Why did Tech Place get prime space at Bateman; why is the city making decisions with nothing in the way of public engagement - and where is the vision ?

By Pepper Parr

June 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A reader has suggested, quite vociferously, that the article that was flagged as news should have been identified as opinion

Councillor Paul Sharman understands how business works. He knows both sides of a balance sheet and is quick to point out where the flaws are in a business case. No one else on Council has the depth and breadth of business he has. Councillor Galbraith has a solid business understanding at the small business and development levels but nowhere near that of Sharman.

The rest of Council flop around on the financial stuff except for Kearns – she is very smart, has a quick wit but when push comes to shove – she folds.

How did Tech Place get prime space in the planned community hub ?

When discussions were focused on who was going to use which space at the former Bateman High School site Sharman said: “I have never actually understood how Tech Place jumped the queue. So when I start hearing that spaces will be revenue generators and that there will be two sides to the balance sheet I ask what “would the use of the space be other than revenue generating”adding that “ when I don’t know how that is being measured in terms of an allocation of the space” I have questions..

“How did they get in on premium space at grade, excellent floor space before we even had the ability to gauge community interest for that space.?”

Sharman is quite right. Tech Place just appeared on a floor plan but there was a solid reason for that.

Tech Place is in a location paying rent that is way beyond the capacity of its revenue stream. The lease was low rent at the front end to give them time to get the operation off the ground.  The launch was impressive but it doesn’t look all that good at this point.

He might well have added: Does anyone know what Tech Place does and its relevance to the city?

Chair Stolte asked if the City Manager wanted to jump in ?

He did and said: “So going back, I think the original concept involved five organizations that we saw as coming together and creating a synergy around sort of learning and obviously active living. I mean, it’s essentially a component of economic development.

Commisso didn’t fully understand the history of Tech Place and the beating they were taking on the rent structure former Goldring Chief of Staff Frank McKeowan put in place.

It was Councillor Angelo Bentivegna who spotted the Tech Place rent problem.

It was Councillor Bentivegna who spotted the problem during a budget discussion in, I think 2018.

Rent for the final year of the lease was going to be $330,000 for an entity that didn’t have very much in the way of a revenue stream.

Tech Place served a purpose but Sharman is right – it doesn’t qualify as the user of the space that has been allocated to it.

The issue will come up at the next Council meeting later in June.   It is going to be interesting how Commisso finesses this one.

City Manager Tim Commisso expected to answer questions on matters that took place before he started the job he has.

Commisso noted that the lease for the space on the North Service Road expires soon it may have already had an extension. Commisso saw the hub as an opportunity to integrate a relatively small space – I think it’s 1000 square feet. He didn’t think it was an independent, separate organization. “It was part of our relationship and our support for economic development” he said. “I would say they were seen as synergy with an opportunity to move forward in a much lower cost environment.”

“I’m going to support that organization which does really a lot of business development work. You know that is really in line with what I think councils were focusing on.” Commisso offered to report to Council with a more specific response.

Sharman came back with: “Maybe we do need something back to council because from a governance perspective, if we are in essence tendering community space, it would make a lot more sense.”

Sharman added: “I’m hearing about an urban indigenous space. We haven’t even touched on the entire theme of inclusivity and I’m just wondering, this will be my second question, has staff planned to address that inclusivity piece for folks that may or may not have the appropriate levels of funding. If this is going to be an ROI or a revenue generating opportunity.”

Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development

Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development said: “I think that will come out; we’ve already been in tonnes of discussion with various groups who have stated an interest; many of them fit some of the criteria.

“We will work with them to make sure they understand what the expectations are. And then we will come back to committee and report on what we heard. We’ve talked a lot about dollars and cents here, but pending committee and councils wish that’s a decision we have to make. Right? Are we looking to generate revenue through these spaces?”

“Are we looking for a mix? What does that look like? I don’t have the answer to that. But we’re open to all of it and we’re open to coming back to you with some options for a follow up discussion.”

Councillor Sharman wanted to go a little further. “I’m going to continue on with my two questions. I’m going to start with a continuation of this space question. I’d like to know what the history is of how we design our community centers. Is it commonplace and is it our practice that we look to fill the space with potential revenue generating organizations before we have the conversation about how the community would like to use the space ?”

Alan Magi,  Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services  started with:”I will start with this observation that Bateman is different than a new build. We would start and decide how much square footage the community needed; whether you need a pool there or a gym or community rooms. This one as everyone was aware was an existing high school so we had a given square footage we had the former owner, the school board, indicating that one of the conditions of sale was to retain a certain amount of space in a long term lease arrangements which helped with the purchase.

“We’re kind of working through the space a little bit backwards and coming up with a residual amount in it; as opposed to starting from the ground up and asking do we need a gym Do we need a community room and then sort of building that.”

