Halton ranked safest regional municipality in Canada with a population of over 100,000

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 27, 2012  Based on federal government statistics, the Region of Halton is the safest place to be in all of Canada when compared to other cities with the same 100,000 or more population.

The Region is using the Statistics Canada’s 2011 Crime Severity Index released earlier this week.

According to the report, when compared to the 49 communities with populations greater than 100,000 across Canada, Halton has:

The lowest overall Crime Severity Index (33.6 in 2011, down from  37.0 in 2010);

The lowest Non-Violent Crime Severity Index (35.7 in 2011 down from 40.0 in 2010), and

The second lowest Violent Crime Severity Index (28.2 in 2011 compared to 28.0 in 2010).

Halton’s lower index values are consistent with crime trends across Canada, as Statistics Canada reported that the overall national Crime Severity Index was the lowest it has been in 40 years.

“These latest figures from Statistics Canada speak volumes about the effective partnership between our Service and the community to prevent, deter and reduce crime,” said Acting Chief Andrew Fletcher.  “It is an honour to have our Maclean’s magazine ranking as the safest regional municipality in Canada be confirmed by hard crime data provided by every police service in the nation.”

Statistics Canada introduced the Crime Severity Index in 2009 as a measure of severity of crimes committed in Canada.  Crimes are assigned “seriousness weights” which are determined by the number of people convicted of the crime who spend time in jail, and how much jail time those individuals serve. To calculate the Crime Severity Index, the number of incidents for each offence is multiplied by the weight of that offence.

Acting Chief Fletcher said that despite Halton’s low crime severity, there is always room for improvement.  In particular, he cited traffic safety, the victimization of seniors, youth crime, consumer fraud, and domestic violence as particular areas of focus for the Service.

While good police work is the biggest component of keeping a community safe, the demographic make up of the population plays a very large part as well.  Halton has some poverty and some ethnic diversity but nowhere near what the Region of Peel has nor anything close to the make-up of Metropolitan Toronto.

Stephen Tanner will get a new badge and a new office in September when he takes charge of the Halton Regional Police Service.

Halton is a very easy part of the province to be a police officer in – traffic is close to the biggest problem we have to deal with.  So while the statistics are good – they should be.

We have a new police chief taking office in September.  Stephen J. Tanner gets his new badge early in September.  Is there any major work to be done to whip the Halton Police Service into shape?  Is there anything pressing that needs immediate attention?  Is he going to be asked to come up with a budget that requires a little less than the HRPS has been spending in the past?

This posting is going to be a pretty easy gig for Tanner.  The statistics should be about the same in 2012 and for a number of years out into the future.

“Statistics don’t always reflect the very real impact crime has on people in our community every day. That’s why as a Service, we don’t simply rely on the numbers, but rather we focus on building positive relationships with the people we serve as one of the best indicators of how well we are serving this community.”

That`s a decent quote; says the right thing, leaves the right tone.  Not sure what it means.



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Take part in an environmental research project: where are the Chimney Swifts? – great summer project for the kids.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 27, 2012  Would you like to be a small part of a scientific survey that will help determine why a small bird called a Chimney Swift is slowly just disappearing?

More than 90% of the Chimney Swift population has just disappeared and environmental scientists want to know how many there are left and where they go at night.

They have a pretty good idea but they need some help.

Chimney Swifts make their homes in chimneys in urban neighbourhoods throughout Ontario and are experiencing steep population declines across North America. Bird Studies Canada is looking for volunteers to help search for nesting locations.

Sootey coloured bird that make a chittering sound that is unmistakeable.  When there are hundreds of them in the same area the sound gets quite loud.

The Chimney Swift is a small, sooty-coloured bird that makes its home in open brick chimneys in small to large towns and cities. It can be observed in most urban areas, flying overhead in quick, sporadic movements, making a high-pitched chittering call.

The Chimney Swift is now federally and provincially designated as a Threatened species. The species was recently highlighted in the State of Canada’s Birds 2012 report as requiring urgent attention.

Swifts seem to want to roost at night in large chimneys.  Here we see some of the birds getting ready to enter a chimney.

Since European settlement, Chimney Swifts have preferred to live near people, nesting in chimneys rather than the cavernous trees they once inhabited. You are most likely to observe swifts using larger chimneys attached to buildings such as hospitals, churches, and schools. Some chimneys are roosting sites where swifts gather in large numbers. By late summer, you will see the number of birds at roosts increasing, with some sites offering spectacular displays of hundreds, or even thousands, of birds entering a chimney at nightfall. Then, suddenly, Chimney Swifts depart, migrating south for the winter.

The Swift is known as an aerial acrobatic bird – it darts about as it catches mosquitoes, a main source of its food.

The Chimney Swift is an aerial acrobat that belongs to a special group of birds called ‘aerial insectivores.’ These birds forage on insects, such as mosquitoes, while in flight.  The State of Canada’s Birds report notes that aerial insectivores are declining more steeply than any other group of birds. These declines are likely caused by a combination of factors, in Canada and in their wintering areas, including reductions in insect numbers, habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.

Conservation Halton and Bird Studies Canada have partnered to learn more about the declines and their causes in Halton.

They are looking for help pinpointing Chimney Swift nesting locations in Halton.

People laying on the ground watching Swifts circle a chimney and begin to descend inside where they stay the night.

If you`re looking for something practical to do that relates to the environment give some thought to getting into the family vehicle and driving around places that have large chimneys and watching to see if there are birds flying around the chimney, dipping in and out of it.

Have some paper and pencil at hand and note the date, the time and the location.  If you can, take a picture as well and send a report off to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OntarioSwiftWatch or email OntarioSwiftWatch@birdscanada.org.

“Whether you see a single Chimney Swift or several of them entering a chimney, it is important that we know about that chimney,” states Kristyn Richardson, Stewardship Biologist for Bird Studies Canada. “Ontario supports more than 50 per cent of the Canadian population of Chimney Swifts, so there are thousands of sites that have yet to be discovered.”

For more information about swifts, how to look for them, and how to help them, visit their website at www.birdscanada.org/research/speciesatrisk/chsw or the Ontario SwiftWatch Facebook page (www.fb.com/ontarioswift).


 What is a Chimney Swift? Chimney Swifts are small, sooty-coloured birds that make their homes primarily in chimneys. They are found in small to large urban areas. Chimney Swifts feed on flying insects, and spend most of their time in the air.

How do you identify a Chimney Swift? Chimney Swifts have a unique cigar-shaped body, long narrow pointed wings, and a very short tail. They nest and roost in chimneys. Their nests are built of small twigs secured to the chimney wall. They can be seen and heard flying above the urban core, or near larger institutions or industrial buildings. They do not perch on trees or wires, but cling to the interior walls of chimneys.

 Is this species in trouble? The Chimney Swift is federally and provincially designated as a Threatened species. Its population has declined by more than 90 per cent over the last four decades. It was recently highlighted in the State of Canada’s Birds report (www.stateofcanadasbirds.org) as a species requiring urgent attention.

 I think there might be Chimney Swifts in my chimney … now what? Chimney Swifts are relatively clean and quiet house guests. They are often mistaken for bats or other species. The Ontario SwiftWatch webpage, (www.birdscanada.org/research/speciesatrisk/chsw), includes two factsheets that will help you determine whether you have Chimney Swifts, and what your next steps should be. Please see “Are There Chimney Swifts in Your Chimney” and “How to be a Good Chimney Swift Host.”

