collect and marshal those opinions and take them to Council would be effective community engagement.  BTAC’s not there yet.


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Transit user sets out criteria and the challenges faced in making it work. She doesn`t trust Burlington drivers enough to use her bike. .

Jane Irwin has the capacity to make a point incisively and with humour.  Her submission to the Master Transit Plan team are set out below in a slightly edited format. 

By Jane Irwin

BURLINGTON, ON  March 22, 2012  I have used Burlington Transit for the almost 30 years I have lived in Burlington. On average, I travel by transit once or twice a week, which works out to 5 to 10 boardings  per week. My most frequently traveled routes are (in numerical order, not order of frequency) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10.

I could not attend the public meetings because of time conflicts, but I have read the very extensive background materials online and have also read the comprehensive comments by Walter Mulkewich. The former Burlington Mayor is extremely well-informed on the topic of how transit planning is related to the future well-being of this city. His generosity in presenting his thoughts about Burlington Transit has provoked my writing to express my own more concentrated passenger viewpoint.

Travel choices are extremely important factors in three 21st-century urban goals:

to improve the city’s economic health,

to improve the health of its citizens,

and to improve the city’s environmental conditions.

Measured by these criteria, the preferred travel choices, from best to worst, are walking and cycling, transit, taxi and private car. In terms of cost, the choices are the same.

In terms of the travel time of a journey, the order is reversed: private car is fastest, then taxi, transit, cycling and walking.

Transit in Burlington is undergoing a major review that will produce a Master Transit Plan with significant public input.

The greatest opportunity for transit to compete for increased ridership is to reduce travel time to get from A to B. Everyone in today’s society appreciates more time.

The prime methods of reducing transit travel time include:

1) Greater frequency of buses, including shorter intervals for transfers.

2) Removing unnecessary bus stops ( co-coordinating bus stops with stop signs and lights).

3) More direct routes (not meandering hither and thither).

My own travel choices in recent years include walking, transit, taxi and private car. I stopped cycling 10 years ago because, in my experience, too many private car drivers in Burlington are careless of cyclist safety.

Drawing on my own experience, therefore:

1) Having to wait 60 minutes for a bus is a deal-breaker. A 30-minute wait for a bus makes other travel choices more appealing. BT should aim for a maximum of 20 minute intervals.

2) Here Irwin gets into a level of detail that will interest only those who travel the route but her point is still relevant.

Just as one example, the number 5 route west from downtown at John Street, along Ontario Street to Maple Avenue:

stop for left turn at Pine Street;

stop for left turn at Elizabeth Street:

stop for left turn at James Street:

bus stop and stop light for right turn at Brant Street;

stop for left turn at Ontario Street;

bus stop mid block;

stop sign for Locust Street;

bus stop mid block;

bus stop at Burlington Avenue;

stop sign at Hager Avenue;

two more bus stops mid block;

bus stop and stop light for left turn at Maple Avenue.

In my view, the stop sign should be moved from Hager Avenue (a 3-way stop) to Burlington Avenue (a dislocated corner, difficult for pedestrians), which should be a 4-way stop; and at least 2 bus stops should be removed. I will defer to traffic experts of course, but it seems to me an effort should be made to co-ordinate the facilitating of bus transit.  It is also my view that the bus should travel on Elgin Street, thereby eliminating Ontario Street and the number 10 on Lakeshore. The Elgin Street bus stops would coincide with existing 4-way stop signs.

3) I visit Oakville on occasion, and I prefer their grid system.

For example, why not consider one Appleby line connecting with cross-town buses instead of current 5 itty-bitty lines. Walkers Line has no bus connecting Lakeshore and Fairview. Routes Brant Street 2 and Guelph Line 3 do not meet Dundas Street. BT on Dundas Street has three routes 6, 15, and 11, mostly between Walkers and Appleby Lines. Between Brant Street and Guelph Line, Route 2 meanders just south of Dundas, as do Routes 6 and 62 between Guelph and Walkers Lines.

It is really poor practice for neighbouring communities not to have joint transit on city border areas.   Why not a Dundas Street bus from Brant Street to Oakville? The Oakville Dundas Street bus does not meet a Burlington bus.

Why not a bus from La Salle Park Road to Waterdown, taking a turn into Aldershot GO and VIA station?

Transfers on grid systems should be manageable with current technology, and therefore minimize delays.

Finally, in my experience, BT drivers are exceptionally courteous and helpful. The drivers are a great asset to Burlington Transit, and it should be recognized that their attitude is a factor in encouraging increased transit ridership. Congrats to BT for that!

The city’s Transit Advisory Committee doesn’t weigh in transit quite the way Jane Irwin does.

Ed note:  This is not a lady to trifle with.


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Different perspectives on student art. Dutch use war scenes to work from while Burlington students use local landmarks.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 21, 2012  Three or four weeks ago there was a sudden unexplainable burst of traffic from Brazil of all places to the Our Burlington web site.  At one point there were over 350 hits to the web site from Brazil.  They’d get to the Home page and leave.

We get traffic from more than 20 countries but usually nothing more than two, maybe three except for those bandits from Ukraine – they are always prowling.

Some of the art work from Burlington public schools and our twin school in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, on display at city hall.

Then we noticed there was an increasing number from Holland and it climbed and they were drilling down into the web site and we began to watch carefully and took a second look at our anti-virus and hacking software defences.  We got just a little nervous after five days of consistent growth in traffic from Holland while other countries were stable in terms of traffic.  Why were those wooden shoes walking across our screen?

When I leave a Council or a committee meeting, I usually have a word or two with Bob, the security guy at reception.  Monday evening there were a bunch of partitions on wheels scattered about the atrium that could be rolled around with what looked like art from elementary school students on the panels. “The ones with the red borders are from school kids in Holland, they are part of something being done by the Mundialization Committee” explain Bob.

A quick email to the security people – you can stand down fellows, there is nothing wrong with the traffic from Holland, it’s legitimate but it is sure playing havoc with our day to day, hour by hour analytics.  School children were given an assignment that had to do with Burlington, Ontario and if you want to know anything about Burlington, Our Burlington is the place to go.

The Dutch students took an interesting approach - half of each piece is a photograph the other half was drawn in by the students..

The traffic was the result of the student art exchange that had students from John T. Tuck Public School in Burlington and the Heuvellaan Public School students in Apeldoorn.  The Apeldoorn works explore war monuments while the local art is inspired by Burlington landmarks.

The student art exchange is one of many events organized by the city’s Mundialization Citizen committee to celebrate Burlington’s twinning relationship with the cities of Apeldoorn, The Netherlands and Itabashi, Japan.

This is the first of several art exhibitions planned this year. The next exhibition will be held in May and will feature art from four Burlington elementary schools and six Dutch schools.  In June, there will be an elementary art exhibition that will also feature art from Japanese elementary schools.



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It was really more ignorant than unusual. Five people with informed opinions who have served this community well got ignored.

By Pepper Parr

Five of the very best people the city has took time out of their evening to appear at a city council meeting to delegate to the city on the budget that got passed last night.

Doug Brown, James Smith, former Mayor Walter Mulkewich, Ken Woodruff and Bob Wood each brought their considerable knowledge about transit in this city to the podium.  They each spoke for their allotted five minutes.

Doug Brown brought the story he has been telling for years, which is as relevant and as important today as it was when he first told it. Burlington spends just half of the GTA average spends on transit.  Today Burlington has just half the transit ridership the city had in the mid 1980’s.  Does no one see the link between the lousy funding and the poor ridership numbers?

The portion of the gas tax that Burlington spent on transit was 30% – this budget knocked that down to 20% – but just for the one year explained Council members.  When the Master Plan is complete the gas tax portion level can be raised again.

Treasurer Joan Ford was trotted out to affirm that the city could in fact use less of the gas tax and what they were doing was legal.  They usually get lawyers to do this kind of thing but Burlington may have spent its lawyer allocation on the Pier.

Like the statutes on Easter Island, Council members sat mute while five informed men spoke intelligently about the need to confront the serious transit funding problem.

