City hall wants your insights – they want to pick your brains and do it all in a couple of minutes from the comfort of your keyboard.

December 11, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  They refer to it as “the panel” – it’s a collection of people who want to be on a citizen’s panel that the city will turn to with questions they would like to ask.

A lot of market research companies create these panels of people that they run questions by almost instantly – the trick is to have a panel in place ready to use.  A number of months ago Angus Reid, the Godfather of the polling business in this country, was in town to tell an audience about a service he had developed called Critical Vision that he had sold the city on.

Leah Bisutti, a city hall staffer, has been working out of the city manager’s office on the setting up part of the operation which the city hopes will go live sometime in late January.

It will be a very soft start – the objective is to get a panel with as many people as possible on it – the more people the more accurate the response will be as a measure of opinion on an issue in the city.

Hundreds of Burlington citizens attend budget meetings and give their opinions.  The city wants thousands to take part in a panel that can be reached in seconds and get back responses very very quickly.

There were some concerns that the city would know who the people on the panel are.  The only thing the city will know is the name you give yourself.  The rest of information is on computers to which the city does not have access.

The people who manage the back-end of this computerized poll will want to know your gender, probably your postal code and the ward you live in.  They might want to know your age as well.

This allows them to ask you questions that are appropriate to who you are as a demographic and where you live.  Ward 4 issues don’t mean all that much to people who live in ward 6.

The Vision Critical operation is very good at managing polling data and they can arrive at pretty valid conclusions based on a decent sample.  City hall wants more than a decent sample – they would like to be able to say that we have a significant portion of the panel who tell us they either want or don’t want a particular service provided or they are prepared or not prepared to pay more for a service.

Can we expect to see posters like this on city streets as the city looks for the thousands of citizens it wants to see on its opinion panel.

There is some concern at city hall that too few people will register to be on the panel.  City manager Jeff Fielding points out that Vancouver, another city using the service, needed a year to pull in 1000 people to their panel. 

It can be argued that Burlington has a more active community – we get 200 people out to the Mayor’s Inspire Series and when there is a serious community issue it is not unusual to see 400+ people crowding the Mainway Arena.

The panel, which is a significant, and if responded to by enough people, could become a close to vital tool for the city to get response from people who are busy and not able to get out to meetings but still want an opportunity to voice an opinion.

But it needs people – and that’s you.  If you are a regular Gazette redder and there are now more than 20,000 of them, this is something you want to be in on.

Click on the linkwhich will get you to a box into which you can type your email address.  The people in the city manager’s office will add your name to the list of those interested in taking part.


City announces plans for a citizen’s opinion panel.

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Can the planned Lakeshore hotel be ready for 2015 PanAm Games; – 18 months to build a project that doesn’t have final approval.

December 11, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  City Council meetings are a legal requirement.  In Burlington when your elected representatives meet as a Council they usually approve the recommendations that were made by the Standing Committees.

Council adjourns every meeting with a reminder as to when Council is scheduled to meet next and the Mayor, who chairs the Council meetings, states that Council can meet at the call of the Mayor.  During the regular Council meetings various bylaws get passed.  It is the bylaws that give the city the authority to do certain things as set out in the bylaw.

Monday evening Council met and passed six bylaws.  A bylaw was passed to authorize the temporary borrowing of funds from the Royal Bank.  There was another passed to approve the appointment of municipal law enforcement officers for the city of Burlington.  There was also a bylaw to amend the parking bylaw to allow changes to the on-street parking rules  and municipal facility parking.

The view from Lakeshore at Elizabeth street with the hotel on the corner and the seven story condo further south on Elizabeth – closer to the water.  Elizabeth will run south of Lakeshore.  The 22 story condo is on the eastern side.

Slipped in was a bylaw removing the H designation on the biggest development project Burlington has seen for some time – biggest in the sense of the impact it is going to have on the downtown core and the way the citizens of this city see their town.

The developments is taking place in the very core of the city and has been on the planning boards since 1985 when city council approved the project as a “landmark” that was going to put Burlington on the map. The pier was supposed to do that wasn’t it?

The Bridgewater project is a development on the south side of Lakeshore Road the runs from east of Elizabeth, a street that now ends at Lakeshore but will be extended down to the walkway along the lake’s edge.

The project will consist of three structures: A 22 story condominium apartment on the east side of the property,  a seven story condominium apartment that will be on the south-west section of the property  and an eight story hotel that will be on the northwest corner of the property and will be operated by Delta Hotels.

The H part of a zoning designation is put place to signify that there is a hold on the property until certain undertakings have been completed.  In this case there were wind studies to be done and a traffic study to be done.  The city wants to know what the wind patterns are going to be like when a 22 storey building goes up close to the edge of the lake.

This is how the buildings are going to be sited on the property. The opening into the public area from Lakeshore Road  between the hotel on the west and the 22 storey condo on the east is just 50 feet wide.  The public area does widen once you get into the property.  shown on the western side is what they are calling Lakeview Square.  The grading is going to be quite steep as indicated by the steps south of the Square.

View from the lake with the smaller condo in the lower left and the 22 storey condo on the upper right and the public spaces in between. There are a lot of stairs shown just above the promenade which is already in place.

The opening off Lakeshore into the public space is just 50 feet wide. The public may have been expecting a wider “window onto the lake”

With 150 apartment units in the condo  plus 33 other residential units and a hotel with 152 rooms,  traffic along Lakeshore and Elizabeth will be different.  The entrance to the hotel will be on Elizabeth as will entrance to the underground parking.

The property that is being developed was at one point home to the Riviera Motel.  The environmental people needed to know what the condition of the earth was – a certificate was need to certify that it met provincial environmental standards.

This is what Lakeshore will look like once construction is completed. Elizabeth will be on the right and Pearl which ends at Lakeshore will be on the left. The people currently living in the condominiums on the north side of LAkeshore might end up with less of a view.

With the removal of the H designation all the variances that were approved close to a year ago can come into effect.  Some of those variances, approved by the Committee of Adjustment, had conditions attached to them.  These included the provision of various securities – all part of the paperwork that lays behind a development.

When the conditions are met the draft site plan is submitted and assuming that clears the planning hurdles, and there is no reason to expect there to be any problems a building permit can be issued and work can actually begin – shovels in the ground as the politicians like to say.

Couple of things come to the surface on this process.  Council met on Monday and removed that H designation – yet in their remarks neither the Mayor nor the ward 2 council member uttered as much as a word about the project.  It was as if it was a ship that was passing quietly in the night.

Whenever there is good news the politicians are real quick top pick up on it and make sure you know about it.  Monday’s Council meeting had a nasty brutal streak to it with pointed comments being made by almost everyone.  Perhaps the bruises that were left from the meeting were healing.

If this rendering is accurate the site will have a lot of trees which once they mature should make for a very pleasant part of the city. The objective is going to be to get quality commercial operations on the project – the fear many have expressed is a massive Tim Hortons.

Or perhaps there is a problem with the time frames Mayrose-Tyco and Delta have to work within.  The intention was to have the hotel open for the PanAm Games scheduled to be held from July 10–26, 2015.  Officially these are the XVII Pan American Games or the 17th Pan American Games and while Burlington missed out on the opportunity to actually host any of the events the City View Park will be used as a practice field for some of the soccer teams.  The public however will not get to see any of those practices – the PanAm people gave the city a fat cheque that will allow them to take over the grounds.  You probably won’t even be able to walk your dog on the grounds.

City View Park is ready for the Pan Am Games – will hotels rooms be available?