Dates to remember

  • Swifts arrive in Ontario: Early May
  • Nesting: June 9 to 25
  • Eggs: three to five eggs hatch, 20 days after laying
  • Fledging: 30 days after hatch
  • Roosting: July 7 to 23
  • Swifts leave Ontario: Mid-September to early October

What have we learned so far? Bird Studies Canada used Ontario SwiftWatch data to identify the Chimney Swift habitat requirements. We found that Chimney Swifts prefer to use larger and longer chimneys, attached to non-residential buildings. We also found that artificial towers do not provide a suitable environment for nesting swifts, which is likely why artificial towers in Canada have not been successful.

How can I help? We ask that urban residents watch and listen for Chimney Swifts. If you see them or hear their chittering, look for any nearby open (uncapped, unguarded) chimneys, and take a few minutes to watch for swifts entering or exiting. You can watch any time of day, but will have a much better chance if you return at sunset when the swifts are entering for the night. If you see swifts using a chimney, please tell us through the Ontario SwiftWatch online data form, (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OntarioSwiftWatch). Whether you know about one chimney, or 100, they are all important in helping us to better understand this unique member of our urban communities!

Kathy Jones, Ontario Volunteer Coordinator, can be reached at  volunteer@birdscanada.org, 1-888-448-2473 ext. 124 (toll-free).




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Here`s an opportunity to put an end to some yakety yak the city puts out three times a year. Save $50,000 at the same time.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 26, 2012  City Hall wants to know what you think about City Talk, the publication they produce three times a year that devotes half its pages to material from each council member and the rest to projects taking place in the city and listings of events.

Asking the question is a bold move – if the public says the thing is a waste of paper and money, will the city decide to no longer publish the magazine and then reduce the Public Affairs department budget by at least one staff member?

The department has a manager and two and a half staff plus a summer intern.

A staff writer with the Public Affairs department, Oliver Lee on the right works with council members at public events directing the flow of what takes place. Staff writers produce the media releases as well.  In this photograph Lee directs General Manager Scott Stewart, Councillor Lancaster and Mayor Goldring

While the Public Affairs department touts the magazine as something that is vibrant and essential to keeping the public informed – that’s not the word we hear on the street.

The magazine is distributed to 70,000 homes; costs $20,000 to produce and requires 105 hours of staff time to edit.   We are told that the publishing cycle is six weeks long and that much of that time is eaten up by Council members who want to edit and re-write their contributions.

Council members have web sites, email lists and all kinds of media access – they don’t need city funds to produce a magazine that, despite the comments Public Affairs makes, isn’t read or kept on coffee tables or kitchen counters.

The Public Affairs department, which publishes City Talk, is run by Donna Kell, Manager Public Affairs. She directs a staff of 2.5 people plus a summer intern.

Public Affairs is managed through the Clerk`s office – not the best place for something as sensitive and important as the way the city talks to its citizens.  Media releases and public information should be under the firm hand of the office of the city manager.

The Mayor has his own people to manage and craft his message.  Public information is too important to be at the Clerk`s office level where media really isn’t understood.  The city Clerk is a very powerful position; almost semi-judicial in its scope and level of responsibility.  Most of the documents the city signs require the signature of the city Clerk.

A very short profile of the newly appointed city manager.  One doesn’t come away from this piece knowing very much about the man that runs the administrative side of the city and works to turn the direction from council into everyday policy.  More “happy talk” that journalism.


Nice layout, nice pictures but not very much about just how significant this project is.  It is one of the first times in the province where a Library Board, City Parks and Recreation staff and the School Board manage to work out the significantly different mandates they have and produce what will prove to be a sterling example of how cooperation can work.

The Summer 2012 issue had 28 pages, that includes the front and back cover,  of which 14 pages were used by council members.  Each council member got two pages to talk about the ward and the work they’ve  done.

There is an opportunity here to save $60,000 a year plus 300 hours of staff time.  It isn’t something the Public Affairs department will advocate,  but someone in city hall obviously suggested asking the public what they think  – sounds to me like this is the first step to getting rid of the thing.

But if the city is looking for a way to communicate meaningful information then how about a list of the top ten complaints that come into the city switchboard.  List those top ten for each quarter of the year.

There are city publications that are worth the money spent on printing them – the Parks and Recreation magazine is a good example.  City Talk is not a good example.

Some of the money saved could be shuffled along to Council members – add it to the office budget they have now.

Public affairs wants you to tell them what you think.  Don`t let them down.

Chances are that you can`t find your copy of City Talk – it went into the recycling box.  We have set out a couple of pages of the publication below.  It`s not a pretty picture.

Public Affairs wants to hear you.

What should we add?

What should we remove?

 What type of articles do you want to read?

What type of articles should we leave out?

How can we make City Talk better for you?

The city has posted an online survey: Click here to complete the survey.   

The survey closes Aug.10, 2012.   Summer isn’t the best time of year to go to the public for opinions – everyone is away for at least some of the time.  Extending the deadline to middle of September would make more sense – but then perhaps the Public Affairs department doesn`t want too many responses.

If you prefer, you can email your thoughts and opinions to:

citytalk@burlington.ca with your comments.


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History takes another hit when vandals desecrate St. Luke’s Anglican Church Cemetery.

Redcoats salute a fallen soldier buried at St. Luke’s Anglican Church Cemetery as part of the War of 1812 celebrations.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  July 26, 2012  Halton Regional Police Service is investigating damage to headstones at St Luke’s Anglican Church and Cemetery.

A lone suspect entered the property on July 15th at approximately 3:18 a.m. and was captured on surveillance video toppling two headstones.

The suspect is described as male, white, muscular build, short hair or possibly bald, wearing light coloured cargo pants and running shoes.  The suspect was shirtless, but carrying a shirt in his hand.

Special machinery will be required to reinstate one of the heavy headstones at a cost of approximately $1000.

Previous cemetery desecration in August 2007 resulted in a $12,000 repair bill.
(Photo courtesy Hamilton Spectator)

The headstones at St. Lukes have been damaged in the past.  In August of 2007, 22 headstones were damaged.  Previously to that damage was done to the cemetery on at least three other occasions.

St. Luke’s parish was built in 1834 on land given to First Nations Chief Joseph Brant for his services to the British crown during the American Revolution. His daughter later donated some of the land to the church.

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

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Up half the night to tell taxpayers what is painfully obvious – no steel girders on the pier construction site yet.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 26, 2012   Nothing yet – unless learning that a `tele-handler is on the site.  That’s it?  A tele-handler is a boom that zooms out and is used to offload material.  Problem with the Pier is that there isn’t anything to off load.

How come – and what’s the problem this time?  We were told that steel girders would be rolling into the city the week of the 23rd of July.

The large 40 x 10 foot steel plates arrived and went through several levels of testing.

This most recent round of testing – there are three levels of testing  done in each piece of steel as it goes through the fabrication process.  The problems with the girders being fabricated appears to be at the welding level.  The work gets past stages 1 and 2 but doesn`t make it past test / 3 – which means – it gets done again.

The current contractor isn’t the first company to have problems with steel not passing tests. Original contractor,  Henry Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. has beams in his yard that he was ordered to take out by the city because they did not pass tests.  The city is doing much more rigorous testing and ensuring steel beams pass tests before they get to the construction site.

The city put out a press release with a date line of 2:01 am – that suggests someone was at a keyboard well past midnight crafting words that would give this mess the best possible look.  In the world of politics they call this the optics`.  There is a lot to be concerned about at the political level.  Many in Burlington want this problem solved – and there is no one who wants this done more than the senior levels of the city administration.  But they are, as General Manager Scott Stewart put it in an email to council members last night updating them, we are not going to let expediency get in the way of quality.  And quality appears to be taking time.

I should add here that Stewart doesn’t have Our Burlington on his email list – that information came to us from another source.

