Mike Wallace gets a triple base run at the Art Centre; knows more about Soup Bowls than he ever wanted to know.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON    November 2, 2012  Is this Friday?  Then Mike Wallace, Burlington’s member of parliament is in town and he is either running a workshop, meeting a group of constituents or handing out cheques and getting his picture taken.

This Friday Wallace was hitting a triple base hit.  While he didn’t have the cheque in his pocket he did make the cheque for the new gas fired kiln at the Burlington Art centre possible and he was on hand to look at the equipment purchased and learn more than he ever wanted to know about pottery and gas fired kilns.

Ever the politician and a very solid constituency man at that – Mike Wallace chats with Helen, a member of the Pottery Guild who once delegated to city council when Wallace was a city Councillor. “I was able to solve a small problem for her” said Wallace.

That was the base hit part of the day.  He moved to second base when he bumped into a constituent he has known for some time and was able to take a moment to catch up on some of the local happenings.  Then he was taken on a short tour of the Art Centre and got to look at some art that he understood, but didn’t understand what the value of the collection was to the Art Centre. “Where’s the value” was the question he had for the Ceramics Curator Jonathan Smith.   Smith was explaining that the Art centre buys a full place setting for eight people from Canadian ceramic artists that become part of the permanent collection.  The BAC has the most extensive collection in the country of Canadian ceramic art .

Wallace didn’t quite believe what he was looking at was a photograph and took his glasses off to get an even closer look. He was certainly impressed with what he saw.

Wallace also got to look at some art that amazed him – he asked several times if what he was looking at was a painting or a photograph.  He was quite impressed with what he was looking at.

The third base drive for Wallace though was the television crew that followed him around. CPAC , the cable channel owned by the six of the cable television companies in Canada is doing a program on Burlington’s MP – not sure when they will broadcast the program – we will tell you when we know.  They spent a full day following him around filming what an MP does when they are in the constituency for a day.

Much to Wallace’s chagrin – all that is likely to make it to air is about five minutes of tape.  Turns out CPAC does these profiles of MP’s; keeps them on file and when they have a program that doesn’t fill in the hour or half hour allotted – they fall back to the film library and drag up whatever they have on hand that fits the slot.  As Wallace put it: “It’s basically filler” but he’s going to ask for a copy of whatever they have and he’ll put it up on his web site.

Creepers – we thought federal bureaucrats could waste time and money – all day with an MP for a possible miserable five minutes.  Yikes, but the spending is being done by the cable television companies, not the government.

The federal governments Cultural Spaces Canada program donated $31,900 for the purchase of the new kiln.  That donation covered close to half of the total cost.

$30,000 + of taxpayers money – and the folks at the Burlington Art centre are delighted. Burlington MP Mike Wallace was touring the Centre and getting a look at the gas fired kiln that will glaze all the bowls being used for the annual Soup Bowl event – always a BAC sold out event.

George Wale, Director of Programs at the Art Centre, on the right, thanks Burlington MP Mike Wallace for the funding from the federal government.

The acquisition of the kiln was the culmination of 10 years of work that started when Frank Friedman began advocating for the piece of equipment that has allowed potters at the Art Centre to do much more sophisticated work.

Burlington MP Mike Wallace has a piece of art explained to him by BAC Curator of Education Leslie Page

The Burlington Art Centre is renowned in Canada for its collection that is the largest of Canadian ceramic work consisting of more than 2000 objects that have been collected during the last 30 years. Jonathan Smith, Curator of the ceramic collection, explained that there are artists from Vancouver to Halifax in the collection.

The BAC collection also has some late 18th century and 19th century porcelain in its collection. “People who know porcelain travel to Burlington to see what we have while others just stumble upon the collection while they are here.

The bowls that will be sold as part of the annual Soup Bowl event – November 15 to 18 – usually a sold out event were in the kiln while Wallace was being told how the thing works and why it was so appreciated by the Art Centre.

Mike Wallace, Burlington’s MP looks at a place setting that is part of the BAC collection. Photo was taken through a glass display stand where Wallace wondered where the value was for the Centre in having place settings for eight people in the collection.

When a politician does a tour and works to get funding for an organization there is often a small token of appreciation given by the group that got the funding.  Ian Ross knows the game well and he made sure there was a small gift for Wallace who gratefully accepted the box with the bowl and a vase and said “he now had a Christmas gift for his wife”. It’s a nice gift Caroline – but Mike didn’t pay for it, so look under that Christmas tree again.

Wallace has been very supportive of the arts in Burlington.  He helps where he can and when he can. The Ireland Farm has been given financial support and if Wallace could he would see a plaque in Burlington noting that the Burlington Races took place somewhere off the shore of the city in 1813 – turns out that’s a provincial thing and the federal people never meddle in provincial stuff.


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Test smoke alarms when changing clocks this weekend. Did you know that failing to comply with smoke alarm rules can result in a fine?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON November 2, 2012    It’s one of those things you know you should do – some of us used to do it New Year’s Day – but there were first day’s of the year when the idea of climbing up on a ladder was not such a good idea.

Then a fire chief somewhere came up with a really neat idea – he said “why not remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms on the Sunday that the clocks go forward or backward?

That was a really good idea and it seems to have become the practice at least in Canada.

They work – but only if they have fresh batteries.

Every year, we read stories of apartments or houses that catch fire and often, all too often there is some loss of life and we hear a despondent fire chief explaining to a television camera that the smoke alarms did not work because the batteries were dead.

There may be some juice in the batteries you have in that smoke alarm now – but why take the chance.  Figure out what size of battery you need and climb up on that ladder and make the change.

This is fall so the clocks go back an hour Saturday night and you get an extra hour of sleep

“Smoke alarms can only do what they are designed to do if they are working,” explained Public Education Officer Lisa Cockerill. “At least once a year, replace the batteries in your smoke alarm with new batteries and test all smoke alarms once a month.”

Push the test button for 10 seconds. If you hear the alarm it means its working. No alarm? It’s time to replace the battery or the unit.  Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years.

It’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. For added protection, it is recommended to also install smoke alarms inside all bedrooms. In order to survive a fire, you need to be provided with an early warning and know what to do when the smoke alarms sound. Have a fire escape plan with a meeting place that everyone in your family knows.

Assistance is available for seniors and persons with disabilities in the community who are unable to replace batteries or test their smoke alarms on their own. For more information or request assistance with your smoke alarm or for fire safety information please call 905 333-0772, ext. 6333.

Tampering with, or removing the batteries from your smoke alarm is against the law. Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000. For further information visit www.burlington.ca/fire.

 

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Riviera coming down, developer seeks permission to build higher on the same site. New committee may shake things up in 2013.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 2, 2012  Crunch by crunch the walls come down.  First the top floors and then down into the lower levels and eventually it will be just a flat empty site; a local icon will be no more.  The Riviera Motel will be gone.

Level by level the Riviera is taken apart by construction equipment. Gone is the view from the units on the lakeside and many many untold stories as well. One wonders how many Mr. and Mrs Smith’s registered there.

The Riviera went from one of the nicer places to stay when you were in town with three levels overlooking the lake – the sunsets would have been magnificent from those small balconies.

Time passed the place by – it was bought in 1985 and while it remained open for business, the business that it did get got a little on the seedy side.  The Region began to rent space in it for families that needed housing.

Building inspectors condemned the site and it was finally shut down and boarded up.  Then the building was set on fire by what police believed were vandals.

What is now fairly open space will begin to fill, first with a seven storey hotel that will be a little higher than the Waterfront Hotel that is on the far right.

Once the land is fully cleared the site will be readied for the first of three structures that will go on the property. GET

The three structures will be built in stages with the first being a seven storey hotel, basically the same height as the Waterfront Hotel to the west.

Many people in Burlington don’t know that the site is zoned for a structure that will be 22 storeys high.  That height was approved back in 1985 and isn’t going to be changed.  The wonder is that there isn’t a 22 storey structure on the property now. There are at least four, eight to ten storey condominiums, several built by the Molinaro Group, on the north side of Lakeshore Road now.  The resale market for those units is brisk.

This condominium, on the north side of Lakeshore, is directly across the street from the Mayrose Tyco development that will have two seven storey structures and one 22 storey building – the view for the condo on the north side will never be the same.

While 22 storeys is something Burlington will have to get used to – those condo units will attract buyers because there is never going to be anything that will block their view across the lake.  The view from those upper floors will be quite something.  The value of the units on the north side of Lakeshore will take a bit of a hit – the view will get blocked by the new structures – not something the real estate agents selling units tell people about.

The developers are asking for an adjustment to the zoning by-law – they want permission to build an additional storey for a building that is now zoned for seven storeys. The Committee of Adjustment meetings are public – will anyone show up to object?

With the top floor partially gone – the Riviera Motel will soon disappear completely. Construction on the much more upscale Delta Hotel will begin sometime in the New Year. will it be completed before the official opening of the pier?

While the demolition of the Riviera proceeds so does the application by the developers to have one more storey added to the permissible height.  The first structure will be a hotel to be operated by Delta Hotels is asking the Committee of Adjustment to permit the building of an eighth floor that will allow one full floor for administrative offices.  That’s a nice way of putting the grab for additional space.

Is the lake shore ready for structures that are higher than the city is used to?  The WAPAC (Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee )that has been served the same fate as the Riviera Motel – the motel will be gone by the end of November, the advisory committee will be gone by the end of the year.  While still active, the advisory committee has had nothing to say on the application at the Committee of Adjustment  for an eighth storey by the developer.