The City View Park will be ready – the same cannot be said for the Bridgewater project.  Officially the project is not yet approved. Mayrose Tyco and Delta have 18 months to dig the hole in the ground and put up the eight story hotel.  Theoretically it can be done – but this project, first approved back in 1985 when it was called Waterfront East and approved when Roly Bird was Mayor and Walter Mulkewich was a member of Council

Was the possibility that the project will not get done in time to be used during the PanAm Games explain why the politicians said nothing before they all scooted away for the holidays?


Why is waterfront development taking s long?

Bridgewater edges closer to actual construction.

Riviera Motel set ablaze, doesn’t burn down; wreckers will be on site real soon.

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Last Council meeting for the year – another kick at marathon route and hidden in the agenda is a potentially big tax increase.

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It will be the last time this city council meets this year.  Along with the usual reports  from the Standing Committees there is an item that was deferred from the last Council so that a delegation can appear to urge the city to re-review the decision to have the Chilly Half Marathon run along a different route.

Nick and Diane Leblovic delegated at the November 13 meeting of the Community Services Committee.

After considerable discussion on November 13th the Standing Committee decided to stick with the staff recommendation which was to continue to have the race run along Lakeshore Road.  The Leblovic’s provided extensive written material in the form of a petition, emails and letters.  Councillor Meed Ward put forward an amendment to the Staff Direction that would create a committee to “organize discussions between City Staff, VRPro and members of the Lakeshore residents working group to consider changes to the Chilly Half Marathon to, among other things, minimize the negative impact of the race on Lakeshore area residents.”

It is a hugely popular event. It takes place on a Sunday morning every March – and it is in all probability going to take place in March of 2014 along Lakeshore Road.

It was pretty clear at that meeting that city staff saw no need for a meeting with any working group – they had done their homework and advised city council Lakeshore Road was the best route.

The Meed Ward amendment was defeated and at that point the Leblovic’s left the meeting.   Discussion on the issue however continued during which time Mayor Goldring mentioned that he and Councilor Dennison had offered to meet with the Leblovic’s but that they were turned down.  In their request to have the vote on the Chilly Half Marathon deferred the Leblovic’s said the took exception to “the Mayor’s action in making this statement after we had left the meeting.  The Mayor could have raised this issue in questions to me which would have provided me with an opportunity to provide important background and context to his statement.”

The Leblovic’s went on to say “the Mayor failed to disclose significant additional information concerning to an earlier meeting with him and Councillor Dennison and to related discussions and communications which took place during May and June of this year.”

The Leblovic document went on to say that: “ If the Mayor had made his statement when questioning me I would certainly have provided this additional information in my responses  which would have provided  a clearer  and more complete understanding of the positions of the parties and the reasons for the decisions that were taken.”

What one wonders is why this “significant additional information” was not given during their 10 minute delegation.

City staffs were very clear in their recommendation – the Lakeshore Road route was the best location for an event that draws well in excess of 4000 people.

It was evident that more attention needs to be given to handling the individual problems that crop up.  Some people have care givers that need to be able to get into their property – surely such situation can be managed.

The Leblovic’s said the “actions of the Committee in having this debate in our absence is not only un-parliamentary, unfair and inappropriate but provides a limited and one-sided picture of the events and circumstances in question.”  They asked that the final vote be deferred – and it was.  That final vote will take place Monday evening at which time there is no reason at this point to expect anything other than to see the Staff Recommendation approved.

The Chilly Half Marathon dates are known close to a year in advance; it should be possible to organize one’s personal life to accommodate a major sports event.   New Street gets shut down for several hours every year for the Santa Claus parade and some people are locked in – admittedly not as many as during the marathon.

A slight change of subject:

The current council set itself a goal of not more than a 10% tax increase during their four-year term. For 2011, 2012 and 2013 the total tax increase on residential property amounted to 8.65% – this included the hospital levy.
When you add in the 4.66 that is a preliminary projection to that total,  citizens are looking at a 13.31% tax increase over the four-year term. That is going to take some explaining as this Council heads into an election year. The preliminary numbers were in a report on “economic drivers” discussed at a Council Standing Committee last week.

 Council meetings at times appear to be a races to get through the Standing Committee reports.  Within those reports are some critically important documents that need both public attention and discussion.  There are problems on the not so distant horizon that need attention.

The report from the Committee of the Whole that met on Thursday will get all of two minutes – but tucked inside that document was the suggestion from the city manager that Burlington residents could be facing a 4.66% tax increase in 2014 – which would blow the promised 10% increase for the term of this council right out of the water.

The significant seven are heading into an election year and this is not something they want to talk about – not at this time.

More on that later.


Lakeshore Road area residents delegate to council for a different route for Chilly Half Marathon.




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Is ward 1 shaping up to be a hot race before nominations are even opened? Could Councillor Craven be in trouble?

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  “Talk about a one issue candidate” was the first comment I got when I asked a colleague what she thought of the announcement Katherine Henshell made of her plans to run for the ward 1 council seat in the October 2014 municipal election.

Many see Henshell as a Beachway community advocate who owns property in that part of the city and didn’t like the plans the Region made to eventually buy up all the property and turn every square foot of the space into a park.

Henshell published an idea to turn another part of the city into a park and set out a decent social and economic argument for turning a piece of property into a place where people could observe the birds that call Royal Botanical Gardens home.  What some didn’t realize was that the piece was a very tongue in cheek poke at the current ward Councillor – the land Henshell was suggesting being turned into a park was the home of Councillor Craven.

Katherine Henshell  trudging along to a practice on a Saturday morning.

The idea managed to get some traction in other media – the Toronto Star carried the story and a friend suggested to Henshell that she should run for Council. That planted the seed that has a woman who is a mother with a 15 month daughter, a lawyer with an active practice, a regular hockey player as well as a Seminary student gearing up to run for public office.

Henshell once played as goalie – she now plays defense. Now wants to run interference on city council

A native of Sault St. Marie Henshell has been active in sports all her life.  Highland dancing, volleyball, basketball – anything physical had her out of the house.  When she graduated from high school it was straight into university and then on to graduate work. Henshell wasn’t sure if she wanted to do religious studies or law.  The legal profession won out.  It was while she was studying law at Osgoode – York University – that she decided to live with her sister who lives in Burlington that she got to know this city.

It would be reasonable to describe Henshell as competitive and probably a type A personality.  During her high school sports years she played at the all Ontario level in several sports.

She appears to be a joiner as well.  Active in both the Burlington and Hamilton bar associations Henshell served on the Regional Crime Prevention committee where “we talked quite a bit about appropriate behaviour for young people today”.  For Henshell it is about being responsible for your own behaviour.  Her view that “We each have responsibilities we need to meet, budgets that we need to live within” comes through very clearly.  Politically Henshell describes herself as conservative but she has not been active politically.

What she does appear to have is an incredible energy level and a capacity to soak up ideas quickly.  It doesn’t take Henshell long to drill right into an idea and ask questions.

If she doesn’t understand something – she asks questions.  Actually she doesn’t ask questions – she peppers a person with questions.

Henshell doesn’t come from a family of means.  As a kid she didn’t get to enjoy the trips to Disneyland – when she and her husband were first married they took a trip to Disney in Florida. “No kids” she said “we didn’t have any yet.”

There are no pretensions to this woman.  What you see is what you get.

Henshell seems to be able to connect with people easily.  Why politics – why now – and is she a one issue politician?

Weekends and some evenings on an ice rink keep the mother of a 15 month old with an active law practice in shape.