The city bought the building and then began thinking about what they wanted to do with it.

“We bought a building and now we’re renovating and determining the best uses, looking at sustainability in the long term. We’ve got our partners – recreation and culture on as well.”

Sharman comes back with: “I certainly know that working backwards is a little bit different, but perhaps I should have phrased my question to be specific. There are 30,000 square feet leftover after we have dealt with our partners.

Councillor Paul Sharman – asking a lot of questions.

“I don’t believe that we looked at Tansley Woods and designed it asking how many dedicated spaces do we want in there and then what’s going to be left over for community rooms? I’m pretty sure we did the opposite. And that’s what I’m asking is why is this one being done differently?

“That was the purpose of the simultaneous engagement so that we can ask the public, how much organic community space do you want available, and then whatever is left over is how we engage with dedicated space organizations.”

What is uncomfortably evident is that while the concept of buying a high school that had been closed was a good idea – the problem is that there is no clear vision, no input from the public and a lot of pressure to get the place to the point where it is operational.

What will it all cost?  Don’t ask.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Moon in June run on Saturday

By Staff

June 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Moon will be out in June on the 10th and runners will be on the streets.

The route of the runs are set out in the map.

32 years says they are doing something right.

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Figuring out how to alleviate the loneliness and isolation seniors suffer

By Staff

June 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of the biggest very serious concerns is for those seniors who for any number of reasons are on their own.

The isolation and the loneliness destroy any sense of dignity.

In honour of Seniors Month, Connection In Action has launched its new website, https://connectioninaction.ca/ , to help older adults (55+) in Halton find opportunities
to stay socially connected and improve their well-being as a result.

This is not a lifestyle that is rich in relationships.

A truly collaborative effort, the website was designed with the help of older adults, who joined the website’s working group and provided feedback during consultations. The website consolidates information about the importance of social connections, community resources, Connection in Action’s 25 partners, and how the program helps older adults in the community to increase their social networks, which in turn can improve their mental and physical health, strengthen their memory and focus, and increase the quality of their life as they age.

Connection in Action supports older adults directly by providing them with a Connection Specialist, who they can call at 905 844 2299 to learn about opportunities to meet their individual needs. Connection in Action also supports older adults indirectly by showing other organizations how to help out.
The limiting part is that many seniors have limited computer literacy skills – and truth be told a computer monitor is not the same as being in a room with people.

Empowerment (LITE) Education, which consists of educational sessions that teach businesses and community groups about topics related to the well-being of older adults, such as elder abuse prevention, age-friendly communities, and the health impacts of social isolation.

“Older adults are at greater risk of social isolation for many reasons,” explains Patricia Blakeley, co-chair of the Older Adult Isolation Action Table, which oversees the program. “Connection in Action is a proactive initiative to provide older adults, their loved ones and the community with information and resources to help them stay engaged and active as they age.”

Connection in Action will be providing a presentation for 80 seniors in Georgetown at the Hillsview Active Living Centre’s Seniors Lunch on June 13 at noon to give a snapshot of what the program offers, how older adults can use it, and what it may look like in the future.

About Connection In Action

Launched in March of 2020, Connection in Action is an initiative of Halton’s Community Safety & Well-being Plan. It’s committed to reducing social isolation by increasing social connections for adults aged 55 and older who live in Halton. The Connection Specialist works one-on-one with older adults by offering information and making referrals to support a sense of belonging. Connection in Action also supports communities in Halton through awareness-raising and capacity-building education called LITE (Loneliness, Isolation to Empowerment) Education.
Connection in Action is overseen by Halton’s Older Adult Isolation Action Table, and all services are offered free of cost.

 

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A Mulkewich doing the kind of public service her Dad did

By Pepper Parr

June 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sharon Mulkewich

Short note on the Aldershot Insider Facebook page from Sharon Sharie Mulkewich on checking to be sure there are no ticks picked by by your clothing. Sharon said:
“Make sure you check yourselves, and your kids, for ticks after being outside walking, playing etc.

Walter at ease

Ticks that can carry lyme disease were recently found at LaSalle Park and Hidden Valley Park by Halton Public Health.”

Nice to see a Mulkewich in the public service sector.

While I was checking the spelling of the family name – I found myself looking at a picture of the Walter we all remember.

He looked really good – we do miss him don’t we?

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Councillor Kearns and the City Manager go at it – she lost  

 

By Pepper Parr

June 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Things sometimes get a little stiff between people when a meeting has run long and the Staff comments are concerning.

Council was in a Standing Committee mode – the conversion of Bateman high school into a community hub discussions was not going very well.

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement  

No one seemed to have a grip on what was happening,

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement   was floundering at the podium; Emilie Cote  the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture was being grilled by Councillor Stolte over just when the public was going to be able to have some say at what was happening.