That Advisory Committee hasn’t had much to say about the Mayrose Tyco project; it just accepted the fact that the approvals for the heights; two seven storey buildings and one 22 storey building were a done deal.

When former Toronto Mayor David Crombie made a presentation to the advisory committee in its early days he pointed out that while the committee may not have much real clout it did have the power of the bully pulpit which it could use very effectively if it chose to.  It never really did say much.

Will Councillor Meed Ward create a committee on the waterfront that will have real clout? will Council choose to listen to the committee? Is this a rejuvenated Save our Waterfront committee?

Once the Advisory Committee is dead officially December 31st, Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward is expected to call to order the unofficial committee project she has created that will work out of her office.  She has said that the committee will meet in the evenings, that she will chair the meetings but that she will not have a vote.  Meed Ward has said that all the members of the former advisory committee have said they will become members of the Meed Ward committee.

At one point Mayor Goldring said he would also set up a committee to oversee waterfront matters but so far nothing has come to pass at that level.

This proliferation of committees reminds one of the now apparently defunct SOW operation.  Save Our Waterfront was used by Meed Ward very effectively  to propel her election campaign in 2010.  Once elected Meed Ward left the committee; it hasn’t managed to do much since.

2013 might be a year during which we see Meed Ward’s committee begin to do the job the committee set up by former Mayor Cam Jackson was not able to do.  One wonders how the Meed Ward committee will use the clout it hopes to have.  It will surely have a strong membership – the Save our Waterfront committee had a reported 4000 members from across the city.

It will hold its meetings in the evenings and invite the public to delegate. The official Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee did not meet in the evenings and the record doesn’t show any public delegations every appearing before it.

Should the Meed Ward waterfront committee actually come up with recommendations that city council adopts and if the Meed Ward committee has the same membership as the official committee – can one conclude that the problem with the official committee was one of leadership?  Just asking.

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Construction trailer in Burlington gets broken into; valuable tools taken.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 1, 2012  Just after midnight on October 31st, a construction trailer, parked on Benson Drive,  was broken into and several tools were stolen.

The stolen items are as follows:

•              1-Hilti Model DX 76 PTR Powder Actuated Tool  c/w custom MX76 Nail Magazine  – Value $3000.

•              1-Hilti Model DX 460 F10 Powder Actuated – Value $3000.

•              4-Dewalt DC822KL LITHIUM ION IMPACT WRENCH.

•              1-Milwakee cordless grinder.

Looks like someone wants to get into the construction business – or is there someone out there who deals in used equipment.  Be wary of any special offers.

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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35x35x35 Live, OnSite and OnLine – those aren’t basketball scores – must be related to art.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 30, 2012  They opened the place 35 years ago – times does fly.

When did that orange piece of metal work outside the building go up?  That long ago eh?  Maybe I’m actually getting used to it.

Placed outside the Art Centre in 1978 the aluminum structure has drawn attention to the Centre.

The structure is A Space Composition for Rebecca by artist Haydn Llewellyn Davies, who died in 2008. It is orange aluminum and has been a fixture outside the building since 1978.

The Burlington Art Centre Foundation is going to hold a three part auction with thirty five items in each part to highlight and focus public attention on their 35th year of existence.

Applications to be considered for the Art Auction in 2013 close November 23, at 5:00 pm.

The three parts are 35 Live, 35 Onsite and 35 Online auctions for objects from visual artists working in all medium.  Entries for the three auctions will be selected by a jury of experts to ensure quality and an offering of unique and original pieces.

Each category will include a range of art forms and values.  Category selection will be made, in part, by a determination of which pieces will be best suited to which audience, thereby increasing the opportunities for a successful sale.

Artists must submit a completed Art Auction 2013 Submission Form, along with a digital image of the artwork, by Friday, November 23, 2012, 5:00 p.m.

This call is:

Open to all artists who are residents of Canada

 Members of the BACF Art Auction Committee are not eligible

 Works submitted must be original works of art or fine craft, created within the past two years

 New Media/Digital & Photographic artwork must be signed, limited editions, with a maximum   of 10 prints of that image, in any size

 Two dimensional artwork must be mounted or framed, wired and ready for hanging  Archival quality materials must be used.

Each artist may submit a maximum of two pieces through the Call for Entry process, but no more that one piece from each artist can be accepted for the auction.

For complete details and a submission form please go to www.theBAC.ca/call

Please review the information on the Call For Entry Pamphlet and send a completed Submission Form, along with all required information and a digital image of your artwork, by Friday, November 23, 2012, 5:00 p.m., for consideration by the jury.

We prefer that you use the Art Auction 2013 Submission Form that can be completed and saved in Word. However, if this is not possible, you may print out a form or the pamphlet and complete the information by hand.  Please help us by printing legibly.

Label your images with your last name, first initial, 2013, and the title of your piece.  (e.g. smithj2013sunrise.jpg)

Email submissions to auction@theBAC.ca (preferred), or deliver, in person or by mail, to:

Burlington Art Centre, Art Auction. 1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, ON, L7S 1A9


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United Way using events to draw people in and raise funds to meet the $2.1 million Burlington target. Is your company involved?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 30th, 2012  Last week was a great week for the United Way in Burlington, announcing that they had reached the 25% level of the $2.1 million they need to raise – and we are not about to stop at that level are we?  One of the United Way agencies put on an event in the parking lot of the United Way offices on Harvester Road that had three Food Trucks on the property selling lunches.

Cup Cake Diner had to pull out at the 25 minute mark – they were sold out.  Gorilla Cheese and HankDaddy BBQ each had line ups of more than 50 people in front of their trucks.  That is called a SELL OUT!

Then on Sunday there was a Fashion Shoe at the Rude Native on Brant.  $25 got you a light lunch and a look at some new fashion pieces.

Check out the apparel that was on display.  Burlington United Way Chair Paddy Torsney and one of her side kicks Kendra Mullen took to the runway – sorry, we don’t have the names of the other models.

Our reports are that it was a fun event that everyone enjoyed.

The city of Burlington held their annual truck pulling event outside city hall which was a successful event.  Kim Phillips, one of the city’s two General Managers is working on the rest of the public sector to increase the giving at that level – that being the federal and provincial governments and agencies.

What really works for the United Way – and for you the citizen, is the payroll deduction plan.  It can be as little as a dollar a paycheque – choose the number that reflects what you can manage.  And if you need to bow out for a period of time – all that takes is a phone call.

Here’s what happens when you go the payroll deduction route.  You see the gross payroll figure and then you see the CPP deductions (you will retire at some point) and then you see the EI deduction and hope you never have to make a claim.  Then you see the United Way deduction and you can pause for a second, smile and know that you’re helping.  It may not be much but when Len Loftus, chief cheese of the United Way operation for Burlington and Hamilton sees those combined numbers he is one happy camper – because he is the guy that has to figure out how much he can make available to the Food for Thought people – they are the ones who make meals available to kids who leave the house in the morning without a breakfast in their tummies.  Or how much he is going to send to the Nelson Youth Centre that provides group based treatment intervention which supports and strengthens  the ability of children and youth to develop more effective social and emotional skills.  This program includes a mandatory parental program.

Why do people line up like this to buy lunch? Because they know a portion of the proceeds are going to the United Way.  The Food Truck program was such as success that plans are already being made for a repeat performance next year.

The agencies that get the funds the United Way collects came up with the idea for the Food Truck event.  It went so well that Gayle Cruikshank said the agencies want to make this a yearly event with proceeds going to the UW.

They all matter, they all need help and there is never enough to cover all the bases.  Loftus has to wiggle and jiggle his numbers and hope that there is at least enough to cover those bases.

When you sign that payroll deduction card you are doing two things – helping in a real, measurable way and cutting down on the amount of wiggling and jiggling that Len Loftus has to do each year.

The theme for the United Way this year is Change starts here – it really starts at your pay cheque and being prepared to give some of it to those who need help.


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Trees come down but that was the extent of the storm damage. Riviera Motel comes down with the aid of giant claws.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 30, 2012  We made it through the storm of the century.  Our friends to the south took huge hits but while Burlington had the reported highest win speed – 97 KMH – there was no serious damage and no one was hurt.  General Manager Scott Stewart reports that: We had about 21 fair size tree and limb damage over the evening hours, the crews worked through the evening and morning hours cleaning up debris and opening roads where necessary.

The majority of the calls were from areas south of the QEW.

The hollowed trunk of an old willow brought down by the storm of the century. The wonder was what kept the tree up at all – and what about the other willow a few feet away?

Some minor flooding continued on roads due to leaves plugging up catch basin’s, staff managed to continue to keep the catch basin’s clear, we appreciated the help from residents who did this on their streets.

City work crews moved quickly to clean up the more than 20 trees that came down during the storm.

The rains diminished in intensity throughout the early morning.

There was some damage to signal lights and street lights due to the wind. Signal staff were in overnight to deal with the problems. Clean-up will continue today.

Construction work on the pier was limited – there was no visible damage to that construction site as a result of the high winds.

The top floor of the east side of the Riviera is gone and the rest of the structure will be down before the end of the week. How many stories disappear with the close to iconic Burlington motel?

But a couple of hundred yards to the east, a local, not quite iconic Burlington structure began to meet its end as construction equipment tore at the walls and brought the building down.  The stories those rooms could tell if they had the chance.  Lanmar Demolition expects to need three weeks to bring the building down and then clean up the site to make it ready for construction crews that will begin work on the first of the three structures approved for the site.

