Finding the little ones when they get separated from you at the Sound of Music.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. June 13, 2013  The Regional Police are passing on some sound advice.

Figure out beforehand where you want to meet with all the members of your family in the event that one of them gets lost.

The Lost and Found Tent is on the Naval promenade just to the west of the entrance to the pier that you can now walk out on.

The Halton Regional Police Service want to help the public to prevent unnecessary trauma to family members who become separated while attending this year’s Burlington Sound of Music Festival being held from June 13th until June 16th. 

The Service recommends you establish a pre-determined meeting place when arriving at the venue in the event you become separated.  Establishing a meeting place with older children and adults and/or advising young children to go to the nearest police officer for help will ensure an immediate and safe reunion. 

 A ‘Missing Person’ tent has also been established at the festival.  Look for the Happy Face 🙂 on the map.  The tent is on what is now the Naval promenade just to the west of the entrance to the pier – which you will be able to walk out on this weekend.

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It’s getting nasty out there; threats to lay charges of trespass are being made.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. June 12, 2103. So here’s the picture.

There is a lady who lives on Appleby Line.  She has a small piece of property with a century old house and a spring fed pond.  She used to be able to sit in her kitchen, look out the window and see as far north as Rattle Snake Point.

She can’t see that part of the country side anymore because of a wall of dirt that is more than 30 feet high and less than 50 yards from her house.

This lady is not happy but she is doing all she can, working within the rules to bring about a change.

Yesterday she happened to be on the very edge of her property where it abuts to the property that is having all the landfill dumped and meets a man she assumes is the site supervisor for the company that is doing the landfill dumping for the property owner.

She engages the man in conversation and learns that he is a contractor who is going to install runway lights at some point. “I truly enjoyed learning about the runway lights” she says.

Shortly after the conversation with the contractor the lady with the house on Appleby Line gets the following email from Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Executive Air Park and the man who has been dumping landfill on his close to 200 acre property.

Hi Barbara  Re your questioning on the airport staff of today’s date.

Kindly refrain from entering our property as of Today, if You have any questions regarding the airport or any item related there to feel free top contact the Proper person to answer any questions. So this is Your notice not to enter airport property without My authorization, failing which You will be charged with trespassing.

Vince Rossi, Burlington Executive Airport.

The lady with the house on Appleby Line responds:

 I am not sure why this conversation offended, but being the good neighbor that I am, I will certainly respect your wishes.

To that point, you, your representatives and your contractors have entered my property without my authorization many times.  Now however, I ask for the same respect – and this is your notice.  If you, your representatives or contractors set foot on my property without my permission, in advance, You will be charged with trespassing.

To which Mr Rossie responded with:

Let the good lord direct every wish you have in life. Just stay away from ours,and above all stay off of our property. is that clear?

The word “property” is set as a link to a web site that has something to do with travel to Iceland – go figure.


The lady in the house on Appleby Line sleeps a little less soundly at night.

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Vintage players to take part in July 4th game at Nelson; might they bring some talent to the field?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. June 12, 2013.  The Burlington Bandits, in partnership with Burlington Vintage Baseball (BVB) will host a “Burlington Vintage Baseball Day” on Thursday, July 4th, 2013.

All BVB members, there are eight teams in that organization, will receive discounted tickets and each team will be recognized throughout the game. Not a BVB member? No problem! Simply wear your local sports uniform and get an additional $2 off the ticket price.

That would be in the basement wouldn’t it. Maybe some of the Vintage players could show the Bandits a thing or two.

The BRAVES, the BREWERS, the CARDINALS, the CUBS, the GIANTS, the HOBOS, the MUDHENS, the PHILLIES, the PIRATES, the X-MEN and the YANKEES will be recognized during the Bandits game on the 4th of July. They are expected to wear their team jerseys and maybe be asked to a run around the bases.

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Halton Region wants to continuto be a leader in delivering community emergency notification services

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 12, 2013.  While the federal government is looking at all your email, phone calls and social media information the Regional government wants you to know that all they are doing is sending you information in the event of a public emergency.

The federal government is apparently not opening your personal mail but that could be because no one uses the postal service anymore.

Regional Council is being asked to consider new service that will enhance the Region’s community emergency telephone notification service utilized to phone and deliver a message to designated households in the Region, in the event of an emergency. 

The Region – a level of government few people understand but one we all pay for; they are considering implementing a Community Emergency Notification Service.

If this is approved, the Region will be one of the first Canadian municipalities to have access to Bell’s Reverse 9-1-1 data and the first to use geospatial coordinates (latitude and longitude) for its civic addresses in the 9-1-1 database for the purpose of emergency community notification. The report goes to Regional Council for final approval on June 19th.

Gary Carr, chair of the Regional government said: “Halton Region is committed to ensuring that we are ready to respond to any emergency situation and are able to reach as many people as possible.”

“We continue to improve our Community Emergency Notification Service (CENS) so that Halton Region remains not only the safest region in Canada, but one of the most prepared. This initiative will increase the reach of CENS from 60 per cent of Halton Region residents to more than 95 per cent. This is just one more avenue we are using to ensure that residents are informed.” 

Since 2008 Halton Region has used its Community Emergency Notification Service as one of many ways to notify the public about an emergency situation.  In order to improve notification capabilities and to accurately reach as many residents as possible, Bell Canada’s Enhanced Notification Service will supply a greater range of telephone numbers and addresses, including unlisted and do not call numbers. The initiative is a joint effort between the Region, Local Municipalities, Bell Canada and Telus Communications Company and will be available in November 2013.

No mention as to how much this is going to cost you.

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Air park advises city they will dump asphalt at night – because they can. Then they back off their tough position.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 12, 2013.  Tracy Burrows, the city’s by-law enforcement office got a “heads up” phone call from Milt Farrow, who works with Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Executive Air Park, who wanted to advise her that trucks would be trucking in asphalt from highway 407 at night and on to the grounds of the air park.

It is not clear if Farrow is an officer of the Air Park corporation or working in some executive capacity or just some guy on the payroll but it is clear that he is a pipeline from the Air Park corporation to the city.

In a follow-up Memorandum to the city, dated June 7, Farrow sets out what they are going to do:

“The Ontario Ministry of Transport is resurfacing part of the 407 in or near Burlington.  Some of the old asphalt material to be removed from the 407 is suitable for use as the sub base for the runways, taxiways and aprons being constructed.  Further, the ability to reuse this material as part of the permanent finished product of the airport construction is also general beneficial as it will not other wise need to be disposed.

The original position of the Air Park people was that they could do what they wanted when they wanted – which meant they could use construction equipment around the clock. While not admitting that the city might have some rights in enforcing their by-laws the Air park is believed to have said they will not use heavy equipment at night.

“As you can appreciate” Farrell goes on to say, “most, but not all of the 407 re-surfacing is done at night.  WE are required to accept the materials as it is removed from the 407.  The timing is not something under our control, but it is obviously under the control of the MTO.  While we anticipate some of the materials will be made available during the daylight hours, we understand that much of it must be done at night when traffic on the 407 is light.

“To minimize the noise at night, we are told by the contractor that the following measures will be observed:

a)      The trucks to be used will not have banging tail gates

b)      Work flow will be arranged so the drivers can deliver and deposit loads while driving forward without the need to stop and back up.  As a result, the beeping back up alarms will not be sounded, and

c)      To the extent possible, the night-time work will ne conducted on those areas of the site furthest from neighbours.  Areas of work closer to the neighbours will be planned for the daylight hours.

d)      We anticipate the work will commence on June 10th but we have no end date as it depends on weather but it will take two to three months on an intermittent basis.

Again, the airport takes the position that our construction activities are not subject to municipal by-laws because of the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government over aeronautics, including the construction of permanent facilities at the Airport.  Further, we are advised by our counsel that there is a specific case wherein it was held that a Toronto noise by-law did not apply to activities at the Downsview airport.

It was going to be close to around the clock truck traffic because of a highway 407 asphalt removal contract – but there seems to be some common sense and decency creeping into the behaviour of the Air Park owners.