Henshell wasn’t comfortable with her delegation to city council.  “I had the sense that they weren’t listening and their understanding of the “willing buyer/willing seller” line the Region was using made absolutely no sense.  The people in the Beachway are being robbed of the opportunity to earn the 5%  to 7% annual appreciation of their property that most people in Burlington realize.  They are being held hostage by a set of rules their municipal government put in place – Henshell wonders how many other situations where people are not being treated fairly by city hall.

This woman will be a formidable candidate.  The race in ward 1 will not be a cake walk this time around for Councillor Craven.  He might want to take a close look at the provincial seat should there be a provincial election before there is a municipal election.


Henshell proposes new park for east end of the city.

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Joseph Brant hospital tops off Family Medical Centre; announces schedule for hospital construction.

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It has been a good year for the Joseph Brant Hospital. Not as good a year for old Jo Brant himself – the Pooh-Bahs at the hospital decided to drop the word Memorial from the official name and came up with a spiffy new corporate logo as well.  Times change.

The hospital did a topping off ceremony for the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre (there’s a name screaming for something shorter) and announced how well the fund raising program has been doing.  Incredibly well is the best way to describe the $16.5 million that has been raised.  The target is $60 million the hospital foundation has been tasked to find.

In the world of fund raising “seven digits” is what you go looking for – it’s sort of like the single malt of the fund raising world – and these are not easily come by.  Romancing seven digits calls for a skill set few can bring to the table.  Anissa Hilborn, president of Burlington’s  Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation has done a remarkable job.  The rate of donations is “unheard of”,  which is a testament to both the Foundation and the generosity of the community.

Today there is $16.5 million in campaign commitments – achieved in less than two years’ time.

The Molinaro family brought $1 million to the table, the Hogarth clan followed with an additional million.  The Sante/Peller family added $500,000.  Before any of this happened the Boards and Senior leadership at the hospital put their names down for $23.5 million.

Burlington’s four Rotary Clubs put themselves down for $1 million.  Before anyone got out a cheque book however the hospital auxiliary committed to $3.5 million

Ambassador Giving Societies and Circles were launched in January of this year. The Crystal Ball Gala will be held on September 14 of 2014.  It is all rolling out rather well.

The public phase of the campaign will be launched when $45 million of the $60 million goal has been reached.  All of this is no small achievement and is a significant credit to the Campaign Cabinet made up of 20 community and business leaders.

The Family Medical Centre will be in the structure under construction on the left – with the parking garage on the right.  There will be a passageway from the parking garage right into the hospital.  No word yet on the parking prices.

With the fund raising well in hand – hospital CEO Eric J. Vandewall  talked about the progress and the construction schedule.  First piece of good news was that the provincial government put a little more money on the table.

Next: the hospital has settled on three consortiums who are going to bid on the construction of the building which will be an additional story higher than originally planned:  seven floors instead of the six in the original thinking – however the building is going to look a lot bigger than just seven floors of space for people to get better in. 

They have a timeline in place – now to keep everyone fully informed.

There will be an additional two floors above the actual hospital which will house all the electrical and mechanical equipment making the building look like a nine story structure which will be a couple of hundred yards from the edge of the lake and will dominate the western side of the city.

In the very near future Burlington’s sky line is going to experience a radical change with the Bridgewater condominium/hotel in the middle of town soaring to a height of 22 storeys and the hospital reaching up nine storeys.

The hospital site will take on a campus like setting with the buildings oriented to the lake.

The project is being headed up by Infrastructure Ontario – they work hand in glove with the hospital scoping out just what is needed, where value engineering can be used to get the best for the dollars being spent.  It is at this level that Vandewall  shines.  The work he did in Mississauga  prepared him for the Joseph Brant challenge.

What was originally going to be the renovation of an aging hospital that was well past its best before date, and carrying a nasty reputation as well, has morphed into basically a rebuild with a brand new facility set off to the western side.

Vandewall does remarkable work – he is unfortunately not as well served on the communications side.  The hospital is filled with great good news stories that don’t get told.  Their media relations are terrible.

Entrance to the hospital will be from either the parking garage which will be on the west side of the hospital connected by a passageway or from the street level entrance that will front onto Lakeshore Road.

The new tower will have 172 new beds; there will be a new Emergency department; a new intensive care unit, a renovated Special Care Nursery.

While the focus is on the hospital, contractors have been working away at the Halton McMaster Family Health Care Centre that will attract ten new family practice doctors.  Attached to the Health Care Centre will be a three level parking garage with capacity to have an additional two floors of parking added.

The hospital site will take on the look and feel of a campus – it will be a much different site than the collection of services out there now.  All the construction work gets done while the care givers and the surgeons continue to go about their daily work.

Background on hospital development:

Paying the CEO

Parking garage – how it got paid for.

Getting the Family Medical Centre

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Developer sells units in a project that has yet to be given zoning change approval. “Unseemly” says city hall.

December 6, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  A very senior source at city hall called it “unseemly”.  Some think it might be outright fraud but the people at ADI Developments think it’s just fine.

Popular prices, great location and innovative design.  Tighten up the marketing practices and this could be the project of the year.

ADI, relatively new to Burlington as developers, have shown some surprisingly innovative designs that move away from the stilted, safe approach many developers take.  Their project on Guelph Line, that is now under construction, was a nice jolt of energy and the project at Sutton and Dundas Road is certainly not what that part of the city has seen in the past.

Shovels now in the ground for a a smart, exciting development on Guelph Line.

Smart design, innovative features and a willingness to comply with the suggestions from the planners got the Adi brothers close to being named  the poster boys of the development community.

The two brothers who operate the company, with their Dad back stopping them, saw real potential with Village Square and attempted to find a negotiating point with the Friedman family at which something could be agreed upon.  That didn’t work out and Village Square has since been taken off the market.  Many wonder if the property was ever really for sale.

Artists Walk has also been closed – Debra Friedman has decided to close the operation that was a venue for local artistic talent.

The ADI development on the north-east part of the city is certainly different from past projects by other developers and should appeal to a younger market.

The issue at city hall with ADI Developments is the sale of units at the LINK project out on Sutton and Dundas.  Their application for a zoning change has yet to be approved but the company is believed to be selling units in the development.

What this amounts to is the selling of something the developer does not yet have.  The zoning change they have asked for is reasonable and it will set out how many units are going to be permitted in the project.

The LINK project snuggled right up to Bronte Creek where there should be exceptional views for the units on the east side.  Some very innovative design work done with this project.

Once that is known the developer can then do a final pricing and roll out a marketing plan.  Until the zoning is in place offering a unit for sale, while not illegal, does raise some questions as to just what a buyer is getting.

Developers do have problems in financing a project.  Bankers and other sources of cash want some assurance the project is going to work and that the units built will be sold.  So they pre-sell.  A developer loves to be able to put up one of those “60% sold” sign on a project.  It satisfies the bankers and gives buyers a sense of confidence as well.

Selling units in a project that doesn’t have zoning approval is not something planners are uncomfortable with.  If something goes wrong the public tends to turn to the city and ask why this was permitted.  It leaves a poor impression of the city and, as it was explained to us: “it isn’t the best of practices”.

ADI developments did not respond to a request for comment.

Other ADI development stories:

Guelph Line project breaks ground.

Developer sees potential at Village Square, tries to romance the owners daughter

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Roseland residents asking for an interim control bylaw that will halt all develoment – planner describes it as “draconian”.

December 5, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Change is an awkward process.  We say we are OK with change but we rarely approach it with a full heart – we kind of shuffle along towards it.

Wise tree planting when development was done originally has given the city a community that has increased in value and given it a character the residents want to maintain.  Developers want to cash in on the wise decisions made a long time ago.