Approved for the site back in 1985 are two seven storey structures and a 22 storey building.  Construction on an eight story Delta Hotel will begin early in the New Year.  The developers are asking the city’s Committee of Adjustment for an eight floor that will house administrative offices.


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It isn’t easy to find really good people – there are jobs at city hall that aren’t going to get filled.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 30th, 2012   More changes on the staffing side at city hall.  The search for a third general manager doesn`t appear to be going all that well.  Could the city manager do the job with just the two general managers?   Can Kim Phillips who handles the corporate and administrative side of things and Scott Stewart doing the heavy lifting on the operational side keep the good ship Burlington on an even keel?

Alan Magi, foreground in blue shirt, listens intently during the development of the Strategic Plan last year. Magi wasn’t able to get people to listen during the recent governance review of that Strategic Plan; partly because he didn’t have much to say.

City Manager Jeff  Fielding explained to a city council workshop that he was stretched pretty thin on the senior staff side and has a couple of people who aren’t pulling their weight.

Alan Magi certainly didn’t cover himself with glory when he lead council and staff through a governance review and a closer look at the strategic plan now that we are well into our first year with that document.

While Kyle Benham isn’t a city “employee” he too is getting a stern second look by both his board and city council.  There are those who think that board is far too large to be effective and many wonder if it can do an effective performance review of their Executive Director.

The mess with the IKEA plans to move from their Aldershot location on Plains Road to a site on the North Service Road just west of Walkers Line threatens the efforts on the part of the city to retain IKEA as a corporate client.

Kyle Benham, Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation – will he make it past the performance review?

The Economic Development Corporation hasn’t been bringing forward very much in the way of new business to the city.  Other than running full page advertisements in the business press telling the commercial world that we are the second best place to live in the country there isn’t much to see for what is being spent on that department.  Those who are betting people won’t even need odds to get a return on their money if they bet on major changes over at the Burlington Economic Development Corporation.

There are some really smart people at city hall who think the whole thing should be blown up and re-created as a much smaller board; say seven members rather than the 20 people who populate that board now.

Economic development is far too important a matter to play around with.  The Molinaro project next to the GO station is going to result in 1000 housing units; the ADI project on Guelph Line is going to result in 70+ units; the project being worked up for Ghent Street is looking for more than 50 units.  Many of the people that move into that housing might want to work in Burlington  – but there have to be jobs for them.  The city also needs the tax revenue from the ICI (Industrial, Corporate, Institutional) portion of the property base.

Tax revenue from ICI for 2012 looks like it will be less than it was during 2011 – not a good sign and one that is giving the city manager and the treasurer heart burn.

Frank McKeown advised the mayor a few months ago that he wanted to move on from his role as Chief of Staff.  Many wonder if Rick Goldring is ready to fly on his own and if Jackie Isada, who is moving from the sinking ship over at economic development and into the Mayor’s office, will be able to fully replace

McKeown.   Many think that is a stretch.

Frank McKeown, on the left talks with Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman during the Strategic Plan sessions. McKeough leaves the Mayor’s office at the end of the year – is there a future for him elsewhere at city hall? Many hope so – the talent is needed.

Frank on the other hand still talks about a political role in his future and is on record as saying that if there were a seat open he might go for it.  The rumour is that he kind of likes the look of Ward 4 – is Jack Dennison ready to throw the towel in over there?

McKeown doesn’t have to work but his administrative and analytical skills are both in demand and badly needed at city hall.  Expect to see him staying on after he finishes the transition out of the Mayor’s office and in some senior role where he would work very closely with the city manager.

City Manager Jeff Fielding is doing everything he can to upgrade the skill sets and the competencies of his staff and will have everyone from Supervisor level up taking courses created for the city by people at the DeGroote campus of Master University on the South Service Road.

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Emergency number for fallen tress or significant debris on the roads. 905-333-6166

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 29, 2012  It’s going to get a little on the windy side out there this evening and may last through to sometime Wednesday.

Everyone is watching the weather forecasts and hopefully checking to make sure they are as prepared as they can be.

No one is expecting this level of damage but if the ground is thoroughly soaked – big trees can be brought down by strong winds – and there are going to be very strong winds for the next few days.

The city of Burlington has set up an Emergency Number to report damaged or uprooted trees or significant debris on the road, 905-333-6166.

Mayor Goldring advises that: “We have extra staff on duty to respond to the needs of our citizens, so if you do find yourself making an emergency call, please be patient and know that staff will be there as soon as possible.”

The Region of Halton advises that the strongest winds and most of the rain will occur tonight and into early Tuesday.

“As with any severe weather event, it is important to take steps to be prepared,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr.  “I encourage residents to stay informed by checking Halton’s emergency preparedness website, halton.ca/beprepared, following @BPreparedHalton on Twitter or dialing 311.”

Residents are advised to secure household items that might be blown around or torn loose such as garbage cans and lawn furniture.  Place waste collection materials out securely on the morning of your collection day by 7 a.m., not the night before. To help prevent litter and debris, do not overfill bins.  If wind is significant, please consider holding on to your Blue Box and Green cart materials until your next collection day. Follow Waste Management on Twitter @HaltonRecycles for updated collection information.

Situations like this can be confusing when it comes to figuring out who to call with a problem.

Surface flooding such as storm sewer catch basins – call the city.

Backup of water and/or sewage in your home, contact Halton Region by dialing 311.

 

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Check the catch basins outside your house – clear the leaves to prevent flooding. We can handle this if we work together.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON October 29, 2012  With the impact of Hurricane Sandy already beginning to make itself felt the city has begun to staff up to respond to what looks like a very nasty situation.

Storm sewer catch basins are the prime focus for the early part of the storm that may last through to Thursday of this week.

Once the hard part of the weather has passed,  the focus will shift to emergency response work where they have to deal with fallen trees, blocked roads and downed hydro lines.

Avoid this – by cleaning the catch basins outside your home – and if there are seniors on your street – do theirs as well.

To help prevent flooding on street level, the city encourages residents to pitch in by clearing nearby street catch basins of leaves and debris. At the same time, the city reminds residents that creek catch basins and culverts are dangerous during storms, and residents are reminded to keep a safe distance from open water.

This is what we need to avoid. If you clear the catch basin a couple of times the next few days we can avoid problems like this.

“These are exceptional circumstances,” said Scott Stewart, general manager of development and infrastructure. “The wind has blown most of our leaves off at once, and the rain is driving them towards catch basins. We’re clearing the grates as quickly as we can, but it would make a huge difference if folks took the time to make sure the sewer grates on their streets are free of debris and flowing smoothly. We’re in this together.”

Roads and parks maintenance department staff will be working through the evening and overnight to monitor conditions and address situations as they arise

The fire department is scheduling extra firefighters and 9-1-1 emergency communications staff to address an anticipated spike in emergency incidents.

The city will update its website, www.burlington.ca, as further information becomes available.

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New faces, new art a part of the 10th Art in Action studio tour November 3rd and 4th.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 29, 2012  They are doing this for the 10th time – the Art in Action, an artist’s collective that  organizes studio tours in the city with up to ten homes opened to the public where the work of various artists is on display.

Along with showing the work of the artists in the city, Art in Action sponsors scholarships and are generally promoting the health of artists.

Each year new artists are added to the list of about 35 people who show their work.  Among those being added to the list this year are Kyle Brook, Donna Grandin and Monica Bell.

For Donna Grandin “making art brings beauty and pleasure into our everyday lives”.

The richness, almost exotic colour we see in the Caribbean is reflected in Grandin’s  art.

Her artistic inspiration comes from living plants interacting with their environment, sun shining through the leaves, wind blowing the petals, other plants in the background adding variety and contrast. “I try to express the atmosphere, the memory of a specific moment in time, and my feelings about the place. In my current series of acrylic paintings, I focus on tropical flowers, foliage and fruit, drawing on my experience growing up on a lush Caribbean island”.

While her art is “representational” Grandin sets out to “communicate the abstract rhythms of nature,”.   “I play with the organic shapes and vibrant colours to create uplifting and engaging images” and that she does.

Donna Grandin is a Caribbean artist, born Donna Gomez in St. Lucia in 1974. At the age of 17, Donna went to school in Canada, and in 1997 she graduated with an Honours B.A. in Art from McMaster University.  She has been represented by galleries in St. Lucia for a number of years, while living and travelling in Europe with her husband before returning to live and paint in Burlington, Ontario.

Red seldom gets as luscious as this.

Donna’s paintings have been in both solo and group exhibitions in Ontario and St. Lucia, and are in private collections in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean. Honours include the gold award in visual arts in the M&C Fine Arts Awards competition in St. Lucia in 2001, and a mural commission by the City of Toronto in 2009. Donna exhibited at Toronto Art Expo in 2011.  This is her first participation in the Art in Action Studio Tour.  She is exhibiting at Sparling Cr., in the east end of the city.

The Art in Action Studio tour takes place on Saturday November 3rd and on Sunday the 4th.  The location of the ten studios is shown on the map below.  Hours are:  10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  You can do the full tour in a day and have time for a leisurely lunch as well.

Monica Bell working on a piece of fabric.  One of 36 artists on the Art in Action Studio Tour.

New this year to the Art in Action Studio Tour is fabric artist Monica Bell who took her first quilting class when  working as a recreation therapist for a retirement and long term care facility.  The first quilt she  made was an Irish Chain which was raffled off during a fund raiser for the recreation department.  The second quilt didn’t come for some time and that was followed by an invitation to a quilting retreat by a cousin. “ I have never laughed and learned so much as I did that first retreat,” said Monica – she was hooked and since 2008 quilting has become an obsession for her.  “I easily lose track of time and become engrossed in my project as it relaxes me and energizes me at the same time. My work started with traditional patchwork techniques and through the years I have started leaning toward the more contemporary designs.”