Speaking for Poverty Free Halton, Doug Brown asked Council to respect its own planning process and not approve a cut in transit funding from its gas tax.

The gas tax payment to the city is an amount the federal government pays out to municipalities.

Bob Wood was next and approached the podium to speak as a sometimes regular but mostly occasional transit rider.  He takes what is called “the best performing route in the system” to get to work.  It’s a 75 minute trip door to door from Pinedale in the east end of  Burlington to Main and Catherine in downtown Hamilton.  Bob Wood was late for work recently and he took Council members through the travails of transit in Burlington when connections are missed.

He then pointed out that the consultants working with the city to develop a transit master plan have said Burlington’s system is underfunded.  Other consultants have said the same thing before.  As an aside, Councillor Taylor said he has seen five different consultant reports during the 20 years + he has been on Council and they have all said the same thing.  That would take us back to the mid 1980’s when transit traffic was twice what it is today – is there a link between ignoring what consultants say to us and what we do?  Just asking?

Bob Wood said that “as far as he can tell the Federal Gas Tax Fund is an excellent and most appropriate source of funding to address the transit systems capital needs” – Toronto certainly thinks so – they apply 100% of their gas tax funding to transit.

Wood noted with dismay that “council would consider making such a significant change to transit before the consultation is complete”.

Next was the Grand Daddy of speakers.  Walter Mulkewich drew his large frame to the podium and leans in as he speaks.  Walter wanted Council to remove the decision to reduce the portion of the gas tax that goes to transit from 30% to 20%

Mulkewich gets technical on them and points out that the January 2010 agreement that has federal tax money going to municipalities requires the “investments will see Ontarians enjoy cleaner air, cleaner water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions” and that local investments in roads and bridges “contribute to sustainable outcomes”. Mulkewich argues that there is nothing sustainable in the “shave and pave” program unless you’re talking about the benefit in recycled pavement.

Mulkewich points out that the transit review so far is that “Burlington Transit will require significant investment to make it what it must be to meet your own strategic and official plans, financial goals to build the economy and to maintain the city’s quality of life for the future. Burlington’s future is in transit – not roads”.  Words of wisdom that fell on deaf ears.

He then makes an embarrassing and telling point.  Throughout the budget debates most of the comment was focused on the infrastructure deficit.  We are short by about $15 million – give or take a couple of million for the next dozen or so years, which as Councillor Craven pointed out is a very serious problem that has to be faced.   Not a word, that I can recall,  was uttered about the very significant transit infrastructure deficit. It’s about the state of our roads, the state of our roads – they have to be fixed and Councillor Dennison sliced and diced this budget to the point where he moved more than a million dollars out of different programs and into the “shave and pave” program that is going to save millions long term.

These characters couldn't speak - what excuse did Council members have Monday evening.

There was an opportunity to put a bit of a dent in the transit operating deficit by increasing fares – but Council  decided that decision could wait until there was a complete report and a Master Plan in place.  Then why not wait until those documents were in place before hiving 10% off the amount of the gas tax that currently – well at least until last night – goes to transit?  Increasing transit fares would mean putting up with uncomfortable calls from voters.

James Smith also walked to the podium. His delightful little Swiftian rant is detailed elsewhere.  Lovely bit of hilarity in an otherwise dull meeting, which was broadcast live.  It was even worse than watching the Toronto Leafs lose 8-0 to Boston.

Next was Burlington Green President Ken Woodruff who tried to convince Council to take just 5% away from transit rather than the 10% planned.  His association just didn’t support taking money away from transit to fix roads, “not at this critical juncture”.

Woodruff believed Burlington’s Green’s Transit Master Plan recommendations and the Transit Master Plan itself will require the funding, especially in the early years. “We would prefer to see increased funding with in-depth analysis and adjustment to ensure a world class transit system”.  Most people in Burlington would settle for a system that is funded at levels close to comparable communities.  Right now Burlington is number 14 on a list that has the names of  municipalities on it.  No one of an equivalent size spends less than Burlington does.  The Mayor and members of Council continually remind us that Burlington has more seniors than anyone else in the Region and that we are going to have even more seniors that the other municipalities in the Region.

Any resemblance between these statutes and the seven members of Council would only be appreciated by those who sat in the public gallery last Monday and to the hundreds that watched the meeting broadcast live.

When people delegate to a Council meeting they are given five minutes to speak and then they answer questions from Council members.  There is usually a question or two and on occasion a lively and informative debate.  I’ve seen this Council swayed by the debate.   But on Monday evening, five men who are close to the needs of the community, who have served the community well in the past, stood and waited for questions.

Not one question was asked.  All seven members of Council sat there mute.  Like the Easter Island statues staring  blankly and appearing to be waiting for something to happen.   These are your Council members – they’re the people who are supposed to make things happen and for this group to not even attempt to engage the five people who chose to speak is unfathomable.

There were two additional delegations on other subjects  – they weren’t asked questions either.  Mayor Goldring then said “ seven delegations and no questions from council members- that’s unusual”.  It was really more ignorant than unusual.


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Presto cards to get into the washrooms or use an elevator ? James Smith might be on to something here.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 20, 2012  Jonathan Swift published all of his satire under pseudonyms – James Smith chose to be right out front and direct with his comments before a Council meeting that was getting ready to pass the Current Budget for 2012.  Council was not pleased.

One of the bigger issues at Council was what to do with transit.  Many feel that if a bus route runs empty half the time then the sensible business thing to do is shut it down and social responsibility be damned.

Smith, an architectural design director who specializes in landscapes and small environments who is also part of the team that is struggling to save the Freeman station from demolition went before Council to commend them for the Imagination, Courage and Leadership.  That doesn’t happen very often so the media listened very carefully.

Smith said it took imagination to shave half a million dollars from the gas tax money that gets transferred to the city each year and plowing it into paving cul de sacs, which as he pointed out is a French word for a road that doesn’t go anywhere.

Is there space on these library shelves that is empty? If so - the funds to pay for that space gets transferred to the shave and pave program.

Smith was just getting wound up when he added,  rather deliberately, that the gas tax, “despite what some may think, is not a Latte sipping, bike riding, transit loving, pink leftie tax” and it should be used for things that use gas.  Council had previously taken a chunk of gas tax money and moved it out of transit over to their newest money saving tool, the shaving and paving of our roads.

Smith pointed out that he felt it took a great deal of imagination to present (with a straight face) a rationale for the use of funds designed to mitigate climate change to paving cul de sacs. He felt Council should be applauded for their courage in moving $500,000 out of transit to road improvements while the transit review is underway.

Leadership was given special treatment. Smith explained that it takes true leadership to make a commitment to public transit while insisting transit is run more like a business and requiring greater cost recovery and at the same time reducing investment.  In the retail world, Smith added, “this is known as bait and switch”.  Ouch!

James Smith just might have come up with a way to use the technologically "swift"but financially expensive Presto Card to much wider use.

Given these examples of Imagination, Courage and Leadership Smith took a page from Jonathan Swift to make what he called a couple of modest proposals.  Shave and Pave the libraries he suggested.  They are empty of people from time to time – shave and pave a few dollars from that service, it isn’t always used.

He went on to suggest there were other opportunities for a real display of courage.  The washrooms and the elevators are not always used – but rather than close a few of them down, after all like buses they aren’t always used, require people to use their Presto card to get on an elevator or use a washroom.

James Smith just might be on to something here.




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Chair of the budget committee sets out what was achieved and then points to the downsides and the problems we are facing.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 20, 2012   When someone tells you they wear two hats – you pause and wonder which hat is going to be given the most attention, which one will have money spent on it to have it blocked and cleaned regularly so that it looks new and spiffy.

While the phrase “spiffy” may not be normally applied to Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, his performance at the Council meeting Monday was “spiffy” from several perspectives.

Burlington's historical tax rate. That is one wobbly line. Have we seen benefits that match the spending?

He addressed Council as Chair of the budget committee and said: “Overall it’s a good budget. It meets a number of Council’s objectives.  Staff was directed to bring back a budget with an increase below 3.5% and…. at 3.29% that’s what we and staff accomplished together in the end.  This is below the tax increases in the other three lower tier Halton municipalities.  Combined with 1.3% at Region, the result is 1.79% total tax increase (about the level of inflation) or about $17 per hundred thousand dollars in assessment. Continued talk about Burlington taxes being out of line is, in my view, simply unjustified.”