Notwithstanding, we want to be a good neighbour.  We understand that in some cases exemptions are given further to the Burlington noise by-law and thus, the City must have some experience in minimizing the noise impact of night-time construction activities, when same are necessary.  As explained above, it is necessary in this case.  We would be pleased to receive and consider implementing any other noise abatement measures you care to offer

All this was BEFORE the city Council meeting where the Mayor said that the Air Park people may be good at hiring lawyers and constructing airports but that they know nothing about “public” relations.  Councillor Craven prefaced his questions to the Air Park lawyer with the question: “why are your clients such lousy neighbours”.

It  is close to standard practice for the city to give professionals delegating to Council the time they need to state their case and engage in plenty of Q&A.  Glenn Grenier, counsel for the Air Park and a resident of Burlington didn’t get much of that courtesy.

Some of the ire of the city appears to have gotten through to the airport people.  While they have consistently maintained they can operate outside city by-laws they are said to have advised the city they will follow the noise by-law and NOT truck in fill after 11 pm nor will they do any construction on the site outside the hours of 7 am to 7 pm.

A usually reliable city hall source said it was good news – but “we have had all kinds of problems with these guys broken before so we will just have to wait and see”.

Maybe just a trickle of civility.

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Decision to open the pier on Thursday will be made later this evening.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 12, 2013  City officials are currently doing a walk about on the pier to determine what may exist in the way of construction deficiencies – which are a normal part of any construction project.

If the deficiencies discovered are minor in nature the city will issue a “substantial completion” document which will allow the public out onto the pier.

That “walk about” is not yet complete – and until it is – there is no certainty that the pier will open on Thursday afternoon as announced.

Confusing – sure but the city wants it’s public out on the pier as soon as possible.

Stay tuned.

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HOLD ON ONE MINUTE asks PERL biggie: “Why is 407 asphalt “waste” being landfilled into the Burlington Airpark?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 12, 2013   PERL Executive Director, Roger Goulet asks: “Since when is it allowed to bury asphalt waste into landfill, especially above a drinking water aquifer?

“Why is 407 asphalt “waste” being land filled into the Burlington Airpark?

The risk is the contamination of the drinking water and the streams in the area.

Asphalt waste is should be recycled at asphalt recyclers like Nelson Aggregate or other recycling plants. It is a reusable recyclable resource. Why is the Provincial Ministry of Transportation not recycling this resource? Other jurisdictions are recycling removed road asphalt in place.

These kinds of non-sustainable road maintenance and land filling practices are causing unnecessary demands for more aggregate and oil based pitch.

When will our governments treat waste as a resource? In nature, NOTHING is waste.

Highway 407 asphalt is to be dumped at the Air Park as land fill.

Who approved the land filling of 407 asphalt into the Burlington Airpark?

This must be STOPPED; and the asphalt already dumped into the Airpark REMOVED.

The Greenbelt is not to be treated as a waste dump. Our water resources are not to be subjected to contaminants.

Again, this argues for regulations, oversight and inspections of land filling onto airparks and agricultural lands. Our governments must be more diligent in inspection and enforcement, whether issues are in their jurisdictions or not. What is right and ecologically sustainable in the long term? Who will protect the Greenbelt from ecological damage, before it impacts our human health?

The unfortunate and very uncomfortable answer to the question – can they do this? is , yes they can.  While what they are allowed to do because they are federally regulated is legal, is it not, as Monte Dennis pointed out in his delegation to city Council Monday evening, just.

The Air Park has hired a lawyer with years of experience in the field of aeronautics law who tried to convince city council that they didn’t have a case and that while the Air Park people have been lousy neighbours (Councillor Craven’s words) they were prepared to cooperate with the city, providing what the city wanted didn’t get in the way of what the Air Park people wanted.

It is an extremely complex issue with every possible jurisdiction involved.  Mayor Goldring told the public via the Cogeco broadcast of the council meeting that the city is on the case and that it is going to take some time to resolve this one.

Glenn Grenier, lawyer for the Air Park, a pilot and a resident of the city got a little more than the time of day from a city council that decided they didn’t have all that much time for him.

The city has served notice that it is not going to just lay down and let the Air Park people run rough shod over them.  The first thing the city has to do is figure out exactly what they are up against.

One thing they are up against is an arrogant lawyer who thought he could steam roll city Council.  Glenn Grenier, a Burlington resident on Couples Drive since 1995 and a pilot as well, was put in his place a number of times.  Grenier feels he has 60 years of legal precedent on his side.  Guess he has never heard of the Jefferson Salamander.

There is more to this story.  Stay tuned.

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A Canadian study in greed. Tthey make over $100,000 as senators. Did they really need to cheat on expense claims as well?

By Ray Rivers.

Burlington, ON.  June 13, 2012.  – The one thing about giving advice on the economy is that you usually can find at least one person to agree with you and a lot of others who will disagree – almost no matter what advice you give.  Ergo, I got a healthy response to my message last week – that if we are contemplating adding to the tax burden; to build transportation infrastructure, pay off the debt, or whatever; we need to be thoughtful about how we do it.  We are a wealthy society, by anyone’s account; that is, unless you are middle-class or poor. 

Don’t you just love the political process.  These  are the few, the ones you hear about – there are thousands who serve diligently and honestly year after year.

 A 2008 study by Statistics Canada concluded that between 1980 and 2005, median earnings among Canada’s top earners rose more than 16 percent while those in the bottom fifth saw their wages dip by 20 percent.  Armine Yalminizyan, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, concluded that… “The biggest economic boom since the 1960’s has basically only boosted the rich, leaving the middle class stagnant and the poor worse off.  In the 1960s. as the economy grew this rapidly, almost everybody got a bigger piece.  In this generation of economic growth, the gains are accruing primarily to those on top.”  While we are looking forward to an updated report from Stats Can, we should be confident that this picture hasn’t improved.

 In the 1980‘s our governments, in Canada and the US, slashed the top tax rates and shifted the tax burden onto the middle classes.  Any first year economics student could have predicted the outcome of this deliberate adventure in retro-grade social engineering, and the winners and the losers that were created.  Trickle down economics, the silly notion that the poor live better when the rich get richer, is bogus and it’s nonsense.  The poor aren’t better off watching the wealthiest get even wealthier.  Cheap credit and cheap imports may make their lives seem richer, but in the end it is just more debt to pay back.  We are engaging in class warfare – not yet war, but wait for it.  Remember the ‘Occupy Movement’?

 According to a 2006 documentary, The One Percent, a mere 1% of Americans owned almost half the wealth in the USA.   In 2009 they earned 17% of the national gross income and took home over a trillion dollars.  Middle-income earners, by contrast have had to live on lower household incomes, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1996.  The Conference Board of Canada places Canada sixth worst, behind the US and UK on their ‘inequality index’.  Still, the rapid growing decade from 1997 to 2007 saw the top income earning 1% of Canadians take home fully a third of our increase in national income, a greater proportion than in the US.

 This is a serious issue and requires a serious discussion and serious action.  Inequality spurs more inequality – greed leads to more greed.  Wallin and Duffy earned healthy incomes as respected journalists and, no doubt, each receives a healthy pension from those jobs.  In addition, Wallin reportedly earned hundreds of thousands (Editors note: It was actually more than $1 million) as a board director while she was a senator.  And, they each make over a hundred thousand dollars as senators.  Did they really need to cheat on their expense claims as well?  

 But then isn’t this what greed does to us? 

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

 

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City council gets detail on damage Air Park doing to the community; Lancaster gets an earful.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 11, 2013.  Four people delegated to city council last night to tell their Council what has gone wrong in their part of the city and asking for help.

Vanessa Warren, operator of an equestrian operation she and her husband are moving from Oakville to Burlington to their farm on Bell School Line which they now find may become the end of a 4700 runway that could be handling small jet aircraft.

Warren explained that the length and detail of the memo before Council that night outlines the many facets of an incredibly complex issue; “but it is made all the more complex by what seems to be constant deception on the part of airpark owners and management.  How can the City negotiate in good faith with a party that seems to persistently mislead and misrepresent itself?”

The property with the black lines what the Burlington Executive Air Park wants to purchase and use to extend their runway to 4700 square feet.  The property with the red lines is owned by Vanessa Warren and her husband.  They bought the farm to locate their riding operation on the farm  The runway will end yards from the riding ring she plans to build.  Warren will have to seek a permit to build that riding ring – the air park doesn’t have to seek any permits – they are federally regulated.

