Some good news on the Burlington economy scene but it isn’t all sunshine; dark clouds as well.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 7, 2011  Gerry Visca socked it to them.  The room was packed and Visca, a very energetic inspirational speaker kept throwing strong, declarative statements at his audiences and for the most part they loved it.

“How many people in this room know someone who is going through hell right now” he asked.  Put your hands up, if you know anyone this is happening to, he urged.  A half a dozen or so hands went up and Gerry shouted out: “Great – tell them to keep going because that is the only way they are going to get through it”.

His message was one of being consistent, being disciplined and staying the course.  “Easy” asked Visca.  “No” he added “But I want you to keep this thought in mind.  What happens when water reaches a temperature of 212 degrees? Right – it boils and with boiling water you get steam and with steam you can drive engines and make things”.  All said with great enthusiasm and energy by Visca.

“What do you get when the temperature of the water is 211 degrees” he asked in a quieter voice.  “You get hot water – but with that one extra degree you’ve got something you can use”.  And that was the message – try harder, stay focused and stick to your plan.

John Chisholm, president of the BEDC told most of the good news but didn't mention a word of the black cloud hanging over the city's economy - the scheduled closing of the Maple Leaf Foods Distribution plant on Harvester Road and the loss of some 800 + jobs that will go to their new location in Hamilton.

The room loved it and at one point he had everyone in the room standing up and wrapping their arms around each other’s shoulders.  THAT is an inspirational speaker.

The Mayor’s Luncheon series ran under the tag line “Connect-Collaborate – Create” Series and featured five speakers.  John Chisholm, President of the Burlington Economic development Corporation and CEO of SB Partners announced that there had been a 16% increase in luncheon attendance since 2010

The final event for 2011 is to be a session with Royal Bank of Canada Senior Vice President & Chief Economist Craig Wright on December 1st.  Wright is going to provide an informative financial look into 2012; that assumes that there will be an economy to look at.  Burlington’s 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced at that luncheon. The official award celebration will be held on June 7, 2012.

Burlington Economic development Corporation (BEDC) completed its Lean Green and Connected Innovative industrial building stock project. This initiative was undertaken with the local firm KNY Architects who developed models for future industrial facilities that meet the needs of the next generation of advance manufacturers.

BEDC is now actively working with local companies and building owners to launch a demonstration project to take the models from concept to reality. Economic activity in the city continues at a steady pace – In the first half of the year companies have invested $69 million in the renovation and/or construction of their facilities.  Some 15 local companies expanded their operations, 38 new companies opened in Burlington, which all together created 425 new jobs in the community. One of these expansions is ABS Machining that is building its second facility in Burlington. Their new 52 thousand square foot industrial facility at 1601 Corporate Drive will increase their capacity to make parts for a wide range of industrial sectors and accommodate the new staff they will be hiring.

BEDC Staff are working on 30 investment files to date and have visited 50 of our Burlington companies through the Business First corporate calling program. Staff have reported 2011 Industrial vacancies are at 95% full and Office occupancy is 87%.

The dark cloud on the horizon is the announced closing of the Maple Leaf Distribution plant on Harvester Road.  There is some hope that Fearman’s  Pork “might” pick up that space, but the two events won’t happen at the same time – so Burlington is looking at a 87 + job loss in 2013

The Mayor’s BEDC Luncheon Series in 2012 will have the tag line  “Imagine-Ignite-Innovate”! This series will feature speakers and resources that our Burlington companies can take information and inspiration from. The dates in 2012 are: February 16th; March 29th; September 20th and November 1st.  All are on a Thursday.

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We got up close and personal with The Pier. It was not a pretty picture. You had no idea how much steel has to be removed.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 7, 2011  The city took a slew of media people out onto the Pier and gave us all time to wander about and have a look at just what it looked like up close.  There were a number of politicians along – The Lady Jane, our freshly minted MPP, Jane McKenna, who now gets a bit more than $1500. each year to drive from Burlington to Queen’s Park, where she will work on our behalf, was on hand wearing two right-footed work boots, which we thought might have been a political statement.  Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster was also on hand but not wearing her delightful pink work boots.  “They give me blisters” she explained, “unless I wear thick socks”.

It was a bit of an experience to walk out on the Pier.  While very clearly a construction site, what was noticed immediately was that the “instant beach” that has formed on the west side of The Pier at the edge of the breakwater, has grown considerably since we last saw the site.  This is where the city wants to, at some point in the future, put in something in the way of a boat dock. We just might have more beach to work with than we thought we’d have.

The Pier as it stands today has three parts. The trestle to the right which is used for construction purposes and will come out when the work is completed. The round section in the lower left of this picture, which is built above land. The rest, that large S shaped section that reaches out into the lake - every inch of that steel has to be taken out. The caissons the S shape rests on are embedded five metres into the lakebed and are solid and do not have to be replaced.

What had not been made clear to the public, and I have followed this issue for some time, is the amount of steel that has to be taken out and trucked off the site into storage somewhere. Basically all the steel is going to be taken out.  That was never really made clear during the many council committee sessions or in the 10 Pier Update releases the city has put out since this mess came to the surface.

What the city is faced with is replacing all the steel that has been put in place.  The only things being kept are the caissons (those are the big round pipes that have been driven five metres into the  lake bed.  All the steel, ALL the steel that has been put in place is being taken out and placed in storage, while the lawyers work through the legal difference of opinion.

And that is what the legal fight is all about – the steel used for the construction of the site was not what was needed but that didn’t become evident until the crane accident.  Can’t blame the contractor for that one – he didn’t specify the steel, he just built to plans he was given.  Architects and structural engineers do all the designing and planning at work and they sign off on that.  So the goof was at the architect and design levels.  We have been saying the contractor walked off the job – think I can understand why he walked.  He couldn’t build a Pier based on the plans he was given.  Quite why the original contractor didn’t do the level of due diligence that would have revealed the problems is something we don’t understand.  This is probably something the contractor will regret for some time.  But we think it will become clear that the city issued a call for bids and gave the contractors drawings that called for steel that proved to be unsuitable.

In the illustrations you can see just how much steel is involved – basically ALL of it.

The problems were not the making of the current Council.  They approved a contract that involved plans that had been prepared and signed off on by professional architects and engineers.