This quilt is quite a bit jazzier than the traditional Mennonite quilt – but then this quilter isn’t a Mennonite.

“Daring to be Bold is my first original design. I love to work with printed cottons and Batiks but have started to experiment with the use of other textiles.  I use many techniques including hand embroidery, hand and machine appliqué, beading, use of wool fibers, and machine quilting using both my domestic sewing machine and a long arm quilting machine.”  Clearly a growing fabric artist – you will enjoy her work.

The Studio Tour is new for Kyle Brooke who grew up in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado at the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Raised by a family of fine artists, craftspeople and musicians, Kyle’s childhood was filled with gallery visits, art fairs and a deep appreciation and passion for the arts. As a result, Kyle has always striven to learn new techniques and has developed an exceptionally broad background in the arts and crafts.

The translucence of these two pieces almost lifts them off the table.

Kyle spent two years studying graphic design and then began experimenting with various art forms, from water-color paintings and photography to ceramics and jewellery making. From an early age, Kyle has been intrigued by the medium and art form of glass and made the decision to travel to Canada to focus her undergraduate college education on glass art.

When Kyle arrived at Sheridan College, she began her education in the Art Fundamentals program to develop a solid skill base. After successfully completing the course, she entered into the Sheridan College Crafts and Design Glass Studio.

Almost as if the earth has opened up.  Kyle Brooke has certainly lifted this art to a new level.

Upon graduation Kyle spent over a year traveling across Canada and the United States attending various art conferences and exhibits.  She settled in Oregon and worked for the Bullseye Glass Company and the Eugene Glass School. This experience helped to enhance her knowledge, contacts and techniques. As well as keeping her current on important industry trends, events, artists and opportunities.

In early 2009 Kyle took that experience and resettled in Canada where she became a part of a movement in contemporary art.  Kyle continues her journey creating, teaching and promoting glass art in her community.  She has honed her skills as a professional well-rounded glass artist while energetically promoting glass as a contemporary art form

In the past 3 years, Kyle has been a resident artist at the Living Arts Centre on Ontario Canada and continues her education by attending courses and conferences all across North America. Her work ranges from bold sand castings and blown forms to elegant jewellery. She is an ambitious self-motivated individual who is passionate and dedicated to furthering her growth and development as a glass artist.

In 2011 Kyle Brooke and her partner Matt Robertson opened their own studio/gallery, The Edy Roy Glass Gallery in Burlington, Ontario, where she creates, teaches and showcases both functional and non-functional glass art.

 

 

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Jackson to be feted for 35 years of public service; walkway to be given his name.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 28, 2012  It sometimes takes a while for the rewards and the recognition to come in.  On November 18th, Cam Jackson will be recognized for his 35 years of public service to the city, when the walkway between the public parking garage and the Performance Arts Centre is named – the Cam Jackson Accessibility Walkway.

The initiative for the event came from Mayor Goldring but the event is not being run out of the Mayor’s office.  Rick Goldring said he felt it was time to recognize Jackson’s 35 years of community service and was in touch with a group of loyal Jackson supporters.

The invitations are coming from members of that circle.  It is not a dinner but rather a reception taking place at the Performing Arts Centre.  There is no ticket price.

There is no explanation for the timing of the event other than it was something the Mayor felt should be done.  Burlington doesn’t have a tradition of current Mayor’s choosing to recognize a past Mayor.

Roly Bird Park is located almost across the road from Costco.

Former MPP George Kerr was never recognized by the city.  The only time the city formally recognized a former Mayor was when a park was named after Mayor Roly Bird.

The Roly Bird park is substantial in size; much bigger than it would appear to be from the road if you are driving by.

Goldring and Jackson have not had a cozy relationship.  Jackson told Goldring the unfinished Burlington pier should just be torn down.  Goldring ignored the advice and has trudged forward dealing with just as many problems as Jackson had in his day.

The reception being held to recognize Jackson’s 35 years of service appears to be a private event.  If you got an invitation it was not from the City or the Performing Arts Centre. You sent your RSVP to an email address: tribute2camjackson@gmail.com or you called 905-681-7884 which is a phone registered to a private residence. The envelope in which the invitation was mailed has a return address of  125 Birett Drive.

Jackson was born in Hamilton, Ontario. His mother was Ukrainian Canadian.  He was educated at McMaster University, although he left before graduating to take a job with the Ontario Conservative Party. Before entering politics, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Hamilton Real Estate Board, and also worked for the Halton Housing Authority from 1975 to 1980. In 1996, he was named “Officer Brother of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem” by Canada’s Governor-General. He also served as a trustee on the Halton Public School Board for ten years.

Jackson was elected for the riding of Burlington South in the provincial election of 1985, defeating Liberal candidate Doug Redfearn by about 4,500 votes. He was a backbench supporter of the government of Frank Miller, which was defeated in the legislature shortly after the election. In late 1985, Jackson supported Alan Pope’s unsuccessful bid to replace Miller as party leader.

Jackson was nearly defeated in the provincial election of 1987, defeating Liberal Bill Priestner by 605 votes. He won by a much greater margin in the 1990 election. The Tories finished in third place in both instances, behind the Liberals and the New Democratic Party.

The Progressive Conservatives returned to power in the 1995 provincial election, and Jackson was re-elected in Burlington South with over 70% of the popular vote. He was made a Minister without Portfolio in the government of Mike Harris on June 26, 1995, with responsibility for the Workers Compensation Board. After a shuffle on August 16, 1996, he was given ministerial responsibility for Seniors. He was given a full portfolio on July 27, 1998, being made Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care and Seniors. Jackson was easily re-elected in the 1999 provincial election for the redistributed riding of Burlington.

On June 17, 1999, he was named Minister of Tourism. He was named Minister of Citizenship with responsibility for Seniors on February 8, 2001, but returned to the Tourism portfolio (now retitled Tourism and Recreation) when Ernie Eves succeeded Mike Harris as Premier on April 15, 2002. He was forced to resign on October 2, 2002 due to a controversy over his practice of billing the government for meals and hotel stays. Jackson did not appear in public for weeks and there was speculation that he would not run for re-election. Jackson was fully exonerated of all allegations before the next election, and did retain his riding in the 2003 election (albeit with a greatly reduced majority) while dozens of other Tory MPPs lost their seats.

There had been speculation that Jackson would run to succeed Eves in the 2004 Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership election but in July, Jackson endorsed John Tory’s candidacy for the position of party leader.

In 2006 Jackson decided to run for Mayor of Burlington and took the top spot on the ballot when he eased ahead of local lawyer Rick Burgess and one time Ward 2 council member Joan Lougheed to take 34.9% of the votes.

Cam Jackson: Election night 2010

His term of office was not a successful one and in 2006 Jackson was soundly defeated by current Mayor Rick Goldring.

During his term Jackson struggled to manage the construction of a pier at the foot of Brant Street that seemed plagued with problems that were beyond the skill set of the city’s engineering department at that time.  Jackson had to manage problem after problem on a project he didn’t initiate.  That pier is still not completed two years into the mandate of the council that followed Jackson.

A report Jackson commissioned on the nature of the role between his council and the citizens, the Shape Burlington report, had a significant impact on the way citizens saw their city.  That report brought about a number of changes at city hall that included a more focused response on customer service and an attempt to create a “charter” that would engage citizens more deeply in the affairs of the city.

The Shape report was written by the late John Boich and former Mayor Walter Mulkewich.  Boich ran Jackson’s attempt to be re-elected Mayor of the city.

There was a suggestion that Jackson would run for the leadership of the provincial progressive conservatives. There will be more suggestions on what Cam Jackson is going to do next.  He has been a political force in the city since his days as a student at Nelson High School where he was politically active.

It doesn’t appear to be much of a structure and it gets used for the most part by those who choose to leave their cars in the Locust Street parking lot while attending an event at the Performing Arts Centre. Former Mayor Cam Jackson did the work that raised the funds to pay for the structure

He has had some difficulty adjusting to life in the private sector; the name Cam Jackson and the word politics are joined at the hip.

In the world of politics a week can be a lifetime – it would be a mistake to think that Jackson’s nine lives have all been used.

The chattering political class will watch with some interest on who attends the reception on November the 18th and who doesn’t.  Who gets invited and who doesn’t.

Will the guests all assemble in the Locust Street parking garage and troop across the newly named Cam Jackson Accessibility Walkway led by the Burlington Teen Tour Band or will people quietly assemble in the Family Room of the Performing Arts Centre and recognize a citizen who, in his own unique way, continues to serve.


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Fatal Collision in on South Service Road; second traffic fatality this year in Burlington.

 By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 26, 2012  A 52 year old Hamilton woman was killed in a car collision  on South Service Road at Harvester Road at around 5:15 Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day the United Way had held a rousingly successful fund raising event when three Food Trucks were feeding line-ups that got to more than 200 people.

The very serious two car collision involved a black Buick Rendezvous that was westbound on Harvester Road when it collided with a silver Pontiac Grand Am that was attempting to turn from the eastbound lanes of Harvester onto northbound South Service Road.  The Buick broadsided the Pontiac.