Councillor Lisa Kearns: Would you put that in writing please

Councillor Lisa Kearns had a question for staff and wondered if maybe the city manager would like to answer ?

“I’m just wondering”, she asked “how staff view the role of the Deputy Mayor of Community Engagement and Partnerships in light of this project.  How do you how do you foresee that Deputy Mayor engaging on this particular file?

The file she was speaking of was the conversion of the Bateman High School into a community hub – a project that wasn’t going all that smoothly – which would be putting it mildly.

Kearns continued: From my perspective, I do think this is our biggest project so shouldn’t there be a direct relationship ?

City Manager Tim Commisso responded: “I think it comes in different ways. I think there was a direction previously to report back so we honour those directions and come back but I think to the extent that you know there is that consultation and that sets out a different stage because we’re in the early stage.

“And I think that as we move forward particularly in terms of this particular interest. My personal view is I could see an opportunity to gauge that particular deputy mayor, which happens to be yourself,  in the more detailed discussion. I think we’re in the early stage process here so it hasn’t happened. I’ll just offer it up. I do think there’s an opportunity.

Kearns comes back with: “That’s terrific. Just a follow up question. Would I be able to see something in writing, maybe by the next council meeting on what that scope might look like? Here’s the reason why.

“In looking at the get involved Burlington page, the level of engagement from the IAP to engagement spectrum actually stops at consult and I’m just wondering if we’ve left many of our tools off the table when it comes to that $100,000 potential engagement fund and or additional engagement by that Deputy Mayor.

City Manager Tim Commisso

Commisso: “I always take the view when something is a council concern, that that’s where it should be. If there’s any concern will make a commitment to work with Kwab Ako-Adjei, and Jacqueline Johnson Executive Director of Community Relations & Engagement to get something back if that’s the will of committee.”

For a member of Council to ask the City Manager to “put it in writing” – is not something I’ve seen before.

 

 

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36th annual Special Athletes Track Meet - June 20

By Staff

June 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are those born with a disability who struggle every day of their lives to live a life that has both meaning and dignity.

Compassionate society’s find ways to include these people.

Every step is a challenge – eagerly met by both child and parent.

The Halton District School Board is taking part in the 36th annual Special Athletes’ Track Meet, June 20th at Garth Webb Secondary School (2820 Westoak Trails Blvd, Oakville). The track meet for athletes with physical and developmental challenges will take place from 9:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

More than 470 athletes are expected to participate in-person, a significant increase from the original 12 athletes who participated when the event began in 1987. Coaches, school staff and home school peers, friends, family members and volunteers provide support and encouragement for the athletes.

The Special Athletes’ events include 100 metre races, basketball, T-ball, soccer, bowling, obstacle courses, bean bag toss and additional sensory stations.

This event provides athletes with special needs with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and celebrate their successes with fellow students, friends and family.

There are parents in the stands cheering on this child.

The Optimist Clubs of Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and Burlington will be donating and serving hot dogs, hamburgers and cold drinks at the meet.

Students from Emily Carr PS will be volunteers and the HDSB marching band, led by a Sam Sherratt PS teacher, will lead the athletes’ parade.

The rain/heat date for this event will be June 20 at Garth Webb Secondary School.

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Grocery Rebate program will send funds to low income families early in July

By Staff

June 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The federal government’s Cost of Living Act creates a Grocery Rebate program that supports low income families and households.

This is the point at which those who do get the Grocery Rebate will realize how unrealistic the amount being given is.

The new one-time Grocery Rebate will deliver targeted inflation relief for 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians and families who need it most, with up to an extra $467 for eligible couples with two children; up to an extra $234 for single Canadians without children; and an extra $225 for seniors, on average.

The Grocery Rebate will be delivered to eligible Canadians on July 5, 2023, by direct deposit or cheque through the Canada Revenue Agency.

A single mother with one child and $30,000 in net income will receive $386.50 for groceries. This is in addition to the $1,160 she receives this year through the GST Credit.

A single senior with $20,000 in net income will receive $233.50 for groceries. This is in addition to the roughly $701 he receives this benefit year through the GST Credit.

A couple with two children and $35,000 in net income will receive $467 for groceries. This is in addition to the roughly $1,401 they receive this benefit year through the GST Credit.

Recipients will not need to apply for the Grocery Rebate, which will be delivered along with the July GST Credit payment.

However, they will need to file their 2021 tax return if they have not done so already to be able to receive the payment.

The net income levels; $30,000 for a family and $20,000 for single people will cut out a lot of people.  How a family with net income of $30,000 for tax purposes can survive indicates that the federal government is not in touch with what is happening at the supermarket level where the pain is severe.

 

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Changes in GO service schedule this weekend

By Staff

June 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Work has begun on the grade separation on Burloak that is impacting the GO service on the Lakeshore West line.