Ms Warren understood the frenetic pace of activity for many Councillors and City Staff in trying to grapple with this learning curve. She painted a picture of a businessman who put out an “an incredibly misleading economic development story; including outrageous employment figures and non-existent Chinese Pilot Training programs; used a 2008 road permit issued from the Region with an anticipated one year of truck use that is still being used in 2013.”

Vanessa Warren delegated to city council on the landfill work being done at the Air Park and the impact it will have on her property – and the larger community as well.

Ms Warren maintained that Vince Rossi, owner of the Air Park “told the city in 2008 that the dumping would be complete in 2009.”  She described numerous examples “in the report before you of unfulfilled promises; a letter to Councillor Lancaster that hasn’t materialized a Phase 2 ESA that became a draft Phase 1 ESA, and soil reports promised and not delivered.”

“Sometimes”, Warren said “airpark expansion plans are paraded about at public meetings and other times, as indicated during a June 6th meeting, there seem to be no plans at all. 

Meanwhile, the situation on the ground is actually getting worse; residents must now contend with night-time dumping as the 407 is resurfaced.

“I can understand that good governance requires that you do not become engaged in long and expensive legal battles without a thorough understanding of your position; but how do you legally wrangle with “However, the laws of other jurisdictions may still apply”?

The Air Park owners have taken the position that they are regulated by the federal department of transport, which does nothing other than add any changes to runway configurations to one of their manuals.  No on-site inspections.  Nothing!

“The problem” said Warren, “isn’t just that the residents and all levels of government are mired in process and a jurisdictional quagmire – the problem is that the airpark is RELYING on it.”

Warren had two requests:

“Seek an immediate legal injunction to stop the dumping and further development at the Airpark.   Negotiating in good faith is not possible when there is no good faith.  Further, plans to hire of a consultant must not delay pursuing every possible legal means of stopping the damage.  An injunction does not commit you to a specific legal path; it simply gives the City time to find solutions.”

Warren also wanted the city to ask the federal Minister of Transport to require the Burlington Airport to become a Certified Aerodrome. 

“Currently, The Burlington Airport, as an uncertified aerodrome, is given protection under the aeronautics act but is, for all intents and purposes, completely unregulated by it.  Based on the level of activity at the Airpark, the Minister can deem this in the public interest; meaning the airpark would have to come into compliance with more appropriate safety and management regulations.”

Ms Warren, formed the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition (RBGC) to deal with what has become a threat that could bring to an end all the work she and her husband have put into their riding business during the past twenty years.

There were four people delegating.  Barbara Sheldon, who has suffered the most damage to the value of her property and the degradation of her life style was blunt and direct.

 

Barbara Sheldon stares up at the small hill or landfill that has been dumped on the property next to hers. The Air Park next door claims they did not need a permit to dump the landfill because they are federally regulated. Sheldon is speechless and cannot believe this can happen. City council doesn’t believe it can happen either – but it is happening – as we speak.

“ I am” she said “ the resident in rural Burlington – who is surrounded on three sides by the Burlington Airpark – and who’s been directly impacted the most since 2008 by Mr. Rossi’s landfill dumping operation.  “It doesn’t take a lawyer or an engineer or the most savvy politician to ‘get’ that Vince Rossi is attempting to DUPE City Council and City Staff right now…just like he’s done to our rural residential community since he bought the Airpark in 2007.”

 

“Frankly”, she added “there are some really fine individuals on Council and Staff, and it’s driving me crazy to see him insult your intelligence this way.”

 Ms Sheldon then directed a withering gaze at Councillor Lancaster and said: “Mrs. Lancaster, more than 6 weeks ago you agreed to visit the properties.  And yet you have not.  You’ve made your position with the Airpark quite transparent to our community.”

 Sheldon explained that Rossi “backed away from his parking lot scheme — when the City and Conservation Halton wanted to hold him accountable.  He backed away from his 22-story cell phone tower scheme — when the community, the pilots and the media wanted to hold him accountable.  Are you noticing a theme here?” she asked.

 “He has effectively WIPED OUT the peace and the beauty of my land. He has ERADICATED the SIGNIFICANT investment I made in my property and my future.  I ask you: what kind of person does this willfully?  The person you are trying to deal with now, she added.

 Ms Sheldon said she has “a paper trail since 2008 of more than 300 communiques from various municipal, regional, provincial, and federal authorities who have refused to get involved.  Did Mr. Rossi find a loophole?  You bet.  Can you start NOW – to plug the loophole.  YES.”

 Ms Sheldon reminded Council that at a previous meeting the city manager expressed an educated and experienced opinion – which our community is CLINGING to right now:

 To paraphrase him, he said directly to you:  You have options.  You CAN take a position on this.  You don’t have to be right, but you CAN take a position.

 I beg of you folks.  Please.   Take a position.  And make Mr. Rossi accountable for the damages he’s ALREADY inflicted.

 For Dennis Monte, an engineer by profession felt as if he was traveling down a road he thought he had put behind him.  Dennis talked about the human side of the Airpark story.

 “I would like to attempt to put a face on the Burlington Airpark project.  Political and legal games are being played and while they are important, there exist real people with real lives directly impacted negatively by this project.  I have probably had more experience than anyone else, due to external circumstances, at holding the short end of the stick.

Forty years ago I went through a different situation; however the effect on the citizens was the same. That was expropriation for the Pickering Airport.”

 “I witnessed”, said Dennis, “the devastating impact on individuals, families, relationships and on the individual health and that of the community.”

 “The fact that only a few residents are affected by the work being done at the air park should not matte. When one considers the entire project the numbers are not small.  During certain times of the day Appleby Line has been taken from the community, due to the excess number of dump trucks using Appleby Line . It has been taken from walkers, cyclists, motorcycles, and commuters.”

“ I question whether school busses should be using Appleby Line any longer as a route.”

 “Good politicians and bureaucrats sometimes will count concerns and sometimes they will weigh concerns.  This is a time in which to weigh the concerns and ask “What would I do if this were happening to me?”

Monte Dennis to city council: “If I, or any of my neighbours, are not justly treated – I will push back.”

 “I’m not here to place blame, for we are all to blame, yes, even myself, for not being aware of my surroundings as much as I should have been.  This is past being serious – it is critical! I cannot emphasize that enough. Have we, as individuals, lost all of our rights?”

 “I was never told that life was fair, I’ve accepted that and have no problem with it, however, it must be just.If I, or any of my neighbours, are not justly treated – I will push back.”

 “Residents do not want this, didn’t ask for it, were not consulted and should not have to shoulder the weight of this.

No business, individual or corporation has the moral right to inflict this harassment, pain, anxiety, suffering and uncertainty on anyone else.

 In the past some have described the Airpark as the jewel of Burlington.  I would suggest that the jewel has fallen out of its setting and is buried beneath tons of fill.  In an attempt to find the jewel I would further suggest the fill be removed.”

 At the start of the delegations Mayor Goldring advised that audience that in Burlington we do not hiss or boo while Council is in session.  At the close of the evening when Council passed the resolution that set out what they were going to do in the immediate future, those in the Council chamber applauded.

 Apparently in Burlington one is allowed to applaud the local politicians.

 

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Is that all there is? Much ado about nothing says the spouse.

By Walter Byj, Correspondent

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 11, 2102.  I was asked by the publisher to give my first impression of the pier at night.  I had been down to the pier with my wife after learning that the pier lights were now functioning,

So we ventured down to the lake Sunday night to experience the pier at night.  I mentally set no expectations as to what to expect.  I wanted to be impartial so that I could judge the pier at night in an open and honest manner.

However, emotionally, I wanted to be impressed and to have somewhat of a WoW  factor when viewing the pier. I knew that there would not be neon lights flashing, this would be way over the top, but hopefully there would be a feeling that the lighting system would mesh well with the pier.  In sports parlance, I wanted not just a home run, but a grand slam. I guess I set my goal too high.

I was not ecstatic with what I saw, nor was I disappointed. I felt more like the title of an old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is”, a kind of hollow and empty feeling.  

Perhaps being disappointed because I expected much more, I turned to my wife to get what  is always her honest and truthful opinion. Her response, “Much Ado About Nothing”.