Should the city engineers have taken a closer look at the drawings they issued?  The designers and the structural engineers signed off on the plans – is that where the city’s responsibility ends? Someone, somewhere at the design level really screwed up on this – and that will get worked out by the lawyers.  However, you the public may never know just what happened.  The city doesn’t care if we know what happened – what it want to do is recover as much of the money that has been spent as possible.  This project was supposed to cost $9.2 million in 2010.  Graham Infrastructure, the firm hired by the city to complete the Pier, is being paid $5.9 million.  Other costs total $8.4 but we’ve not learned yet what the legal bill for all this is going to amount to – but know this; it is not going to be a small bill that will get paid out of petty cash.

The "instant beach", a natural formation of sand that was formed as a result of the currents around the Pier is a gift from Mother Nature. It is now twice the size of what is shown in this photograph and just might grow to be even larger. Plans to put some kind of boat docking in place are in the thinking stage.

City council will not even go along with saying how much they have spent to date – they claim that would reveal their legal strategy to the people they are suing.  The people the city is suing already know the strategy – a claim has been made.   Some Council members talk in terms of recovering some of the additional money they have had to spend.  Given what they have known since last December that was irresponsible.  The city would like to recover as much of that money as possible.  Don’t think they’re going to get what they were hoping for.

The engineers and architects that screwed up don’t want you to know what they did wrong either.  This will get dragged out for as long as the people the city is suing can drag it out – but when it comes down to the short strokes the people we are suing will settle.  Just hope that the city stands tough and gets as much as they can for the damage done to our reputation.

Where does all this leave Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., the original contractor?  They are between a rock and a hard place.  All they did was attempt to build on plans the city provided.  They may find a judge deciding the contractor should have taken a much closer look at those plans but if your doctor gives you a prescription you assume that he knows what he’s doing – after all he is a doctor.  A judge might also decide that the city bears some responsibility for giving out plans for a Pier that in effect could not be built.  Had that crane not fallen over we perhaps would never have known about the deficient quality of the steel. That’s something the courts will work out – but methinks that  Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. has been had – to some degree due to a bit of negligence on their part, they should have perhaps checked those plans a little more closely.

The structural problem, according to reported comments city engineer Tom Eichenbaum made, came to the surface when the city hired a materials testing firm to do an analysis of the steel. Eichenbaum is reported to have said: “Through forensic destructive testing, they were able to chop up beams and do some testing on the actual metal content …there was enough concern that it may not meet the long term strength requirements”.  That steel certainly didn’t meet the requirement when the crane toppled over.

Now we understand why the Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. insurance company came back with a proposal to re-do the deal.  The city didn’t buy the deal (although we’ve no idea what the deal offered was, because the city’s legal department keep the kimono on that matter tightly closed).

As for The Pier – it is going to be, in the words of  Director of Engineering Tom Eichenbaum, “fantastic”.  During his comments, while we were all out on The Pier, Eichenbaum mentioned  there was “going to be 150 LED lights spread out along the Pier, which will be quite a site from the Skyway bridge”.  “It will” said Eichenbaum, “define a part of the Burlington shoreline.”

The 150 LED lights that will go on the Pier will be powered by the small wind turbine that is part of the structure. City engineers expect the Pier to be quite a sight from the SkyWay bridge at night. They will define the look of the city's shore line.

Marianne Meed Ward took part in some of the tour – the Mayor was there for the full Monty but the other council members took a pass.  They didn’t need to see the site – they had already seen it – last December when it was a lot colder than last Friday afternoon.  But on that cold December day every member of your council knew exactly how much of the steel had to be taken out – ALL of it.  But they didn’t pass that fact along to their constituents.

Will it all come out in the wash – yes but that wash will never get hung out to dry.  The city will settle with the architects and the general contractor and the insurance company and the  agreement will include a gag order which will prevent you from ever knowing all the facts.

It is nevertheless going to be quite a thing to see.  It will make a big difference to the shoreline and the way Burlington sees itself.  But we will have paid far more than we should have to get that Pier built.  That isn’t something the current Council did but there are three members of this Council – Craven, Taylor and Dennison who were on deck at the time and they bear some of the responsibility.

The Mayor wasn’t on the Council that did the original deal and he wasn’t Mayor when the problems came to the surface.  What Goldring has done is make the best of the hand he was dealt and for the most part he has done a very good job.  But he could have and should have let the public know just what he was up against.  Had he done so however, those who wanted the Pier torn down would have been howling at his doorstep – not something he deserves.



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It could have very easily turned into a really great party, – the weather, the people and the talent made it that kind of event.

By Pepper Parr and Pia Simms.

BURLINGTON, ON  November 7, 2011  – The only thing wrong the weekend of the 5th and 6th was that there was barely enough time to take in both the Burlington Art Centre Wearable Arts Sale and the 9th Annual Art in Action studio tour that saw eight different studios around the city opened on two days for visitors.  If you hustled around you could just make all nine locations.  We hustled.

Each studio had three to four different artists displaying their work.  Most had a mix of mediums except for a residence on Ross Street where Dan Jones, Glen Jones and Fred Oliver displayed their photographs.  We made our rounds on the Saturday and by mid-afternoon this Studio had logged more than two hundred visits.

The Studio Teresa Seaton set up shop in had very close to 500 people pass through. "We worked like dogs to make this event happen said Seaton, one of four people that bring Art in Action to Burlington annually.

While the art work at each studio was different so was the atmosphere.  One studio in Hidden Valley had what amounted to almost a tour guide at the door to greet each visitor and explain what each artist was doing and where they were located on the property which, in this instance, amounted to the house and then a small dwelling in the back yard that served as a studio and a display room.  You could hear the sounds of the small but robust stream in the background and at the same time be very aware that you were in the bottom of a small valley with slopes rising, quite steeply on one side and less so on the other.

Perhaps it was the locale or maybe it was the people but the Hidden Valley Studio was the kind of place that had we had two bottles of wine in the car we would have stayed and become part of the party.  We had just the one studio left on our tour – and were very glad that we pressed on.  At the studio on

Cheryl Laakes stands proudly before a piece of jewelry she had on display. Her fabric work was particularly good as well.

Lemmonville Road we came across George Wilkinson a wood turner who has worked with wood all his life; met with a former Sheridan College Dean of Arts and Cheryl Laake, a lovely fabric artist who turned demurely away from the camera before we took our pictures, to “make sure the girls were all right” as she adjusted her sweater and blouse.

One of the things that happens on these tours is you bump into people whose path you crossed somewhere else along the way and with some you strike up friendships.  We watched a young woman of about 25 purchase a painting from an artist and when the artist asked what it was she liked about his work her answer kind of stunned him.   He just didn’t see what she saw in the work – which is the magic of the visual arts – the beauty and life is truly in the eyes of the beholder.