A passenger in the Pontiac, a 52 year old Hamilton woman, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the Pontiac, and a  41 year old female and another passenger; a 23 year old male, both of Hamilton, were taken to Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Two passengers in the Buick, a 22 year old male and a 20 year old male (both from Burlington) were taken to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The driver of the Buick, a 21 year old Burlington male, was not injured and was arrested at the scene of the accident

The decedent had to be extricated from the wreckage by firefighters.

Several witnesses have come forward and provided statements to police.

Due to the fatality, members of the Collision Reconstruction Unit (C.R.U.) attended the scene and took carriage of the investigation.  Reconstructionists spent over six hours at the location collecting evidence and measuring the scene.

Police will not be releasing the names of the decedent or the injured persons.

Charged with Impaired Operation Causing Death, Dangerous Operation Causing Death and two counts of Failing to Comply with Probation is Kyrie McKay, 21 of Burlington.

McKay will be held for a Bail Hearing scheduled for Friday October 26th at the Milton Courthouse.

This was the 9th traffic fatality to be investigated in Halton Region for 2012; the second in the City of Burlington.

 

 

 

 

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Pythons’ Pit of Halton is fishing for your good idea. Rewards are being offered.

By Margaret Lindsay Holton

BURLINGTON, ON  October 26, 2012  Last Friday, a friend and I went in search of the mighty Chinook salmon that spawn in the upper reaches of Bronte Creek. After a solid trek through Bronte Provincial Park down to the creek edge we were quickly rewarded for our efforts. The shallows were teeming with mature salmon traveling up-stream towards Lowville to lay their eggs, and die. It was amazing to watch their progress, banging against rocks and shoals on route. Watching them engendered a kind of stupefying awe. It really was profound and time stopping in an ‘other-worldly’ kind of way.  These primordial wild creatures operate on life cycles independent of our clock-watching species. They respond, instead, to the Earth’s position to the Sun.

I came away from this primal wildlife experience with a new found sense of the precarious and demanding aspects of hunting and fishing. The demarcation between ‘novice’ and ‘professional’ became acute.  Fishing, when salmon are spawning, is not only irresponsible but stupid, as any pro will tell you. Yet novices and ‘weekend warriors’ were out in abundance on that balmy Friday – trolling, fly-casting and some were even baiting with mini-marshmallows. For these amateurs the thrill-of-the-catch far outweighed all other sensible considerations about the overall health of the species.

Well-dressed fly-fisherman ignores the breeding basics of a successful spawning season.  Picturesque: Yes. Responsible: No.

 In today’s business world, the ‘catch’ is certainly different, but the fundamental rules of a responsible and successful hunt remain the same. First off, one must know the habits and habitats of one’s prey, including breeding cycles. Once that is appreciated, the hunter must carefully prepare for the hunt. During the hunt itself, the hunter has to become a cagey and attentive ‘stalker’. If these elements are all performed successfully, yes, you will eventually ‘harvest’ your trophy.

In our day and age, high above the banks of Bronte Creek, these ancient rituals of successful hunting are now applied to ‘harvest’ money. It helps to have a ‘mentor’.

Nick Bontis, business professor at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, and one of the judges for Hamilton’s entrepreneurial mentoring Lion’s Lair, affirmed to CBC Hamilton – “The skills of entrepreneurship don’t come naturally.” To get in the door, and to catch the eye of the Big Gamer, one needs a viable ‘pitch’, or in hunting parlance, ‘good bait’. (… And we ain’t talking mini-marshmallows here …)

Donald Trump’s tried-and-true business mentoring program, ‘The Apprentice’, spawned similar mentoring programs, like CBC’s very popular Dragon’s Den. https://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/   These shows allow ‘unorthodox’ dreamers and schemers an opportunity to engage with those who have proven business acumen – as well as scads of investing capital. Novices can, will, and do learn a great deal from these Big Game hunters.

In Halton, the De Groote School of Business, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Rotary Clubs of Halton have recently set up a similar business mentoring forum, the Python Pit.   https://pythonspit.ca/  Python Pit judges are offering inventive entrepreneurs (aka dreamers and schemers) a chance too to get a piece of the pie.

What if you could turn your ideas into money?  Graphic  courtesy PythonPit.ca

With $150,000 up for grabs, these Big Gamers have formed two groups: an open division for adults, and a high school division for aspiring youth. The open division competitors will receive investment capital from the Pythons in return for an equity stake in their business or product idea. (Remember, predator and prey is what it’s all about … ) High school students will receive cash prizes and be eligible for scholarships.

Chinook salmon caught in Bronte Creek, 2012. ‘Novice’ hunter needs to know the basics. Better to leave the salmon in the Creek so it can lay eggs further up-stream to revitalize the species. Responsible hunting IS successful hunting.

Consider that old Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’  For budding entrepreneurs – “Don’t swim upstream, you’ll die there. Swim downstream, where awaits the ocean … ” Finally, here is some practical and sound advice from that all-round Big Gamer – Sir Richard Branson:

They are pythons – this is what they do.

Do you have what it takes to move from a ‘novice’ or ‘weekend warrior’ to a full-time ‘professional’? Aspiring entrepreneurs have until December 1st to submit their applications to the Python Pit.

Remember, the key is ‘fresh bait’.

In today’s terms, that means a GOOD IDEA.

Now, go get ‘em …

Margaret Lindsay Holton is both an environmentalist and a community activist.  She is an artist of some renown and the designer of a typeface.  She is also a photographer and the holder of opinions, which are her own, that she will share with you in an instant.   She appears as an Our Burlington columnist every two weeks. All photographs are by MLH unless otherwise indicated.

 

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Halton police scoop up a suspected drug trafficker – observant officer should get the credit.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 26, 2012   The Halton Regional Police Service Guns & Gangs Unit conducted a three week long investigation after receiving information from uniform patrol about alleged heroin trafficking in the City of Burlington.

On October 25th, 2012 investigators concluded their investigation after the arrest of male seen leaving a residence and found in possession of heroin.  A short time later the alleged trafficker was arrested in Burlington and found in possession of several packages of heroin and cash.

The police raided a residence at 2050 Upper Middle Road, (they had a search warrant) in Burlington.   Investigators seized a small quantity of marihuana, a small marihuana grow operation and a variety of prescription pills.  The estimated street value of the drugs seized is $ 3000.  Two replica pellet pistols were also seized for further investigation.

This is small potatoes – hopefully during the three week investigation the police got a look at the food chain and now know who is supplying the drugs.

Charged are:

Eric MORRISON 20 years of age from Dundas, with Possession of a Controlled Substance-Heroin.  Released for court.

Nathanial KING 22 years of age from Burlington, with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance-Heroin and Possession for the Purpose – Heroin.  Held for Bail.        

 Ken INGRAM 44 years of age from Burlington, with Production of a Controlled Substance- Marihuana, Possession of a Controlled Substance – 2 counts.  Released for court.

Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report on any illegal drug, gang, or gun, activity 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)\

 

 

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This is what retail is about – the United Way came up with a great one. Bravo for them.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 25, 2012  Awesome – a much overused word but it certainly applied to the several hundred people in the parking lot at 3425 Harvester Road at noon today.

The United Way was running a really novel idea – get a bunch of Food Trucks to park in one place and invite people to walk over for lunch – with 10% of the proceeds going to the United Way.  You would expect some people to show up – wouldn’t you.

When people get into lines this long – you know something is going on. The United Way came up with a great idea – put Food Trucks in parking lots and earn a portion of the revenue for the cause. Great idea – and it worked.

Some people – more than 300 people stood in line to buy lunch.  The Cup Cake Diner didn’t think the crowd would be all that large and because their product is good for just the day it is baked they arrived with enough product to last them for the first half hour of the two hour event.

The Cup Cake Diner sold out in half an hour

Gayle Cruikshank of Food for Thought, one of the United Way agencies came up with the idea as a way for the agencies served by the United Way to do their own thing to help with the fund raising.  Cruikshank had no idea the line ups would be like this.

When people eventually got to the front of the line – they found it was worth the wait. Yummy.

Mayor Goldring was on his way into city hall for a meeting and thought he’d drop by for lunch – the line ups were too long and he had to pass up on the chance to eat and help out.

Clearly Cruikshank and the United Way people are on to something.

Food Trucks are an “in” thing right now; a different approach to lunch.

Two food trucks were open for business in a parking lot. A third, Cup Cake Diner sold out within a half an hour.

Cruikshank would like to hold a couple more of these and thinks holding one in the downtown core would work very well.  There are other parking lots along Mainway that would work very well.  Parking five or six trucks in one location would ease the line ups and Cruikshank thinks John Street leading into city hall would work quite well.

They lined up for a premium grilled cheese sandwich.

The window of opportunity is pretty small – colder weather is close – but if they move swiftly – this could happen.  The folks at city hall that handle the paper to make things like this happen should be ready for applications.

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Environmental assessment on Escarpment highway plans won’t be released until 1Q of 2013. Minister doesn’t like what he has.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 25, 2012  Turns out the Minister of Transportation doesn’t like the idea of a highway through the Escarpment either but he isn’t sure what the next step should be.

He has the document on his desk – he doesn’t like what’s in it but he isn’t going to release the document until sometime in the first quarter of 2013.  Given that the government isn’t sitting right now – there isn’t much anyone can say to the Minister in the Legislature.

The Liberal Party will have a new leader at the end of January and our Escarpment isn’t going to be at the top of that leaders agenda unless the Burlington provincial Liberal Association makes a big stink during the leadership race.