The people of Roseland are struggling to deal with change.  In the years 2012 and 2013, the City and Roseland Community Organization (RCO) have been involved with appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) opposing development applications that do not conform to the City’s Official Plan. These repetitive applications are draining the resources of both the City and RCO.

Burlington is currently going through a very involved and complex Official Plan Review (OPR), something every city is required to do every five years.

There is a concept in the world of planners that while not new – it is new to Burlington and was introduced to use by Anne McIlroy, a planning consultant who has been involved as a consultant for Burlington for a long time.  They are called Character Area Studies – intended to take a deep look at the character of a community and determine why it is as it is and what parts of it can be saved and what parts can be changed.

Councillor Rick Craven had asked that the Indian Point community in ward 1 have a character study done – when the Roseland people learned about the concept they asked to have Roseland included.

Located on the east side of the city bordering the lake. Roseland is home to many very senior executives – probably the most powerful collection of people in the city.

The RCO crowd are now arguing that if there is to be Roseland Character Area Study in order to address shared concerns, and if it is going to take a couple of more years to adopt the revised OP, then it is “appropriate and prudent to adopt an interim control by-law postponing this type of application until the appropriate regulations are in place.”

By “this type of application”  the good people of Roseland mean those situations where development is taking place that results in significant change to the character of their community.  One resident set out, quite clearly what the issue is:

In the past 5 or 6 years, a number of houses in Roseland have been demolished and replaced by ones of considerably greater size, often through the granting of minor variances. (As an example, the 70 foot lot diagonally behind our property is in the process of having its 1500 square foot bungalow replaced by a 5000 square foot multistory house).  I and others in Roseland recognize that today’s homebuyers wish to have more “built space” and less “botanical space”, and are prepared to pay a substantial price for such a property.  However the effect of these houses on both the smaller ones around them and the neighbourhood streetscape has become a cause for considerable concern.

About 100 people gathered at the Roseland Community Centre and discussed their concerns.  The meeting arrived at a startling conclusion:

  1. Interim Control By-Law for the Roseland area to immediately halt applications for land severance and accompanying minor variances until both the Roseland Character Area Study being undertaken is completed, and consideration is given to the implementation of related Official Plan amendments;
  2. Establish additional regulations within this proposed Interim Control By-law to stop the demolition of existing dwellings within Roseland thereby ensuring that future new housing will be built in compliance with the future recommendations evolving from the Roseland Character Area Study.

City planner Bruce Krushelnicki described interim control bylaws as “draconian” – they are a blunt, brutal instrument and they do have limitations.  The city can, if it so chooses put in such a bylaw that can last for just one year.  The bylaw can be renewed for a second year but after that the bylaw must be lifted and cannot be imposed on that community again.  Such a bylaw could be imposed on some other part of the city.

The following is a collection of some of the notes that individuals put on large pieces of poster paper: at the Roseland AGM.  Their frustration is evident – their understanding of just how brutal an interim control bylaw is  – is not as evident.  These things have a tendency to come with a clutch of unintended consequences.

The community has strength and money written all over it.

The list is extensive:

 “Freeze all building permits “ON HOLD” to avoid the ongoing levelling of existing homes to make way for new builds until study and plan have been approved…i.e.  Rossmore has lost most of its homes

Preamble needed:  There should be a preamble to the document, a very brief description of Roseland as a “long-established aggregate of historically diverse homes and a community of residents of all ages and backgrounds.”

Absolutely–   We are tired of working so hard just to preserve the neighbourhood we bought into.  We have already put much of our own money into protecting ourselves from speculators. 

Interim Control By-law is essential to maintain veracity of the neighbourhood.  We also need to stop the razing of bungalows to be replaced by large houses that are out of character with Roseland.

I wish this had been done years ago- our house is surrounded by “variances” and it is not what anyone wants. 

This is an essential first step which halts the process which most damages the neighbourhood character.

Yes to this freeze and pass an Interim Control By-law.

Renewal and progress are inevitable and valued.  No one wants that to stop.  We want it to respect the character, streetscape and charm of the entire neighbourhood.

Interim Control By-law:  I agree we should freeze severance applications until council completes the Roseland Character Area Study. 

Exclude developers from meetings involving our area.  Their only stake in our community is short term.

Yes it is essential to have an Interim Control By-Law.

Please define “minor variance”.  There seems to be no limit to variance.

Please freeze all minor variances until the Character Area Study is completed!

Redevelopment of Roseland is out of control, particularly in the last few years.  Much of this redevelopment, including lot severances, has been by developers, purely for profit, to the detriment of the unique characteristics -> lot widths, trees, architecture of Roseland.  Therefore, an interim control by-law is essential before it is too late.

Interim Control By-Law:  appropriate and fair to the community.

Agree with freeze or until official plan review is completed. 

Given what has transpired around us, this is a good first step, one that is vital to maintain an orderly transition and understanding of proposed changes called for by council.

Roseland homes have character, there are no cookie cutter homes. It is a community that just simply works and they residents want to keep it that way.

I believe this is a necessary first step in the process.  –> these severance/minor variance applications threaten to alter the essential nature /character of the neighbourhood

Yes- agree but would like to see even stronger controls, e.g. on reduction of setbacks by 50%

An excellent and necessary step to ensure that any development from today will fit with the eventual new Official Plan.

Developers are using our neighbourhood as their inventory for their business: complete one house; move to the next property; and, keep marching down the street – use the construction processes to disrupt the quality of neighbourhood life, forcing people out. They know the by-laws and use them to their advantage – we want an interim control by-law that will stop this until we get a new Official Plan.

Established communities are assets to all of Burlington and not just their residents.  Once lost they cannot be regained.

Burlington’s Official Plan must recognize the reality of Burlington– that it is made up of unique communities which give Burlington its character.

Some areas of our neighbourhood have (almost) reached the tipping point where the developers’ new builds outnumber the older homes and the character has been destroyed.  It has to stop.

Recognition of Burlington’s various neighbourhoods and communities essential to maintaining our livable status buildings in established communities needs different rules than fresh communities

Preserve Roseland as an established community and don’t allow changes to our historically diverse characteristics.

I’m very concerned about the excessive amount of time (that) construction vehicles are blocking traffic in Roseland- especially on Rossmore.

Need to set policies on “established” communities in the Official Plan and not just focus on “new” communities       -need a definition of what an “established” community is

Maintaining the historical diversity of the neighbourhood is important.

Reinforce the need to different planning approach in different areas in the city. 

Perhaps all council members should take a walk or drive through the neighbourhood to understand the uniquely beautiful style of this area.

It would be good for new buyers to be aware of this–before the damage is done.  That being said, there has been quite a precedent set already for what NOT to do.

Yes…we in Roseland are unique and we need to preserve our special characteristics!  People in Burlington like to park cars here and walk.   -> Historically diverse     -> charming, character type homes

Yes, enhance why Roseland needs to be recognized as corporate culture specific to Roseland…this community’s specific values  –History of our past being successful lived in the present add the point somehow

Consideration has to be given to neighbours who have to endure the noise of the building process that is allowed to start at 7:00 a.m. and even all weekend.

Stop allowing the construction of “super-sized” homes.   They don’t add to the character of Roseland.

Roseland should be used as an example of an established community and the benefit of community planning with the City’s Official Plan.  Roseland could be used as a model for established community governance.

I want to see Roseland recognized as an established community with specific characteristics including valuing our historic diversity in our homes.

Add “historically diverse” to description of our neighbourhood.

“Growing in Place” is all about established unique communities with their own policies.  It’s in the Strategic Plan for this council.