There will be a temporary service change on the Lakeshore West line between Oakville and West Harbour GO starting 9 p.m. Friday, June 9 until end of service on Sunday, June 11.

Not this weekend –

During this time, GO buses will replace train service between Oakville and West Harbour GO as we work to improve service. Train and bus connections for routes 12, 15, 18 and 21 will be impacted and Niagara Falls train service will end at Aldershot GO. GO train service will continue as normal between Oakville GO and Union Station.

What customers need to know:

To prepare for upcoming construction of the Burloak Drive grade separation, we need to move important infrastructure in the corridor. This can only be done when trains are not running. That is why starting [TIME] Friday, June 9 until end of service Sunday, June 11, buses will replace trains between Oakville and West Harbour GO.

Here is what customers need to know:

  • Train and bus connections for routes 12, 15, 18, and 21 will be impacted.
  • Niagara Falls train service will end at Aldershot GO.
  • Shuttle bus service will run between West Harbour and Oakville GO stations.
  • GO train service will run between Oakville GO and Union Station.
  • Use gotransit.com or triplinx.ca to plan your trip

Regular service will resume Monday, June 12.

If you are using PRESTO while traveling with us June 9 – June 11, be sure to top up your balance before heading out. During your trip, tap on and off for each portion of your GO commute including when switching between vehicles.

 

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Tough for people to learn just how the city plans to explain the Bateman development situation - they aren't getting it from the Mayor

By Pepper Parr

June 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mayor of Burlington is at it again.

In a tweet she sent out answering questions she said she has been asked.

She fails to mention when there will be real public engagement and doesn’t help the public understand just how much public space there will be in the former high school.

Follow up on her Q&A and then read about what was actually said at a Council meeting.

Will there be public engagement on the use of indoor space?

Yes, there will be multiple opportunities. Staff will be asking for expressions of interest for the 21,000 square foot of space for rent, programs and user groups, as well as an additional 9,000 sq. ft. of potential temporary space available to the community at Bateman in the fall of 2023 and a visioning exercise in the summer and fall of 2023. The expressions of interest will help staff to know who is interested in working with the City, and what kinds of space requirements may be needed. Over the summer and fall of 2023, Recreation, Community and Culture staff will have an extensive community engagement planned for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the Parks and Recreation Cultural Asset Master Plan (PRCAMP) along with a review of direct delivered programs and services. Residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on these items.

In the late fall of 2023, staff will consult with the community on proposed high-level program mix for Bateman and share the community comments back with committee in winter 2024. More details of the program mix will be further refined as phase two of the construction is finalized and shared with the community.

When does Phase 2 of this project start?

Stage 2 of the current construction contract will not start until Q2 2024.

Why do we need more parking?

Parking is needed to accommodate the higher parking demand generated by the new uses including Brock University, Burlington Public Library, Tech Place, Halton District School Board, and the communities use of the existing and new community spaces.

Why do you need to put parking in the area of the track?

Under the city’s existing zoning by-law, site parking requirements are to be accommodated on site. However, as directed by Burlington City Council, staff will review all options, including street parking in the neighbourhood, on-site parking, off-site parking and building a parking structure. Staff will report back in Q4 2023 with parking recommendations. Once a parking plan is in place, we will know what can and can’t be done with the existing track and open space. Residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the parking and open space plan for the site.

Can I still access the track and football field now?

Yes. The track and the area will be accessible for informal use in 2023 and while parking options are being developed and construction activity is not impacting this area. In 2024, construction activity will impact the area behind the school and the open space area including the track will not be accessible during construction.

Will any trees be cut down?

The City will work to protect the trees as much as possible; however, there are four trees within the construction zone that will be removed and one tree in poor health that needs to be removed for public safety. Those trees will be replaced. There may also be an opportunity to increase the number of trees as part of the landscaping plan.

Citizens are going to have to make a lot of noise if they want to keep the track and the sports field in the middle.

What will happen to the track and football field?

We won’t know until staff report back to Council later this year with all parking options and a recommendation.

Who makes the final decision on the parking spaces?

Staff are looking into all parking options including a parking structure, on-street parking, leasing agreements and reducing the number of parking spots required on-site. Staff will report back to Committee and Council in Q4 2023 with parking recommendations. If there is to be a reduction in parking, an application will be taken to the Committee of Adjustment. The committee will review the uses of the building, number of spaces required to meet demand and make a decision based on Council-approved Zoning Bylaws.

I don’t want to lose the track. How can we keep it?

Council has directed staff to report back in Q4 2023 on parking alternatives, so during this time, there will be no impact to the track. All options will be considered, including street parking in the neighbourhood, on-site parking, off-site parking and building a parking structure. Once a parking plan is in place, we will know what can and can’t be done with the existing track and open space. Residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the open space.