We listened to Nebojsa Jovanovic explain his work to a woman who wanted him to do a private commission with the finished work to be a very specific dimension.  The artist had that look in his eye that left you wondering – was the client buying something to fill some space on a wall or was she buying art that appealed to her.  Whichever, the sale was made.

An artist at one studio looked up in surprise to see a former student walk into the house with her very young daughter in tow.  The pleasure shared by all – perhaps not the daughter, she kept glancing cautiously at the artist.

This work was a favourite, while according to the artist, it is not yet complete, I liked the rabbit just as he was with his grumpy look.

Teresa Seaton, co-chair of the Art in Action event and a stained glass artist, explained that the group had learned to keep the number of studios down to less than ten – which allowed people to get to every studio.  It was difficult to know what you wanted to take in from the brochure – there was nothing wrong with the document – but you had to be in the houses to get a sense of the artist and both hear and feel the passion they have for their work.

The thinking behind the creation and development of the Art in Action Studio Tour is to bring close to 50% new talent each year so that the public gets to see fresh talent and artists get a good run and then can take some time out to refresh their offerings.

I have been to a number of Art Studio Tours; the one in the Toronto Beach community is touted as being on of the best there is in the GTA – the talent in Burlington was every bit as good and in many cases much better than the work on display in the Beach in Toronto..

The only noticeable difference was that there was more jewelry on display in Burlington, which one artist suggested was a bit of a fad.

Geore Wilkinson's wife shows some of his work while he stayed in the garage turning his lathe.

A number of artists worked in more than one medium.  Some was more craft than art and while many might describe the wood that George Wilkinson turns on his lathe as “craft” it made no difference to George what you called it.  But as you watched his hands handle the tools he used and looked at his fingers as he ran them over the curve of a piece of wood – you knew you were watching an artist.

Except for the one Studio all were in private homes and while each had to get creative to make the space work – one had black plastic garbage bags over windows to keep the sunlight out, the homes were by far the nicest spots to look at the art work and talk with the artists.  The commercial location in the Village Square left one feeling you were just in another store.

Artist Nebojsa Jovanovic explains his approach to his art to an interested client.. She bought.

Most places had coffee or cider and cookies.  Some went the full, really nice cheese and crackers route, and at one that we won’t forget had wine for their individual appreciation – and they shared.  The Art in Action people deserve great credit for the excellent signage.  Visitors were driving to private homes in residential neighbourhoods, to streets they may never have heard of never mind been to before, saw good signs at each intersection pointing the way.  The signage was better than it is in elections.

One artist, Peter Schlotthauer, worked with metal and was negotiating a bench the client wanted to have made as a memorial.  While he wasn’t able to give an “exact” price,  the $800. he mentioned was a darn sight better than the $2,000. the city wants, to put up a memorial bench in one of the parks.

Don Graves talks about a piece of art bought by a patron.

The Art in Action people had near perfect weather for both days, always a bit chancy when you hold your event in early November. “We had absolutely glorious weather” said Teresa Seaton “and the traffic was very good. We got very close to 500 people at our studio”.

We spent the best part of a day touring the eight studios and had the time of our lives.  Saw parts of the city we’d not seen before, met some people we hope to meet again, saw and appreciated some art that we would like to acquire for our own collection.  Yes, we did see some art that had us both totally bamboozled – we had no idea what the artist was trying to say.  It didn’t matter.

Next year will be the 10th annual Art in Action studio tour.  We hope the committee that makes this event happen doesn’t decide to do something that is over the top to celebrate ten years of success.  The eight studios were just fine – mix up the artists a bit and always bring in fresh talent.  But don’t try to make it something it isn’t.  A little less jewelry perhaps but my co-writer probably doesn’t agree with me – she is into jewelry.

It’s an event you want to mark down in your calendar – first weekend in November.

One added benefit – we didn’t see one, not a single politician of any political stripe in our tour.

We managed to spend an hour at the Wearable Art Show at the Burlington Art Centre.  There was lots of traffic when we were there and it was a good spot to have a sandwich and a sit down – and the parking was free.


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An appraisal of the three Council members and the Mayor. How are they doing as they near the end of their first year in office.

Three new council members were elected to office just over a year ago and one former  Council member got elected as Mayor.  In this feature we look at how each of the four has done during their first year in office.  We`ve left comment on the three “old timers”; Councillors, Taylor, Dennison and Craven to the mid-point of this term of office.

Our Burlington has attended literally every Council and Council Committee meeting; the only media in Burlington to do so.  We have watched and listened as the new members ‘learned the ropes’ and developed their unique style. Here is what we observed.

By Pepper Parr

A year ago they were wondering which office they would get and waiting for December 1st to arrive so they could assume office as members of  Burlington City Council.  Marianne Meed Ward had beaten Peter Thoem for the Ward 2 seat, Blair Lancaster had beaten back Mark Carr for the Ward 6 seat and Paul Sharman, to the surprise of many,  came out on top of a list of five candidates for the Ward 5 seat.

Rick Goldring was elected Mayor; but that was more Cam Jackson losing than Goldring winning.

Councillor Sharman with his back to the camera faces off with Councillor Meed Ward at a Strategic Planning session. Each councillor was new to municipal politics and each brought different personalities and styles to the job. They both add to the colour and flavour of Council

The most exciting race was Mead Ward – not that it was close, but exciting because of the expectation attached to her candidacy.  She was forward, brassy and had attached herself to two issues that were wrapped around each other – saving the waterfront from developers and resolving the Pier issue.  She was supported heavily by the Save our Waterfront association – served as head of that organization during the election, and then quietly threw it under the bus rarely to be heard from again.  An action voters want to keep in mind, when Mead Ward declares her candidacy for Mayor of the city – and she will declare that candidacy at some point.  At her peril in 2014 with better prospects in 2020.

Mead Ward fully expected to win her race, but she didn`t let up for a moment and when the votes were counted, she pulled out her Agenda and carefully set her sights on the next rung of the political ladder she expects to climb

If the municipal election were held tomorrow Meed Ward would be back in faster than a slam dunk.  She is the noisiest council member, she pushes every limit there is and asks more questions than all the other council members combined.  She is seen as a real pain in the neck by both many council members and even more staff.  However, it is the platform she ran on – and she is doing everything she said she would do – and then some.

Her most impressive performance was when she asked for a recorded vote on a series of matters – there were six of them – before Council and she stood up all by herself and voted no each time.  Her fellow council members were beside themselves with anger – but Mead Ward was as proud as punch.  She wasn`t going to be pushed off her position by anyone.