Sometimes a sober second viewing is needed. Perhaps there will be more appreciation of the pier once it has been walked on and then viewed upon leaving.


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Action in the northern part of the city over the Air Park shenanigans. Road accesss suspensions might be invoked.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 10, 2013.  It`s a grind. There are so many levels of jurisdiction that it gets difficult to figure out who is responsible for what, but the city of Burlington is on the case and they are ferreting out information at a pace that is indeed remarkable for a municipal administration.  Kudo`s to them for that.

Now to figure out what they have gathered in the way of information and what potential action there is for the city to take. 

The city got into this when city council heard complaints about landfill operations that were taking place at the Burlington Executive Air Park.  The work has been taking place since around 2008 but no one seems to have taken their complaints to the city until Dr. Teri Jaklin wrote a letter to the Council member for Ward 6, Blair Lancaster, who didn`t do much for the Dr. Jaklin wither response. Barbara Sheldon, the Appleby Line resident who has suffered the most damage, then wrote Lancaster a scathing letter

When Vanessa Warren created the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition and made a delegation to city hall the wheels started moving.  Up until that point no one had been on Barbara Sheldon`s property to see the amount of landfill that had been dumped.  Lancaster has yet to see the property.  Councillors Meed Ward, Taylor and Sharman have visited as has the Mayor who was appalled at what he saw.

The is the view of the south side of the Sheldon property on Appleby Line. Trucks were dumping the day the pictures were taken.

Sheldon is a major piece of business: direct, no-nonsense, no crap – do not speak to this lady with a forked tongue.  Not a woman to be trifled with.  The only relief she has had is a small reduction in her tax assessment – which at least has one government organization saying something has been done to change the value of this property.

On May 21st City Council issued a Staff Direction to the General Manager of Development & Infrastructure to contract with an aviation consultant to report on: The standards, processes and requirements of Transport Canada and other Federal departments for the development and expansion of aeronautical facilities; and to identify any opportunities for individual, municipal or provincial involvement and input in said Federal processes, and to expedite the presentation of recommendations to address the immediate issues of land fill, noise and expansion at the Burlington Airpark.  Those were the marching orders.

So – what do we know?

A lot of information has been gathered and in the report General Manager of Development and Infrastructure Scott Stewart will make to Council this evening we learn of what has been done and what has not been done.

To put it mildly – Stewart didn’t manage to pull many teeth from a hen.

Information is being made available to the city by people who represent Vince Rossi, owner of the airport.  Meetings have taken place between the City and Airport representatives (Mr. Milt Farrow and Mr. Tim Crawford) to facilitate a cooperative approach to addressing the City’s request for information regarding the past and current filling operations at the Airport site.  Information is being delivered in dribs and drabs but at least there is some movement.

During all this jabber,  jabber the airport people maintain that their operation – the Burlington Executive Air Park, comes under federal Department of Transport jurisdiction and so the city can just take a hike, legally.

We have been seeking an interview with airport owner Vince Rossi – he used to email us – we don’t hear from him anymore.  He has learned what media people now call the “Rob Ford approach” – say nothing no matter how bad it looks.  Stonewall, obfuscate, put out platitudes but don’t say anything direct.  Send others to represent your interests; helps if one of them is a lawyer.

Rossi’s people did communicate with the city through the office of Councillor Lancaster,  who many in the community feel is far too close to the airport owners.  The email, sent to city staff May 27, 2013 by Councillor Lancaster advised that the airpark informed her that the city would receive a letter with soil test samples and they will work with the City on the esthetics of the berm. To date a letter has not been received.

Councillor Lancaster would be well advised to direct the airport owners to communicate directly with the city.

While all the jabber, jabber goes on Barbara Sheldon watches as the pile of landfill on the north and south side of her home gets higher and higher. More than 32 feet on the north side and no one knows how much higher on the south because they are still dumping.

The city wants data on past and current filling operations at the site.  They have also  requested a grading and drainage plan, current and past soil test reports, the continued maintenance of silt fencing around the work area, securities to ensure contractor performance and permission for City staff to access the site.

The city argues this information would be required for review by City staff  to reach a conclusion that a site alteration permit could be issued if one was applied for.  Rossi and his people have taken the position that they don’t need permission from the city – they are federally regulated.

King Paving, the company that is hauling in the bulk of the landfill these days, has the majority of the original soil reports.  Milt Farrow followed up with King to organize the reports and to have them photocopied.  The first batch of the photocopying of the reports was not completed until May 31st.   Mr. Farrow delivered 5 reports to the City on May 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm.  An additional 15 reports were delivered on June 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm.

The city points out that soil test reports undertaken years prior are unacceptable because the City has no knowledge of what has occurred on the source site since the tests were undertaken.

There is not a lot of trust between the city and the air park operators.

Whenever changes are made to property a process called Environmental Assessments come into play.  There are phase 1 assessments and phase 2 assessments; it’s all kind of arcane and difficult for parents who want to get the kids to soccer on time,  but a process fully understood by planners and lawyers who know how to exploit these processes to the fullest.

Milt Farrow advised the City that last year, as part of a potential financing arrangement, the Toronto Dominion bank was provided with additional soil test reports and a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). 

The air park position is that the city has no jurisdiction and is not entitled to stick their noses in and ask for data and Environmental Assessments but if you want financing from the bank – guess what – the required documents appear.

In the criminal world investigators always tell you to “follow the money”.   In times past it was “follow the babe” but times have changed.

Mr. Farrow has apparently agreed to try and get the soil reports back from the bank and provide them to the City.  He would also ask Mr. Vince Rossi (Airport Owner) for permission to provide the Phase 2 ESA.

Clearly a pressure point is at the bank level.  Drag them into this and let them feel the ire of the community.  Banks just can’t loan money with no concern as to what the funds are going to be used for and what good or harm they will do to the community.  The days of loaning money and getting the best return are over – there is now a social responsibility element to all this.  Being socially responsible is also good business.  For all of those who live in north Burlington and have accounts with the TD Bank – mention your concern to your branch manager and write the head office.

A “DRAFT” Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was provided by Rossi yesterday to city hall as opposed to the Phase 2 ESA previously discussed.  A formal request for the Phase 2 ESA report has been made by the city.  If this were a typical Site Alteration Permit process, the City would not be in a position to issue a permit because the typically required information has not all been provided.

Rossi and his representatives argue they are federally regulated.  Well are they?

Transport Canada is being co-operative.  The city was in contact with them May 14, before the Williams delegation was made, to pose some basic questions regarding jurisdiction over the fill operations at the airpark and the approval process should the airpark expand. 

On the issue of fill, the city was advised that there were no specific rules or legislation pertaining to fill, but made it clear that anything integral to aviation was under federal jurisdiction.  Transport Canada indicated that importing fill to an aerodrome to build aeronautics facilities would be subject to federal jurisdiction.  However, they Transport people,  also indicated that fill could be subject to other authorities (local, provincial, conservation authority), citing specifically the ability to regulate the quality of fill.  Transport advised that fill could fall within federal jurisdiction if it pertained to aeronautics, giving the example that if fill contained magnetic material, Transport Canada would have an interest as this could impair aeronautics.  

Transport Canada, advised that on the matter of expansion and approvals required there are different rules for the different types of operations. Burlington Airpark is a registered aerodrome, and that there is a distinction between registered and certified aerodromes. 

Registered aerodromes are registered with Transport Canada, which publishes the Canada Flight Supplement.  Aerodromes are required to comply with Part 301 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.  Transport Canada does not typically inspect these facilities, unless there is a need to do so.  In terms of expanding or modifying the airpark, Transport Canada advised that there is no process that the owner would have to follow, except to notify Transport Canada and change the published information in the flight supplement. 

Gets complex. People who want to make changes that others don’t want exploit these complexities and get away with it.  Something one wants to know and never forget – don’t mess with city hall.  They have long arms and even longer memories.

Certified aerodromes must comply with document TP-312 – Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices.  Transport Canada requires an aerodrome to become certified under the following circumstances: .  Aerodrome has regular passenger service; Aerodrome is within a “built up area” – no hard rules on this, but opinion is usually there is “built up area” on 3 sides minimum.  Deemed to be necessary in the public interest by the Minister.