Can we build a parking garage to save the open space and track?

All options are being considered although this would be an expensive option.

There was very little mention of parking during the most recent round of Standing Committee meetings.

Council members did have hard questions about when public engagement meetings would take place and just how much space there would be for public use.

Stolte on public engagement

Sharman on how the high school space is going to be used.

The route to that $100 million price

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Virtual meeting on updating flood hazard mapping for Tuck, Shoreacres, Appleby, and Sheldon Creeks June 7th

By Staff

June 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Climate change, flooding, making the right decisions now with the information available is a challenge.

Conservation Halton (CH) is updating flood hazard mapping for Tuck, Shoreacres, Appleby, and Sheldon Creeks that cross through parts of East Burlington and southwest Oakville.

Flood hazard mapping is an important tool that supports CH’s regulatory and planning and flood forecasting and warning programs, as well as municipal emergency management, flood mitigation, and infrastructure design. “Flood hazard” means an area near a river or stream not ordinarily covered by water that is flooded during extreme storm events.

To learn more about CH’s East Burlington Creeks Flood Hazard Mapping Study and updated draft flood hazard mapping, we are inviting the public to join us for a virtual public engagement session on June 6, 2023 at 7:00pm.

This is an opportunity for those looking for further information to learn more and ask questions.

For information for the virtual public engagement session, please visit Conservation Halton Mapping and Studies and click on “East Burlington Creeks Flood Hazard Mapping Study”. If you would like register for the meeting, please register here. Draft mapping and reports, as well as a recording of the public engagement session, will be available online for comment until July 6, 2023.

After the public engagement session and 30-day public review period, CH will review all feedback received and make any necessary revisions to the draft flood hazard mapping. It is anticipated that the final draft mapping and study will be presented to CH’s Board of Directors for their approval and inclusion in CH’s online Approximate Regulation Limit (ARL) mapping later this year.

Should you have any questions about the study or upcoming Public Engagement Session #2, please contact CH via email at floodplainmapping@hrca.on.ca or call (905) 336-1158 ext. 2296.

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Stolte: 'I'm not understanding how beginning engagement and visioning with the public this summer, but not letting them know about it until the fall'

By Pepper Parr

June 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Staff were presenting to Council on the “key deliverables for the communication and engagement plan.”

Part of the presentation asked for $100,000; a number that got tossed in, sort of is as a place holder
Everyone knew the number was close to outrageous – but no one offered to lower it.

Stolte: Has public engagement already begun ?

Councillor Stolte asked:
Has engagement started?
Adding that “… in the chart it’s very well outlined that engagement with recreational users and businesses groups and community organizations is starting spring summer 2023.  Has that begun already?

Emilie Cote responded: It has begun informally just in regular conversations that we have with existing user groups but will be more so as we proceed with the tactics like the visioning and the Request For Interest.

Councillor Stolte comes back with: “it said June to October. Well, today’s June 1, do we have dates – I don’t see any dates in there.

There is a  city wide mailout planned to inform people of those opportunities and be part of that visioning exercise. But the mailer wont go out until the fall – what’s going to get done between now and then ?  Earlier today we published a piece on just how much space there is and how much will the public get to use ?  Councillor Sharman had to push hard to get some basic information.  Perhaps he could have asked for that information before this project got off the ground.

Councillor Stolte to Kwab: I’m not understanding how we are beginning engagement and visioning with the public this summer, but not letting them know about it until the fall.

Director of Communications Kwab adds that “the city wide mailer will go out in the fall actually, that’s the time that we’re looking for that because we wanted to make sure that once we have this plan in place – this comprehensive plan – and as we begin some of the work that’s underway now we’ll of course let residents know about it.

But we wanted to build some critical mass of when we want to inform residents about what’s happening. So come the fall, there’ll be a lot more engagement activities underway, where we can let residents know – generally speaking, we try not to send anything out about a major project smack right in the middle of the summer. So that’s why it made sense for us to send that in the in the fall.

Stolte: “A clarifying question, please? I’m not understanding the timing Kwab I’m not understanding how we are beginning engagement and visioning with the public this summer, but not letting them know about it until the fall

Kwab:”We will be letting them know about it through other means that we have. The mailer is just one additional tactic that we do let residents know about what’s happening.

But through the project page media releases and other ways we will be letting them know about the current engagement that’s happening.

In addition, the mailer will go out that will let them know again about other engagement opportunities that are happening as well. I think, I mean, we definitely have to keep in mind that this is gonna be a long, long engagement. So there will be lots of opportunities to engage residents using many different tactics. So the mailer is just one tactic that we’ll be using to inform residents.