While she is difficult –she is also effective and is making some differences that are evident and will soon be seen and appreciated by residents across the city.  She has brought about changes in the way development proposals are brought to the city and the manner in which they are processed by council committee.   No longer will a developer get away with putting forward a couple of dozen changes to a development and then have the changes brought back before a committee in as little as ten days.  Mead Ward has put a stop to that practice – something old timers Craven, Taylor and Dennison could have and should have done a long time ago.

Meed Ward is also changing the way Section 37 funds are spent.  A section 37 is a section of the Planning Act that allows a municipality to give a developer a larger amount of density than the Official Plan or a specific zoning by law allows in exchange for a benefit to the community a  developer will provide.  The practice in Burlington has been for the Planning Department to handle all the negotiations with the developer, usually in private meetings.  Meed Ward wanted that process opened up – wide open. She wants the community to be at the table when the value of the community benefit is determined and then also involved in deciding just what that community benefit will be.

Mead Ward runs a Community Advisory Council that is well run and very real – she listens to her constituents.  And she doesn’t draw just the rag tag people who have nothing else to do with their time.  She has raised the bar when it comes to communicating with her ward.

One sees a very “gung ho” Council member at her ward meetings.  For the first one she wanted it to be just perfect and laid on cupcakes, coffee and juices for those that attended.  City hall staff did get to her on that one and advised that kind of spending wasn’t in her budget.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward made her presence known to Council well before her election to office, the city knew what they were getting and she has delivered on that promise.

Meed Ward, who brings a journalism background to her work, put together a Newsletter and made it available to everyone electronically and told anyone who didn’t have email to give her office a call and she would mail a copy to them.  She managed to use up her mailing budget the first month in office.  What we were seeing was an inexperienced but very committed Council member going the extra mile to communicate with her community.  She respects the people she represents and genuinely wants to represent their interests.

What was important was the way she interacted with her constituents and would tell them how much she loved her job.  And she does love the job.

What isn’t clear is if the Meed Ward followers are a “fan club” limited to a couple of hundred people or a following that is city wide.  She sees herself as a Councillor for the city – not just ward 2.  Other Council members would prefer that she tend to matters within her own borders and leave them to take care of problems in their ward.

Blair Lancaster has been the quietest of the three council members.  She doesn`t say much, tends to use the same phrases – best practices is her consistent clarion call.  Nothing surprising in her efforts so far – if anything a little on the disappointing side.  She doesn`t appear to go to bat for people in her ward who have issues that are before Council.

What Lancaster has done however is beef up the way this council handles conflicts of interest matters.  Lancaster owns a Spa in the downtown core that is professionally managed for her.  When there was a report on The Downtown Core initiative – and it wasn`t much more than an update – Lancaster left the Council horseshoe and sat in the public gallery.  We`ve not seen that done in the past year by this Council or the one that preceded it.

Blair Lancaster brings a soft approach to Council. Doesn't speak nearly as much as the other members. To early to tell if she is effective as the constituent level.


While Lancaster really didn`t have a conflict, she chose to take the position that while the conflict may not have been real it could have been seen to be real and she chose to stand aside and absent herself from the discussion and any vote taken.  Within a couple of weeks Councillor Dennison, for the first time that I can remember, recused himself from the discussion and any vote on a matter he had a conflict with. It was a very minor conflict.

When Lancaster chose to stand aside she raised the bar for every member on Council.   A needed action for any municipal council but that one contribution in itself won`t be enough to get Lancaster re-elected if the next municipal election were held tomorrow

Lancaster is strongest as a public spokesperson for the council.  She handled the microphone at the Escarpment meeting held at Mainway Arena very early in this term – and she was close to stellar.  She has the experience and the poise to handle large audiences and I suspect she would do very well even if a meeting got rowdy and out of hand.

Paul Sharman got himself elected on transit issues and the problems that challenged Sherwood Forest Park in his community.  He slid in between a host of very acceptable candidates and when he got to council it didn`t take him long to insert his brisk, sometimes loud, always very direct approach to matters into the workings of the Council.

He took on the General Managers and the Directors in a way they had not been taken on in some time – there were a couple of very bruising council committee sessions early in this term.  He stunned everyone when he called for a 0% tax increase and asked that staff return to their columns of numbers and come back with just that.  One could see senior city hall staff gulping when the proposal was put forward.

There was the memorable meeting, when he made it very clear to a General Manager that the office space Council members used on the ground floor level was not acceptable, and that Council members were to be allocated space that was more suited to people, who were after all the equivalent to a Board of Directors.  Staff soon saw that Paul Sharman didn’t take prisoners.

Council members now have space on the seventh floor where each has a spacious office with a window and a small conference room that is much different than the “bunker” they used to have to use on the ground floor.  The space was drab looking, had no daylight – it was embarrassing.  It looked more like a police interrogation room, than something city council members used for meetings.

Sharman has softened a little and now tends to talk intensely with the Mayor, in that small huddle council members go into, when they talk to each other with a meeting going on. Budget discussions for 2012 will begin soon and a Transit Master Plan is due to come forward soon – we will see then what, if any, change there has been in the way Sharman makes his point.

While Sharman is strong and direct – he hasn`t really done his homework on council procedures and is not a very effective chairman of the Budget and Corporate Services committee.  His Clerk has to bail him out too often.  That and support from his vice chair, John Taylor gets him through the procedural part of meetings.

Sharman had not been a resident of Burlington for all that long.  He moved to Burlington from Oakville, joined the Chamber of Commerce and got involved in their Political Action Committee, got onto the Board of the Shape Burlington Committee where he shook a number of people to their roots.  Declared his candidacy for Mayor in the 2010 election and when Goldring declared a few days later he withdrew the Mayoralty candidacy and filed papers to run in Ward 5 as a

If Councillor Sharman doesn't agree with what you are saying it doesn't take long to sense his displeasure. He wants people to get to the point and know what they are talking about - and have numbers to back up their statements..

Council member.   He is aggressive, direct and there is seldom any doubt as to where he is coming from.  He is not a strong constituency man but it didn’t take him long to get a firm grip on what the issues were.  He deals with problems better than he deals with people and brings a solid “business mind set” to what he does.

He is a bear when it comes to facts and figures and consistently goes after staff when the numbers presented to him look a little fishy. He has this ability to be seen as outraged when there are numbers that don’t add up.  City hall staff  have by now learned to go over data more carefully knowing that Sharman will catch anything that doesn’t appear to make sense and will make his views and feelings known at their expense.  It isn’t that staff is sloppy, but he has raised the standard and brought forward a much different level of reporting to Council.