Burlington Airpark used to be certified. It is believed the certification was removed around the time the airpark was sold in 2006-07.

This exchange of information led the city to asking:  Is there a functional or regulatory difference between “airport” and “aerodrome” as defined by Transport Canada?   The city also wanted to know if calling themselves the “Burlington Executive Airport” signifies anything from a legislative or regulatory perspective. 

The city also wants to know if there is anything in the Transport Canada rules that outlines Transport Canada’s position with respect to the City’s ability to enforce its own by-laws? 

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A vigorous debate on just what the Air Park could do. Bizarre said the Mayor; appalling said Craven. Murder said a resident.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 11,2013.  It was the longest city council meeting on record for this Significant Seven and one which heard some very impressive delegations from people in the community.

Council was hearing the views of north Burlington residents and at the same time responding to a report prepared by city General Manager Scott Stewart on what the issues were; what the city knew and didn’t know and setting out where the different levels of government fit in.

The Air Park issue is one that covers the gamut from a grass roots community response to city hall, the Regional government, to the Conservation Authority, then the provincial government and then the federal government.

Seldom do municipal solicitors get to work with that many levels on a subject as complex as local airports where the interpretations as to just what and where the jurisdictions are and how they fit in together.

After more than an hour of closed door session Council went back into Open Session and passed the following resolution which was moved by Councillor John Taylor and surprisingly seconded by Councillor Meed Ward.  Given that the issue rests in Ward 6 one would have expected Councillor Lancaster to come forward as the seconder.

Direct the city solicitor to develop a legal strategy to reflect the concerns expressed by Council and citizens regarding issue with the Burlington Executive Air Park and report back to Council on July 2, 2013.

Direct the Director of Engineering to review and update the City’s Site Alteration By –law 6-2003 to reflect the best practices by September: and

Direct the Mayor and City Manager to jointly contact the federal Minister of Environment to request that soil testing be ordered for the Burlington Executive Airport property, and

Direct the Mayor to work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to lobby the federal Minister of Transportation and other relevant Ministries to develop a process to allow municipalities to have input on airpark land fill operations and expansion plans; and

Direct the Director of Finance to arrange a meeting with MPAC representatives and the affected property owners abutting the airpark property specific to the property owners value assessments; and

Direct the General Manager of Development and Infrastructure to request the owner of the Burlington Executive Air Park to provide the city with a complete site and grading plan that minimizes impacts on neighbouring properties.  Further request that the owner modify existing grades to minimize impact on neighbouring properties; and

Direct the Director of  Planning and Building to have staff enforce the Dust Suppression By-law 50-2008, that requires consideration be given to neighbouring properties when construction processes generate dust, and enforce the provisions of the Nuisance and Noise Control By-law including after hours enforcement and issuing offence notices if applicable and as necessary.

City manager Jeff Fielding had some choice words for lawyer Glen Grenier who represented Air Park at the Council meeting last night. Here Fielding, on the left, discusses his serious concerns over the behaviour of the Air Park owners with Grenier, who is a Burlington resident. To the right of Grenier is Blake Hurley, lawyer with the city’s legal department and the lead person on this file and city solicitor Nancy Shea-Nicol on the right.

 That last item had General Manager Scott Stewart directing his by-law enforcement officers to get into their cars – now, and issue tickets if tickets are warranted.  Each infraction calls for a $300 fine.

The debate on this resolution was vigorous and focused on part 1.  Councillor Taylor wanted council to direct the city solicitor to begin legal action now.  Meed Ward was onside with Taylor but other Council members wanted to take a more thought through approach and give city solicitor Nancy Shea-Nicol the opportunity to think through a strategy and put some options before council.  They expect her to be back at Council on July 2nd, three short weeks as the Mayor pointed out.  The files at legal are getting thick – the pier law suites have still yet to be resolved.

Council was in a Closed Session so we do not have much in the way of detail on that debate other than the comments made by individual council members when back in Open Session where they made their individual comments.

There is much more to this story.  Air Park Vince Rossi did not appear before Council.

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I didn’t say this – she did; nice of her wasn’t it?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 9, 2013.  The letter set out below came from a reader.  To the best of my knowledge I never dated the woman before I moved to Burlington. I moved to Burlington to marry the love of my life.

I didn’t pay Donna Zaffino for writing the letter and to the best of my knowledge I’ve never bought her a drink.  I’d like to say “I owe you one” but that might result in a flood of letters and my bar tab at the Queen’s Head is already outrunning my allowance.

I LOVE the new name!!! It is simple, identifies your purpose and rolls nicely off the tongue.

You choice of name perfectly reflects all that I have come to love about your paper. I grew up with the Montreal Gazette but played Word Search in the Star as a 60′s Irish Anglo kid in Montreal. And later in high school the Gazette was the paper to read.

Ever since I accidentally discovered your paper I look forward to seeing each new article show up in my virtual mailbox. It is actually your paper that launched a whole new exciting and exhilarating life for me. Through your articles and announcements of upcoming events I have since linked up with some extraordinary people and groups here in Burlington.

Your articles are in-depth, well research and teach me so much about my new home of only 4 years. All this is why I adore your paper. Your paper and passion for community ranks right up there with the other Gazette. The fact that there was once a paper of the same name speaks to your love and passion for Burlington by choosing a name from our history.

By the way. This is coming from a pretty critical newspaper snob. I only read two Canadian papers. The Burlington Gazette for regional news and another for national and foreign news.

I also like the name change as now, when I quote where I learned something, people will know to what I am referring.

Keep up the great reporting. And I welcome Mr. Rivers as a new addition to you staff.

Aw shucks Donna, you shouldn’t have.

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So – why did you change your name from Our Burlington to the Burlington Gazette? Better optics and a clearer identity

By Pepper Parr, Publisher

REVISED with comment from former Mayor Walter Mulkewich.

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 8, 2013  Why use the name the Gazette?

For a number of reasons.  Burlington once had a newspaper called the Gazette.  It served the community well.

The very first picture I took and sold to a newspaper was published in the Montreal Gazette.

An old newspaper name revived.

But the biggest reason for the name change is this:  The Gazette sounds like a newspaper.

Our Burlington didn’t sound like a newspaper; it could have been a flower shop or a pet grooming store.  The decision to create a newspaper came from the late John Boich, who at the time was involved in another community based venture that he couldn’t get off the ground.  He asked if I would give him some help.  I did and out of that came a web site with local news that has gone on to grow topsy turvey.

We grew to the point where we had the credibility to be accepted as members of the Ontario Press Council. 

The readership told us that people wanted what we were offering.

The commercial sector began to ask if they could run advertisements in the “newspaper on a web site”.  What had begun as part of the response to the Shape Burlington report, which put on record that the city faced an “information deficit”,  grew to become the source of local news for many people.

Our Burlington was put together very quickly to show what could be done – that was back in October of 2010.  We still don’t cover sports or education very well.  But we do give this city the best city hall coverage.  We cover the arts reasonably well.

In the fall the editorial team will get beefed up and education will get the attention it deserves.

We have begun to cover the private sector and will do more of that as we work ourselves through the balance of this year.

Today we are a very different organization.  We didn’t set out to make friends; we did set out to tell the stories that make up this city in a way no one else has in the recent past.

We have some bumps and bruises to show for our effort with one libel suit that has still not been resolved.  We upset the members of the boards of a number of organizations who didn’t like the attention they were getting.

There are those who describe and despair over Burlington’s complacency.  We are a very wealthy community and yet we failed to reach the United Way target for this year.  We have pockets of poverty.  We have an aging demographic and a cost of maintaining our infrastructure that is not sustainable.

The city either has to do less or increase taxes.

We have a significant amount of land set aside for employment purposes, but we’ve not been able to attract a significant new employer to the city in the past five years.  We lost International Harvester to Hamilton. The city’s revenue from the ICI (Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional) sector is going to be less this year than last year.

The place is going to nee an oxygen tank nearby for the next little while. The search is one for a new Executive Director.

We have a new Performing Arts Centre that is failing financially and looks as if it is going to need double what was originally thought in the way of an annual subsidy.

We are going to open a pier next week that has cost more than double its original estimate.