Then the matter of the $100,000 that was going to be asked for. I mean, that was just a number that staff threw out. We are drawing upon existing already approved budget as part of the project. So when we get closer to the exact dates and the items that will be happening will be will know better, how close to that number we would get.

Stolte: So my question is really whether or not, prior to significantly greater Council interest in doing more and more engagement, will we ever think it will be $100,000?

Kwab: “It’s a good question, Counsellor. To be honest, you know, we appreciate the direction staff were starting to work on that more comprehensive plan that was happening simultaneously as received last time. We didn’t have a total number at the time to answer your question. I knew it was going to be more than 20k. That’s probably as clear as I can get, I guess to answering your question.

I could maybe add to the chair and say overall that this project has evolved very, very quickly when you think about the size and scope of this project from the inception and so as we were developing scope and budgets, and evolving and refining those as we go along.

As we get more information and understanding of the expectations – I think it’s a fair comment that we will obviously manage that budget and look at it as we’ve been developing as we go along. We will manage prudently but at the same time meeting the expectations that council has.

We will let the words speak for themselves

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Bateman: How much space is the public getting for that $100 million ? No one is really sure

By Pepper Parr

June 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What do we know about when the public is going to get to say anything about the Robert Bateman High school conversion to a community hub ?

Not much – and not nearly enough. The communication on the project has been terrible and there are few signs that it is going to get any better.  Roll your cursor over the graphic to enlarge

The plan as given to the public on June 1st.

We do know that the cost at this point is $100 million – the Mayor let that slip during a TVO program she took part in.

We also know now that the public will get to take part in the “visioning” from June to September – there was nothing more specific than that.

What has never been all that clear is – just how much space is there going to be for the public to use?

Steve Paikin of TVO asking Mayor Meed Ward: Did you pay $100 million for an old school?

Councillor Sharman said: “I continue to be puzzled by the number of square feet we’re actually getting out of this. I think 240,000 was the size of the And half of that was going to go to the Brock University and half was going to the school board and so that was going to leave us 120,000 square feet.

We’ve got Tech Place, the library, the swimming pool – somehow we end up with 30,000 square feet. Could somebody reconcile all that for us? Maybe in the letter before Council, I don’t know. This is just surprising the heck out of me and I’ve been waiting for a bigger number.

Councillor Sharman did learn that the 30,000 square feet is bigger than the total area of the Seniors’ Centre.

The space at the Bateman site that will be available for public use was described as being more than the space at the Seniors’ Centre.

That gave people an idea is as to just how big this public space was going to be. Who got to use it and under what circumstances was something that is being worked on.

Ward 6 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Paul Sharman.

He made the point that “we know how much the school board is going to rent from us; we know how much Brock University is going to rent from us; we know how much space the library will take up; we know how much Tech Place will use.

The way Sharman saw it there was going to be approximately 21,000 square feet of dedicated recreational space and an additional 9000 of temporary space.

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Domenic Molinaro passes at the age of 88

By Pepper Parr

June 4th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Burlington lost a great one last week.

The man who turned Lakeshore Road into the stretch of the city that it is today, passed away on May 29th, he was 88 years of age.

Domenic Molinaro, the founder of the Molinaro Group

Domenic Molinaro, the founder of the Molinaro Group died of complications from a stroke he suffered some time ago.

He leaves behind: His beloved wife, Lina Molinaro, his children Antonella and Joseph Castro, Marilu and Sam DiSanto, Vincent and Tina Molinaro, and Robert and Andrea Molinaro, along with his grandchildren Julian, Madeline, Luca, Isabella, Giuliana, Cristiano, Evianna, and Raffaella, many loving brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews.

The Family will gather at Bay Gardens Funeral Home, 947 Rymal Road East, Hamilton, on Tuesday, June 6th, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Vigil prayers will be at 3:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, June 7th, at 11:00 a.m., a Funeral Mass will take place at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 934 Hwy 8, Stoney Creek.

Following the Mass, entombment at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery, 600 Spring Gardens Road, Burlington.

An obituary can be found HERE

 

 

 

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Brock University gets a chance to brag about how well one of its graduates has done

By Staff

June 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is a sports story but not local sports.

It is a press release from Brock University that is in the process of becoming a part of the Burlington family. Students who will eventually attend classes at the former Bateman High School; they are currently attending classes at the former Lester B. Pearson High School.

Kyle Dubas now President of Hockey Operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Not really local but interesting nevertheless. The Maple Leaf organization announced that Kyle Dubas was leaving the organization. The very next day Brock University announces that one of their graduates is to receive an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to the world of sports.

The press release went like this:

“It has been more than 15 years since Dubas crossed the stage to receive his Bachelor of Sport Management at his own Brock Convocation. He has since established himself as a national sports leader.

“On Thursday, June 1, Dubas was named President of Hockey Operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will oversee all aspects of the team’s hockey operations department, including establishing the strategic vision and philosophy for the franchise.