Rick Gold surprised himself as much as anyone else, when he defeated then Mayor Cam Jackson. He needed a couple of months to get the feel of the job he now has and is proving to be a much more effective Mayor than his predecessor.  He just may be seen historically, as one of the best we have ever had.  While a politician he doesn`t seem to need the limelight.

He isn`t all that hands on; he doesn`t have to be all over an issue.  He speaks when he has something to say and is inevitably positive without sounding like some kind of a city booster.  He asks questions of staff for clarification.  He doesn`t put forward stunning or startling ideas.  With a year under his belt we are now getting some idea as to the kind of Mayor he is going to be.  He is using the power of his office to strike out on his own.

The environment has always been a Goldring concern and he pushes to keep that viewpoint on the agenda but he doesn’t always get his way.  He has bumped up against Council members who have been at the horseshoe much longer than he has, and has been outmaneuvered frequently during his first nine months.

One doesn`t get the sense that there is a strong, forceful personality at work; that he has to dominate.  That is not to suggest that he is weak.  He has a much more collaborative style, but when there are tough decisions to make he doesn’t shirk them for a second.  A former City Manager learned that lesson.  One slowly realizes that Rick Goldring has fashioned a council that works well together with each member having all the room they need to be their own person.  This mayor brings a sense of humour to the proceedings and while he doesn`t appear to require people to refer to him as Your Worship, the title he is entitled to during Council meetings, other council members have begun to use the honorific when addressing or referring to him.

What comes across again and again is the man’s basic sense of decency.  It is seen in the small personal gestures where he helps people out when they are making a delegation.  There was the memorable moment when a woman speaking to a Council Committee and got lost in her notes and wasn’t able to follow where the conversation was going.  The Mayor left his seat, gave the woman his copy of the document they were working from and picked up a new copy for himself.

Goldring created the Inspire event, a series of speakers he brought to the city to inform and educate citizens of Burlington on important issues.  Christopher Hume, the Toronto Star architect critic, had some scathing comments to make on the way the city was built and was very blunt about the manner in which he thought McMaster University had treated the city, when they built on the South Service Road instead of in the downtown core of the city. The comments had people in that audience cringing.

Goldring wants people in Burlington to hear points of view that are different and to expand the dialogue that takes place.  He doesn’t want a sense of insularity to take hold in the community.  The turn out at these events is small but it grows; too early to tell if it is having any impact.

Mayor Goldring pays attention, listens carefully and usually reads a room quite well. With some experience he now has a better feel for his job.

The wisest move Goldring made was to appoint Frank McKeown as his senior aide.  McKeown had filed papers to run in Ward 4 but withdrew when Brian Heagle filed his papers.  McKeown felt that he and Heagle would split the anti-Dennison vote.  Heagle then failed to actually run for office and Dennison was back at the Council table for another term.

When Goldring woke up as Mayor, he probably needed some time to think through what had happened to him.  But it didn’t take him very long to realize he needed to add some strength to his bench and asked McKeown to serve as his principle aide, while he learned the job.

There were some very mean, nasty remarks made by people at City Hall who should have known better about the nature of the relationship between the Mayor and his aide.  Wise people are smart enough to know what their strengths are and where they need help – and they then go and get that help.  Rick Goldring brought in a man with a strong understanding of organizational principles and an ability to see and understand the political realities that exist in Burlington.  He didn’t do the Mayor’s thinking for him but served as a solid sounding board for the Mayor.

McKeown’s job is now close to done – his time on the eighth floor is probably nearing an end.  There is no need to ask what the Mayor will do without Frank at his side; the transition that had to be made is now close to complete.

Goldring decided to run for the office of Mayor because he felt that his predecessor had developed a Council that was divisive and would only get worse.  It was perhaps an impulsive decision, we will never really know, but when Rick Goldring found he was Mayor, he dug down deep and did the job.

Rick Goldring may over time prove to be one of the best Mayors the city has ever had.  He is certainly a two term Mayor – would he serve for three ?


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Armed robbery at popular restaurant and break in at LCBO store – crime getting serious.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  November 3, 2011 Halton Police are really interested in talking to the three suspects that broke into a Liquor Control Board of Ontario store on Appleby Line at 4:48 in the morning.

The suspects used rocks to smash the front window and gain entry to the store and then grabbed about 70 bottles of assorted liquor, loaded it into a waiting truck and were gone before police arrived.  Typical smash and grab..

Thieves decided to stock up early on their Christmas Cheer - broke into LCBO and ran off with 70 bottles.

There is video surveillance that depicts three fully disguised suspects committing the break-in. All three suspects are believed to be male, at least one of which is a white male.

A few days later an employee of Bombay Chutney Restaurant, on Dundas Street in Burlington, was robbed of the day’s cash receipts.

The victim and two other employees had just closed the restaurant and all entered a vehicle that was parked out front. The employees were about to drive away, when the suspect appeared at the driver’s door. The suspect spoke to the driver (victim) indicating that he required some assistance with a broken down vehicle, but then told the victim that he had a gun and demanded money.

The victim refused to give up the money; however the suspect reached into the car and grabbed a bag containing the day’s receipts and fled.

There were no injuries and no gun was seen.

The suspect is described as:  Male, dark complexion, 5’7” – 5’9,” wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a mask covering a portion of his face, black pants and running shoes.

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

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Cover eight art studios in a single day, get to parts of the city you might not have seen before.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 2, 2011

The Art in Action celebrates it’s 9th  all day event (10:00 am to 5:00 pm) showing the work of accomplished artisans who have gathered in eight different studios about the city where their work can be viewed and if you’re taken with something, purchased.

Art in Action is an Non Profit organization created to assists artists as entrepreneurs and help them become self-sustaining.  The organization does this by encouraging a social community for artists within Burlington and the surrounding area. It provides an opportunity for artists to engage the wider community, as well as to provide exposure for the artists within the  community.

A piece of stained glass done by Teresa Seaton, one of the artists showing on the weekend.

A segmented wooden bowl done by George Wilkinson

The organization does this by organizing and promoting a weekend event within the community where participants can showcase their skills and work to the public in their own studio locations. The organization invites artists living and working in the community and surrounding areas to participate in this event for an annual fee.

Art in Action was started nine years ago by Peter Rose who at the time had a Bed&Breakfast on Plains Rd.  Peter has since moved to the Maritime’s but his idea held and today there is an organization that serves as a showcase for some very talented artists.  Co-chair Teresa Seaton commented that “we work like dogs to get this event and it works for both the community and the artists.