Regional chair Gary Carr on the left with Mayor Rick Goldring of Burlington beside him – drove to Queen’s Park Thursday morning and heard the Minister of Transportation say he was not happy with the recommendations coming from some of his staff. However, the public will not get to see just what those recommendations are until sometime early in 2013.

All we can do now is wait it out – knowing that they won’t be doing all that much until there is a decision by the Minister who will take it to Cabinet and they will decide.  We are looking at some time in the fall of 2013 – by which time the pier will be open – or so they say.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Regional Chair Gary Carr met with Bob Chiarelli this morning and spent 40 minutes reviewing the recommendations.  The Minister is not happy and he looks to the Region and the city of Burlington for some input, comment and feedback – and he apparently doesn’t want to hear more “we don’t want the highway here” – he wants to hear what people think about just how we are going to handle all the traffic that is going to be generated with the population growth the province faces.

Mayor Goldring felt Chiarelli was upset with what he had before him and had apparently engaged in a vigorous debate with the engineers and planners who prepared the document.

Minister of Transportation Bob Chiarelli doesn’t want a highway busting across the Escarpment and is said to be unhappy with the recommendations his planners and engineers have given him. That’s good news – but we need better news.

“He (Chiarelli) is basically a very decent guy and he doesn’t want to see a highway going through the Escarpment nor through part of the Green Belt either – but he doesn’t have any solutions at this point.”  And so he wants feed back.

The Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC) know what they want and that is an end to the Phase 2 part of the study.  Goldring was not able to say if the Minister was prepared to say that there would not be a Phase 2 section to the current Environmental Assessment.  All he appeared to want to say was that he wasn’t happy with the recommendations he was getting.

So the demonstrations and the protests are working.

Geoff Brock, SEHC spokesperson has concerns with the mandate the EA people were given in the first place. “They are highway people, they build roads – it was unrealistic to expect them to even suggest transit.

Brock points out that the transit portion of the traffic along the routes being discussed is now 6% and they see that possibly going to 12%.  Brock wants them to determine what I would take to get that number up to 20% or higher.

Brock feels the transit people need to get away from the “hub and spoke” system we have now where everything goes to Union Station.

The solution of course is the electrification of the Lakeshore West GO line.   By electrifying the service we would see a train every five minutes.   Metrolinx has a plan to electrify the line – it will cost $10 billion and the funding hasn’t been made available to them.

These 600 people did not want a highway through the Escarpment – and the Minister of Transportation just might be hearing what we have to say.

As for ideas coming from the public, Brock thinks the idea not to go forward is the best one the public has and they’ve done a very good job of getting that message across.

“It would help too” comments Brock “if the terms of reference for the EA were changed to include a serious look at rail”.

Pete Zuzek, SEHC spokesperson, said at the community meeting on Tuesday that this situation needed an independent peer level review.   SEHC might offer to do just that for the Ministry – put forward a proposal for some funding and see where that gets them.  If the Minister wants outside opinions – help finance them.  SEHC would do a much deeper, more comprehensive report – and for a lot less than the province would.

 

 

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WAPA – the Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee – what it is, how it got started and what happened to it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 1, 2012   It was a new Advisory Committee. Formed by a former, Mayor Cam Jackson who felt it could stifle some of the political heat he felt was going to be created during an upcoming municipal election from a very unhappy electorate over the delays with the building of  a pier on the waterfront.

The project was an initiative that Mayor Rob MacIsaac was heavily involved in.  He and Mayor Jackson didn’t exactly get along.  The Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee (WAPA)  had political baggage before it held its first meeting.

Once formed, the city put out a call for citizens who wanted to serve on the Committee – there were to be two from each Ward with the Council member from Wards 1 and 2 plus the Mayor serving as ex-officio members.  No other Advisory committee had this much political representation.

The committee was mandated to review and discuss all and any matters relevant to the creation of  a cohesive vision of the future development of Burlington’s waterfront and adjacent waterfront lands.

Formally established in February of 2010, the members of the committee were appointed on May 3rd and met for the first time on May 4th.  From May to August the Committee was chaired by Councillor Rick Goldring who was at that time the Councillor for Ward 5.  On September 10th, 2010 the Committee elected Nicholas Leblovic as Chair. He was re-elected the following year but “elected” is a bit of a stretch.  On both occasions Leblovic’s was the only name put forward.  No one else apparently wanted the job.

Nicholas Leblovic, chair of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, far right, takes part in a Beachway design event.  The Beachway was a priority matter for the advisory committee but they ran out of time – the city sunset the committee Leblovic chaired.

The task before this committee was daunting.  There was no clear plan for the waterfront – one that the citizens understood and bought into –  but there was a very real and significant opportunity to shape that part of the city; the committee had to figure out what was possible and take recommendations to city council.

No one on the committee had any experience at anything like this.  Chair Leblovic brought an impressive legal background to the job.   A graduate of  McMaster University, then both the University of Toronto where he earned a law degree and the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a Master’s degree in law, Leblovic went on to develop a career in which he is a recognized and repeatedly recommended practitioner in Asset/Equipment Financing and Leasing.

Leblovic has participated in various seminars dealing with corporate commercial topics and was an instructor in the Advanced Business Law Workshop, taught to third year law students at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.

It was very natural for him to take a seminar approach to figuring out how the committee should tackle its mandate.  The group of 12 citizens had to first learn who they were and then decide what their priorities were going to be.

Leblovic brought a tight, disciplined approach to the task while others, who didn’t have the education he has, tended towards some pretty woolly thinking at times.

Everything Leblovic wrote read like a legal brief – that’s what he is – a lawyer.  Was it what was needed?   After less than two years of operation city council didn’t think so and decided WAPA would cease to exist.  Then both the Mayor and Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward announced they were going to form waterfront committees of their own.  According to Meed Ward all the WAPA committee members, except for Leblovic, have said they would serve on the committee Meed Ward was forming. Meed Ward will chair the unofficial committee as a non-voting member.

Leblovic said he felt he had been blindsided by city council when it sunset the committee.  It was certainly a shock to him and Council’s decision did show there was a significant disconnect between the city and the advisory committee.

Better committee management on the part of the city would have been useful.  Leblovic wasn’t thanked by the city for the work he did and he did a lot of work.  He brought to the forefront many of the issues that needed attention.  The city just wasn’t listening as well as it might have.  The only project that got out of the committee to Council  where it was approved heartily, was the idea to turn the Pump House on Lakeshore Road into a coffee house/pub.

An issue that was also important if the lake’s edge is to be seen as something the public has a right to be able to walk along and appreciate, was the excellent work done by the Access sub-committee looking into how many places the public could actually get to the edge of the lake.  It was an excellent report that the city has failed to act on effectively.   Fighting this battle would have meant stepping on the toes of people who owned lakefront property – not something easily done in Burlington.

Leblovic’s  practice was to create sub committees and basically let them get on with the job.  The Access sub-committee did excellent yeoman’s work and the report did get to a council committee and on to staff where it got stalled.  Leblovic, who has some experience with the municipal political process when he delegated in Burlington on development charge issues and when he delegated on matters related to his cottage in Tiny Township, was nevertheless unable to work with city staff  to move this file along. Leblovic was never given the chance to argue for better citizen access to the lake’s edge; Burlington’s delegation process limited the amount of time he had.

Other than the Clerk assigned to an Advisory committee by the city, there is no one at city hall overseeing these committees.  Leblovic had no one to go to for help and guidance.  In his law firm, one of the top five in the country, Leblovic could walk down a hall and spend some time with a colleague learning what he had to do to move a file forward.  He didn’t have that kind of access at city hall.

What also has to be remembered and appreciated is that WAPA met just once a month for half a day.  Leblovic still practices law and is in Toronto much of his time.  He wasn’t around Burlington during most days and able to drop in on people at city hall or meet for coffee to develop relationships.

Several of the members of the committee knew each other quite well, there was a familiarity between them that Leblovic didn’t share.

As Chair, along with his committee, WAPA decided it needed to get on a learning curve and get more background and a deeper understanding of the issues and their complexity.  And the issues were complex.  Everyone had ideas, thoughts, hopes and dreams for the waterfront but few were fully informed and they needed to learn as much as they could.  Leblovic guided his committee into a learning curve that was steep and extensive.  He learned as much, if not more than his committee members. A total of 29 presentations were made to the committee.  They ranged from a great discussion with former Toronto Mayor David Crombie who suggested the committee hold a design competition (which the committee followed up on) to a presentation on the Randall reef, one on sewage treatment facilities as well as one on the War of 1812.  In hindsight the range of presentations was too broad but don’t fault the chair for that – he was probing and finding his way through a subject that was central to what the city is – in a city that still isn’t sure what it wants to become.

Leblovic wanted his committee to hear from anyone who had something useful to say about the waterfront.  City Hall wanted to see recommendations coming forward.

Leblovic arranged to have former Toronto Mayor David Crombie attend a WAPA committee meeting during which he sold them on the idea of holding a design competition. It was a good idea but the committee was never able to get it off the ground. Mayor Goldring  took part in the meeting. He was one of three Council members on the WAPA

WAPA did come forward with plans for a design competition.  While the ideas were not fully formed when Gary Scobie, spokesperson for the sub-committee, took them to a council committee – he did get enough of a positive response and encouragement from the council committee to take it away and come back with something that was more developed.  Unfortunately, the WAPA committee member who was heading up the design competition moved and the committee didn’t have anyone who would pick it up and run with it.  Also, they began to realize just how big a task they had taken on and realized as well that they were not up to it.  As Scobie put it at the time – “we just lost interest in the idea once Sarah Banks was gone”.  It was an opportunity lost.  Leblovic was never really keen on the idea, partially because he realized just how much work it would entail and he probably suspected his committee was not going to be able to go the full ten rounds it would take.