In the 2012 budget, said the chair, we:

Removed the hard cap on staffing, which does not fully address our staffing challenges, but is at least a step in the right direction

We increased funding to the capital budget

We increased funding for the dedicated infrastructure renewal levy by $350,000

 We increased funding to the  shave and pave program by  $850,000 for a total of $1.2 million

We provided funding to our Strategic Land Acquisition Fund

 We planned for expenditures related to our strategic plan

We provided funding for major improvements in e-government programs

Continued collection of funds for our commitment to the Joseph Brant Hospital

$1.2 million from surplus

$1.2 million from 2012 taxes.

Craven chaired the meetings that brought all this about and he did so with dispatch and efficiency that certainly wasn’t seen last year when newbie Councillor Sharman held the reigns.

Councillor Craven then changed hats and spoke as the Council member for Ward 1, and as he is want to remind council at every occasion possible: “It’s called Ward number 1 for a reason”.  The water is a little different in Aldershot.

Rick Craven knows his Ward, understands what his constituents need and they appear to think he's great. Is there a life beyond city hall for Craven?

Craven said he thought there is a down side to this budget and it has to do with our focus on short term rather than long-term needs.  He said:

“Staffing remains a problem:  I know it’s not popular, but the reality is that we remain short staffed in many areas including: firefighting, Bylaw enforcement, Engineering, and Corporate Strategic Initiatives.

“We will need to hire more staff for the Alton Community Centre and probably for the new Transit initiatives being talked about.  Let me remind you what staff told us in one of their reports….

” There are insufficient financial and human resources to support all existing services, add resources to respond to community growth and support enhance service delivery. “

“City staff in many areas of the organization are feeling the strain. Some of the indicators include vacation time earned being deferred and not taken, increased overtime requirements, time lost has increased and in Executive Budget Committees view, this trend must stop in order to maintain an engaged workforce”

“In my view, it is fallacy to believe the Boards can continue to operate well with budget increases at 2%. This hardly meets inflation. If we are serious about these services, we need to support them at a higher level, or we will pay the price in the long run.”

Finally, although there seems to be an increasing awareness of the challenges related to the infrastructure renewal gap, and some progress has been made, there is still much to be done.  Again, I turn to the staff reports ….

“Data suggests that funding is still below the amounts needed to maintain existing assets. The City is currently funding only 64% of its renewal needs, resulting in an estimated infrastructure gap of approximately $17 million annually, demonstrating significant unmet needs in repairing and renewing the city’s assets”.

“So, while I applaud the progress we are making, in my view, it is not enough to serve the best, long term interests of the City .”

There you have it from the guy that constantly and consistently reminds Council that running a city is serious business – and if Rick Craven is anything, he is serious – and right more often than not.



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The band will play on, the speakers will boom out sound while the SOM people that make it all happen keep their fingers crossed.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 20, 2012  For a short period of time the Sound of Music Festival was a contender for the $17,000 they had said they needed to make their 2012 program solid.  Dave Miller the Executive Director of an organization that believes it has a $4 million economic impact on the city,  appeared before city council pleading for funds he felt the Sound of Music Festival needed.  Miller had done something few people manage to pull off  – and that was appear at an early budget committee meeting; at the final budget committee meeting and last night at the meeting where the budget gets cast in stone.  It was all for not.

While there will be crowds in front of most of the stages this summer the stage on the East Lawn - out behind the Waterfront Hotel may not get put up this summer. Pier construction crews apparently need the space. That could mean a $25,000 hit to the Festival which added to the $17,000 they didn't get from the city is going to hurt.

To add insult to injury Miller learned earlier in the day that the SOM was not going to have access to the East Lawn of Spencer Smith Park – the space was going to be needed by the crew completing the construction of the Pier, which according to Miller would significantly impact programming for the 2012 event.

The Festival was having a string of bad luck and the hope was that it would not extend into the summer program that has been listed for the 12th time in a row as one of the top 50 events in Ontario.

The SOM people have had some difficulty dealing with city hall which is something they are working on improving.  At their first meeting with the city’s budget cycle they were almost booed off the stage and the question asked was: When is enough, enough.  City council didn’t think the Festival should get any bigger and they certainly didn’t want to give them any money.

The Festival does have a reserve of $400,000 which Councillor Taylor thinks they should dip into.  While the word reserve is used to describe the funds – they are really operating cash needed to cover day to day expenses during the Festival.  And for anyone who knows anything about the show business – it can get a little hairy when weather turns bad, crowds don’t show up, revenue looks like the water going down the toilet.  That’s just about the time that expenses begin to get out of hand as well.

Councillor Dennison was onside for the $17,000 the Sound of Music people were asking for - as was Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward. The rest sat on their hands when it came to a vote.

The Festival has learned to keep a really good chunk of money in the bank for those rainy days.  While we are usually very tough on people who want to keep things confidential –we believe that if you want public money you open the kimono – we went along with SOM keeping their financial statements confidential.  Last year was apparently not a good year financially however previous years have been financially strong.

Council didn’t seem to be able to pick up on what the Festival does for the city financially and they seemed to miss the point completely about the growth potential.  Councillors Meed Ward and Dennison were onside for a one time grant of $17,000 but the others wanted to wait until there was a fully fleshed out business case which everyone expects city hall staff to have a hand in putting together.

And that for the Sound of Music Festival people is part of the problem – they don’t particularly want the city to have its hands in the SOM pockets.

Expect the SOM people to pull back into a huddle while they figure out how they are going to deal with this new reality.  Better if they could snag that broadcasting contract and steer clear of the city hall crowd.

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Police report Burlington Youth Robbed at Knife Point in Brant Hills community

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  March 19, 2012   A twelve-year-old Burlington girl was robbed of her iPod at knife point in the Brant Hills community Sunday evening at 7:00 pm

The victim reported walking with a friend on the sidewalk in the area of Duncaster Drive and Melissa Crescent, Burlington (Brant Hills Park) when the two girls were approached by two teenage suspects. One of the suspects was holding a knife, but made no overt threat. The suspect demanded the iPod and the victim gave it up.

The two suspects were last seen running into Brant Hills Park.

Having someone with a knife in their hands demanding that you give them your property is one of the most terrifying things that can happen. Two 12 year old girls stood in fear in the Brant Hills community as two men robbed them at knife point.

Suspect #1 – Male, black, mid-teens, 6’, thin build very short hair. He was armed with a knife.  Clothing description – grey and white patterned cloth jacket and denim pants

Suspect #2 – Male, Latin American, early teens, 5’3”, heavy build, short black hair.  Clothing Description – black hooded sweatshirt, denim pants.

There are two terrified young girls out there.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825-4747 x2315, 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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Why do the Amazon, Nike, Starbucks and Apple brands soar while the Noika brand seems to just sort of sit there? Visca will tell you.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  March 19, 2012  –  Gerry Visca, an inspirational speaker takes the view that each of us has a brand and we can advance our personal interests, our job prospects and career aspirations if we define, refine and promote our individual brand.

Visca works with people who want to create their own brand.  Among people he has worked with is a woman who is a “divorce coach”.  She created a brand and works with people going through a divorce.  These assignments are short term but very focused and intense.  The Divorce Coach explained that people going through a divorce don’t have much in the way of a skill set to fall back on for what is a very emotionally traumatic experience for both men and women.  A person needs access to very specific skills that are experienced in the world of managing ones way through a divorce.

Gerry Visca turns a skill set into a brand.

Brands, according to Visca are not just for the big names.  He asks: “Ever wonder why certain brands like Amazon, Nike, Apple and Starbucks generate incredible momentum and buzz while other ones like Nokia find themselves standing still?  There isn’t what I refer to as a culture of initiation driving their momentum. What I mean by that is there isn’t a culture of starting, raising your hand, speaking out, leaning forward, screwing up and learning from it.”