There are 39 steel girders that have to be cut from the steel plate and then bent and welded.  They get tested at the bending stage – three times – and then tested again at the welding stage – three times.

Getting the welds done right so that the pier holds up and lasts its 75 year life span is critical. Welding at this level is not all that easy.

When the welds testing is complete they move on to galvanization – which is a process of coating the steel in zinc.  There is little likelihood of problems at that level – but with this project – one never knows.

There is a lot of teeth grinding and many trips from Burlington to Kitchener by city staff.  Craig Stevens,  Project Manager Corporate Strategic Initiatives, was at the welding plant on Wednesday for a first-hand look at the problem.  Stevens and Stewart work hand in hand on this project and bring all the experience necessary to ensure there are no embarrassing mistakes made.  For these two professionals this project, which started before they became employees of the city, this is all very aggravating and embarrassing.

Foggy day and foggy view on just what is happening at the pier construction site.  Object on the right is not the pier, it is a trestle used to drive equipment along to complete the construction of the pier – which isn’t going to happen this month. Completion in 2013 is the target – let’s hope the weather cooperates.

While it is a city project it is really in the hands of the general contractor who has sent the work out to different sub-contractors.  Graham Infrastructure, whose head office is in Calgary, is the general contractor.  The city has insisted on being in close to daily contact with the president of Graham Infrastructure who recently met with city staff to review and see what could be done to the construction time line.

The city learned a month or so ago that weather could create problems with the pouring of the cement – that kind of work cannot be done if the weather is very cold.

Weather is now another very real concern.  There was nothing of note done in June; we have now lost all of July and there is no date set for the delivery of the steel girders.  And the city is not going to give out any dates other than to say – sometime in August – which is a smart move on their part.  The public just doesn`t believe what comes out of city hall because they have been misled so often in the past.  It was only at  very recent meeting of Council that the Mayor finally moved from his Sound of Music official opening date.  Senior staff are saying it will open when it opens and they want to be left alone to manage the project and make sure that no one cuts corners or looks for a fast way to get something done.

For those of us who live in Burlington and hear news reports of chunks of concrete falling onto the roadway underneath the Gardiner Expressway we can take some satisfaction that the pier is being built with a minimum life span of 75 years.  The Gardiner isn’t fifty years old and it’s falling apart.

The Pier will get built, there will be little hiccups and maybe even more delays but when that ribbon is cut and the deck is open to the public there will be immense civic pride and the Mayor will wear a smile that stretches from ear to ear – assuming of course that he is in office when the pier does open.

The city is now talking of a late fall 2013 opening date – next municipal election is December 2014.  That kind of calendar would cause anyone to look at the possible election scenarios.

In their press release the city, in its all is well language said: “Construction work continues on the Brant Street Pier while awaiting the arrival of main steel girders that are undergoing quality testing to ensure they meet specifications.”

There are several steps to producing the steel girders, which pass through three levels of quality testing. The steel plate used to produce the 39 main steel girders needed for the pier project has passed quality testing, however, the first four main steel girders did not meet rigid quality control when tested after welding. Seven more steel girders have now been made and are being tested.

“This is the only responsible way to manage this project,” said City Manager Jeff Fielding. “Time is important, but it is not as critical as the quality of the steel.”

“The city is working closely with its contractor, Graham Infrastructure, and other members of the project team to ensure the steel quality meets the city’s stringent specifications through the fabrication and welding processes. The main steel girders that were to be delivered this week will be delivered and installed in August.”

“Work is progressing on the Brant Street Pier. Construction continues on the ramp leading to the sandy beach beside the pier. A piece of equipment called a tele-handler, or zoom boom, is on site this week to help install a temporary steel platform to assist in the construction of the pier node.”

“It is important that the pier management team communicates updates in a timely way,” said Scott Stewart, General Manager of Development and Infrastructure. “We will continue to keep the community posted and share the good news once the steel girders are ready for installation.”

The city does have to be given credit for being much more transparent that it was under both the former city manager and the former Mayor.  That is a plus and the taxpayers should respect and appreciate this new approach to keeping them informed.

Much of city council is away on vacation.  Councillors Craven and Meed Ward are out of the country.  The Mayor is due to head to Newfoundland for a vacation.  Councillor Dennison is around, Sharman is believed to

With no steel to work with construction workers do the small jobs that would normally get done at the end of the project. The pathway that leads to a beach that was formed on the western side of the pier wasn’t even part of the original plan. No one knew the beach would get formed the way it did..

be at his cottage.  Taylor and Lancaster are unaccounted for but just look for Taylor’s dog and John will be close by.

The City Manager has a firm grip on the process and is well backed by Scott Stewart who is backed up by Craig Stevens.

Now if we can get the welders to produce welds that pass the tests – we will see flat bed trucks wheeling into town with four or five beams on each load.  That’s going to mean more than eight trucks.  The city might want to have the Burlington Teen Tour Band on hand to welcome the caravan.

Stay tuned – there will certainly be more on this story.

HSS continues to operate his construction company while dealing with the legal problems that came out of his decision to walk away from the project and turn the keys for the construction site over to the city.

On the legal front, the city is now in the discovery stage of those proceedings – we get to look at their documents and they get to look at what the city has. Henry Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., (HSS) is understood to be using some pretty tough legal counsel to defend himself against the law suit the city filed seeking damages in the millions.  Many thought, maybe even hoped, that HSS would declare bankruptcy and that would solve the problem.  Those who harboured those thoughts didn’t understand Henry SS.

While senior city hall staff struggle with the problem welders are having, the people over at the Simms building where the legal people do their thing, get daily updates from the outside counsel the city has hired.  One can imagine the frustration the construction people are going through – it is nothing compared to what the legal people are agonizing over.

Think of the possibilities here.  The Pier doesn’t open until sometime late in the Spring of 2014 and the legal people realize they didn’t have the case they thought they had and they settle out of court.  Imagine that happening.  There are a number of people doing just that – and trying to figure out how best to approach such a situation.


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Your summer cukes“ and tomatoes could get the “treatment” from an organic cook.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  July 26, 2012  Have you got baskets of fresh produce on your kitchen counter because their was a produce stand on a country road you were not able to take a pass on?   Maybe you were one of the lucky ones to get a plot in the Community Garden behind the Library ?

Michelle Gatien, who is the Market Cook for the Harbourside Organic Farmer’s Market in Oakville is going to put on a cooking class at St. Christophers Church next week.

While I don’t personally think there is any limit on how much fresh asparagus one can eat – there are those who wonder at times what to do with all the fresh food.

Michelle Gatien, who is the Market Cook for the Harbourside Organic Farmer’s Market in Oakville is going to put on a cooking class at St. Christophers Church next week.

Michelle asks: Need to know what to do with all those” cukes” and tomatoes? Join us in the kitchen to explore seasonal recipes and preserves with ingredients straight out of your garden.`

$5 fee. St. Christopher’s Church, 662 Guelph Line, Tuesday, July 31 at 7 pm. Register to attend and you are entered into a draw to win a prize!

The event is being promoted by BurlingtonGreen and is one of those community things that tends to pull together people with similar passionate interests.

Gatien takes gardening and cooking very seriously.  Her blog has almost daily entries on what has popped up and what the heat is doing to her vegetable garden.

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Spaces available for city summer camps during August; five locations. Register through city hall web site.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  July 25, 2012  If you haven`t figured out what you want to do with the little ones during August the city might have a solution for you. There are still spaces available in the City of Burlington’s Summer Neighbourhood Activity Program (SNAP) camps.

Funny hats and smiling faces – all part of the summer day camp experience.