While a little brittle on the personality side, Leblovic was very capable of reading his committee members and he knew what he had and didn’t have in the way of talent.

While learning as much as they could the committee had to set some priorities and they settled on:

Old Lakeshore Road /Mayrose Tycon development

Burloak Park usage

Water access and facilities

Brighton Beach.

The committee later revised this and settled on three priorities:

Water Access and Facilities

Burlington Beach/Spencer Smith Park

Old Lakeshore Road area and other shoreline development/acquisition.

 Old Lakeshore Road area and the Mayrose-Tycon development.  That project is now referred to as the Bridgewater development and some movement on that project, which goes back to 1985 has taken place.  Did the WAPA have any impact on the developments?  Other than informing the committee through the media WAPA had no impact.  WAPA during its short life never issued press releases and never arranged to meet with the public.  All their meetings were open to the public.  Our Burlington was the only media to cover their meetings.

The language used in the report WAPA made to the Community Development Committee represents the experience and background of the chair who authored all of the reports. There are “hereto’s” and “aforesaids” sprinkled throughout the reports Leblovic wrote.

Leblovic is a lawyer trained to advise clients and advocate their interests often to other lawyers and courts.  But communicating effectively to the public and politicians is another skill completely.  There appeared to be no clear understanding of how best to communicate what WAPA was doing with a wider public.  Neither the public nor city hall seemed to get a clear picture of what was being done.  Leblovic could have used some help on the communicating side.  City staff eventually gave up on the committee.

What WAPA was doing  was an attempt to create a framework within which the development of the Old Lakeshore could take place.  Leblovic is not a development lawyer but he understands the principles and knew that his committee needed to know more about who all the players were and what role the city could and could not play in getting something real happening in Old Lakeshore Road part of the city . Leblovic felt this could only happen if there was a disciplined approach to learning who owned what and then think through what might be possible.

Jeff Martin, centre, was a very passionate advocate on the Pump House.  Gary Scobie on the right had hoped the design competition would actually happen – he certainly tried hard enough.  Nicholas Leblovic, chair of WAPA is on the left.

Pump House:  In time the building just might become a place where people can park their bikes and slip in for a sandwich and a glass of wine along with some of that over-priced pastry they all seem to sell.  Getting this through the committee and into the hands of a council member who got it approved – was not a simple task.  But it got done and it got done while Nicholas Leblovic was chair of the committee.

Public access to the lakes edge.  The WAPA sub-committee that undertook this task, under the guidance of the chair brought to light facts few people knew.  It was superb work that would not have been done were the WAPA committee not in place.

Nicholas Leblovic didn’t fail in his efforts – he just ran out of time and the city ran out of patience and for that the city has to accept much of the blame and responsibility.  Leblovic brought in speaker after speaker.  He managed to get former Mayor of Toronto David Crombie to speak and heard some of the best advice the committee would get.  Crombie urged the committee to hold a design competition and put some “oddballs” on it and use the “bully pulpit” they have to promote their ideas.  That called for a level of communication skills this committee just didn’t have.

Nicholas Leblovic is not a bully pulpit kind of guy.  He deals in certainties; no surprises please. He deals in contracts where everything is set out and fully understood.  That is not the world of municipal politics.

Do we fault Leblovic for what he wasn’t?  We should be celebrating Nicholas Leblovic for what he was, the guy who took on the job, for whatever reason.  His city failed to work with him and help him with the areas he wasn’t strong in.  Nicholas is not a “superman”.  He is just a citizen who wanted to participate in the process and thought he had something to contribute.

Was Our Burlington too hard on Nicholas Leblovic?  He certainly thinks we were.  Our intention was never to do any harm; we were at the meetings to report and explain what was being done for the citizens of the city.  When a reporter writes something about a person that the person doesn’t like – some animosity builds up.  The job is to write what you see and not do “fluff” pieces that make a person happy.

We were supporters of WAPA and big fans of the design competition idea.  It is unfortunate that the city’s planning department chose not to step forward and provide some of the support needed.  Burlington would have been well served had a design competition taken place,

We thought the idea of turning the Pump House on Lakeshore Road into a pub was a great idea and applauded the committee for bringing this one forward.

Getting better public access to the lake’s edge is important and another project one of the WAPA sub committees did great work on.  We thought the chair should have continually prodded the city to get moving on this one.  That didn’t happen.

The Shape Burlington report said Burlington suffered from an information deficit.  Our Burlington has played a significant role in improving what citizens learn about what is being done for them with their money.  That is not always a pleasant process.

Was serving his city a pleasant experience for Nicholas Leblovic? Probably not.  Does he deserve a strong vote of thanks for taking on the almost impossible task of putting forward ideas and approaches for the creation of a waterfront that serves the city Leblovic has lived in much of his life?  Most certainly.

 

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Standing room only at Mainway; city renews opposition to Escarpment highway. Transit touted as option – 5 took bus to the meeting.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 23, 2012   It was a good crowd. As many, if not more, than the 600 that showed up December 2010 when the Region was advised that the province wanted some arrows placed on the Region’s Official Plan to show where a possible highway through the Escarpment might go.

That was the first anyone had heard about an actual location for any road being built across the Escarpment.  There was an arrow placed on a map way back in 2002 that crossed Guelph Line north of Dundas Street and south of No. 1 Side road, bringing a potential highway down a more gentle (and less populated) slope of the escarpment.

Councillor John Taylor, war horse on Escarpment issues got a round of applause before he said a word at the community meeting, held to voice once again Burlington’s opposition to a highway through any part of the Escarpment.

John Taylor, the politician who has been fighting any highway for longer than anyone else, took the standing room only audience back 40 years when the battle we are fighting today began.  Twenty years ago it was the 403; in the 90’s it was the 407.  That allowed the creation of Alton, a community of 10,000 people.  Now they want another road that eats into the Escarpment – and we have to tell them that just is not on.

Regional Chair Gary Carr, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Councillors Blair Lancaster and John Taylor all spoke to an audience of more than 600 people at the Mainway Recreation centre – on an evening when it rained.

When the event at the Mainway Recreational Centre was planned Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Regional Chair Gary Carr had an appointment with the Minister of Transportation  (MTO) to impress upon him just how opposed both the Region and most particularly Burlington was to any kind of highway going through the Flamborough – Burlington part of the province.

At that time, just over six weeks ago, the government was keeping everyone in the Legislature to fight off any sudden vote that would bring down the minority Liberal government.  The meeting kept being put off.  Then the Premier resigns and all the rules change.

The Minister of Transportation was supposed to see Carr and Goldring on Monday, but that got pushed back to Thursday.  One keeps wondering why these meetings keep getting pushed back.

Assuming  Carr and Goldring meet with Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Transportation, they will be able to point to a room that was packed with people, every seat taken and all the walls lined with people standing as well as a couple sitting on the floor at the front of the room.

There wasn’t a seat to be had in the meeting room. Standing room only.

If what people think and feel matters – this was a crowd that politicians have to pay some attention to.

Gary Carr, Regional Chair spoke and then played a 5 minute video that is on the Regional web site.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring spoke.

Director of Transportation Services for Burlington, Bruce Zvaniga spoke and laid out the issues from a transportation perspective.

Pete Zuzek, spokesperson for Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition, gave the strongest presentation of the evening.

Burlington’s Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster spoke.

John Taylor, Councillor for Ward 3 rose to speak to a great round of applause and provided some of the history that went back 40 years.  This is indeed a long fight.

Ted Chudleigh, provincial PC member for Halton spoke – forcefully one might add with not a word of notes.

Jane McKenna, provincial PC member for Burlington spoke,  read from notes and released her correspondence to the Minister of Transportation.

While Tim Hudak, leader of the PC opposition at Queen’s Park is on record as being FOR a highway because he believes the issue is about jobs – both Chudleigh and McKenna were very clear that they were opposed to any highway going through Burlington.  Would that opposition still be evident if a vote that could bring down the minority Liberal government was being held.

They hunched over tables as they signed the petition opposing any kind of road through the Escarpment.

Zvaniga set out where the province is in their deliberations.  He laid out what had been done, when it was done, why it was done and what the next steps are going to be. Zvaniga had to give the technical overview because the province declined to send anyone to the meeting.

The MOT people have a job to do, part of which is to advise the government on what future transportation needs are likely to be.  Part of the problem with this approach was brought to light when former Minister of Transportation, Kathleen Wynne explained to the Mayor of Burlington, during the last provincial election, that transportation engineers and planners don’t know how to think beyond the car and highways.  At the time she said the province has one of the best highway building departments in the country – and that was the problem – they don’t know how to think outside that highway box.  Which is a point the SEHC people are trying very hard to get across to the public.

There are more people on the roads and there will always be more people on the roads if we keep building roads.  I had occasion to be at Pearson airport on Monday to pick up my wife returning from a visit with her Mother in Denmark.  The flight was due at 3:00 pm, which I knew meant fighting rush hour traffic.  It turned out to be a pretty quick trip – because we were able to use the HOV lane.  There were very few cars in that HOV lane, but there were three lanes plugged solid on our right, bumper to bumper, with a single passenger in the car.

None of these people want to sit in their cars with bumper to bumper traffic on the QEW. But of the 600 people in the room less than ten took the bus to the meeting.