During their busiest year there were 36 artists showing at 12 locations but MS Seaton explains the Board decided to cut that back to never more than ten locations. “There just wasn’t enough time for a person to get to all of the locations – so we are holding at ten each year.


Eight locations to visit.. All within a very short drive.

The event gives you a chance to see the art work and talk to the artists.  The location of the studios can be found on the map.

Studio 1 will feature George Wilkinson, Wood Turner, Cheryl Laakes, Fibre Artist,, Don Graves, Fine Artist, .

Studio 2 is where you will be able to see the work of: Edward Robin Hoyer, Fine Artist, Heather Moore, Painter , Jeweller,,  Kristina Kirkwood, Sculptor,

Studio 3 will show the work of Helen Griffiths,  Fine Artist,   Silvana Terry, Jeweller,, Teresa Seaton,  Stained Glass Artist, Don Dunnington, Photographer,

Studio 4 will feature photography done by Dan Jones, Fred Oliver and Glen Jones.

Studio 5 will feature Aubry Denomy, Sculptor,, and Nebojsa Jovanovic,  Fine Artist ,

Studio 6 will show the works of  Peter Schlotthauer , Artist Blacksmith,, Kristian Nesbitt, Printmaker,  Sue Gunter,  Painter / Jeweller ,

Studio 7 will feature Cheryl Miles Goldring,  Watercolourist,  905 632 1903.  Dave Lawson,  Photographer,  Julie Vanvugt,  Jeweller,, Tammy Hext, Fne Artist,,

Studio 8 will have work by Ian Cowling, Photographer –, Leanne Miller, Goldsmith,  Nancy McLean,  Fine Artist,, and Takanya Marsh, Textile Artist,

The weekend weather looks promising, the fall foliage has already delivered.  Map out your day and enjoy..


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Why is Burlington exporting municipal talent? Lamb is lost.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  November 1, 2011  –  When an editor writes: “That’s what we all look for in our municipal representatives”, you tend to lift your eyes and see who they are talking about.  In this instance they are talking about Burlington’s Joe Lamb, who sits as a Councillor on the Whitestone Municipal Council up in the Parry Sound part of the province. Lamb is reported to have told his council peers to hold off on pursuing a new $1.7 municipal building.  It was a welcome breath of common sense.

This is the part of the province Joe Lamb spends his free time in and where he sits on the municipal council. Why isn't he in Burlington?

The report, which appeared in “cottage Country” that  Joe passed on to us, goes on to say: “These are relatively trying times. Provincial and federal spending sprees the area took advantage off just 12 months ago have dried up. In fact, routine grants and growth initiatives from upper-level governments that have existed for more than a decade are dwindling. Austerity is replacing prosperity, and responsible governments are reacting by holding back.

“It’s time to plan, to seek reasonable and realistic architectural drawings for a new fire hall and municipal building that’s not too big, but not too small.  It’s time to lobby behind the scenes and in public for that provincial and federal funding, and create community enthusiasm.

“Eventually, with constant pressure, purse strings will open up, community support will grow, and Whitestone will have one, maybe two, new buildings to be proud of.

“In the meantime, residents can be proud of a council that shows restraint, doesn’t overspend in a rush of excitement or panic, and measures the pros and cons of temporary buildings, renovations and construction.

“We do not have community buy-in on this project. We do not have community support on this project,” said Lamb Tuesday. “There’s a short-term fix to this. (The fire department) thinks they need a bigger building – and they probably do – but I think the fire department is willing to play ball with council on this one.”

That’s an awful lot of common sense and it comes from a Council member who lives in both Burlington and Whitestone.  We wondered why Joe sent this to us.  Is he positioning himself to run locally next time out?  Which ward does Lamb live in?


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Get the creative juices flowing; take in lunch, meet colleagues you`ve not seen and get a sense of the pace of business.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 31, 2011  It`s business, paying the bills, trying to keep the wolves from the door and see something in the way of a profit at the end of the year.  Just business?  It doesn`t quite work that way.  Every day a retailer, a supermarket manager, an advertising executive – even accountants and lawyers, look for ways to be more creative in the way they offer and deliver their services and work at differentiating themselves from the other guy.  Those ideas just don`t fall off the back of a truck.

It is how one can go about generating the creative idea, the significantly different promotional idea – 10% off just doesn`t cut it anymore – not when you`re up against a WagJag offer of 65% off.  When your competitor does something like that he`s stealing your lunch and going hungry at the same time.

So where do the new creative ideas come from?  What do you do to get the creative juices flowing ?  Gerry Visca is going to talk to business people at the Mayor’s Networking Luncheon Series, Connect-Collaborate-Create, put on by the Burlington Economic Development Corporation this Thursday, November 3rd, at the Burlington Convention Centre.  Visca`s presentation will focus on  unleashing your creative potential.  Gerry engages the audience with his 10 creative laws designed to help teams reach a new level of magnificence.  An inspirational delivery on how to uncover your company’s unique ability and stand out in the marketplace.

Gerry Visca has launched more than 1000 promotional campaigns and will get your creative juices flowing.

Cultivating creativity in business uses the power of creativity and collaboration to strengthen innovation.  In this presentation, Gerry masterfully combines insightful case studies featuring some of the top innovative companies and their unique approach towards driving innovation.   Gerry engages the audience to push the envelope as to what is possible for them and uncover innovation within multiple levels of their organization by cultivating a creative and collaborative internal culture.

As the President of Redchair Branding, Gerry Visca is regarded internationally as Canada’s Creative Coach and creatively inspires people and ideas to action. Gerry Visca is one of the most diversified Creative Directors in Canada with over 15 years of experience:

Visca was originally trained and educated in architecture.  In 1999 he moved into selling ideas and the potential an idea has to significantly change the way a company attracts, engages and interacts with its clients.. Visca has launched over 1,000 marketing campaigns and captured several international branding awards. He has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs and made several TV appearances including CBC Fortune Hunters and is also being considered as a new TV show co-host.

Every business, every business leader needs to get the creative juices refreshed.  Taking in events like this are cheaper than buying a couple of books you probably won`t finish reading.  Lunch and a chance to pick up some ideas and meet with colleagues you`ve not seen for awhile – $65.  Tough deal to beat.  Register at

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Not on the auction block yet. Paletta Mansion is going to be given a new business model to stop the financial bleeding.

By Staff

It`s still there –and we`re still losing money on the place. There have been responses to the document the city put out asking for Expressions of Interest on the Paletta Mansion site off Lakeshore Road in the eastern part of the city.