“Prior to joining Pittsburgh, the Brock graduate spent nearly 10 years with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Dubas began his time with the Leafs in 2014 as Assistant General Manager. In the role, he oversaw the organization’s top prospects as General Manager of the Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, leading the franchise to its first-ever Calder Cup title in 2018.

“In May 2018, Dubas, who has become known for his forward-thinking approach to analytics in hockey, was named the Leafs General Manager. He spent five seasons in the role, which concluded this May.

“Before his time in Toronto, Dubas served as General Manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League from 2011 to 2014.

It was a loss that sent the players to the golf course; the coach moved along the QEW and landed at Brock where he is to be given an Honorary Doctorate before he continues his journey to Pittsburgh where he will become the President of Hockey Operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

“In 2015, he was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the sports industry’s brightest young stars in its annual Top 30 Under 30 in Sports list. He was also honoured that same year with Brock’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award.”

Makes you wonder if the Leaf’s ownership made the right decision doesn’t it.

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Speaker series on issues important to Senior Citizens

By Staff

June 3rd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Marion Goard is a Broker with Keller Williams Realty. She heads up an interesting service intended for the Seniors community that is setting out to help people Get the answers to your most pressing questions at monthly seminars and panels.

 

Are you finding yourself continually looking for facts to get answers to your most pressing questions? The Empowered Seniors Speakers Series is a free community service offered to seniors and their families.

Every month, you can attend a seminar or a panel where you’ll gain valuable and honest information regarding topics that are important to senior living and retired people. You’ll leave each event with the ability to make informed decisions, and you’ll meet experts who can provide reliable and current information.

The seminars and expert panels are a community service offered AT NO COST to seniors and their families.

Space is limited, so reservations are strongly encouraged. Click on the registration link or call 905-330-5201 to save your seat for any of the sessions.
Location:
Burlington Central Library (Centennial Hall)
2331 New St, Burlington, ON L7R 1J4
Dates and Times:
All sessions run from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM (doors open at 1:10 PM)
on the second Wednesday of each month, with the exception of October (3rd Wednesday)
The first session will take place on June 14, 2023
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
(doors open at 1:10 PM)

Understanding how your Will, Real Estate law and your Taxes play out on death

Do you know how and when your assets, such as your home or other properties transfer after death? In this seminar, Estate and Real Estate Lawyer Andrea Parliament will outline four methods of transferring assets on death and explain the tax implications of each.

You’ll learn about:
• Joint ownership (and that it’s not quite as simple as your banker may think)
• Designated Beneficiaries
• Secondary Wills
• What happens during probate, whether it’s always required and the tax implications
• Choosing an executor.

Register

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No reservations needed for summer rec and lap swims at Burlington outdoor pools

By Staff

June 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Nelson Pool

This summer, swimming at Burlington outdoor pools will be walk-in only based on first come, first served where larger capacities can accommodate many of our residents. With the exception of Aquafit, online reservation is no longer needed or available for outdoor pools.

This is a welcome return to pre-Covid service to our outdoor pools.

This summer there will be a return to normal programming hours at all pool facilities. This includes longer swim times for Fun Swims and additional Lap Swim opportunities at the outdoor pools.

Payment for walk-ins will be taken at time of entry.

During warmer weather days, free swims or holidays, outdoor pools may reach maximum capacities which may result in wait times to enter the pool.

Online reservations for all swims except Leisure and Fun swims can be done seven days plus two hours in advance. Leisure and Fun swims can be reserved seven days in advance.

Swim Schedules

For all swim schedules and to reserve online where applicable, visit burlington.ca/dropinandplay.

Swim Passes
Yearly recreational swim and lap swim passes are back in addition to our affordable summer passes. There are different recreational pass options available to provide the best value for swimmers looking to participate regularly.
To view and purchase the passes, visit burlington.ca/passes.

Outdoor Pools
Nelson Pool (4235 New St.) will be opening June 3 with a modified schedule of select weekday morning and weekends until daily programming starts on July 1. The Nelson Splash Park will be available Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. from June 5 to June 30.

Splash Park users can enter through the side gate off the parking lot. The building will be open for washroom use and use of the lobby.

LaSalle Wading Pool and Splash Park (50 North Shore Blvd.) will be opening on June 17, with modified hours of 12:30 to 4 p.m. until June 30 when daily programming begins.

Mountainside Pool and Splash Park’s (2205 Mount Forest Dr.) revitalization will be completed in time for the summer. Reopening plans will be announced soon.

LaSalle Wading Pool

Renee Kulinski-McCann explains:  “By moving to walk-in only for our outdoor pools, people can stay and swim or play all day. For those who prefer a little more structure and assurances, our indoor pools will accept online reservations. Either way, there are lots of great swimming opportunities this summer.”