Well, let’s let Gerry Visca tell his own story.

 The role of your brand in the lives of your client’s is more important today than ever before.   I want you to view your brand as an invisible aura of meaning and emotion, a living entity if you will with the ability to create choice, build trust and establish loyalty. One of my goals as a branding expert in Canada is to help my clients ‘inspire to action’ and kick start a strong foundation by creating a culture of initiation within their brand experience.  There is something special about getting out there and being recognized for taking action.   Ask yourself the following questions right now as you contemplate building a culture of initiation:  How can we stand out? How can we engage our target audience?  The two key elements in those questions stem from the art of differentiation and meaningful engagement.  Too often I see the start of what can be an incredible branding platform only to then witness a leader pulling back and pumping the breaks. The following are tips designed to help you build a culture of initiation within your brand:

Adapt to whatever changes the marketplace throws at you.

Design marketing strategies that stir a sense of emotion  Why? To connect emotionally with your audience.  A great example of this is ‘Coca-Cola’s Celebration Mix’ – a remix of previously unknown Somali Canadian artist K’Naan’s song “Waving Flag’ – became the unofficial anthem of the World Cup which made a powerful impact on individuals at the event.  It resulted in more than 13 million web site hits. Worth looking at. hits:

Understanding the behavior of your brand will help you lay a stronger foundation for your marketing efforts going forward.  Another great tactic is using feedback with your clients and weaving their insights into your practices.  Think of creating brand ambassadors with your key clients by making them a part of your process. 

Create something that connects and your story will travel faster than ever before. 

Visca runs a Branding Boot Camps® and claims it became a world-class product that brought him to the point where his reputation became international.

Visca has been an inspirational speaker at Burlington Economic Development lunches where he had everyone in the room on their feet hugging each other.  For Burlington – THAT is inspirational.

You can reach Gerry Visca at

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Red light camera in Burlington expected to increases road safety & catch red light runners. $100,000 to install/maintain, not a cash grab.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  March 19, 2012  The first red light camera in Burlington is up and running to remind drivers to stop at red lights. The camera, at Brant Street and Dundas Street, is the first of 12 red light cameras Halton Region is planning to install over the next two years to help improve road safety.

“Residents have told us that they’re very concerned about the issue of red light running in our communities,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The fact that there’s at least one collision every week in Halton Region caused by a red light runner is not acceptable to us. We want to save lives and make our roads a safer place to be. Running red lights is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal.”

Halton Regional Police Chief Gary Crowley, Regional Chair Gary Carr and Mayor Rick Goldring stand at the intersection of Brant and Dundas with signs telling the public that red light runners will be photographed and fined. The cameras that catch you are up and behind these three fine civil servants

With almost half of Halton Region drivers surveyed stating they worry about getting into an accident when driving through an intersection and more than 60% reporting seeing a near-miss accident as a result of someone running a red light, Halton Region has installed two red light cameras – one in Burlington and one in Oakville – to help improve road safety. In 2012 and 2013, Halton will install another 10 red light cameras at strategic intersections throughout the Region.

Cameras are currently located at Dundas Street (Regional Road 5) and Brant Street (Regional Road 18) in the City of Burlington and at Trafalgar Road (Regional Road 3) and Upper Middle Road (Regional Road 38) in the Town of Oakville.

Throughout southern Ontario, red light cameras have reduced personal-injury type accidents, helping to improve the safety of intersections and enhancing quality of life. Cameras take photos of red light runners 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but only operate when a vehicle enters the intersection after the light has turned red.

The fine for running a red light is $325. Demerit points are not issued with violations detected by red light cameras.

When you run a red light a picture of your vehicle is taken and downloaded to a processing at Metro Toronto Police who do the processing for all municipalities in Ontario.  Trained officers review every picture and if it is evident that the Highway Traffic Act was breached they mail you a ticket.  Hard to beat when there is a clear photograph of the car going through the red light – so you might want to take your cheque book with you should you decide to fight the ticket.

Halton Regional Police chief Gary Crowel is gearing down and getting ready to move into retirement where he hopes he can get out and do a bit more running. As a chief of police he gets to shuffle a lot of paper and pose for pictures - the actual policing days have slowed down a bit - but they haven't stopped.

The only upside to all this is that you don’t lose demerit points for an offence that was captured by a camera..  If a police office were to issue you a ticket for running a red light you would lose three demerit points.

Of the $325 fine – $265 goes to the city of Burlington and $60 is paid into the Victim Fine Surcharge.  The cameras are on 24/7 and they work in the dark.  The cameras are standard 35mm units and cost about $100,000 annually to install and maintain – so this isn’t a cash grab on the part of the city.  This is part of a program that will hopefully convince drivers to stop for red lights or pay the price if they don’t.

For those who decide to run a red light – you’re lucky if all you get is a fine.  The cost of an accident is much higher.

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Ideas worth spreading will be on the stage at TEDxBurlington this year; a first for the city.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  March 20, 2012  Spencer Campbell  grew up in Burlington and lives here now.  He’s done some amazing things but it is his latest initiative that you might want to hear about.  Keep the words TEDx Burlington in mind and you might want to reserve May 27th for a possible outing.

TED stands for  a Technology, Entertainment, Design.   It is a known as a group that pulls together people who have Ideas Worth Spreading and Campbell is bringing  a version of that program to Burlington.   The local version is called TEDxBurlington.

TED'x's have been held all around the world - Waterloo Ontario recently held a TEDx - now Burlington.

TED is an international organization created to get people talking about ideas and then spreading those ideas as far and as wide as possible and then putting them on a web site.  It is a non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site.

TED has thousands of filmed talks from the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, astronomers / physicists to philosophers/performers to many, many less known but just as inspirational speakers. The intent is to get highly motivated speakers –those who are  professional and those who are not – from various walks of life to  share their personal passion on issues that matter for audience discussion.

The TEDx program gives communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently.

Spencer Campbell, entrepreneur and Burlington resident is heading up the group bringing a TEDx event to the city.

Spencer Campbell is bringing TEDx to Burlington to do the same thing and has so far confirmed four speakers for his May 27th event. Get to TEDxBurlington for more details.

On the platform so far are:

•  Dr. Jean Chamberlain – distinguished McMaster Medical Professor and Founder of an organization that focuses on reducing maternal mortality in African developing countries.

•  Patrick O’Neill – CEO of www.extraordinary    a leadership expert who has been involved with the Middle Eastern Peace Process

•  Michael Jones – a Juno nominate Pianist who will perform during the session and ask us to explore the heart of our own creativity

•  Josh Nelson – a childhood cancer survivor. Three years ago Josh asked the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cycling team to ride for him until the day he could ride with them. Two years ago Spencer Campbell cycled with 41 others across Canada in 15 days to raise more than $1.5M for childhood cancer patient needs – Josh joined them from Woodstock to Toronto. He gave an incredibly moving speech when they stopped in Burlington.  Last year Josh  cycled – from Vancouver to Halifax.

•  Scott Graham – author, sought after speaker who focuses on helping kids develop character, confidence and budding leadership.

•  Trish Barbato – author, inspirer and career planning expert

TEDx events have taken place in cities around the world. The advent of a TEDx in a city is usually a sign that it has grown up and has an engaged informed population.

TEDx Burlington will take place in the Community Studio at the Performing Arts Centre.  Each speaker gets a maximum of 16 minutes.  The event runs from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm with a reception after the event at Thinkspot!, a three minute walk from the Performing Arts Centre.

The event is limited to 100 thinkers/doers/humanists. All the “talks” are videotaped and streamed online.

Campbell feels Burlington is ready for a TED event.  They do tie in nicely with Mayor Goldring’s Inspire series where experts in different fields come to the city to engage the community in subjects that relate directly to Burlington.


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Three times a day every school day – even when the weather is terrible. Our 114 school crossing guards are on the street.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 19, 2012  They are the men and woman who see our kids safely across the street morning, noon and at the end of the school day.  They are there when the weather is nice; they are there when the weather is not so nice and they are there when the weather is terrible.