The arrangement the city had for the operation of the site, a location for small conferences and weddings, was less than an ideal situation for the city.  On a closer look at the financial reports, the city found that Geraldo’s, at the LaSalle Pavilion, was making a profit but that Paletta was losing money.  However, because of the way the financial reports were put out the loss of one operation was buried in the numbers.  With those numbers now shown separately, the city realized that something had to be done at Paletta, and that resulted in advertisements asking for expressions of interest on what to do with the place.

It took time and a lot of money to get the property back to its original sate. It is now one of the most impressive examples of its era - and it's losing money every month.

Dating back to 1806 the land was owned by Canadian legend Laura Secord. The British Government in a lottery awarded her the land. Secord later sold the property and may not have even visited the site.  It is not clear what the lottery was and if it had any connection with Laura Secord`s heroic trek through woods at Queenstown to warn the British of an impending American plan to attack at Beaver Dam.  With the warning the British were able to repel the attack.  Laura Secord never actually did anything with the property, she may never have even visited the site.

Between the years of 1810 through 1912 the land changed hands many times until in 1912 two men bought it by the names of Cyrus Albert Birge and William Delos Flatt.  Birge was a  renowned industrialist, who played a large role in the industrial development of Hamilton as it moved to becoming a major North American steel producing city.  Birge’s company, Canadian Screw Company, was one of the five merged in 1910 to form steel giant Stelco.

Cyrus had a daughter named Edythe Merriam Birge. It was Edythe that built the house somewhere between 1929 and 1931, after her father had passed on.  That would have been in the middle of the Depression when all kinds of labour would have been available and building supplies on the market at very advantageous process.  This suggests there was a very sizable Birge estate.

It was Paletta family money that made it possible for the city to purchase the property and renovate it to its original state.

Edythe married a man by the name of James John MacKay and together they had a daughter who they named Dorothy. James died in 1959 and not to long after in 1960 Edythe also passed on leaving the house and the grounds to their daughter Dorothy who married a man by the name of John Wallace McNichol. This is why it was known for many years as the McNichol Estate.

Burlington and Hamilton had a strong connection dating back to the early 1900’s, when Burlington was the summer destination for many affluent citizens of Hamilton. Birge and his friends used the property to hunt on.  It wasn`t until Birge`s estate passed into the hands of his daughter that any development was done on the property.  The daughter Dorothy made up for lost time by building a sprawling four storey mansion.

The MacKay’s originally used the estate as their summer home. It stands on an exquisite 14 acre lakefront property rightly called “the jewel in the crown” of the Burlington waterfront.  .  Dorothy passed away in 1987 and her children sold the property to the city 1990.

By that time the property was in a sad state of disrepair and was boarded up.

There was a time when the mansion had to be boarded up while waiting for renovations to be made to a site that was much in need of repairs.

It took a number of years for the city to figure out what they wanted to do with the property – the purchase at the time was to keep it out of the hands of developers.  At one point it looked as if the city was going to put together an agreement with the Niagara Institute, which at that time was in the business of offering corporate executive development courses to senior executives.  The city wasn`t able to conclude an agreement.  With the property deteriorating the city turned to a wealthy benefactor Pat Paletta who wrote what is believed to be a $2 million cheque that paid for the costs of the renovations with the provison that the name Paletta be put on the property.

The city clearly didn`t have the financial smarts the Paletta`s have and is now looking for someone willing to take on the location and make it a paying proposition.

The site  is the only truly historic property left in Burlington and owned by the city to which the public has access.  The bird watching people maintain that Paletta is one of the best sites in the city.

As nice as it is – no one has yet been able to find a niche for the place.  The park has four heritage buildings (the Mansion, the Orientation Centre and Loft, the Art and Environment Study Centre, and the Dollhouse) on the property.

The property’s mansion ranks among the finest representations of great estate homes designed and built in Burlington in the two decades between 1912 and 1932, and was the last of its kind and quality to be built in Burlington.

The sun room at the rear of the building was in terrible shape - it took significant private money to get the building to where it was in its prime. Renovations were completed in 2000.

The 10 acre Discovery Trail features a flood plain that is one of the only natural areas of its kind remaining along the Halton shoreline of Lake Ontario. The wetland area on the park attracts migratory birds because of the protection, cover and food supply provided.

The gatehouse has been magnificently restored as The Art and Environment Study Centre. The centre boasts a welcome centre, a community gallery space and a studio loft. Currently, selected prints of world renowned environmental artist Robert Bateman are on display. The loft, an open concept studio space, provides a classroom venue for an array of program activities.

The property began to get very run down and with no one using it – plywood was placed over the windows and rot began to set in.  Restoration on the mansion began in April 2000.

The site features three other buildings: a gatehouse built circa 1912 which has been redesigned to serve as a small art studio and display area; a dollhouse, the only known heritage children’s playhouse in Burlington; and one of the last remaining stables in urban Burlington. The two-storey barn and stable has been converted into an educational loft. Youth camps, art classes and environmental workshops will be held here.

Preserving the natural habitat and landscape was a top priority for the city and the residents in the immediate community.  Shoreacres Creek runs through the 14-acre property, featuring a flood plain that is one of the only natural areas of its kind remaining along the Halton shoreline of Lake Ontario.

As rich as the pedigree of the property is – the city decided it couldn’t just let the place continue to lose money and provide little value to the taxpayers who foot the bill for the property.  The property needs a new mission and a new vision – the city is now going through the expressions of interest to see just what might be possible.

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn said at a recent council committee meeting that no one proposal offered a solution, but that amongst the proposals there appeared to be enough to cobble together a purpose for the site that would stop the financial hemorrhaging.

Burlington now has two historical sites to deal with: The Paletta Mansion and the Freeman Station.  There is every possibility that the Paletta gift has some codicils in it that prevent the city from doing anything they want with the site.

Perhaps the city will find itself having to develop a program for preserving and maintaining historic sites in the city.  At a public meeting, scheduled for November 19th at Mainway Arena, the city will attempt to answer the very real and noisy concerns of property owners who don`t want the historic site designations that have been placed on their houses.

Why does Burlington have this aversion to recognizing its history?


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Looking for your Council member ? Want to see the Mayor ? They`re busy hiring our next city Manager.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 31, 2011  It`s going to be a little tougher to get through to your Council member during the month of November.  They will be meeting at an off-site location (a local hotel) to interview prospective candidates for the job of City Manager.

A usually reliable source, who sits around the horse table,  says there are some very good candidates – not quite sure how this Council member knew that before the closing date for applications – but the person did.