SNAP camps are for children between five and 10 years of age, with mini-SNAP for children from three to five years. SNAP offers a variety of activities including games, sports, crafts, songs, and fun weekly events and trips. The SNAP camps are $27 a day (except on trip days), and provide a safe, fun environment for children.

The locations with availability are:

Aldershot Community Pool: 50 Fairwood Place (Adjacent to Aldershot High School)Burlington, ON, L7T 1E5Phone: (905) 637-5688 Fax: (905) 637-4966

Rotary Youth Club: 560 Guelph Line (in Central Park) Burlington, ON, L7R 3M4  Phone: (905) 335-7738 Fax: (905) 335-7837

Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Elementary School: 2222 Country Club Drive, Burlington, ON L7M 4S5 (905) 331-4656

St. Elizabeth Seaton Catholic Elementary School: 5070 Dryden Avenue, Burlington, ON L7L 6Y3 (905) 331-7246

Skyway Arena: 129 Kenwood Avenue Burlington, ON, L7R 3Z6Phone: (905) 632-1717 Fax: (905) 632-8839

Brant Hills Community Centre: 2255 Brant Street, Burlington, ON, L7P 5C8 Phone: (905) 335-7720

Summer Neighbourhood Activity Program (SNAP) locations:
(1) Aldershot Pool; 50 Fairwood Place West; (2) Alexander Public School, 2223 Sutton Drive; (3) Ascension Elementary School, 5205 New Street; (4) Brant Hills Community Centre, 2255 Brant Street; (5) C.H. Norton Public School, 2120 Cleaver Avenue; (6) St. Elizabeth Seaton Elementary School, 5070 Dryden Avenue; (7) MM Robinson High School, 2425 Upper Middle Road; (8) Rotary Youth Centre, 560 Guelph Line; (9) Sacred Heart of Jesus Elementary School, 2222 Country Club Drive; (10) Skyway Arena, 129 Kenwood Avenue.

SNAP spaces are also available from Aug. 20 to 24 at the Brant Hills and Rotary Youth Centre locations. To register, visit RecExpress on the city web site.

If you are new to Parks & Recreation you will need to apply for your Family PIN and Client I.D. Numbers. Go online to www.burlington.ca and go to RecExpress /My Basket / Create New Account.

Registering is easier said than done.  It`s certainly not a user friendly site but here is the rigmarole you have to go through. When you get to the RecExpress web site:

Click on the Login button (top right hand corner).  That is IF you are already a register RecExpress user – if you aren`t scroll on down and learn how to register

Enter your Client ID and Family PIN Numbers.

Search for programs by clicking on the Program Icon, Program Tab or use the Continue Shopping Button.

Click the Add Button to add your selection to your “shopping” Basket.

Select Client Selection to assign a family member to a course.

Select either the Continue Shopping Button if you wish to register for more programs OR if you are finished shopping, click the Go to Checkout Button and make your payment.

You must make a payment to finalize your purchases.

Print a copy of your confirmation as a copy of your transactions.

There is no age limit for summer camp.

Once your payment transaction has been authorized by your credit card company, your registration will be confirmed and you will be mailed a detailed confirmation. During non-peak registration times your credit card will be authorized while you wait.

I don’t have or want to use a credit card over the Internet. Can I still use RecExpress to register?

You can make a payment on your Parks & Recreation Registration Account in person at a Customer Service site. Customer Service sites accept the following forms of payment: cash, cheques, debit card, American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Once the credit is applied to your account, you will be able to register via RecExpress and the cost of the registration will be deducted from the credit balance on your account. You will need to ensure that you have a sufficient balance to cover the full cost of your purchase(s). RecExpress will only validate your shopping trip if all programs are paid in full.

If you`re not registered – here`s the drill on doing that.

What are Family PINS and Client I.D. Numbers?

To use both self-serve options – RecExpress by phone and RecExpress through the Internet, you must have your access numbers: a Family Personal Identification Number (PIN) and Client Identification (I.D.) Number(s). If you are a current client with Parks & Recreation your family has been set up with its own Parks & Recreation account and has been given a Family PIN number that is shared with all family members. Each member of your family also has their own Client I.D. Number. In RecExpress any family member can sign in and register other family members.

Your Family PIN Number identifies your Family to the system. Your Client I.D. Number tells the system which individual is signing in. Both numbers are combined to provide an extra level of security for you within our database. Your PIN Number should be kept confidential and can be changed by you at the top right of the My Account screen.

If you are new to Parks & Recreation you will need to apply for your Family PIN and Client I.D. Numbers. Go online to www.burlington.ca and go to RecExpress /My Basket / Create New Account.

What is a TTR (Barcode) number?

Each course is identified by The Technology Registration (TTR)number assigned in the database. Customers use this number to select a specific course with both self-serve options – RecExpress by phone and RecExpress through the Internet. You can find a course TTR number by looking in our current Live & Play Guide. Once you know the TTR number of the course you want, you can register using the express route in RecExpress. If you do not know the TTR number you can browse through our listing of activities.

I told you this wasn’t easy.  Call your Council member.


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Burlington high school gets $1000 reward for best Eco-Club. Burlington Mall donates the reward. Aldershot Transit Ambassadors get gift cards.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 25, 2012  Aldershot High School took the cash – $1000 donated by Burlington Mall, which was the prize for the school with the best Eco-Club.  The cash goes to the high school`s Eco-Club – each of the Youth Ambassadors at Aldershot got $100 gift cards.

This is the second year in a row that Aldershot High has taken the prize.

The BT-YA program launched in September 2011 with two ambassadors from three participating high schools; Aldershot, Bateman and Nelson. The BT-YA program, in partnership with BurlingtonGreen and its youth network, is designed to help promote environmental messages and lead transit awareness through local high schools. The ambassadors are in charge of promoting environmental messages, leading in transit awareness and running events in their high schools, in exchange for rewards like gift cards, movie passes or PRESTO cards, as well as cash rewards to their school Eco-club initiatives. The program helps youth build leadership skills and expand their knowledge of promotion and marketing.

From the left: Kale Black, BurlingtonGreen; Sandra Maxwell, Burlington Transit marketing coordinator, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, Billi Krochuk, Aldershot Highschool BT-YA; Donna Shepherd, Burlington Transit director; Paul Carvalho, Burlington Mall operations manager.

“The BT-YA program is all about being eco-friendly and having youth lead in creating a better future. Our young people, including leaders like the BT-YAs have played a valuable role in fulfilling our future goals of creating a green Burlington by promoting transit in their high schools and through events such as World Car-Free Day,” said Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven.



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Health Club takes a hit; bandit takes cash; police nab bandit. Bandit will get a change of address.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  July 25, 2012  It didn’t take long for the Halton Regional Police to make an arrest in the July 22nd break-in to the Cedar Springs Health and Racket Club, located at 960 Cumberland Ave.

The suspect used a rock to smash the front window, and then used tools to break into the ATM located on the premises, stealing the cash inside.

Investigation quickly identified a suspect that led to an arrest the next day.  A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence, where police found stolen cash and tools used to break into the ATM.

Bandit left with just the cash from the Cedar Springs Health Club – but left something behind that allowed the police to arrest him the next day.

The suspect is also believed to be responsible for a June 27th attempted break –in at the Burlington Professional Centre located at 3155 Harvester Rd.  On that occasion the suspect disabled the alarm system, but was not successful in gaining entry.

The suspect clearly polished up his skills and got the cash but also got his picture taken or left a fingerprint.  Probably enough evidence to send him off to a different club – where he will probably further improve his skills.

Isaac Lucas, 34 years, of Stoney Creek is charged with:  Break and Enter;  Attempted Break and Enter; Mischief Under $5000; Possession of Burglary Tools and Breach of Probation (four counts).  This fellow doesn`t seem to be able to take advantages of the second chances he is given.