Why anyone would sit in that traffic, when they could be in a faster lane was something I couldn’t understand.  Of course they needed an additional passenger in their car – why is that so hard to set up.  Most of those people are driving to or from work, where  there are surely people in their offices who live near them.  Why are there not more people going on line to  look for a person near them, that can share that drive?  There is a smart phone app for people who want a lift (we used to call it hitch hiking) and are prepared to share the cost.  It’s all done on line.

It was also pointed out that while rail isn’t being given the consideration it needs, a large part of that is because the federal government is not at the table.  This is a provincial matter the government argues, while SEHC argues that it is a social matter and that we need to look at transportation issues at a much higher level and not focus on just what’s going on in Burlington.

SEHC believes people need to understand that we must look at transportation a lot differently and that we are going to have to get out of our cars.  They point to global warming, the damage to the environment and the impact of commuting more than an hour to get to work and another hour to get home.  Driving our cars is a habit we haven’t managed to break – and like smoking, it may eventually kill us.

Gary Carr finally got around to publicly thanking the people of PERL, Protect Escarpment and Rural Lands, for the hard fight they fought to win the Nelson Aggregate battle in North Burlington where Nelson had applied for a second aggregate mining permit.  That application was denied – the first time anyone can remember such an application being turned down.  It is perhaps a good omen.  Carr, quite rightly, pointed out that were it not for organizations like PERL “we wouldn’t be this far without them”.  Hopefully Carr will come through with some form of support for PERL – they are suffering from battle fatigue and they are hurting.

Carr pointed out that the Region has a population of 520,000 now and will have an expected 780,000 by 2031 and those people are going to have some way to get around.  “This is a fight” declared Carr “that is going to last for decades.  Fundamental changes are going to have to be made in the way we transport ourselves or a new highway will be needed.  Somehow we have to get the cars off the road”.

But it is about more than just getting cars off the road; we have an agricultural economy in the Region and west into Flamborough.

Mayor Goldring pointed out again that the city has a 50/50 split between rural and urban settings and that any highway through the Escarpment will be the beginning of the end for the north Burlington we know today.

The land identified by the red borders was made available for development when the 407 highway was completed.  The northern edge of developable land is south of the 407.  Prior to 407 the boundary was Dundas – a highway through the Escarpment would move the rural-urban boundary even further north – as high as Lowville?

Taylor told of the Alton community that came into being when the 407was put through.  The urban rural boundary used to be Dundas but the 407 created a piece of land that became available to developers and today we have a new community of 10,000 people.

GO got a solid mention – if the Lakeshore West line is electrified, that will result in GO trains every five minutes during peak travel times and every 20 minutes during the off peak.  THAT kind of scheduling would take a lot of traffic off the QEW.

There were half a dozen speakers but they weren’t all politicians. Pete Zuzek, spokesperson for SEHC, the Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition, a group made up of 14 communities, grass roots level organizations with more than 15,000 members, gave a very clear presentation on what he felt was wrong with the approach the provincial government was taking to deciding if a highway was needed.

The Environmental Assessment is currently in Phase 1 – where they look at 1) Optimizing what we have, making better use of the roads we have;  2) expand the non- roads options;  3) widen the existing roads and 4) if none of those will provide the future means of getting around the MOT thinks we need – then look at new corridors.

One of those corridors would come though Burlington.  It would swoop in at around Cedar Springs Road and drop down into that land on the North side of Dundas and joining up with the 407.

Pete Zuzek doesn’t want the province to get as far as that Phase 2.  SEHC points out that building such a corridor will do very little for the traffic congestion down on the QEW.

What Pete Zuzek  made clear was the immediate objective is to convince the MOT people that Phase 2 isn’t necessary – that there are more than enough sensible, environmentally sound options within the Phase 1 level.

The fear SEHC has is that should the province decide that Phase 2 is the direction to go in – then the planners and the engineers begin drawing lines on maps and thinking about expropriating property and the developers begin to plan for new housing developments.  Some of the golf clubs along Walkers and Guelph Line will begin to get offers and before you know it – there goes the neighbourhood.

Pete Zuzek argued that SEHC – Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition was the only independent set of eyes watching what the government was doing – and they didn’t like what they were seeing. Zuzek said there was no peer review and that the work being done for a project that would cost as much as $5 billion was both flawed and limited.

Pete Zuzek  wants the province to forget about a possible Phase 2 and he explained why – the work being done on the Phase 1 part is flawed and limited.  “There is no independent peer review” explained Zuzek ” yet the want to spend $6 billion without a second set of eyes looking at their recommendations.”

What are the next steps?  Keeping informed is the biggest part of it.  Our Burlington has been on top of this story since the newest assault on the Escarpment by the provincial government became clear back in 2010.  We have covered the creation of the SEHC – we were in the room when the deal between the city of Burlington and SEHC was worked out and when they came up with the SEHC name.  Back then Burlington said it would support SEHC as advocates who would be able to say and do things the city couldn’t say and do.  While the SEHC and city of Burlington relationship gets strained at times – it does work.  At one Public Information Centre more than 1200 people turned out to protest.  At that session there was an “open mike” segment that heard some very powerful statements.  John Taylor, with his impish grin,  advised that “they don’t do open mikes anymore.

Whatever the team doing the Environmental Assessment passes on to the government in the way of recommendations, they have to be put those recommendations before the public.  And the EA team has to record every objection as part of their final report.

PERL fought the application for a second mine on the Escarpment for more than seven years – and they won.  The fight to keep a highway out of the Escarpment will take far more than seven years.  Back in the days when Bill Davis was Premier of Ontario  he put a stop to an expressway that was planned to run right into the center of Toronto.  Governments can make smart decisions – they just have to be nudged in the right direction.  Last night at the arena on Mainway, 600 + Burlingtonians gave a bit more than a nudge.

Janet Turpin Myers on her blog put it the way Garry Carr wanted to put it: – “We need to get loud.”


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Will the community wide meeting on Tuesday make any difference in the fight to stop a highway over the Escarpment?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 22, 2012  They want it to be another biggy; at least 400 people, closer to 800 would be really great.  They want you to once more make sure the provincial government, which is currently in hiding, knows that we are not interested in seeing any kind of a highway rammed through any part of the Escarpment.

The Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition will be a large part of the presentation made Tuesday evening.  The coalition is an organization that represents 14,000 people in 15 community organizations; true grass roots representation.

Burlington’s escarpment stalwart John Taylor will be there as will every other politician in the city along with the Regional Chair.

Not through this part of the Escarpment if you don’t mind. Citizens want to make sure the province fully understands how opposed they are to a road through this part of our city.

They will talk about an Environmental Assessment report the province has in hand – but we don’t know what the province plans to do with that report nor do we know at this time what the recommendations in the report suggest.

Mayor Goldring and Regional Chair Gary Carr were supposed to meet with the Minister of Transportation Bob Chiarelli and press home the views of the community – but given that the provincial government is in hiding – that meeting may not take place.  So we will have a meeting at which the public is expected to shout its support but no provincial government decision to discuss nor any of the recommendations the bureaucrats have put in front of the  Minister of Transportation.

Why then are we meeting?

What the provincial government decides to do in terms of planning for a highway through the Escarpment is really important to Burlington; but for a government that isn’t going to meet in the Legislature until sometime late in January at the earliest, and in the meantime is fighting for its political life – what has people hot and bothered in Burlington really isn’t going to matter all that much.  We are not a squeaky enough wheel to get much grease – or are we?

Burlington’s MP, Jane McKenna will be on hand.  This could be an awkward meeting for Ms McKenna; her party doesn’t have that much of a problem with a highway going through the Escarpment.  For the PC’s it’s all about jobs and if it takes a highway through a sensitive environment – well that just might be something Burlington has to live with.

It would be great if the Regional chair and the Mayor of Burlington could convince the Minister of Transportation to be at the meeting and make it crystal clear that he understands the issue and he understand our concerns and he will take our views back to Cabinet and do his level best to see that the Burlington we have today is the Burlington we will have twenty years from now.  He might politely ask that we make Burlington a Liberal seat to show our appreciation.

The options that were suggested by the team doing the Environmental Assessment are shown in a light grey. That one in the mid right is too close to our part of the province,

Problem is the Minister of Transportation has no idea what the issue is.  He will have a report to read and there will be maps with lines all over it and colour graphics to show where a new highway could go and a list of all the options.  But the man has not driven up Walkers Line to Derry Road and east to Bell School Line and then zig- zag across to Guelph Line coming out at Side Road #1 and glide down Guelph Line slowly so that he gets a sense of what our city is really all about.

Then take him to dinner at Spencer’s on the Waterfront when the sun is setting and make sure his seat gives him a view of the pier we are building.

No one has ever taken the man to Mount Nemo, where he can gaze out over farm fields and golf courses and see the CN Tower on an average day.

That’s what Burlington is about and those people at Queen’s Park need to know that.  It isn’t about a road through a piece of geography to create jobs.  It is about the quality of life here in our city.

Councillor John Taylor has plans to bring the Minister of Transportation to the city and let him see what we are talking about.  He might also want to include some of the potential Liberal leaders in that invitation to visit the Escarpment.  If they get a good look at who we are they might see an opportunity to add Burlington to the list of Liberal members in the Legislature.

On the bright side for the city is the very recent Ontario Municipal Joint Board that found for the city and the people at PERL (Protecting the Escarpment and Rural Lands) when they denied the application for an additional aggregate exaction permit.  Long term we can see the end of aggregate mining on the Escarpment.  Perhaps that OMB decision is the beginning of a new direction for the province.

 

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