They are the set of eyes that keep an eye on your child and while they aren’t a part of the team that educates your child they perhaps should be, because they see behaviour that a classroom teacher might miss and that a parent would like to know about.

Christine Hopwood is the woman that ensures there is a crossing guard for your child at every school in the city.

The school crossing guard program is run out of city hall where Christine Hopwood and John Crass, Manager of Traffic Services for the city,  oversee the 114 crossing guards that make the three trips a day needed to ensure that traffic is aware that children are crossing the street and that everything stops.

There are days Hopwood will tell you “when we get the phone calls telling us that a particular guard can’t make it to their station and then the team swings into action.  Dennis Ward is the first replacement to go out followed by Emily Keith and then I am in my car. If we need more help I call the Burlington detachment of the Halton Regional Police and they get an officer out to the intersection.”

“Some days” Hopwood adds, “it gets a little hectic’.

“We are constantly looking for crossing guards” says Hopwood, who adds that “we have a pressing need for guards in the Orchard community.  If you know anyone in the area please have them get in touch with me.

Crossing guards are usually seniors who have the time and find the income helps.  Guards are paid between $10.54 an hour up to $13.17  They are given the uniforms they need which consists of a vest a hat and of course the STOP sign.  They are paid mileage to get to and from their crossing station.  “We look for people in the community so that they don’t have to drive very far and people in the community know the children as well” explains Hopwood.

“We are concerned about the workplace safety of the people who stand out in the middle of a street or road – we have, thankfully” adds Hopwood, “never had a guard injured by a vehicle.”

Every August we bring all the crossing guards in for an instruction session where we review the job they have signed up to do and listen to their concerns and complaints.  “There are some complaints” admits Hopwood “but we always get them resolved.  We have a structure in place where Zone leaders are the first response to concerns a crossing guard might have and if they can’t be resolved at that level they come to me and they do get resolved.”

Christine Hopwood is a “resolver” if she is anything.  She brings a cheerful voice with a distinct accent and a fast walking pace to everything she does.  One doesn’t see Christine standing around – unless she is out on a street filling in for a crossing guard who couldn’t make it to their station.

The crossing guard programs costs the city $1.1 million annually and covers every school – even the private schools.. “For the most part” explains Hopwood “the private schools don’t need any help from us because they bus their students in.”

The key issue for the people that administer the crossing guard program is the safety of everyone involved.  “Slip and Fall accidents are what plague us” explains Hopwood “and we have very few of those.”

John Crass, Manager of Traffic Services has oversight of the school guard crossing staff as part of his file

Each year there is an Awards Dinner for all the crossing guards..  “These men and woman are a part of the community adds John Crass who supervises the work Christine does and manages issues that come from the public and council members who may have concerns.  Hopwood is the face of the program out in the field.  John is the “inside” man.

Sgt Chantal Corner, the liaison with the Burlington detachment of the Halton Regional Police, speaks to the crossing guards each year.  Last briefing session a crossing guard who didn’t measure much more than 5’2” asked if she could do a “citizen’s arrest” if she saw someone doing something she thought was wrong.  The Sgt, a good 5’10” didn’t miss a beat when she responded: “It would be better if you gave us a call”.

Those crossing guards are they eyes and ears of the community standing on the street watching over your children.  In the weeks and months ahead we are going to profile many of those men and woman for you.  They are a remarkable bunch.

One last word – if you know anyone in the Orchard community that you think would be a good school crossing guard – have them give Christine a call at 905-335-0172.  We asked Christine if there wasn’t a web site people could go to and she replied. “I’d rather talk to people directly.  I’ll personally take all the calls” – so there you go – if you think you’d like to be a crossing guard – Christine Hopwood is your gal.  Give her a call.



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Conservation Halton tells developer to get a wiggle on with its waterfront development or the rules will get tightened up on you.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 17, 2012  There are rumblings on the waterfront – people at Conservation Halton along with people at city hall were getting frustrated with the pace – actually the lack of any pace, with the development slated for the Riviera Motel site on Lakeshore Road currently zoned to hold two seven storey buildings and a 22 storey tower – but nothing is happening.

Looking from the eastern end of the Mayrose Tycom property you see the Riviera Motel that will get torn down, with the unfinished Pier in the background and the walkway at the edge of the lake. The set back the Conservation authority is threatening to invoke would relate to this area.

The Waterfront Access and Advisory Committee was given an update last week on a project that got approved back in 1994 – that was seventeen years ago.  The critical piece of information in the update was that the Conservation Halton people put the developer on notice that “development of the property must proceed by the end of 2012 or else the new Ontario Regulation 162/06 will take effect, increasing the required shoreline set back.”  Ouch!

Set back means less space for the developer.  Less space to develop translates into less height and less height means less density, which then translates into fewer condo units that can be built and that comes down to the number of dollars in sales.  And dollars is what development is all about.  As Albert Facenda put it during a delegation to Council, “when a developer can tear down one building and put up two buildings in the same space, that’s pure gold”.  A few weeks later Facenda got appointed to the Burlington Heritage Advisory Committee.  Facenda didn’t manage to get to the first meeting he was entitled to attend as a full member.

This is the beginning of a pathway on the east side of the Mayrose Tycon property where a pathway leads to the waters edge The Pier is visible in the background with the Riviera Motel showing as well.

The plan for what is known as the Mayrose Tycon project,  that exists on paper, and perhaps in the heart of an architect somewhere, was to have a hotel at street level – along the south side of Lakeshore Road.  Behind the hotel and closer to the lake would be a 7 story condo and to the west of both buildings there would be a condo/mixed uses building that would soar 22 storeys into the air and completely obliterate the view for the folks across the street, who paid big dollars for the condos they own.

The design was to have an open space from Lakeshore Road down to the lake and there was talk of an open garden area but there isn’t a site plan for anyone to look at so no one knows what we are going to see down there.

There is a pathway down the east side of the property that will give access to the walkway that is now in place.  This will eventually connect up to the lawns in front of the Beaver and the Bulldog which is at the base of the existing Waterfront Hotel, which is next to Pier, that will go into its final phase of development in the Spring.  The end result, if we ever get there, will be an even nicer stretch along the water-front that will allow walking from the canal in the west to what is basically the bottom of Martha Street.

The football shaped piece of property seen from the west end with Lakeshore road on the left and Old Lakeshore Road on the right. It is adjacent to the Mayrose Tycon property.

Lovely idea – but there has been no development at the Riviera site.  The most recent flurry of activity was the trade the city made for a spot of land where the existing Lakeshore Road and the Old Lakeshore Road meet.  The city exchanged land they own for a public pathway right along the water’s edge – that gave the developer a better shaped piece of property to develop and the city got ownership of a strip of land along the edge of the water.

Chatter amongst the people who know something of what`s taking place development wise was that the Minto Group were talking to the Mayrose Tycon  people about developing the lands that had been assembled but nothing seems to have come of that.  The thinking was for some kind of high end condo development but the Minto people who certainly know how to build and operate high end condos was that the market wouldn’t support the thinking.

Delta Hotels were reported to be talking to Mayrose Tycon about a hotel – but the economy had not yet come out of the doldrums that American mortgage market greed put the world economy into – so that didn’t come to pass.  Mayrose Tycon, the company that assembled the property, now wants to find someone to develop and finally get a return to the very patient investors who are reported to be Austrian.

Both the city planning department and most members of city council are getting frustrated and kind of fed up with the delays.  Mayrose Tycon has zoning along the waterfront that they would not be able to get today given the changed view of the way the waterfront should be developed.  At the time, back in 1995, the thinking was that the city needed a landmark development and a 22 storey tower would certainly be a landmark – so Council at the time went along with the proposal.

The Riviera Motel and the land to the right of it plus a bit to the left of this picture would house two seven storey buildings plus a 22 storey tower. The pathway seen here was built by the developer in exchange for some land along the edge of Lakeshore Road.

The property was the only commercial waterfront land in the downtown and was to house a landmark building with continuity on the waterfront trail and a strong urban design.  The Official Plan designation set the maximum footprint for the taller building at 600m2

At the time the lands had an H for hold designation – that got removed when a shoreline Environmental Assessment was completed.  The shoreline protection features and a public walkway were approved in 2000 with construction to begin in 2004.  Believe it or not a Fisheries Act Permit was needed and granted – it was valid until December of 2004.