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Farmer’s Market: List of vendors grows; some products sell out very quickly. Preserves and espresso coffee will be available.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 25, 2012  Well the price of cherries went through the roof and the peaches aren’t exactly being given away – pears are going to be a bit on the pricey side as well – all due to the nasty little trick nature played on the fruit crops with warm weather and then a dash of cold air thrown around.

Fresh produce, fresh meats, new customers. Every Friday new faces show up, asking questions, buying fresh from the farm products. Friday 11- 2 on John Street north of James – back in behind Centro Gardens

But the Farmer’s Market on John Street – back in behind Centro Garden – adds new offerings each week.

Tree and Twig Heirloom farm that is doing preserves this Friday at the market which is open from 11-2.  The Heirloom Vegetable Farm focuses on foods linked to our past which is an exciting way to try new and unusual tastes, shapes and colours.  In the last century, we have lost 90 per cent of our vegetable varieties — a tragic loss of diversity and a threat to our food security. It is important to stop this trend and, as growers and consumers, look for alternatives.  These vegetables are grown for taste.  Sounds interesting

Casteleyn, the Belgian Chocolatier located on Brant will be serving espresso coffee at the market.  If you’re not wide awake by the middle of the day – a double espresso will do it for you.  Nine year old Andres, son of  the  Casteleyn proprietor will be doing the serving.  Barry Imber, one of the organizing forces behind the market is “ very excited about having these young people be involved – they are the future of our entrepreneurial town.”

Damian Wills, he runs the Farm to Table Meats, will be at the Market again and is offering game sausage on top of his regular fare.

The current offerings from Featherstone Farms does not include foul or eggs but the pork and bacon they have is superb.

Featherstone Farms will also be at the market again – they are regulars,  with their pork offerings.

These fresh meat producers can take custom orders and have them on hand for you to pick up.  From time to time I like to poach really thick pork chops in orange juice and then lay them on a bed of rice with a ginger sauce I make and pour over the food.  That with side dishes of green beans and asparagus and a bottle of chilled Chardonnay – makes a meal for me.

The Cheese Gypsy will be foraging for new and exciting local and regional cheeses and offering tasting notes along with the cheese for folks to take home and share the knowledge with friends.  She will be at the market for the first time on August 3rd.

As we get into the fall, Gibbs Honey will be back with the next batch of his product – it sold out in a flash last time.  The next batch, his second harvest; will be a lighter but more floral flavored local honey. You might want to go on line and reserve a jar.

The Farmer’s Market exists so that people can connect directly with the people who grow and produce some of the food we eat.  Meeting and talking to these vendors gives you an opportunity to create a one-on-one relationship.  Featherstone Farms – (289) 337-3375 and Farm to Table Meats could become your personal butcher.  Something to think about.


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Pint sized swimmer with courage galore and a mission to boot, plans to swim Lake Ontario & land at Spencer Smith Park August 18.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 23, 2012  The first thing that occurs to you when you see Michele Benoit is her size – she’s close to tiny, and then the question: wasn’t a long distance swimmer supposed to be quite big enters your mind.

This is what a 42 year old pixie of a long distance swimmer looks like. Look out Lake Ontario – she is coming your way.

And you wonder too – a 42 year old is swimming Lake Ontario – isn’t that a game for younger people.  When you meet Benoit – you are a little stunned – she doesn’t look 42 at all – maybe 32, somewhere in there.

But she is going to swim Lake Ontario starting at night out of Port Dalhousie and swimming the 45 km to Burlington where she expects to land at Spencer Smith Park – ideally in that small “instant Beach” that has been formed on the west side of the under construction Pier.

Why would someone this age decide to swim across Lake Ontario?  We will get to the why in a bit.  The how you get yourself physically and psychologically to the point where you can start and actually finish something like this is an incredible story.

Benoit was born in Montreal and lived a childhood that had her believing anything was possible.  If you really wanted to do it – you just did it. She took ballet. She was always a good swimmer – placed very well in the provincial finals in the province in breast stroke.  Other than that her only really emotional experience related to swimming was when her Mother came close to drowning.

Benoit was one of those children that no one quite knew what to do with.  She was bright, hugely energetic and driven.  But there was no direction in her life.

The family moved to Ontario and Michele studied Landscape Architecture, which in those days wasn’t what it is today.  During her time in the field it was mostly doing the front of commercial buildings or parking lots  – very little art in the architecture she wanted to practice. “I wasn’t happy doing the work I was doing”, explains Benoit.

Like every young person growing into adulthood – there were some rough spots and Benoit has had her share of those.

Were it not for the fact that we know Michele Benoit is going to swim across Lake Ontario August 17-18th – the picture suggests she is a model for wet suit swim wear.

With the landscaping world going nowhere for her, Benoit, who has always been fit, got into personal training and ended up as the Aquatics Director at a Burlington health club where she worked for six years.

Health, physical fitness, good nutrition – there was a sense of direction revealing itself by the time Benoit enrolled as a Natural Sciences student at McMaster. “I thought of dentistry but it didn’t take long for me to realize that wasn’t my calling” says Benoit.

Well then what was her calling – and here is where the Benoit story takes one of those twists you read about but don’t quite understand.  “A friend asked me to go to church with him and because I knew that his faith life was important I went.  I was baptized a Catholic and I went to Mass at Christmas and Easter.  I knew about Jesus but I’d never read the Bible.   I knew about Noah’s Ark but God wasn’t part of my life.”

But then, suddenly, Michele Benoit came out of a very sound sleep and had a very up close and personal relationship with God.  She then knew she was going to swim across Lake Ontario and raise money for people in Africa.  Weird ? – not for Benoit.  Did she have a complete plan in front of her – sort of like a blue print?  Nope, but for her it was as plain as the nose on her face and that is the force that drives her.

There is more to the Michele Benoit story; how she prepares for an arduous 45km swim across one of the hardest lakes in the world; how she exercises and prepares both physically and emotionally.

We will follow this remarkable woman and her quest.  If supporting something like this financially – click into the web sitethat was set up with more of the story.

Meanwhile – we will stay with this story and keep you up to date.

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IKEA is going to be in Aldershot for quite a bit longer than they had planned. There is trouble with the North Service Rd. location.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 23, 2012  It came up on the agenda as an employment lands issue but it really is a significant issue for the development of the mid-section of the city and keeping some of the larger business operations in Burlington.

IKEA announced in March of 2011 – that they wanted out of the location they are at in Aldershot.  They wanted more store space and they needed additional head office space.  They also wanted prime visibility and they really liked the look of the QEW with all that traffic going by.  The way you keep an iconic brand alive is to never let people forget  it is there – thus setting up shop on the North Service Road west of Walkers Line made all kinds of marketing sense.

All of the land along the North Service Road between Walkers Line and Guelph Line was described as under utilized..  The two lane road could not possibly handle the traffic IKEA would attract if they were to locate on the land that is adjacent to Walkers Line on the west end.

IKEA kept the city up to date on what they were doing in terms of the way the site on North Service Road would be  developed, how many parking spots there would be, where the trees would be planted and a look at what the buildings  would look like on the lot that is located west of Walkers Line between the North Service Road (NSR) and the railway line that crosses Mainway.  It’s a 25 acre piece of land that needed  some fixing up.

Is there enough land in this set back for an additional two lanes of road? The view is just outside the Leon’s warehouse looking west. If there isn’t then IKEA may have to look elsewhere for a new location. Outside Burlington? How did we ever let ourselves get into this kind of a mess? Ask the Economic Development Corporation

The project file was on the desk of a General Manager who is no longer with the city and was put in the hands of General Manager Community Services Scott Stewart, who had it on his desk for less than ten days.  He didn’t have much in the way of good news for anyone.