Community is special and historic and should be designated as such.  Beware tearing down and rebuilding.”

Every community is unique.  People move to a community for a reason – they identify with the feel of the streets, the amenities that are available, transportation in and out of the community – a host of reasons.

When people decide on where they want to live they kind of expect it to remain the way it was when they decided to move in.

Roseland happens to have an eclectic mix of houses that go from a small bungalow sitting next to a large three-story structure that has all kinds of character and sweeping lawns and wonderful gardens.  It is more than physical character in Roseland – it is the people and the way the streets are laid out and how neighbours walk across the street to each other.  It is a tight-knit group – they can be tough as a society as well.  When the formed their community organization they promptly blackballed their member of council because he wanted to sub divide his lot.

These are intelligent people of means, the speak in paragraphs and don’t move their lips when they read.

The communities tree canopy is superb – the residents want to keep it that way and want to see a tree bylaw as well.

They have asked for an interim control bylaw.  City council kind of coughed over that ask and gingerly handed it over to the city planner and asked him to come with the upside and downside of imposing such a bylaw.

When this report is delivered to the Standing Committee that hears these things – be prepared for the howls from the developers who are buying up whatever they can and putting bigger houses on whatever they can purchase

Roseland worked right from the beginning of its development.  The depression in the ’30s stopped the growth but the community adapted and now has a mix of large homes with much smaller bungalows tucked in here and there.

RCO defines itself as a non-profit corporation established to keep Roseland as the special place we all know it is. Our intent is not to stop change, but rather to shape it. RCO’s mission is to:

    1. Sustain the character of Roseland by maintaining a vigilant posture to planning and development matters.
    2. Provide a means for communication among residents within Roseland and with City Hall, and a means for their participation in decisions that affect the livability and quality of our community.
    3. Take initiatives on projects which enhance the character of Roseland, preserve its heritage, and sustain its greenery.

It will be very interesting to read what the planner comes back with – and even more interesting to see how Roseland decides it wants to evolve.


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City Standing Committee structure modified – cut down to just two that will hold evening meetings to accommodate the public.

December 5, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Burlington now has just two Standing Committees that preview staff reports that eventually go to city council for a vote – where it must be said again – the way each Council member votes is not public unless a member of Council asks for a recorded vote.

Reports on Planning & Building, Engineering, Transportation, Roads and Parks Maintenance matters go to the Development & Infrastructure Standing Committee

 Reports on matters relating to Clerks, Information Technology, Legal, Finance, Human Resources, Transit, Corporate Strategic Initiatives, Parks and Recreation and Fire go to the Community & Corporate Services Standing Committee.

Councillor Lancaster preps for a Standing Committee meeting which she will chair for the first time.

Councillor Lancaster is chair of the Development & Infrastructure Committee with Councilor Craven serving as the vice chair. Councilor Meed Ward serves as chair of Community and Corporate committee where Councilor Sharman serves as vice chair.  The budget will be run through the Community and Corporate committee.

There is also an Audit Committee which will meet on Wednesday’s at 3:30 p.m. and only the meetings required will be scheduled.

Committee of the Whole meetings will be used for Council training, workshops on complex matters and meetings with other levels of government and outside agencies and will be held on Thursday’s at 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Council will get its first peek at a draft of the budget city hall is preparing later this week.

Municipal elections put a bit of a crimp in what council can do during an election year which means there will not be any Committee of the Whole meetings after July 1st, 2014.

As we go into 2014 the politicians begin to change colour and to some degree character.  They become more acutely aware of a public they will be appealing to in a short period of time and some may want to think in terms of polishing up the image so they don’t have to polish up the resume come October 2014.



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Local “People’s Inquiry” supports a mock trial for Premier Wynne and members of her government.

December 4, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  She was somewhere between 35 – maybe touching 40.  Kleenex in her hands to manage the tears as she gave “testimony” before a mock trial that was held at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church on Guelph Line.

Appearing before three “citizen judges” this witness told of how she had to understand why she was marginalized.

“I once had a comfortable life, I had a car, the trappings, I had a good job, I had friends but then the downsizing took place and I was the one with a new child that was not well and needed a lot of time and attention.

“I has RRSP’s and I knew how to manage.  All that can and did change for me more rapidly than I ever imagined possible.

“I have had to move five times in the last three years.  As a last desperate attempt to find accommodation I could afford I tried sharing accommodation with another single mother – but it didn’t work out and I had to call my case worked when my son was threatened by a child with scissors.  In a flash I was homeless – marginalized.

“I was poor, I was unworthy and made to feel like a low life.

“I was food insecure.  I was housing insecure.

“I felt un-liked, wasted, humiliated – embarrassed.  I began to feel invisible.  People that were part of your life change when you are poor.  I was seen as someone with a disease, as someone with an affliction.

“I couldn’t get a job – no one would take a chance on me.

“People in my situation are looked upon as lazy, as people who chose the life they are living.

“There is no poverty in Burlington because we don’t see poor people on the streets.  For those of us who are very low income people paying $1000 a month for a one bedroom apartment just isn’t possible.

“The politicians don’t understand what it means to be marginalized.”

They sat as ‘citizen judges’ hearing testimony from the marginalized and delivered a verdict that the Premier of the province should be brought before a mock trial in Toronto and charged with failing to live up to her promise to run a social justice government.

This witness was one of several who gave “testimony” in Burlington on Wednesday at a “People’s Inquiry”.  It is one of 20 being held across the province and will culminate in a mock trial in Toronto where the Premier Kathleen Wynne, her Finance Minister and Minister of Community and Social Services will be served with a summons charging them with failing to deliver on the promise to be a social justice government.

The marginalized believe that the Premier has described herself as a social justice advocate and tells the public that is who she is – but those who are on the receiving end of social support see little justice in what they are receiving.

Mike Balkwill, part of a group of community activists working under the Put Food in the Budget umbrella,  asked the 20 or so people at the Burlington inquiry what they felt they could do to have the Premier act on her social justice promise.  The local People’s Inquiries” and the mock trail planned for some time in February are designed to draw attention to where the Premier is failing.

Premier Wynne told the media that social justice is her top priority. A tough statement to take at face value when there are 400,000 people using food banks every month in Ontario.  Wynne’s claim “is believable only if she significantly increases social assistance rates and puts food in the budget of people who are poor in Ontario.”  It is her failure to make even a meaningful increase in assistance that has her being brought before a mock trial.

Wynne runs a minority government and at some point she is going to have to go to the people and ask for their support.  We will support her – will she support us? Was the question most of the people at the Burlington Inquiry were asking.

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Fixing our electoral system; does what we have in place now reflect the wishes of the people who get out and vote?

December 4, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  Well there you have it.  Four by-elections last Monday, Nov 25,  and nothing changed.  The polling advantage is always with the opposition in a by-election, so while the Liberal numbers were up, they only managed to keep the seats they had – which means the Conservatives won.

We live in a polarized nation with strong party loyalties in some key geographic regions of the country, so that should not have been an unexpected outcome. But even so, in that close Brandan-Souris by-election, more people voted against, than for, the candidate who won. This is because our political system hands victory to the one with the most votes, regardless how small a percentage of all the votes that might be.  Its called first-past-the-post(FPP) – something designed for a two-party system, which we dont have.

Jean Chretien won a majority by splitting the right-wing vote and coming up the middle.