Zoning for the lands that was proposed to be amended in 1999 lapsed when conditions were not met.  It came back to Council in April of 2004 when the heights were taken to the current 22, 7 and 7 storey buildings.  They were originally 30, 7 and 7 with vehicle access to a center courtyard.  Neighborhood meetings were held in February and April of 2005.

There were meetings with Conservation Halton in 2005.  At that time Conservation Authority regulations did not apply to the shore line of Lake Ontario.  Conservation Halton evaluated the shoreline protection works and provided positive comments to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The shoreline protection work was completed in 2004/5 at a cost of approximately $2 million.

Required zoning was approved in June 2006 for a design that included:

A 22 story tower with 100 units

A 7 story tower with 50 units

A 7 storey hotel

2,270 m2 of ground floor commercial space

A publicly accessible center courtyard with a water feature and stairs to the lake

188 residential plus 272 non-residential parking spaces

A narrow floor plate for the 22 story building

All this was approved subject to:

        A cash in lieu of parkland payment

       An agreement of purchase and sale for land exchange.

       Section 41 and Section 37 Planning Act Agreements being signed.

       The H (Holding) designation requires land acquisition, utility planning, Record of Site  Condition and wind study to be completed before it can be removed.

All this was done and the implementing by-law was approved by Council on June 15, 2009.

Can you see …

You can see where all this is going.  The rules and regulations that apply to this site and this development are getting stiffer and more stringent, which puts the developer in a bit of a bind.  You can expect the developer to be hiring planners, lawyers or other advocates to plead for the time and other considerations needed to get this project done.

Mayor Goldring has an opportunity to show a different kind of leadership and take the city in a direction former Mayor MacIsaac wasn't able to take it. He has a very full plate with the Pier, which is now under control, the hospital that isn't under control, the Beachway which has all kinds of potential and then the Mayrose Tycon property and the Old Lakeshore Precinct.

Well since 2009  The Pier took over the front pages and while it has cost us a bundle, it will become the landmark the city has been looking for – and The Pier is at least being built.

When the Conservation people served their notice on Mayrose Tycon they were upping the anti and telling Mayrose Tycon that if you don`t do something by the end of December you will be subject to a bigger set back from the edge of the lake – which could be as much as 15 to 20 feet.  That means the developer has less land to build on – and the last thing a develop wants is to tangle with regulators, especially Conservation people.

The Mayrose Tycon people have been given more than a handful of breaks and the city along with the Conservation people want to see some movement.  This is certainly putting some pressure on the owners of the property but there are other events taking place that have the possibility of the city losing all control over the development of the Old Lakeshore Precinct of the city – which is the land from about Brant Street east to about Martha Street.

The waterfront file was once THE Councillor Meed Ward domain but she has backed a bit away from this one of late.

Within the area there is a piece of land referred to as the football because of its shape.  The western tip is currently occupied by a real estate office; that land is owned by a family trust.  The eastern tip is now owned by the Carnacelli group that also owns the property on the corner of John and Brant Streets, right opposite city Hall.

Carnacelli also has a property in Hamilton that is under active development – and while developers like to build things they do so only when the economy is favourable to profitable development and right now the economy isn’t capable of absorbing all that the city would like to see developed.

Also developers have to raise the money needed to bring these opportunities on line.  The people with money are reluctant to put their money at risk these days.

Has the Burlington market for high end condo`s been maxed out?    The city certainly needs class A office space but developers look for a client before they put shovels in the ground and Mayrose hasn’t, at least not to date, managed to find someone who want to locate in Burlington on the edge of the lake.

The developers are now realizing that the different civic authorities they have to deal with do have some clout.  The Conservation Authority has basically said to Mayrose Tycon – get a wiggle on.

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Nothing shabby about these salaries. But the schedules and the demands on their personal lives take their toll.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 17, 2012  The city’s budget will go to Council Monday evening and you will know before you go to bed what your taxes are going to be for 2012 .  On the city side you are looking at an increase of about 3.25% – it might climb a little higher if at the Council meeting your elected members get soft and slip in a few extras.  Sound of Music is still hoping that they will get the $17,000 they have asked for – Jack Dennison, Ward 4 council member, seemed to be onside for this one.

The Sound of Music people have a good case, it just wasn’t put forward all that well.  They are close to the best investment the city has in terms of bringing people to the city to spend, certainly worth more than what we are spending to bring people to Burlington to soak up the culture of the city.  No offence intended to the Art Centre or the Museum – the SOM is just a better business deal.

The Municipal Act requires that a report go to Council setting out what was paid to Council members and appointees to local boards.  We have added to those numbers what our guys get paid by the Region to give you the total cost to the taxpayers for their Regional and Municipal elected representatives.

This magnificent seven cost tax payers close to $1 million each year. Are we getting value for money? Actually we are, for the most part these men and woman are worth more than we are paying them. They more than earn what they get.

You, the voters get to decide if they are worth what they are getting paid.  Most of the Council members are worth every dollar they get and then some.  Others are not giving you value for money you are paying them.

In the figures we set out below we do not include mileage and other expenses council members are paid for – these are part of the cost of doing business and we don’t see those at part of the benefit package.

Each Council member has the opportunity to contribute to the pension program used by municipalities in Ontario (OMERS, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Service)

                                                Salary +                              Mileage +            TOTAL

Mayor Goldring                                $120,015.            $17,222                $137,237

Region Goldring                               $48,706                                              $48,706.

TOTAL salary and benefits            $168,721

Councillor Craven – Ward 1           $51,169                $5,368                  $56,987

Region Craven                                  $48,706                $777.67                $52,281

TOTAL salary and benefits            $99,875

Councillor Meed Ward – Ward 2      $51,224                $5,552                  $56,987

Region Meed Ward                          $48,706

TOTAL salary and benefits            $99,930

Councillor Taylor – Ward 3            $51,169.                       $6,532                  $58,151

Region Taylor                                   $48,706

TOTAL salary and benefits            $99,875

Councillor Dennison – Ward 4       $50,142                $7,749                  $57,891.

Regional Dennison                          $48,706

TOTAL salary and benefits            $98,948

Councillor Sharman- Ward 5         $51,224                $7,532                  $58.756.

Regional Sharman                            $48,706.

TOTAL salary and benefits            $99,930

Councillor Lancaster- Ward 6       $51,224                $5,452                  $56,676.

Regional Lancaster                          $48,706

TOTAL salary and benefits            $99,930.

The variation in salary and benefits is due to individual benefit coverages.

Councillor Sharman with his back to the camera debates with Councillor Meed Ward during Strategy Planning sessions. Both are strong contributors to Council and Committee meetings

Are your elected officials worth close to $100,000 a year?  They are.   There are a lot of people on staff at city hall who earn a lot more than the Council members.  The six Councillors are at many evening meetings that run to well past 10 pm and they each hold community events.  They may not have to be out the door at 9 am every morning but they put in long hours and have to put up with more nuisance calls to their homes than most of us would tolerate.

If we didn’t know him better we would say the Mayor is addicted to going to public events – he`s not addicted, he just sees the hundreds of public events as places he should appear and he does.

Councillor Tayor getting a well earned smile from a meeting facilitator. Taylor puts everything he has and then some into his job

These elected officials attend conferences that are fully paid for by the public..  When Mayor Goldring went to Portland, Oregon he attended a family event in Vancouver and paid for that portion of the trip out of his own pocket.

Conference expenses for each were as follow and while they are included in remuneration by the Region we did not include those monies in our listing.  They were working out of the city on behalf of the city and those costs get covered.

What isn’t reported by the city are the fees paid to the Mayor by Burlington Hydro.  As Mayor he sits on the Board of Directors and is paid a fee of $600. per Board meeting and $300 for each committee meeting he attends.  One board meeting each month and at least one committee each month nets the Mayor an additional $10,800 each year which at least one member of council calls  “double dipping” – Goldring is paid as Mayor to attend a meeting and is paid a fee as a Board member. Fair to the taxpayer  That’s for you to decide.