This is the view from the Leon’s warehouse looking west. Is there enough land for an additional two lanes of traffic – and if there is – is four lanes enough for the size of the operation IKEA wants to set up in this part of Burlington. It’s a great opportunity for the city – can we make it happen? Not with some of the thinking some people are doing.

Stewart set out in his typical blunt, direct manner just what the problems were.  The biggest problem is traffic – the North Service Road is a two lane road.  It sits right up beside the QEW so there is no room to expand that way – and while IKEA could use some of the frontage for the property they want to build on for the widening of the NSR – which would allow for a widening of North Service – there are other companies on that stretch of land that wouldn’t be as keen and maybe not even able to give up frontage.

So – there is your first problem.

Add to that mix the fact that Walkers Line will reach its current capacity sometime in 2021 which isn’t all that far out.

Then look at the documents coming out of the Niagara GTA discussions.  Among the options is to widen the QEW to eight lanes and a possible ten lane.  Where would that widening take place?  Not that much room on the south side – unless you got rid of the South Service Road.

Add to the mix some problems with Tuck Creek which is at the eastern edge of the property.

The cost of widening North Service and doing what has to be done to Walkers Line was put at “somewhere between $10 and $20 million – which is a really wide range but as Stewart put it – “we are really ball parking here” – we have nothing to work with in terms of either data or design.

And, the final piece is that the option IKEA has on what is called the Hopewell property expires at the end of August.

There are some serious problems for the parties involved in all this to take a long hard look at.  A lot of money is going to be needed to make all this happen and IKEA can only justify so much capital for the move they want to make.  The Ministry of Transport people – which is you and I – aren’t going to want to  pay for everything.

It was suggested that Hopewell, the owners of the property that is to be developed, might be able to bring some money to the table.

The most interesting comment made during these very, very early stage discussions was that many of the properties to the west of the Hopewell property are very under-utilized and that perhaps developers could be enticed to do some land assembly.  Medium rise office towers love sitting alongside roads like the QEW where they have great signage potential, excellent access to the highway.

So – who calls who to make that kind of thing happen?  Does our Economic Development Corporation have the kind of lines into the development community that would allow for a conversation?  Most people don’t think so.  It isn’t believed to have the capacity to work at quite that level.  There has to be an economic animator in this play somewhere and because Burlington stands to gain the most – one would assume the initiative would come from somewhere within the civic administration.

City Manager Jeff Fielding now sits on the Executive of the BEDC and will no doubt bring a brighter spark and higher level of experience to this situation.  It’s another one that got dropped on his desk which he has managed to slide over to Stewart.   Fielding’s experience in London with the university there had  him deeply involved in some very sophisticated cross partnership agreements with developers.

The IKEA problem set out in a single picture – not enough roadway for the traffic that would be generated if IKEA did choose to locate on the North Service Road. Is there enough land to the north of the North Service road to get in two additional lanes of traffic? That was the first question that should have been asked. We know what went wrong, we know who made the mistake – now competent people have to scramble to save a major commercial enterprise. This photograph was taken on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Quite why this problem was allowed to fester the way it has for more than a year is surprising and for the people at IKEA must be very disappointing.  The project sits right in the middle of Councillor Dennison’s ward.  Quite why he wasn’t riding this one is surprising.  He tends to be all over anything that has to do with economic development; it’s almost as if he was asleep at the switch.  Councillor Craven took much better care of his best commercial operation in Ward 1; something IKEA must miss deeply.

Stewart set out the issues in a paragraph that had less than 20 words.  “Development of a long term transportation solution with MTO (Ministry of Transportation) and IKEA are estimated to require 12 months.”  I’m pretty sure Stewart’s fingers and legs were crossed when he made that statement.

This is going to be an interesting one to follow.  There is within all this the very real opportunity that IKEA will find a location that meets all their needs – you know they have been looking.

Burlington needs to shape up in a number of areas – quickly.


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Eyes on the street in a Burlington community results in three arrests for trafficking in marijuana.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  July 23, 2012  They call it eyes on the street; people keeping their eyes open and taking note of things that just don’t  look right.

It was just this kind of community concern that led to phone calls to the Halton Regional Police Service that resulted in Burlington uniform officers, supported by members of the Drug and Morality Unit initiating an investigation into the trafficking of cannabis marijuana from a residence in the City of Burlington.

Two men were observed outside the residence completing a drug transaction and were subsequently arrested.  A quantity of cannabis marijuana was recovered.  A short time later, another man was arrested for the offence of Trafficking in Cannabis Marijuana as he departed the residence.

A Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant was executed at the residence, resulting in the seizure of approximately 28 grams of cannabis marijuana, $275.00 dollars in Canadian currency and additional evidence of drug trafficking.

ACCUSEDThomas BARRIE (19 years) of Burlington
CHARGES: Possession of Cannabis Marijuana for the Purpose of Trafficking, Trafficking in Cannabis Marijuana

ACCUSED:  Christopher WARRINER (20 years) of Burlington                    
CHARGE:  Possession of a Controlled Substance – Cannabis Marijuana

ACCUSED:  Dylan BROWN (20 years) of Burlington
CHARGE:  Possession of a Controlled Substance – Cannabis Marijuana

Police see an engaged community as vital component in eradicating illegal drug activity.  Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report any illegal drug, gang or gun activity at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).




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We took a pass on a casino but agreed to spend $100,000 on lawyers to protect our interest on Burlington Hydro.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 19, 2012  We never really were heavy hitters.  We aren’t a slick, fast community.  Pretty sensible people who prefer not to take risks.   Back in 1983, the city got itself twisted into knots to keep the Playboy Channel off cable as a pay per view feature,  so when  the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) sent the city a letter asking if we were interested in being on a list of possible locations for slot machines or a Casino – the city council didn’t even bother to ask its citizens how they felt about it.

City took a pass on slot machines – we could have put a dozen in the Seniors’ centre and solved a lot of the problems over there and then another dozen at the Legion – opportunities missed

They instructed the city manager to write back and say thanks,  but no thanks – which may have reflected the views of most of the people in Burlington.  We will never know.  A casino could have been built beside the Pier – that would have been one way to pay for the thing.

On the Pier by the way – steel beams are expected to be trucked into the city next week.

There was a bit of an opportunity missed in the communication with the OLG.  The rural part of Burlington does have a couple of farms that raise and train trotters for racing tracks in the western part of the province.  We might have said no to the slot machines but we could have put in a plug for the racing people to have the province restore the funding they used to get from slot machine revenues.

Perhaps we can now add “Slot machine free and the second best city in the country to live in” to some of the literature the economic development people send out.

There were less than five words of discussion on the letter being sent to the lottery people.

There was even less than that on the Burlington Hydro item that was on the agenda.  Council approved an amount of not more than $100,000 to be spent on legal counsel and or financial expertise to assist in reviewing significant Burlington Hydro Electric Incorporated matters as needed.

$100,000 is not exactly chump change.  The public transit advocates would love  to have seen that much money put into transit service.  There was no discussion on the  “significant” matters  – which turn out to be pretty good stewardship on the part of the finance people.

Burlington Hydro is owned by the city and it pays a very substantial amount in dividends to the city which reduces the tax levy.

All that raw power has to be transformed into electricity, homes and office buildings can use. Transformers are not cheap – so Burlington Hydro has to borrow some money to pay for the transformer that will get placed along Tremaine Road.

Burlington Hydro created a major mess with the way they failed to adequately inform the city on just what the issues were with feeding wind turbine energy into the electrical grid.  Hydro certainly gave Director of Engineering Tom Eichenbaum heart burn, if not ulcers, in the way they jerked him around on the differences between net metering and the Feed in Tariff related to the plans for a wind turbine on the pier.