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Mayor spills the bean on TVO: Bateman is going to cost the city $100 million

By Pepper Parr

June 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Speaking on the TVO program The Agenda where the subject was who should pay for growth Steve Paiken said to Mayor Marianne Meed Ward:
said:

“I’m willing to bet that there’s a huge chunk of people in your city that don’t think growth is intrinsically good that they love Burlington the way it is right now, and they’d be just very happy. Thank you very much. If there was no further growth to Burlington, what do you do with that?”

Did you just say …

Meed Ward responded:
“Well, what they’re seeing is growth in housing only without thinking about what a complete community is all about. The transit hasn’t kept up with growth. The community centers hasn’t kept up with growth, the libraries the list of things that have not responded to population growth in every city is very long.

“And so what people see is their quality of life has diminished because they’re waiting more in longer lines. They can’t get access to facilities, they go to other places because they can’t get their kids into an arena. And so what we’re doing when we accepted the housing pledge for 29,000 units by 2031, we said we’re not just building housing, and we need the province to help us with those big capital dollars for community centres for transit for parks.

The whole for Burlington, by the way, if we get rid of development charges overnight is  $36 million a year. That’s about a 20% tax increase. So you know, these are not inexpensive costs.

We just bought an old surplus school site for $100 million. we’re renovating that into a community center. These are big things that our community needs and if all the community sees is traffic congestion, can’t get my kids into programs, diminishing quality of life. They’re not going to be happy about growth. We have to make sure that we’re building complete communities,

Paiken came back with: “Did you just say you spent $100 million for an old school?”

Meed Ward quickly added that “ the $100 million was to buy and convert the former Bateman High School – but this is the first time the public has heard that number.

Mayor tells interviewer the city will spend $100 million for Bateman High school property. Councillor Stole told the public that the cost was going to be $50 million and got smacked with a five day pay fine. What does the Mayor get for blabbing away that the city will spend $100 million ? Re-elected?

When Councillor Shawna Stolte told the public that the cost was going to be $50 million she got smacked with a fine of five days’ pay because the information she shared was discussed in a closed session of Council

Releasing number on a TV show seems to be Ok.

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Age to work as life guards has been reduced.

By Staff

June 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The provincial government is lowering the minimum age requirement to be a lifeguard, assistant lifeguard and aquatic instructor from 16 to 15 years of age to help communities address staffing shortages and make sure pools and recreational camp waterfronts across the province can be enjoyed safely.

This change aligns the minimum age requirements with updated age requirements established by the Lifesaving Society’s certification course.

While the age of new life guards has been reduced they still have to be fully qualified: Instructor watching a class go through the drills they have to be perfect at.

“As school rises for the summer and the weather warms up, we spend more time enjoying pools and camp waterfronts,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“Lowering the age for youth to become lifeguards creates more job opportunities for youth in a rewarding position that can help keep community pools and recreational camp waterfronts safe.”

These changes come into effect today, on June 2, 2023. As a result, communities will now have access to more lifeguards so businesses and municipalities can hire additional staff ahead of the summer season. Access to more lifeguards will also help operators maintain and expand their hours of operation for public swimming and aquatic lessons.

• Lifeguards must first pass a series of swimming tests and hold appropriate certifications – such as a current lifeguard or assistant lifeguard certificate or a current aquatic instructor certificate – to be able to work safely as lifeguards, assistant lifeguards, or aquatic instructors.

• The National Lifeguard training and certification, delivered by the Lifesaving Society, is the professional standard for lifeguarding in Canada. It certifies lifeguards across the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools.

• In July 2020, the Lifesaving Society lowered its age requirement for the national lifeguard certificate from 16 to 15 years of age.

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Burlington Green AGM at the end of the month

By Staff

June 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

BurlingtonGren will be holding their Annual General Meeting June 27th at the Burlington Central Library. (2331 New Street, Burlington)

They will report on the impact they have achieved during the past year, and we will vote in a slate of Board of Directors.

Guest presenter Grant Linney, climate advocate and author, will talk about how he lives lightly on the earth including the renovation of his 1940s home to have a zero-carbon footprint.

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Brock & Sophia: A love story in the midst of the war of 1812

By Pepper Parr

June 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ray Rivers has been writing opinion pieces for the Gazette for more than ten years. We’ve managed to scrape together a bit of cash from time to time to thank him for his column. On  occasion I have been able to visit with Ray and his wife Jean at their home in Mountsberg where we enjoy a decent bottle of wine and differ on political issues.

We frequently have a friendly low value wager on who will win and who will lose.

Rivers is a bit of a cynic and sees Trump back in the White House.

He is also a playwright and an actor and is taking part in a production taking place in Stoney Creek from June 9th through to the 18th.

The least we could do is promote the event.

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