Jean Chretien snatched his first parliamentary majority between the jaws of the split right-wing vote, the PCs and Reform, allowing him to come up through the middle and win with the support of less than half the electorate.  Stephen Harper is a keen observer of history and a quick-study, so he followed Chretiens lead.  He began by uniting the two parties on the right.  Then he focused on eroding the Liberals strengths and boosting the NDP in their stead. His strategy worked thanks to the Sponsorship scandal, unfortunate Liberals leadership choices, and an ever-opportunistic Jack Layton, pandering to the separatists.  Though Harpers win was even more skewed than Chretiens – at less than 40% of the vote – win he did.

But isnt there something wrong with this picture?  Over 85 democratic nations around the world have adopted alternate electoral systems which better represent the public will.  And, in my book that makes those nations better democracies.  I am most familiar with New Zealands proportional electoral system, first introduced following a referendum in the early 1990s and supported by 85% of the voters.  It is a mixed-member system where half the electoral seats are selected via the traditional FPP, as we have here.  And then the balance are awarded to each political party based on their share of the popular vote. 

Since it is rare that one political party wins an absolute majority in a multi-party system, cooperation and coalitions among parties are the norm.  And multiple parties means greater policy choices for the voters.  If minority government gives you unease, recall that that we experienced some of Canadas best government when the parties worked together in a minority situation, with Pearson in 60s and Trudeau in the 70s. Still, referenda on moving to some form of proportional electoral system were recently held in B.C. and Ontario, and both failed.  In the case of Ontario, the result was unsurprising given the McGuinty governments almost stealth-like lead-up to the vote. 

Stephen Harper realized he had to unite the right – he did and he has been winning ever since.

Federal elections in Australia are conducted using a preferential ballot, another option.  Voters prioritize candidates on their ballot.  If no one wins a simple majority on the first ballot, second and third choices are counted, as needed, until a candidate meets the 50% threshold.  Under this system Jean Chretien would not likely have had three majority terms of office, nor would Harper today.  The federal Liberal party adopted a resolution, at their last policy conference, to move to a preferential ballot when they next come to power, but once in power governments often lose heart to change the system that got them there.

Amid Senate-gate and so much attention focused on what to do with the largely symbolic Senate, there has been little discussion about the lower house, the Commons.  Ontario MP Michael Chong has been working on a private members bill intended to add accountability to the role of the MP and to rein in dictatorial PMs.  Chong had been a minister in the early Harper government but resigned over the problematic Quebec is a nation resolution, which his boss rammed through Parliament.  Given his background and the potential threat his initiative poses for prime ministerial control, it is unlikely his bill will see the light of day.

The objective of any election is for the voters to win.  do Canadians feel they have won today?

And even if the Liberals get into government and implement their preferential ballot, what is the chance that a subsequent government would not simply quash that system, the way Harper killed Chretiens progressive electoral funding program?  We might just have to content ourselves with being stuck with an inferior electoral system.  And continue to see elections like the one in Brandon-Souris, last Monday, where the Conservative candidate won with a respectable 44% of the vote.  Respectable, that is, until we realize that over half of all the voters opposed him. 

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


Michael Chong: Caucus should get to call the shots.

2011 Federal election results:

Brandon-Souris election results 

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Free parking downtown was for customers – not for staff. Parking lots full before stores and services were open.

December 4, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Isn’t working out quite the way it was supposed to.

The people who work on making downtown a better place for shoppers worked very hard to have December be a FREE parking month within the downtown core.  The belief  was that people objected to paying for parking when it was free at the malls – so they made all of December a  free parking month in the downtown core.

The city came up with a really smart promotional piece that set a great tone.  The city even advanced the free parking plan by a day to tie in with an additional marketing program that was brought to the city by the Yellow Pages people.

So – how is it working so far? Are people coming downtown in droves to shop?  They must be – you have to look to find a parking spot – especially at the Brant and Elizabeth street parking lots.

On my way to a Standing Committee meeting at city hall when there are usually dozen of spaces available I had to drive around to the far side to find a space.  There were six spaces left in the Elizabeth lot.  Great I thought – then I paused – it’s just 9:10 am – no one is downtown shopping yet.

The plan was to have the parking spaces as free for shoppers – not for the merchants or service providers on Brant Street.

I picked up my car at just after 4:00 pm – the lot was still full but I’d walked along Brant and there was not much in the way of street traffic.  Then I figured it out – the people who work downtown were using the parking lots – they could stay there all day and not spend a dime.  The people from the Buzz barber shop had figured that out and obviously a lot of other people as well.

Brian Dean, General Manager of the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) figures the people working downtown knew the rule was a two-hour limit on the street so they would park in the lots.  Someone needs to have an up close and personal; one-to-one conversation with the people who work downtown.  Use the parking garage on Lotus.  There were 120 spaces available when I passed the building at 3:20 pm.

For retail and service provider staff to use popular parking lot space for personal reasons  is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.  A lot of work has been put into making downtown an attractive, welcoming place to shop.  Free parking was meant for the people they want to attract. 

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Idiocy reigns within the provincial bureaucracy; city staff may need help from a support group – airpark situation ludicrous.

December 3, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. The Burlington Executive Airpark is $40,000 lighter than they were a month ago when they agree to pay the legal costs awarded them by Justice Murray.

Burlington was awarded a portion of its legal costs for the application hearing at which Justice John Murray of the Superior Court of Justice, ruled the City of Burlington’s site alteration bylaw applies to the Burlington Executive Airport.

Interesting to note that in remarks made recently city General Manager Scott Stewart he is reported to have said the city has spent something well in excess of $100,000 on this matter to date. Yet all the city is going to be able to recover is $40,000. This clearly is not going to be cheap.

One of the most majestic court rooms in the country; part of the Osgood Hall complex in downtown Toronto where the Burlington Executive Airpark Inc., appeal will be heard.

Two days after Judge Murray’s decision was released the Airpark served notice of an appeal to the decision with the Ontario Court of Appeal. That case will be heard at Osgoode Hall in Toronto and will not make the Court Calendar until sometime in the New Year. The city and the Air Park have to file their documents and then a time has to be found for a hearing. An actual appeal hearing will probably not take place until next fall.

In the meantime the city has taken the view that they have a decision that stands until there is a successful appeal and they want the Airpark to begin adhering to the site alteration bylaw – now.

With landfill dumping brought to a halt, one of the chief concerns for area residents is water quality. No one knows ,with any degree of certainty, where much of the landfill came from and what’s in it. The Terrapex Environmental Ltd report identified petroleum hydrocarbons, antimony, lead, zinc, copper, cadmium, acenaphthylene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fiuoranthene, fluoranthene, indeno(c)pyrene, and naphthalene which they believed was in the landfill based on documents they were able to inspect. It wasn’t a pretty picture.

The airpark is a 190+ acre site which means significant water runoff. No one has mapped where water actually goes once it seeps into the ground but hundreds of homes are tied into the water table up there and they all draw from wells. Both the city and the residents want to know what’s in the water.

Water is an environmental issue – enter the provincial Ministry of the Environment, who do the testing. Now here is where it gets totally ridiculous – watching different levels of government bicker stupidly over who can have what in the way of data and ground water inspection plans.  This is not about bureaucratic turf – this is about the safety of the water people have to drink.

In correspondence between the city and the MOE it was determined that on August 27, 2013, the Airpark provided the ministry with a detailed groundwater monitoring program to assess the ground water quality down gradient of the fill area. MOE provided comments on the plan which were then addressed by the Airpark. The city learned that the plan has been finalized and the ministry is satisfied that the plan will assess whether the fill operations are causing, or may cause, any offsite impacts.

City staff sent a request to Mr. Vince Rossi on September 9, 2013, requesting that the Airpark provide the plan and details for the groundwater investigation to occur at the down-gradient property boundary to assess whether the fill operations on the airpark lands have resulted in offsite impacts. Staff was of the understanding that a monitoring plan was arranged between MOE staff and the Airpark during a meeting at which City staff were not permitted to be present.