Given that the city owns the hydro operation one would like to think they would provide the city with excellent technical service and support.  Instead they told the city so little that we came away looking like fools.  Will $100,000 in legal fees fix that kind of problem?

In a report to council staff said: In order to accommodate growth in Burlington, Burlington Hydro Inc. (BHI) has entered into a capital agreement with Hydro One for a new Hydro One owned transformer station on Tremaine Road. The additional energy capacity made available through this facility will accommodate Burlington’s growth for the next 20 to 25 years. BHI is financing the capital contribution through a 25 year loan of $8 million from Infrastructure Ontario.

Infrastructure Ontario has requested that the City sign a subordination agreement for the $8 million. The purpose of the agreement is to recognize the “subordination” of the City’s position as a debt holder to that of Infrastructure Ontario.

If BHI were to default on the loan payments, Infrastructure Ontario could stop the payment of dividends to the shareholder. Interest payments on the existing promissory note that the City has with BHI could also be stopped if BHI defaults.

Hydro produces significant dividends for the city. Few people fully realize the relationship between Burlington Hydro and the city. If they knew they might want some of that dividend to come to them in the way of lower hydro rates.

Dividends and interest payments received by the City over the past ten years, including proceeds from the sale of the FibreWired division in 2008, total $74.4 million as illustrated in the above chart:

Through the Hydro Liaison team, City and Hydro staff have continued an excellent working relationship, identifying and discussing complex issues important to both the City and the Utility. However, City staff feel that in the interest of protecting the shareholder’s investment it may be prudent for the City as shareholder to have financial and legal expertise available to assist them in dealing with Hydro matters.

And so the city has asked for $100,000 to have our lawyers in the room when they work out loan agreements and possible acquisitions in the future.  As can be seen from the bar chart Hydro throws off a lot of cash and the city depends on that money.  The agreement to pay for the construction of a new transformer on Tremaine Road means that if Burlington Hydro defaults on that loan the dividends the city has been enjoying can be taken and applied to the loan.

It`s sort of like getting your Mother-in-Law to co-sign your loan, which she does but then puts a lien on the car.

The people who do the deep financial thinking for the city realize that the days of fat revenue flows from development charges on new housing developments are very close to ending for Burlington. We are very close to being built out.    New revenue sources are going to have to be found and with an aging population on fixed incomes tax increases aren`t going to be possible – not if you want to stay in office.

Using wholly owned subsidiaries that are not bound quite the way a municipality is when it comes to borrowing and taking financial risks is one possible way of developing new revenue streams.  Burlington Hydro could become something of an economic engine for the city.

Some suggest the selling of the fibre optic cable – Fibre Wired – that the city once owned  to Cogeco Cable back in 2008 was an opportunity lost.  To own the cable that is going to send most if not all the data and information into Burlington homes is a better long range bet than a Casino.

It will be interesting to learn who gets the legal business for papering the agreements Burlington Hydro gets into – will it go to a local firm or to pricier talent out of Toronto?

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“We’re in the money” – federal government showers yet another grant on the Burlington museums.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 14, 2012  The Joseph Brant Museum, announces it has received a $32,500 federal government grant to put together an 1812-themed newspaper for distribution to a number of educational partners and the community.

Burlington Museums will be doing a themed newspaper on the War of 1812 for distribution in the community. Brant’s son John will play a prominent part in the festivities this year.

The grant includes covering the cost of a series of lectures/workshops on various aspects of the War of 1812 in Burlington.  We assume more detail is to follow.

The museum will also create series of exhibition panels that will be displayed in community spaces.

En-actors John Brant on the left with Sir Isaac Brock on the right. Norton stands between the two. Brock and Brant will re-enact a meeting during Brock’s Walk which will take place at LaSalle Park

A main event for the Museum each year is the Joseph Brant Day, a family community event involving re-enactments and historical educational activities which will be held on August 6th at LaSalle Park.  This year the focus shifts to Brant’s son John who will re-enact a meeting with General Sir Isaac Brock.

The tourism people have staged a Brock’s Walk, part of which will take place at LaSalle Park where Sir Isaac Brock will meet with John Brant, son of Joseph Brant.


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Plan B begins to use part of their 15 minutes of fame. Attendance creeps up week by week. Try it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 19, 2012  When the magazines begin writing about you – you are on your way to your 15 minutes of fame.  And that’s just about where Plan B – the budding Farmer’s Market on John Street is right now.

Pure Green Magazine does a feature from time to time on the  “Organic Kitchen”.  If all goes as planned, and nothing actually goes as planned when you’re working with nature, the plan is for the writers to set up an outdoorsy and Muskoka themed booth and cooking facility. As well, they’ll set up bistro tables for sit down guests. Should be very cool.

Macdonald and Barry Imber discuss the set up for the Plan B Farmer’s Market on John Street. Opens every Friday 11-2


They will be demonstrating cooking some recipes they’ve been working on that are easy and delicious, using locally sourced ingredients. Jonathan, the chef and partner of the magazine, has a unique way of cooking outside using rustic props and outdoorsy techniques – he can smoke meats and cheeses right at your table! – it’s super interesting and fun to do yourself so this should be great for the crowd.

Pure Green is a very nice binding element for what we believe the market, as well as Centro, is all about. Healthy lifestyles for people who love being outside and connecting with the ground, their food, their environment – whether that’s in their back patio, backyard or back forty.

Damian Wills – the chef and forager calling himself  Meat to Table will be there again as will the fresh produce farmer and the folks from Featherstone Family Farm.


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It’s turning out to be a pretty small Dutch treat – Elgin Park will have an Apeldoorn “feature” but no name change.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 18, 2012  Arnold Koopman has a problem.  He is organizing a visit of a group of dignitaries that will include the Mayor of Apeldoorn, Burlington sister in Holland, to take part in the official opening of a park that he understood was to be named the Apeldoorn Park.

The name of the park that is to be officially opened is currently the Elgin Park.  No one knows why the park, that is to undergo a major upgrade, was called Elgin – probably because it is on Elgin Street.

Tulips, Hollands gift to Canada, were planted at Civic Square last May. The Dutch would like to see a park commemorating the sacrifice Canadians made liberating Holland. An opportunity to do just that got missed last week. The Dutch should hold out for something bigger.

If what we heard at a city council meeting was correct – there are no plans to change the name.  Koopman doesn’t want to invite all those people from Holland in the fall of 2013  to stand there watching the flag of Apeldoorn be raised over the Elgin Park which will have what the city is calling an “Apeldoorn feature”.

This has the potential to be somewhat embarrassing but that’s where things stood at the last city council meeting and that’s where they will stay for at least the next six weeks.

Ed Dorr has been a leading part of the Dutch community’s effort to have a park named after our twin city in Holland. He’s not there yet – but don’t count these people out.

Apeldoorn and Burlington were twinned in May of 2005.  The work on twinning the two cities began in 2003 – October 16, 2013 will be the tenth anniversary of the start of the talks.   May 2015 will be the tenth anniversary of the agreement.  The Dutch community in Burlington might well tell the city to let the Park they are re-developing remain as Elgin while they find a park that is worthy of the significance of the relationship between Holland and Canada.

The kerfuffle came about when the city found it had to replace the Roads and Parks Maintenance structure that is to the east of the very small parkette that is south of St. Luke’s Anglican church.

At the time the city decided that if they were replacing the building this was a good time to  upgrade the park as well. Then why not use this park upgrade as the opportunity to create an Apeldoorn Park?  Good question and so the city began to work up plans to remake the park, get the new maintenance building in place and do our part of the understanding that existed between Apeldoorn and Burlington for each city to have a park dedicated to the other.