The Mayor gets out to every event he knows of and patiently explains what the city is doing.

While Burlington Hydro is a wholly owned subsidiary of the city to which it pays a significant dividend every year the actions and activities of Burlington Hydro are not publicly reported and your Council does not report to you on what Burlington Hydro has done other than what they pay in terms of a dividend.

Councillor Dennison on the left explaining an issue to a constituent.

We can tell you that Burlington Hydro is struggling with how to make the turbine that is part of the Pier design actually work.  The original intention was to have a wind turbine out on the pier that would power all the lights that will illuminate the Pier.  There appear to be some problems and there is talk of having batteries put in place to power the thing.  The “brains” over at hydro are “working” on this one.

In addition to salary each council member has a budget of $9,000. To cover meeting expenses, printing, postage and advertising.  At one point during her first year in office, Councillor Meed Ward came close to spending her allowance on postage – she got a little exuberant.   That $9,000 for each Council member  seems a little on the low side.  When you are at an event and coffee and treats are on the table – that`s coming out of the Council members budget.  Based on what I’ve seen at some events there are Council members picking up some of these costs out of their own pockets.

Each Council member is given a free parking spot right outside city hall.  Meed Ward chose not to accept this benefit even though city hall staff are given free parking.  During the budget deliberations Meed Ward tried to have this benefit ended – she couldn’t raise any support from her fellow Council members on that one so the tried to have the benefit phased out over three years.  She didn’t manage to get that one through either.  I don’t think she’s going to give up on this one.

The Mayor has a budget of $32,000 for the same kind of thing.  He is also given a leased vehicle for business use.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious; still in a 'learning mode'.

One would think that being both a municipal and a regional Councillor is a full time job but Councillors  Lancaster, Sharman and Dennison all have other work they do.  Lancaster owns a Spa in downtown Burlington and while it is professionally managed for her, she does nevertheless spend some of her time directing the operation.  Councillor Sharman keeps his hand in his profession by serving as the editor of a professional publication.  Councillor Dennison owns, operates and is heavily involved in the Cedar Springs Racquet and Health Club.   Dennison does put much of his prodigious energy into his Council work but one has to ask – how much can you stretch something and still call it useful?

Councillor Craven is the best Committee chair the city has. He did a superb job of getting Council through the budget deliberations quickly and efficiently. Is there higher office in his future?

Committee of adjustment members were paid the following:

David Kumar was paid a perdiem of $320 and car mileage of $110.

Esam Sarraf was paid a perdiem of $1,860 plus mileage of $386

Grant Newbury was paid a perdiem of $1,600 plus mileage of $207.

Malcolm Ramsay was paid a perdiem of $2,200 plus mileage of $282.

Peter Rusin was paid a perdiem of $560.

Peter Thoem was paid a perdiem of $1,620 plus mileage of $269.

Robert Bailey was paid a perdiem of $1,700 and mileage of $43.

The Ontario government has a policy that requires every municipality to report the name and amount of every person who is paid more than $100,000 each year.  The policy was created by the Mike Harris government an quickly became known as the “Sunshine list”.  It is released at the end of March and we will certainly pass those numbers along to you.





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We miss you pal. So does the city, but they might not know that yet. Take care. We’ll be seeing you.

By Pepper Parr

Burlington, ON  March 15, 2012  It was a year ago today that we lost you John.  We’ve been busy.

They went and named a school after you and wouldn’t you know it – the community immediately wanted some of the property around the building set aside for public park use.  You`d have been proud of the way the Orchard community organized themselves – they certainly showed staff how it should be done.

The city spent several months putting together a Strategic Plan that you would have been really pleased with.  And, the darn thing is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

John Boich with the little sweetheart who lived across the street.

We have the Community Engagement person in place but that concept hasn’t energized very many people.  Not sure how well Community Engagement is actually going to work – it’s time for Burlington – may not have come yet.  What having the Community Engagement person in place did do was ensure that your Shape Burlington report was kept in print.  Actually it was you and Walter and a solid committee that put the whole thing together and Walter is certainly out there keeping the flame alive.

Shaping Burlington is there as well  – they’ve not managed to create a significant profile for themselves or learned how to take positions on issues.  The idea that they would go beyond the Shape Burlington report itself either hasn’t occurred to them or they just don’t want to do anything like that.  They haven’t done what we thought and hoped they would do. Wasn’t what we talked about, was it?

Heritage is still a mess; Joe Lamb mumbles about running for office locally, Keenleyside still tells Council that the condo people are getting a bad deal, Walter delegates and consistently tells council not to mess around too much with the advisory committee structure.

The Waterfront Advisory is pretty close to a disaster but some of the members of that committee are beginning to push for a different approach.

That mayoral candidate we both campaigned against – turned out we were wrong.  The guy can do the job – quite well actually.  He went and got himself a new city manager – this is a guy you would really like – he`s not a Serb but he`s OK.  Comes out of London and you know the kind of problem he had with the Mayor over there.

The dogs miss you.  Buster and Molly and the other mutt whose name I can never remember still yap away. Chris takes care of the odd jobs around the house, Lorraine is in close to daily touch with Arlene.  The hip surgery did what it was supposed to do and she doesn’t have that funny little walk anymore.

There are good days and days that are not as good for her.  That God you spend your time with now, forgot to give us a real Canadian winter (he dumped a couple of loads of snow elsewhere) which means she can get out in the garden earlier.

The ‘goat’ decided not to hold the Super Bowl party –everyone thought it was something you should take with you.

Still perplexed with the way MMW conducts herself as a council member.  The one thing that is consistent is her sticking her neck out.  She doesn’t always get it right – but no one can fault the woman for trying.  She drives city hall staff bananas and she has certainly changed the way council members relate to their Wards.

Blair Lancaster declared a conflict of interest on a very small matter but in doing so set a different tone at Council and within weeks there was Jack Dennison leaving the horseshoe and sitting in the public gallery on a conflict matter.

Eric Cunningham didn’t get the Maid of the Mist contract – it went to an American firm.

The Greek with the Grenade has put up a web site which means the 2014 election will be slower.

The provincial Tories took a pass on both Brian Heagle and Rene Papin and went for Jane McKenna – one could see the smooth hands of Foxcroft and Keith Large in that manoeuver.  She then went on to beat our friend Karmel, who didn’t do as well as MMW did when she carried the provincial banner.

Cam has a job as a lobbyist for an organization that’s in the optical field.

The Pier is going to get built.  It’s $5 million over the original cost and the turbine that was to give the Pier a high tech element is never going to work.

We miss you pal.  So does the city, but they might not know that yet.  Take care.

John Boich is the reason there is an Our Burlington.  The idea of a newspaper on a web site came out of many conversations with John as we walked his dogs in the Wellington Precinct.  John Boich was a trusted adviser as we worked our way through the first months of our existence. John passed away March 15, 2011

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Wonderful – 165 people attended – did anybody do any business? MeetingUp through social media what do we know?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON March 14, 2012  The Mayor has suddenly become a “social draw”.  Last week James Burchill, Burlington’s best mind on social media, held a MeetUp that pulled together 165 people at the Beaver and the Bulldog.  It was one of the better local examples of social media making something happen.

The event was made to happen when James Burchill used his LinkedIn account to broadcast a MeetUp.  He  pumped and promoted like crazy and got a more than decent turnout. Well let’s let Burchill tell his own story about the “happening”.  “Last week” gushes Burchill, “our third  Business in Burlington networking group MeetUp happened … and boy oh boy did it happen! We figured on getting 100 people to attend but blew through that and ended up with 148 confirmed and 165 finally accounted for.

Attendees at the March MeetUp

“The energy was awesome and people are still buzzing about it. So what’s the scoop today? Simple … it took us 3 weeks to reach 100 RSVP’s last time and about 3 days this time!”

“Yes, we’re well past the two thirds point for the April 4th event and yesterday we confirmed that Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring will be attending to show his support for our networking group.”

“Bottom line, there’s three weeks left until our next networking event and I’d say (if I were a betting man) that we’ll have filled all 150 available spaces before then.”