There are too many negatives – we can’t survive if they continue.

We now have administrative leadership at city hall that can steer us through what are going to be difficult times, but it is going to be at least another nine months before we see the results of all the management changes.  The city manager is still in the process of building the management team he needs.

We have a city council that doesn’t have dynamic leadership.  It does have well-meaning leadership but good intentions are not enough.  We are seeing practices that smack of small time corruption at some of the boards and commissions the city has in place.

Also, our city council members are not working as a well-oiled team; there are some deeply rooted dislikes and outright animosities between council members that do not serve this city well.  Don’t let the sweet smiles fool you.

We are a city that talks about our being a safe place to live by a magazine that created a list that drives its readership goals.  We seem to need someone else to tell how good we are.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn’t make it so.

We are a city that takes great pride on the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south but we don’t talk all that much about what exists in between these two things we were given.

A community is not defined just by its geography; it is defined by its people and how they care for one another.

As publishers we got it wrong more than once but we think we got it right more often than we got it wrong.

Our first responsibility is to report.  To tell you what we see and hear.  However, we do not see ourselves as a pipeline through which the vested interests send their version of what took place.

The Mayor of the city has said publicly that he thinks we are doing a good job.

There are two stories, three actually where what is happening needs more than just simple reporting.  The Car Free Sunday that is taking place this weekend, the Committee Of Adjustment meeting that took place on May 21st  and the lack of lakefront access  problem that was pointed to by the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee.

The Car Free Sunday on Brant Street last year was a bit of a bust. Council chose to hold these events on Appleby Line and up in the Alton Village this year.

The two Car Free Sundays are costing $5000 each.  That item needed 4 of the seven votes to pass at Council Committee.  Sharman, Lancaster and Dennison were very much onside.  The events were to take place in the Sharman and Lancaster wards and Dennison is a big bicycle booster.  That was three out of the seven.  Where was the fourth vote going to come from?

Councillor Craven mentioned that he had an event, a Jane’s Walk,  taking place in Aldershot and they needed $500 to make that happen.  Craven got his $500, wards 4,5 and 6 got what they wanted and it passed.  That’s how your Council works.  Normally however, Councillor Craven would go on at some length about the need to conserve and be fully accountable and be strong stewards of the public purse.

A Committee of Adjustment meeting that was seen as odious to many is detailed.  Those at the meeting were aghast at what they saw and heard.  The city has not heard the last of what took place at that meeting.

Lakefront access is detailed in a story we did in June of 2011 – more than two years ago. That problem has still not been resolved and with the Waterfront Access Protection Advisory Committee,  now dead,  city hall administration just might choose to let it remain forgotten. It hasn’t been resolved because city hall doesn’t want to go up against those who live on lakefront properties – they have just a little too much clout.

The point we make is that a simple reporting job isn’t enough by itself.  What is happening has to be put in context.  Often what is taking place needs some analysis and wherever possible some humour.

It can be very dreary at times.  Municipal budgets that come out in a two inch binder defy understanding by anyone who is not well versed in the way municipalities handle your money.  The finance people in Burlington are the best run department in the city.  And if you ask them a question you always get a straight understandable answer.  But they don’t do accounting the way the rest of the world does.  Reporting that the tax rate is going to go up (they never go down) is not enough.  The numbers have to be explained and the process reported on.  In 2010 the city had a whopping surplus; more than $9 million –that was $9 million of your dollars that were taken from your bank account –  and put into the city treasury.  Once they get it – they don’t give it back.

Reporting, analyzing, salting news with a little humour are how we see what we do.  We add to that what we call some “animation”. By animation we mean taking some action when we spot something that can be fixed.  When the small business operators were advised they would have to move out of the Regus offices on Brant Street we began making phone calls and bringing the situation to the attention of the people who could make changes – and then reporting on the changes that got made.

This is what the original Burlington Gazette office on Brant Street used to look like.

Media is now much different than it was when Elgin Harris published the Gazette out of an office on Brant Street.  In those days they reported exactly what people said and added no context or analysis.

Former Mayor Walter Mulkewich advises that the Gazette was originally published by Elgin Harris from 1899 to 1956.   Elgin Harris also became a Burlington Mayor and the house he built for his family is now home to A Different Drummer.  

The Spectator, according to Mulkewich,  bought the Gazette in 1988 and turned it into  the Burlington Spectator which was a daily for several years before finally ending the Burlington Spectator and resuming the Hamilton Spectator only. 

The information deficit Mulkewich wrote about in the Shape Burlington report probably began back when Elgin Harris was both Mayor and publisher of the local paper.  Talk about a conflict of interest – whey!

Welcome to the new Gazette.  And I will not be running for Mayor.

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The Come Back Tour – The Woodies will be at Emma’s Back Porch during SOM kick off.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 22. 2013.  Burlington native Bill Wood is bringing his band, The Woodies back Home to perform at Emma’s Back Porch on Thursday, June 13 at 9 PM. An ex Nelson High School Alumni  – Bill Wood who is best known as the front man for Canadian Pop stars Eye Eye,  had a slew of hits in the 80’s including “Out on a Limb”, “X-Ray Eyes” and “Endless Night”.

The Woodies on a Come Back Tour – Emmas June 13

Some of the bands you may remember Wood being in include The Oh No’s where Woodie was band mate for several years with fellow Burlington boy Mychael Danna. Today Danna is a very successful  Academy Award-winning film composer, winning the Best Original Score for “Life of Pi.”

Bill Wood, modestly corrects the public record and explains that he was nominated for single of the year. “I believe Glass Tiger took it home. The album was nominated twice, once for single of the year, and one for producer [Terry Brown] , but neither brought home the gold”, adds Wood.   

Other Burlington bands Wood was a member included Darwin, Shadowfax, Skyballoon and Popeye.

The stairs went in in 1992 when new management took over the rental of the building. Today what was once the “hot spot” in Burlington is now a quieter, more sedate location for brunches and special events. The picture above the clock is the restaurant in its prime.

Craig Kowalchuk is opening up what many knew as the Tree Top part of Emma’s Back Porch for the event.

For those who are getting close to collecting pension cheques the Tree Top will evoke fond memories and smiles of a time when Burlington didn’t have a night life. “It was The Brant Inn and the Tree Top”, that was it.

Back in the days when it was a more colourful establishment – these stairs were THE entrance to the Tree Top – getting up was a bit of a grunt. There are those who tumbled down.

Kowalchuk  has been the sole owner of Emma’s which is a very popular locale with a great deck on the lake side.  Tough to get a seat much of the time.

Inside the furniture is what Kowalchuk calls “Canadian Country Cabin” which is another way of saying there was no other place to put that old furniture.

But if you look at many of the tables you will see initials carved into the surface.  “A lot of broken hearts  can be seen in those carvings” said one patron who was talking to Kowalchuk about the sanding and re-surfacing he wanted to do to the table tops.  “No, assured Kowalchuk, we are not sanding those carvings away, we are just taking off some of the grime and then putting a better surface on them.”

Kowalchuk has run Emma’ since 1992 when he installed the grand stairway with the magnificent clock on the west side.  Before that was put in the way to the top floor Tree Top was up a skinny, steep stairway.  It was a grind to get up and those stairs saw more than one person tumble all the way to the bottom – with a couple of bounces.

Kowalchuk brings a background in the setting up of franchise operations for one of the better operations in the country.  He understands the fundamentals and runs a pretty tight ship.  He is also president of the Burlington Restaurant Association and has some concerns about the city’s banner policy.

Emmas is a little more sedate these days.  Quieter, more of a family place for many.

But it wasn’t always that way.  We lived in the place and we have any number of ways to prove we were legal.  “We Lived at the Treetop” Bill Wood said enthusiastically.

The Woodies Come Back Tour has a cover charge – a modest $10  If the crowd wandering down around the pier is small that might be because everyone is at Emmas listening to a group that was part of a very colourful past.

George and Emma Byrens, who purchased the building in 1919. It was once the location of the jumpingest joint in town. There was the Tree Top and the Brant Inn and that was it. Now it is a quieter, more sedate location – Mother’s Day Brunches and special occasions.