The Airpark responded on Sept 9, that due to the litigation matters between the City and the Airpark, the requested plan and details would not be provided. City staff haven’t heard a word from the Airpark since on the issue. So much for winning the court case.

This culvert manages some of the runoff from airpark property than empties onto the Cousins property on Appleby Line. Everyone wants to know what is in that water.

The Airpark and the MOE do have some data, but, you’ll love this – both the Airpark and MOE have taken the position that they are unable to release the details of the proposed groundwater monitoring plan directly to City staff. MOE staff did indicate that records could be obtained through a Freedom of Information Request to the MOE.

On Sept 16, the MOE provided correspondence acknowledging receipt of the FOI request for each of the municipal addresses associated with the airpark lands (5351 Appleby Line, 5296-5342 Bell School Line).

On Sept 19 MOE said no records existed for 5351 Appleby Line. On Oct 8, the MOE did say records were available for 5296-5342 Bell School Line. The response indicated that approximately 219 pages of material could be obtained, for the requested fees, but that these pages would provide only partial access to the information requested. It was indicated that the identity of any complainants would be removed, in order to protect their identity. Further, it was indicated that any third-party related information would require notification to the third-party

This area is flooded most of the time making the adjacent field useless for farming purposes – more importantly – what’s in that water?

To initiate the release of the information, City staff submitted the requested payment on Oct 15. No timetable was given in the MOE’s letter as to when the material would be available. The city then received a communication from the MOE on October 28 indicating that “after a detailed review of the records, it appears that disclosure affects the interests of a third party”.

Do you want to guess who that third party is?

Don’t leave yet – it gets worse.

The city wanted some clarification on the FOI process and procedures. They talked to Mr. Fred Ruiter, who is Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Reviewer for the MOE. Mr. Ruiter confirmed a number of things, including that there was a mixup with notifying the third party, and that notification was not received until Nov 12. Mr. Ruiter indicated that there would be a 30 day response window from this date of notification, during which the third party could consent or object to the release of the information. Further to this, once a response is received by the MOE, there is a 10 day window for the MOE to decide whether or not to release information. Should the third party object to the release, and the MOE decides to release the information anyway, the third party would have the right to appeal this decision. Mr. Ruiter indicated that in a scenario of appeal, no final decision would likely be made for approximately six to nine months, as this is the typical timeline for the appeal process to proceed.

Don’t you just love it? For this taxpayers carry the cost of paying these people, providing them with close to majestic benefits and sending them off to retirement with a package the rest of us dream of getting. Totally ridiculous.

Is the water in that pond polluted?

City staff are in the process of trying to arrange a meeting with MOE staff in December to discuss these matters. It would appear that the city and the MOE don’t have the smoothest of working relationships.

The city is bending over backwards to get a meeting with Dolly Goyette – MOE Central Region and Alison Rodrigues – MOE Halton.

We will keep you posted.



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Burlington pornographer arrested twice. Charged with distributing smut and luring a child.

December 3, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.   A male resident of the city managed to get himself arrested twice on child pornography charges.

Police executed w search warrant on November 5th at a Burlington residence and seized a number of computers and data storage devices were seized..  The accused was held for a bail hearing.

The November arrest was the result of a three-month investigation by members of the Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

Subsequent investigation resulted in the accused being re-arrested on December 3rd and again held for a bail hearing.

ACCUSED:  Cody FISHER, 22 yrs of Burlington

CHARGES:  Possession of Child Pornography (two counts), Make Available Child Pornography, Luring a Child, Breach of Probation (two counts)

The Internet Child Exploitation Unit has earned a world-wide reputation for being able to ferret out the web site and data servers that hold pornography.  If you have any information that you think may help – don’t be shy – Call Crime Stoppers.


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Parking goodies in those Christmas stockings – longer on street parking rules coming + FREE parking for all of December.

December 3, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  December is clearly going to be a nice month parking wise.

Not only did you get free parking for the month of December but the rules for on street parking are going to change as well.  If the recommendation in a Standing Committee report makes it through the council meeting on the 9th – you will be able to stay on the street outside your home for five hours instead of the current three hours. 

Households with special caring situations will be able to get permits that let them stay overnight if that is required. 

More detail to follow.

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Expect to see reduced speed limits on Wilson Avenue – residents convince council committee to make a change.

December 3, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Wilson Avenue residents appear to have prevailed and convinced a Council Standing Committee that the speeding problem on their street deserves attention.

This street looks more like an airport runway – it invites speeding. Residents have convinced a Council Standing Committee to reduce the speed limit to 40 kmh – and look at speed bumps if the limit change doesn’t work.

The street runs south from New to Spruce and looks a little bit like an airport runway – this street invites going over the limit which is currently 50km.  Residents want it brought down to 40 and if that doesn’t do the trick they will look into asking for speed bumps – a process that requires more than 50% of the street population to go for the idea.

And – the backlog for speed bumps is more than two years

There are no sidewalks on the street which makes it very dangerous for the many people on the street who like to walk

Details are a little complicated – we will cover this in more detail later in the week but for now the city is prepared to reduce the speed limit on the street and then look critically at possible speed bumps.

The Standing Committee bought into the delegation – the item goes to Council on the 9th for approval.

More to follow.

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Santa was there, the kids lined the sidewalks and snow at least hinted that it was in the air.

December 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. The weather worked – you could see your breath when you exhaled.  The rain held off but that little flutter of snow that would have made it a ”real” Christmas parade just didn’t appear.  Other than that I t was fine 48th annual Christmas parade through the streets of Burlington.

This time there were live animals as well – ok so they were a pair of bedraggled looking ponies – they were there.

This picture sums up the season. It is about a birth.

Do you know how cold that pavement was?

There is a reason for the season – and it isn’t shopping until you drop or your credit card gives up. A Christmas Eve service at the Performing Arts Centre.

What do you call it – a bi-directional vehicle? It was quite the thing to watch the way the cab got steered.

The Rocca Sisters cosponsors sign at the head of the parade told of the shift in who is putting up a good chuck of the money – there are still Rotary noses that are out of joint; justifiably so one might add.  It will take a bit of time to unravel that mess and perhaps make changes to the parade’s organizational structure.

Its official when the Town Crier comes marching down the street – Santa follows.

A standard in any parade for kids.

Other than that all the “usual suspects” were in place.  The city’s Town Crier led the event and the Old Boy himself brought it all to a close.

Lots of hot chocolate consumed after this parade.

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Miles-Goldring exhibits at the Seaton Gallery while hubby trudges the streets looking for loose coins.

December 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was her third show in her career as an artist.  This time Cheryl Miles- Goldring was exhibiting the work that came out of her trip to Newfoundland last summer.   Water, particularly steams and falls, are a challenge for the artist but she clearly caught the sense of the out ports that are bed rock of Newfoundland cultural history.  There is something about a clothes line with items flapping in the breeze that has Newfoundland written all over it.

Everything about Newfoundland somehow gets summed up in a painting of a clothesline flapping in the salt air wind.

Miles-Goldring has a tendency to create small triptychs.  She has done this in the past to wonderful effect and did it again with her Newfoundland collection.

Earlier in the week we crossed paths with the Mayor and asked how he was going to cover both the Santa Claus parade and be at the exhibit on Sunday – they were being held on opposite sides of the city.  “I know where my responsibilities lay” said the Mayor who added that the parade is not something that requires his attendance.  Well he got that one wrong – the Mrs. made it clear that the Mayor will be in the parade and he can scoot over to the exhibit when his day job is done.