“Are you in?, asks Burchill. “ Don’t wait. It you want to attend the “hottest networking ticket in town” .

RSVP today

Clearly Burchill is on to something.  By using his LinkedIn account and telling his network of the event that network broadcast for him and they all just appeared.

A contributor to Our Burlington mention she was going to attend and asked if she could do a write up on the event for us.  She did and we published the piece.  Within two hours our analytics were telling us that the 150 some odd people who had attended the event read the  article and then passed it along to others.  The analytics tell us that about 350 people read the piece.  Normally that kind of an article would attract maybe 200 people.

If  you’re a business person – what does this mean to the way you sell widgets?   How can you use these social media tools to drive people to your web site and then to the point where they buy your product or service?

Burchill hasn’t said how he is going to “monetize” what he is doing.  Having a bunch of people who have nothing else to do or who are on the make, show up for an event where they know there will be a crowd of like-minded people isn’t anything new.  We all did that at university.   What Burchill has done is create a happening for people who for the most part don’t know each other.  What happens during his fifth and tenth event?  Does the novelty wear off?  How many people are there in Burlington that fit the demographic Burchill seems to be drawing?

Financial planners and insurance agents dream about getting their hands on this many business cards. Did anybody do any business at the March MeetUp?

From a business aspect – what Burchill has done is pull those 150 people together at a cost of less than $25. – plus his time.  There isn’t a financial planner or an insurance agent who wouldn’t love to know how to make something like this happen for them.

It will be interesting to know how many people learned something they didn’t know about social media due to this event and understand how they can use it.  Did anybody do any business?  And how many new clients does Burchill now have?

Ivey, the hot new spot out on the South Service Road gave away tickets galore to free offerings at their new establishment and that worked for them.  Could a meet up work for them? What is it you have to do to get some kind of a lift off and reach beyond the best 20 or so friends you have?

The politicians seem to be able to make it work for them – why do you think the Mayor is going?  He wants to see for himself what the results are and hear what others have to say.

What about you – will you go again and why would you go again?  Leave a comment.

The photography is © M.L.Holton 2012 /




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Big picture urban designer to open the Mayor’s Inspire series. Greenberg to speak on

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON, March 14, 2012  One of the best urban thinkers in North America is coming to Burlington in April and will be the first speaker in Mayor Rick Goldring’s 2012 Inspire series.

Ken Greenberg is an architect, urban designer, teacher, writer, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto. Greenberg has played a pivotal role in public and private assignments in urban settings throughout North America and Europe for the past three decades.  He has focused on the rejuvenation of downtowns, waterfronts, neighborhoods and on campus master planning, regional growth management, and new community planning.

With Burlington chewing away on a Beachway Master Plan, a Transit Master Plan and gearing up for the next review and revision of the Official Plan and toiling away at the same time on its Downtown Core vision, Greenberg’s visit could not be more opportune.

The event is to take place April 11th in the Studio Theatre at the Performing Arts Centre.  That space holds just 200 people – so register now if you want a seat.  When Andre Picard, one f the country’s leading health policy thinkers spoke last year there weren’t a lot of empty seats.

If designer Greenberg were advising Burlington on what to do with our Beachway would he suggest something similar to what he did for Toronto’s Harbourfront?

For over three decades Greenberg has played a pivotal role on public and private assignments in urban settings throughout North America and Europe, focusing on the rejuvenation of downtowns, waterfronts, neighborhoods and on campus master planning, regional growth management, and new community planning. Cities as diverse as Toronto, Hartford, Amsterdam, New York, Boston, Montréal, Washington DC, Paris, Detroit and San Juan Puerto Rico have benefited from his advocacy and passion for restoring the vitality, relevance and sustainability of the public realm in urban life.

During that three decades of experience, Greenberg has managed large multi-disciplinary staff and consultant groups for both the public and private sectors. He applies a holistic approach to city building, crossing traditional boundaries and working in team settings collaborating with many talented professionals from a variety of disciplines. In each city, with each project, his strategic, consensus-building approach has led to coordinated planning and a renewed focus on urban design. He is the recipient of the 2010 American Institute of Architects Thomas Jefferson Award for public design excellence and the author of Walking Home: the Life and Lessons of a City Builder.

To fully appreciate what Greenberg brings to this Inspire session a closer look at some of his projects and their relevance to Burlington is worth the effort.

He did the Harbourfront Center Master Plan, Toronto, ON, he also did the FilmPort Toronto Film Studios complex on the Toronto Waterfront, Toronto, ON

While this one didn’t go very far he was the mind behind Master Plan for Adaptive Re-Use of the Hearn Power Plant, Toronto ON

If McMaster University had not reneged on their agreement with Burlington to locate a campus in the downtown core – might this have been what Inspire speaker Greenberg would have designed?

Greenberg did the Master Plan for Ryerson University, Toronto, ON as well as the Master Plan for University of Toronto, Toronto, ON and the Master Plan for York University, Toronto, ON. He also did the Master Plan for the Renewal of Regent Park, a major public housing project in Toronto

Inspire speaker Greenberg who will be in Burlington April 11 was a consultant on the thinking behind how Toronto would make the Don River a more integral part of the city.

Greenberg is currently working on the Lower Don Lands, planning for the mouth of the Don River at Toronto Harbour, addressing urban design, transportation, naturalization, sustainability and other ecological issues, Toronto, ON

The work Greenberg did on the Transit Hub Studies for Port Credit and Cooksville, Mississauga, ON should make interesting listening for the Burlington transit people

Other speakers in the Inspire series included Chris Hume Architecture critic at the Toronto Star, Gil Penalosa, Tom Rand, author of Kicking the Fossil Fuel Habit  and Andre Picard who suggested that Burlington might want to take a second look at what it really needed in terms of hospital renewal.



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First class police work in the Region nabs three robbery suspects. Police charge them with everything they can think of.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  March 14, 2012  An daylight armed robbery on Brant Street drugstore in February

On February 17th  the Halton Regional Police Service initiated an investigation into a robbery which had occurred at the “Medexpress Pharmacy” located on Brant Street.  During this robbery two suspects threatened the employee with a handgun and left after stealing a quantity of prescription drugs.

On February 23rd another pharmacy robbery took place in Milton at the Derry Pharmacy.  In this instance the  suspects left without obtaining any drugs.

Criminal Investigations Bureau officers from Districts 1 and 3 District  initiated an investigation and determined .  that the two robberies were related to one another.

On March 6th 2012 police arrested two males; Bempong and Drennan.  During a search of the vehicle they were in police discovered a replica handgun which was believed to have been used during the robberies.  With this information police obtained search warrants for the residences of thet two suspects as well as a hotel room they were using.

The locations of the search warrants were as follows:

1) Polonia Avenue, Brampton (Bempong’s residence)

2) 2468 Lower Base Line, Milton (Drennan’s residence)

3) 40 Chisholm Drive, Milton

During the searches investigators recovered some of the prescription drugs that were taken during the robbery.

On March 9th 2012 investigators arrested a third male (Gonsalves) in relation to these robberies.

All three accused were charged and held pending bail hearings.

The men behind bars are:

Fredrick BEMONG (31 years of age) of Brampton charged with Robbery with a firearm x 2;  Point firearm; Weapons dangerous x 2, Wearing a  disguise; Conspiracy to commit indictable offence, Fail to comply with a recognizance and possession of a controlled substance

Graham DRENNAN (29 years of age) of Milton has been charged with Robbery with a firearm, Weapons dangerous, Breach Probation, Conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and possession of a controlled substance

Franklin GONSALVES (33 years of age) of Oakville has been charged with Robbery with a firearm, two charges. Weapons dangerous, two charges, and wearing a disguise, two charges.

Solid police work brought these three to a court room.

Pharmacy robberies have been taking place quite frequently in the Region.  Drug addicts go to any length to get whatever they think will feed their addiction.  Something to keep in mind as you watch the young people in your community circles.  If you think there are signs of what some call “recreational use” of drugs – move quickly to get help for the drug user.  There is no upside to drug use.




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