The building is believed to have been the home of the Kern’s family and the place Lt. Col, William C. Kerns was born in.  Kerns was a partner in Waldies, a store located on John Street and eventually became the sole owner.

There was a fire in the top floor of the building at one point and that may have been what resulted in the location becoming a restaurant.

George and Emma Byrens, who purchased the building in 1919 had the place up to 1952. That’s where the name Emmas Back Porch came from.

Somewhere the name Estaminet got put into play – why that name isn’t all that clear.  Estaminet is French for a small bistro or café.

The Cooper family then bought the place and in the early 60’s they created the Tree Top lounge. At one point they had rented the place to a group from St. Catharines but that didn’t work out so they took it back.

It’s not a street that gets used all that much. the properties to the left lost much of their value when the Conservation Authority revised the set back required for properties fronting on the lake. Now there really isn’t anything of any height that can be built on those lots. The properties to the right have significant potential if someone can assemble enough of the land and then convince the city to contribute the street and come up with [piece of land big enough for a decent development that gives the public access to the water. The Official Plan Review team will be hiring a consultant to come up with some ideas.

Along the way the property was sold to Mayrose Tyco, the group that is building the Bridgewater condo complex a couple of hundred yards west on Lakeshore Road.  Mayrose also owns the parking lot across the street

No one knows yet how many people are going to show up the 13th to tell the full story.  We may have to promise not to identify anyone personally

 An evening at the Tree Top to get yourself started on the Sound of Music festivities sounds like an interesting way to spend a weekend.

If you go this far – you will have spotted all kinds of mistakes as to who owned the place when and what it was called.  Talk to three people and you will get four stories.  Help get the story right – leave a comment and we will update this piece on a part of Burlington’s rich colourfull history.

 

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Burlington detachment of the Regional police is investigating a homicide at a Mountainside Drive residence.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. June 7, 2013. On June 7, 2013 at 10:48 a.m., police were requested to attend a residence on Mountainside Drive after an individual had discovered their roommate unconscious.

Police arrived to find the man with no vital signs and he has since been pronounced deceased.

Members of the Homicide Unit have been called to the scene and are investigating the circumstances that led to the man’s death.

Homicide is a crime that is seldom committed in Burlington.  The Det. Sargent who heads up homicide for the HRPS also heads up the fraud detail – that one keeps him busy. 

Police are expected to issue a statement sometime later today.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to contact the Homicide Unit tip line at 905 825-4776 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS(8477).

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Landfill dumping is wrecking the lifestyle and peaceful use of an Appleby Line property – obscene behaviour.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 6, 2013. This is obscene!

That is the only way to describe what is being done to the property on the north and south side of the home Barbara Sheldon owns on Appleby Line.

Sheldon has a home on a nice lot that has a large spring fed pond that is home to a number of geese who watch over their goslings with a wary eye.

Some time ago, back in 2008, Sheldon noticed that the land on either side of her was being built up with landfill which didn’t seem all that bad at first – other than the noise from the trucks and the heavy construction equipment that seemed to be running around every day.  But it began to get out of hand and she now has a wall of earth more than 30 feet high on the north side of her property less than 50 feet from her kitchen window.

The south side of the Sheldon property on June 5th.

A few weeks ago this matter made its way to a city council meeting where it was clear the city, while aware of the situation didn’t have a grip on what was going on.

South side on the the 25th of May. The trucks just keep on rolling in and dumping fill.

Most people felt that kind of thing could not be done in north Burlington and that someone would step in to put a stop to the landfill operation.

And the trucks just keep on coming. No protection for this taxpayer from anyone.  Landfill continues to get dumped on the south side of the property.

What stunned everyone was that there didn’t appear to be much the city could do.  There was nothing the Niagara Escarpment Commission could do – the property that was being filled with landfill was just outside their boundary.

Many felt the Conservation Authority would be able to step in.  They are looking at the options which turn out to be pretty close to zilch.

The city learned that there really isn’t much they can do – the land is defined as an air park that comes  under the jurisdiction of the federal government; specifically the department of transport.

The people over there aren’t pleased but they do admit that the property is an air park and that is comes under their jurisdiction.

Monte Dennis argues that what happens on the land may be under federal jurisdiction but the land itself and what people can do with it is local and that the city can actually do something.  But they have to get up on their hind legs and begin to bark.

It isn’t quite that easy and the city is looking into the problem and figuring out what their options really are.  This is brand new territory for the city and they are up against a seemingly predatory land owner who doesn’t show his face that much.

Our Burlington has been trying to meet with Vince Rossi and while he says he’d love to meet – dates don’t get set.  Rossi sends his lawyer to handle the problems.  There is a very significant amount of money involved – perhaps in the tens of millions in revenue earned from allowing people to dump what is believed to be untested land fill on the site.

Turns out there are some 10,000 of these small air parks which are usually the location for small flight training schools.  The amount of work being done on the land suggests that there are plans for a much larger operation which has north Burlington residents upset.  Others suggest that there are no plans for a larger airport – that the dumping of landfill was just a way to make some very good money.  The understanding is that each truck of landfill dumped generates $50 in revenue and that given the amount of dirt being dumped – some $2.5 million in revenue has been generated.

That is not exactly chump change.

What the city is facing is a property/business owner who appears to have found a loophole that generates a significant income.

It looks like a lovely, close to idyllic country property – until you look to the north and the south and see mountain of earth that have destroyed the value of the property. And the air park neighbour seems to be able to get away with it.

What we know for certain is that we have a property/business owner who doesn’t show himself very much.  Vince Rossi, understood to be the owner of the Burlington Executive Air Park, did have one meeting with the Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring who listened to what Rossi had to say and suggested he develop a business plan and let the city see what he had in mind.  That was the last of the Mayor saw of Rossi.

When the Mayor visited the site a week ago he was stunned with what he saw and put himself in touch with the city manager quickly to push for more action on the administration side.  Were the Mayor to return to the site today he would see a 20 foot + wall of landfill in the south side of the property that wasn’t there when he visited.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster has apparently not visited the site and many of the people in rural Burlington think its time to look for a better candidate to represent the interests of that community.

This is just such close to violent disregard for the rights of ones neighbours.  The city does need to step in and do something.  What can they do?

City General Manager Scott Stewart was given the file and instructed to hire a consultant who could advise the city on just what its options are.  The aeronautical sector is complex – it is a world of its own with many layers of administration.

Finding someone with the experience the city is going to need is easier said than done “We can’t just flip through the yellow pages and find what we want” explained Stewart.  He is confident he will find what the city needs but it isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to happen quickly.

This is the hill that has been built on the north side of the property. There was a time when Sheldon could see Rattle Snake Point from her kitchen window – today – she looks at a pile of landfill – that has never been tested.

The city will need someone who fully understands the regulatory side of the business and probably have something in the way of a legal background.

“At this point” said Stewart, “we don’t even know what we don’t know.”  This is a whole new field of endeavour for the city.

The comment section of Our Burlington on this situation has many entries; many are what are called “flame throwers” remarks that have one person accusing another.

Andrew Forbes commented that:  “I suppose I could say that the name-calling has begun by people who make unfounded claims of criminal behaviour while not revealing their real names, hiding like cowards behind the supposed anonymity of the Internet. If you want to call people names like “bully” to their faces, “Jake”, at least have the simple courage and decency to do it in the open, with your real name. Some of us are trying to have a civilized, fact-based discussion here. Others, apparently, are more interested in hiding behind pseudonyms and taking anonymous pot-shots at what they see as an easy target. It’s so easy to vilify without taking the trouble to understand or to listen.

Real accusations have been made here. You should not expect, if you are one of those people, that you don’t have a responsibility for what you say, or that there will be no consequences for being a jerk just because you’re doing it online. I don’t know Mister Rossi well, but I do know that I don’t see a schoolyard bully here. What I do see is a mob mentality: a bunch of people calling names, making unsubstantiated accusations of criminal behaviour, and piling on, all without having the simple decency to even tell everyone who they are.”

Forbes doesn’t say that he is a pilot and represents other pilots and their interests.

It is a mess and it needs attention.  Time for the buck passing to stop.

Sheldon believes she is being targeted by the land owner because she has stood up and complained very loudly.  while she doesn’t say so – one can tell that she fears for her personal safety.  That’s not the kind of city we live in – is it?