We saw the Mayor at close to 3:30 in the afternoon trudging along James  Street with  Burlington Old Timers Hockey League paint can collecting  donations  within sight of city hall.  It was going to be a bit of a dash to get to the Seaton Gallery out by RBG before the exhibit ended.

The Seaton Fine Arts Gallery has created a space where artists can hang their work during exhibits.  Teresa Seaton, head honcho of the gallery does her stained glass work in the gallery as well.

The work that Miles – Goldring does is always shown at the Art in Action Studio Tour but is has a greater reach than just art shows and the walls of the people who buy her art.

Miles – Goldring makes small prints of some of her work and has ‘hasty notes’ made up with some of her art on the front.

As you can imagine her art adorns a large portion of the walls in the Mayor’s office as well.  There is a tradition in the municipal world for small gifts to be given to visitors who call on the Mayor in some official capacity.  Miles-Goldring came up with the idea of giving the Office of the Mayor a selection of framed prints and boxes of hasty notes that he could give as gifts to visitors.  She pays for the framing and the printing and keeps meticulous records should anyone even suggest she is being paid for the gifts.  The pity is that Miles-Goldring  feels she has to keep records at all.  If she said she pays for the work done that should be more than enough.

The Friends Wall featuring the Cheryl Miles-Golding Outport Tour collection.

The exhibit at the Seaton Fine Arts Gallery seems to be part of an initiative to make that location the place to exhibit local and visiting artists.  The announced closure of the Artists Walk in the Village Square doesn’t leave too many locales  for artists.  The Village Square by the way is no longer for sale – was it ever really for sale?

What baffles many is the difficulty in booking the Fireside Room at the Burlington Art Centre.  We hear far too many artists complaining about that problem.  Is it just a scheduling problem?

For Miles Goldring the question is – what will she schedule next?

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They got a bigger fish this time; Regional police seize drugs and cash in a Ross Street raid.

By Staff

December 1, 2013

Burlington, ON.  Halton Regional Police, Burlington-3 District Strategic Support Team, executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant at a residence on Ross Street in the City of Burlington. 


There goes the Christmas money – and how are the people higher up the drug food chain going to get paid with all the money gone?

The warrant was as a result of a drug trafficking investigation.  Seized as a result of the warrant and subsequent arrest was;

• $11,100.00 dollars,

• 1307 grams of marihuana (approximately  46.7 ounces/ 2.87 pounds ), 

• 4 grams of Cocaine,

• 8 grams of Methamphetamine 

• 1 gram of MDMA.

• a digital scale,

• cellular phones

• and packaging material

 The drugs have an approximate street value of over $14,000.00. 

 The accused, Maxwell FOLKES-KAIZER- 24 years of Burlington, was located inside the premise and was subsequently arrested.

 FOLKES-KAIZER was charged with:

• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance and, four counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance

He is to appear in Milton Court on January 7, 2014.

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

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Ward councillor introduces fashion line into her campaign. Is she declaring? Yup – she says she’s in for another round.

November 29, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Every Council member does everything they can to meet with their constituents.  They take telephone calls, the use email and every other communications tool they can find.  While I’ve yet to see a member of this Council walk around wearing a sandwich board – you never know.

Smart politicians create a brand for themselves – Lancaster, who has always had a smart sense of style, appears to have gone for the “red bag look”. Might work.

Members of Council hold meetings in their wards and they go to events.  The Mayor has gone to more than 300 events so far this year.  Meed Ward holds what amounts classroom sessions in Ward 2 while Jack Dennison holds meeting at the sports club her operates n a room with a fireplace and bowls of popcorn set out.

Last weekend the Alton Campus opened and we wondered when the Ward 6 council member would hold a meeting in the spanking new campus.  It didn’t take long – Blair Lancaster invited her constituents to meet with her in one of the community rooms.

There she was, patiently waiting for someone, anyone from the community to show.  After waiting for an hour a constituent did show up.  We left at that point.

Started as a model and kept the ability to talk to the camera.

Lancaster explains that in Alton people are busy, they are commuters and they have families to feed – and she added, she did meet a lot of people at the Campus Open House.

Lancaster finds that she gets an audience when there is an issue an on at least one occasion she has had people lined up outside a meeting room waiting to get in.

Each council member has their own style, approach and relationship with their Council member.  John Taylor gets a good turn out from what is to a large degree a rural community.  His meetings are almost like a crokinole game being held in a church hall.  They know him, they like him, they respect him and they trust him.

Former model charms reporter into showing her latest fashion statement.

Lancaster is still working out her relationship with her ward – with Alton being as new as it is it will take some time for them to get to know her and her to get to know them.

With an election less than a year away – Lancaster does have her work cut out for her in Alton.  She has a Carol Singing event planned for the middle of December – the 16th – but wait for confirmation on the date and time.  Hot chocolate and cider are on the menu.


John Taylor’s type of ward meting:

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“Things like this never happen to us. Then it did” – Sharlene Bosma speaking to Crime Stoppers.

November 29, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was the 25th Anniversary celebration for Crime Stoppers in Canada.  Lots of people from the police community taking the decent sized audience through the statistics and telling us about the role Crime Stoppers plays.

Carolyn Wallace spoke on behalf of Burlington MP Mike Wallace – she was as good a speaker as her husband, perhaps a bit better.

Halton Regional police chief Stephen Tanner

The chief of police spoke and then introduced a tall, dark-haired, attractive willowy woman who quietly said she was Sharlene Bosma.  The room was suddenly quiet, almost tight.

“It was seven months ago” explained Sharlene “that my husband left the house never to be seen by any of us again. 

Sharlene Bosma with friends after her remarks to Halton Crime Stoppers.

“I knew about Crime Stoppers,” she said, “I had seen it on TV but it was never a service you expect to use.  I knew about the tips people could send in to Crime Stoppers.”

“We were so numb that first few days – we were desperate but we didn’t know what to do.  The house became Command Central and then, quite quickly, there were all these posters put out by Crime Stoppers.

“Family and hundreds of friends were around the house” she continued  – pausing several times, working hard to keep it together.

“We had no idea how many calls there were.  At one point the police email service was overloaded and Crime Stoppers was able to fill the gap.”

“We were so desperate – waiting and waiting.”

“Never underestimate” she said “the value of family, friends and neighbours.” Each pause was a painful effort to keep it together.

“The terrible things people do to each other” brought the hearts of all of us in the room to our throats.

“Things like this” she continued, “never happen to us”

“Then it did”

Small smiles were possible

And at that point most of the people in the room were about to lose it as we heard an incredibly strong human being lower her head and say “Thank you”.

The applause was both significant and sustained.  The people in the room were law enforcement types.  Tough people who deal with the worst day in day out. Dennis Farr, a former Halton intelligence officer and an accomplished interrogator was there along with former Halton Chief of Police Gary Crowley

Cal Millar, former head of Crime Stoppers in Halton was on hand along with the new police officer servicing as police liaison with the organization.

The audience had heard the statistics about the vital role Crime Stoppers plats in keeping the community safe.

Claire Gibbon, a Crime Stoppers board member, talked about when her home had been burglarized and how Crime Stoppers helps us “keep one another safe.”

To date for 2013 Crime Stoppers was responsible for 1011 arrests and 2035 clearances.  A clearance is a crime for which there was no suspect but found later to have been committed by a person under arrest.

The fact and the figures mattered but what I think most people took away was the strength and the beauty with which Sharlene Bosma presented herself and the thanks she gave “for stepping in when I needed you most.”

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