When all this was being discussed at city council Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was against the project – she called it one of those “nice to have” projects we couldn’t afford.  But Meed Ward saw which way the wind was blowing and didn’t see any point in fighting this one – so she became an active advocate for the park and was knee deep in the planning.

But there was an appetite for the park to have at least an “Apeldoorn feature” so the plan went forward – but no one ever did anything about the name.

It was a bit of a shock to the Dutch community.  They were fully expecting a nice Park that would be called the Apeldoorn Park.  They weren’t getting much of a Park to begin with – it’s almost a sliver of a thing.

Arnold Koopman left city hall wondering what his adopted city was doing to his people.

The Dutch are a persistent people – city Council has not heard the last of this argument.

There was one of those opportunities to cement a relationship with an important part of the community – but we blew that one.

The discussion went back and forth and really didn’t go anywhere.  Mayor Goldring then asked Koopman if he would be happy with calling it the Apeldoorn Park on Elgin.  Koopman grabbed that one, but Goldring failed to turn the comment into a motion – and so it’s Elgin Park until somebody does something about a name change.

Councillor Blair Lancaster at the Mundialization ceremony at city hall last May – there was a chill in the air and there may be a bit of a chill from the Dutch community around the delay in naming a park for our twin city in Holland.

It would have been nice to see Councillor Lancaster fight a little harder for the Dutch community.  She is Council’s representative on the Mundialization committee that handles the relationship we have with Itabachi in Japan and Apeldoorn in Holland.

I think the Dutch should tell the city to keep their tiny park and advocate for something that reflects the contribution the Dutch have made to both Burlington and the whole of Canada.

The city of Apeldoorn has put back their plans to build a park they are going to call the Burlington Park.  Economic conditions in Europe are such that spending is being pulled in everywhere – so we have a couple of years to come up with something that reflects the dignity the relationship we have with Apeldoorn deserves.


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Halton Region beach water monitoring results declare all Burlington beaches safe for swimming.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  July 18, 2012  The Halton Region Health Department monitors the water quality at public beaches throughout Halton.   Beach water monitoring on July 17 revealed the following beaches are safe for swimming:

Safe for swimming:

Burlington – Beachway Park

Halton Hills – Prospect Park Old Beach

Milton – Kelso Conservation Area

Oakville – Coronation Park East,  Bronte Park Beach

The following beaches are unsafe for swimming:

Oakville – Coronation Park West

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Porcelain work of Canadian artist to be shown at the BAC. The theme is umbrellas.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 18, 2012  With the weather we have been having – talk of umbrellas will at least raise an eyebrow.  There is an opportunity to raise those eyebrows at the Burlington Art Centre July 22, 2-3 pm when an exhibit of porcelain umbrellas by Ann Mortimer will be on display.  The event is free.

Ann Mortimer, who traditionally works on canvas with an admired ability to bring out the translucence of her object, has done a collection of 19 porcelain umbrellas that will be part of the In Series events at the Art Gallery. The work was produced in China under the direction of the artist.

Ann Mortimer works in watercolour and is interested in the translucency of that medium. In her painting she aims to achieve an illusion of depth through the portrayal of light.  You get to arrive at a different understanding of transparency when you view the umbrellas.  Worth the time to take this one in.

Mortimer is a member of the Society of Floral Painters, and while she has specialized in flowers, combining a looseness of approach with a respect for botanical accuracy, she has ventured beyond canvas and into other mediums.

Curator Jonathan Smith will lead a tour of the exhibition, which includes the umbrellas and her perspective plates, bird-fish form and sculptural cups series.

The event is part of the In Series Exhibition at the Art Gallery – in the Lee-Chin Family Gallery.

Mortimer is a graduate trained teacher, and also paints a variety of other subjects in watercolour from landscapes to town scenes to figures. She enjoys sharing her techniques and skills with members of art societies at workshops and at the art classes where she regularly teaches.


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Getting out on the street – some but not enough to make this an annual event. Car Free Sunday needs a re-think.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 17, 2012  Everyone thought it was going to be bigger and better than the Car Free Sunday on Appleby Line back in June  but the crowd, if that is what you can call it,  on Brant Street and Locust Streets for the second Car Free Sunday was not as large  – something was missing.

Interest group and services tents set up on Brant north of Caroline drew traffic – it was much quieter south of Caroline.

Was it too hot; were people away at their cottages, kids off to camp?   There was no reason to walk over to Brant Street – other than to be able to walk about with no traffic.

Bus service was rerouted an cars kept off the street for most of the afternoon. Should it be an annual event?

There was no focus to the event – but then there was no focus to the Appleby Line event and it had better participation than last Sunday’s event on Brant Street.

There was live music at the Civic Square but it drew very poor audiences.  There was a Country and Western Music event at Spencer Smith Park and some of its traffic made its way up Brant – but there just wasn’t any sense that there was something going on.

The organizers did arrange for various interests groups to have tents on Brant north of Caroline – and they were busy and gave that part of the street the sense that there was something going on.

There are retailers that get it – and they are the one’s that succeed. The shopping bag that lady is carrying isn’t empty. The folks that run Joelle’s understand retail. There were far too many stores closed.

Far too many of the Brant Street merchants were not open – not a good sign.  The Downtown Business association needs to get a bit of a burr under the saddles of some of its members.  Those that were open did continuous business.

This was the first year the event took place.  It’s worth doing the same thing next year, but there clearly has to be some brain storming if there are ever going to be people out on the street for large parts of a day.

Those who were lined up in their cars at Brant and Caroline to get through the intersection didn’t think very much of the idea of people taking over the streets of the city – even if it was only for a couple of hours.

There seemed to be more police presence than was necessary – lots of overtime booked by the HRPS.

The pavement didn’t seem to be a problem. Get a dozen kids and a soccer ball plus two nets and you’ve got a game. It was pleasant to watch – some benches would have kept people around longer.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band was out – they always draw a crowd but the idea was to have people out on the street for a large part of the 2pm to 7pm time frame.  The barriers were taken up on Locust close to 6 pm and Brant was wide open to vehicles  at 7 pm

During Sound of Music there were different attractions on the street that drew people and kept them around for a while.  There were precious few places to get out of the sun and nowhere to sit and have a drink.

There were nets for kids to play soccer at the John and Brant intersection but there was no seating for anyone who wanted to watch the kids play.

Brian Dean, top toff at the Downtown Business Association was out drumming up business for those of his members that took part in the Red Bag Sale. Too many of his members let the community down last Sunday. Keeping the doors closed while the city works at getting people out on the street isn’t the way the game is played.

There is a soccer player in there somewhere

It was suggested that a focus was needed and there are a number of opportunities to bring in close to cost free events that would attract people and keep them around for a while.  The antique car club people will show off their vehicles any chance they get.  Inviting them to the city and asking if the owners of the cars would drive up along one of the rural roads with a guest passenger in their car – and then choose the guests from raffle ticket winners would certainly draw attention and participation.

A chance to sit in an MG  or a Corvette with the top down would keep me hanging around hoping I got a chance for a ride.   It would beat being on one of those nasty little ponies that were walking around the cenotaph at the side of city hall.

It is going to take some imagination to make this an event that people want to participate in and one that justifies closing down street for a period of time.

Good effort, they got the idea right now to add some ginger and make it more fun because there wasn’t much fun on Brant Street last Sunday afternoon.

There are a bunch of volunteers – more than 25 of them,  that deserve more than the car free Sunday T-shirt they got.  There were also half a dozen staff members who gave up half a nice day to make the event happen.

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