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Some commercial activity has popped up in the Beachway Park. Rent yourself a paddle boat and get out on the water.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 6, 2013.  It’s a good idea; it should work.  And if you ever wanted to try out one of those stand up paddle boards well Maria Gerow has just the thing for you.

Gerow has always thought setting up a rental location for paddle boats and deck chairs somewhere along the Beachway Park was a great idea.  “I’ve had the idea for more than five years and I’ve been bugging the city for the past three years about renting the Pump House and running a rental operation out of the place”, she said.

Many have wanted something in the Pump House – the hope was that maybe an upscale wine bar – the best that could be done was a rental outlet. The signage on the door isn’t very upscale. Perhaps there will be something better than a hand drawn sign in the near future.

When the city Waterfront Access Protection Advisory Committee (it was sunset last December) recommended putting something in the building – they thought an upscale coffee shop with a nice selection of wines would be just the ticket – Gerow saw her chance and when the city ran its advertisement looking for a tenant for the space she moved real quick and got her idea in front of the right people and before she knew it – well it didn’t happen quite that fest – I mean this is city hall – she had a three year contract and opened up the last long weekend and she was in business.

Looks easy enough and if you want to try it – Burlington Beach Rentals is the place.

A Burlington resident Gerow was in insurance for some time but that entrepreneurial streak in her came to the surface and she now has a business called Burlington Beach Rentals – where you can rent paddle boats; stand up boards, chairs to sit out in the beach on with an umbrella.

Sun tan lotion, sun glasses will also be available.  Small rental lockers and for those who rent chairs – WiFi is also available.

Gerow has targeted the “family friendly” market.  If you’re a boozer and a carouser – don’t bother dropping by. 

Two adults or one adult and a child. Looks like fun.

Prices seem reasonable and according to Gerow the demand is there.  Now all she needs is some sunshine.

The Beachway will be going through a change; not in the next six months but certainly in the next few years.  The Regional Planning people produced a report which they felt set out a detailed background.  some feel the report was badly biased and there is a bit of a move to have the report sent back for a re-write.

However, the report is a regional document and the decision as to what will be done is a Regional decision.  It will be up to the Burlington Council members to convince their fellow regional council members to accept what Burlington wants done.  And that is a large part of the problem: Burlington isn’t at all clear on what it wants.

The people who live in the Beachway have made their point loud and clear – they don’t want to have to move.  They like where they are and they think that if anything is done about housing in the Beachway it should be to add more housing.

The  Family Medical facility under construction will be the first part of a several phase re-build of the hospital. When completed it will change fundamentally the way people see and use the west end of LAkeshore Road.

A couple of years from now the hospital will open the Family Medical facility where ten new doctors will practice on the ground level of a structure that will have several levels of parking.  The entrance to that facility will be off Lakeshore Road which will change the traffic pattern considerably.

When the hospital completes its re-build the entrance to the hospital will also be on Lakeshore Road which will change that par of the city.

Lakeshore Road will become the entrance way to a park – what we don’t know is what kind of a park will it be?

The Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade will be completed by the time the Family Medicine Facility is operational.  The planned planting of a cedar tree screen will make the roadway much different than it is today.

Is the Burlington Beach rental operation the first part of the change?

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Hardly seems worth the effort but the city seems prepared to let you out on the pier IF the work is done a day earlier. Whoopee.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 7, 2013 — The Brant Street Pier will open to the public on June 13, two days ahead of the community celebration planned for Saturday, June 15 at noon at Spencer Smith Park.

“We are opening the pier to the community as soon as it safe to do so,” said Scott Stewart, General Manager of Development and Infrastructure. “The pier will be open and the fencing will be down the afternoon of Thursday, June 13.”

The city is also lighting up the pier, including the beacon feature, each night starting at 9 p.m. following successful lighting tests earlier this week.

Less than a week – and hundreds of people will be out on the pier enjoying the view.  The pier could hold more than 2100 people – assuming they were standing shoulder to shoulder.  Is there a Guinness Book of Records opportunity here.  Maybe 2000 people enjoying the Goodness of Guinness all at the same time with a helicopter overhead recording the event.  Dial up the city events department – see what they think.

The city is planning two celebration events related to the pier.  The first is a thank you event to recognize the city’s funding partners, including the federal and provincial governments, Halton Region and Burlington Hydro. That takes place Friday, June 14 at 1 p.m. and includes speeches, a plaque unveiling and a tour of the pier.

 MP Mike Wallace, Mayor Rick Goldring and representatives from Conservation Halton, Burlington Hydro and other community partners are expected to attend. The seven children who will leave their hand prints on the pier will help dignitaries unveil the plaque that recognizes the completion of the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington, including the Brant Street Pier.

 

Charissa Pavlou, one of the city’s best kept entertainment secrets. Hear her just the once and you will want to know why we aren’t seeing her during the Sound of Music Festival. This young lady is going to break through big time soon.

The second event is on Saturday, June 15 at noon, when the Burlington Teen Tour Band will march out onto the pier to signal the pier’s official opening. When the band leaves the pier, the community will be invited to walk on the pier and eat free cupcakes, leave hand prints on a canvas and enjoy local entertainment, including from Burlington vocalist Charissa Pavlou and other local artists.

So – here is how it is going to play out.  Assuming the work is complete – all the fencing will come down the afternoon of the 13th and anyone wandering around can stroll out to the end of the pier.  No sense of occasion, no marching bands, nothing special.  And at $20 million – this is special.

Then a day after the politicians will show up and huff and puff and look important; unveil the really rather nifty plaque that will have been put in place and all get their pictures taken.  There are a lot of gulls flying around – you know what one of them can do to the dignitaries on this occasion don’t you?

Then the NEXT day the pier will go through yet another opening when everyone will be cleared off while the Burlington Teen Tour Band will march out and open the pier for the people.  Cupcakes get served – maybe balloons too.

Then everyone gets cleared from the pier at 3:00 pm so things can be set up for the fireworks display that night.

Here is the Burlington Teen Tour Band opening up the Performing Arts Centre. Imagine them doing the same thing on the pier. Going to be a glorious sight.

Mercy on us all – what a mess!  Now you have some idea as to just why it took three times as long as expected to get built and more than twice what the city expected to pay for the thing.  Someone called the pier the “mistake on the lake”; could he have been right.

Whoever is making the decisions about the opening doesn’t appear to have any sense of occasion or a feel for drama.  The dignitaries could have been lined up and given credit for finding the money to build the thing and then the plaque unveiled.  Right after that the Burlington Teen Tour Band could have come marching in off Lakeshore Road down the promenade and out onto the pier with all their flags snapping in the wind.  The public would have followed them on out to the pier.

The band could have done one of those fancy turns they do at the end of the pier and come marching back towards the public that would have been kept back a respectable distance with a nice fancy felt rope.  The BTTB could then have stopped just down from the node – played a few pieces and then someone would declare the pier officially opened.

Instead we are going to get one dreary official opening and then another yes you can go on the pier – now you can’t and then later you can go out again.

Enough to make you dizzy.  However, when you eventually get out there – it is something.

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Small potatoes in the drug world but an arrest is an arrest and it adds to the police stats.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 6, 2013.  The drug dealers are keeping the police busy enough.  Earlier today  members of the Three District Strategic Support Team concluded an investigation into alleged cocaine traffickers in Burlington. 

Investigators conducted the investigation and as a result, the  Team arrested two targeted persons.  Both were found to be in possession of a quantity of marihuana and cocaine. 

The investigation was concluded when the Strategic Support Team members executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant at a residence in Burlington. 

As a result of the arrests and drug warrant, investigators seized the following items:

  43 grams of cocaine

• 7.5 grams of marihuana

• Approximately $ 640.00 in Canadian currency

• Scales, Packaging materials and cellular phones

ACCUSED(s):

 Lilit ISHAK (20 years old)

Matthew COOPER (20 years old)

Both from Burlington have been charged with;

Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance and Possession of a controlled substance

Dealing in drugs is a lucrative business – which helps to pay the lawyers you need.  Gotta be a better way of making a living.  But I guess as long as there are people who want to buy and use the stuff there are going to be people who will supply it.

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