There is one known candidate from within city hall staff interested in the job.  Current acting city manager and full time General Manager, Community Services, Scott Stewart has indicated his interest and got his resume in before the deadline.  Stewart hails from Hamilton where he honed his management skills;  and if you can manage staff and council members in Hamilton, you can manage anywhere.   Stewart has a very direct approach to tasks.  To paraphrase the man – he will say: `Ya know what has to be done, so just do it.  If you don`t know –ask, and I’ll make sure you know”.  Stewart is not big on holding hands.  He tends to get things done and in the past year we have seen his handiwork in a number of areas – most tellingly The Pier.

Scott Stewart, the only known candidate for the job of City Manager from within city hall, brings a brisk, sometimes brusk approach to his job as General Manager Community Services where he gets things done.

Stewart will never get a job as a diplomat, but he will get the job done and knows how to develop staff.  He can spot the winners and he isn`t shy about placing a bet on someone he believes needs just a little nurturing.  He has a great sense of humour, knows how to have fun and really believes the Maple Leafs can win the Stanley Cup.  That belief could handicap his job application.

There is also a staffer whom many thought was sure to go after the job but he has made it very, very clear that he is not in the running.  The  “no I am not interested in the job”  is Frank McKeown, who currently serves as the Mayor`s right hand man.  McKeown has been with the mayor since the beginning of this term and is responsible for much of the growth the Mayor has shown as he transitioned from a ward councillor (Ward 5) to Mayor.  Goldring is much more of a Mayor today than he was the week he was sworn in.

While many felt Frank McKeown would be a first rate City Manager, they didn’t know the man when they made those comments.  McKeown is a project person and an immensely successful serial start-up entrepreneur.  He works best at situations where there is a clear objective and a goal in sight.  Give Frank McKeown those two things and you`ve got the equivalent of a pit bull on your hands.  The long arduous meetings filled with a lot of silly talk – that ain`t Frank.  So he will not be the next city manager.  He may not be with the Mayor that long either.  Frank`s job is done – and it has been done very well.

There will perhaps as many as a dozen people who apply for the job.  Burlington is a good city to live in; a great place to work and the money is good (above $200,000 a year plus perks). The challenges the city faces are exciting..  There are some problems but the city has all the resources it needs to meet the challenges.

The City Manager is the most important person a Mayor has to work with at City Hall.  It is vital that the Mayor and the City Manager be singing from the same song sheet; that the City Manager understand the vision the Mayor and his Council have and is fully behind all the objectives the Council has set out.   Burlington is about to officially pass its Strategic Plan – which is a useful tool for an incoming City Manager.  That document, the best this city has produced in some time, will be read several times by all of the job applicants and if they are truly aligned with its contents – then they deserve serious consideration.  Stewart was a part of the team that crafted the document.

A couple of reliable sources advise that the first round of interviewing will be wrapped up well before the end of November with round two taking place in December and a decision perhaps as early as mid-December.  There just might be a candidate that is so sterling; one that just jumps out as THE person for this city.  Should that be the case – the city just might direct the recruiting firm they outsourced the hiring to – to make a job offer.

Every member of city council was interviewed by the recruiting firm as well as members of the city`s executive committee to determine just what they each felt Burlington needed in the way of a city Manager.  Those interviews produced a protocol, which is basically the job description for the new city manager.  You can read that document here.

Tim Dobbie, Burlington's third city manager, worked exceptionally well with then Mayor Rob MacIsaac but left the job at about the same time McIsaac found what he thought were greener pastures at MetroLinx. Dobbie now works as a consultant.

Former Mayor Rob MacIsaac had Tim Dobbie as his City Manager – they worked like a tag team of wrestlers but it was always clear that the Mayor was always calling the shots – Dobbie just did his bidding and at times that wasn`t always easy.  Dobbie left the job for health reasons and the city had hired a new city manager, Roman Martiuk, before the 2006 Mayor, Cam Jackson, took office.  Jackson and Martiuk never saw eye to eye.  The Mayor came from a Queen`s Park environment where as a Minister he could do whatever he wanted – all he had to do was clear it with the Premier and fellow cabinet members and then direct deputy ministers to carry out the plans.

Roman Martiuk former Burlington City Manager, was often described as someone who thought he was the smartest man in the room - quite often he was and many people couldn't deal with that.

Martiuk came from a solid municipal background and had great difficulty accommodating a Mayor who didn’t really understand the way municipalities worked.  One Council member referred to Jackson as a Mayor who thought he was a Premier.  Needless to say it didn`t work out for either Jackson or Martiuk, who may have thought life was going to be easier when Goldring defeated Jackson as Mayor.  While Goldring was part of the Council that hired Martiuk and should have known what he had to work with when he became Mayor, it didn`t take Goldring long to realize that a Martiuk-Goldring team wasn`t going to materialize either.

Goldring should have had some sense, even as just a Council member, as to how Martiuk managed things.  The learning curve for the new mayor was steep and it was tough going for him in the first 45 days, but he found his footing and with McKeown at his side he grew into the job.  There were some nasty, tasteless comments about Goldring’s reliance on McKeown, made by people on staff, who should have known better. It wasn`t dependence, it was a wise move by a man who found himself with a job he wasn`t fully prepared for and knew enough to bring in the support he needed.

When Council learned early in its first term that the city had a surplus of more than $9 million that they had not been warned about – Goldring, with the aid of McKeown, saw faint words written on the wall and over time those words became clearer.  During the several staff/council Strategic Plan meetings the differences between Council and the City Manager  became clearer.  At that point Martiuk’s days were numbered.   Martiuk, who is no stranger to city hall politics, decided to find out just where he stood and met with the Mayor to review.  That review meeting ended up with Martiuk deciding to “step aside”  then rather than face a full scale review of his contract with city council.  That allowed council to look for a city manager more attuned to the style of the new team.



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Getting tough to be a thief in Burlington. Police snatch two in serial thefts at Burlington Wal-Mart locations.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  October 31, 2011  Loss Prevention Staff pounced on two thieves at the Wal-Mart store on Fairview Street yesterday at 5:30 p.m.

The lone male suspect was caught outside the store with approximately $560 worth of stolen merchandise stuffed into a shopping bag. Police were brought in and further investigation revealed an accomplice, and the discovery of a parked vehicle belonging to the suspects.  The vehicle was loaded with additional stolen property.

Retail store cameras catch every move a thief makes - they see you even if you're not a thief

The same two suspects were already being investigated for another Wal-Mart theft that occurred on October 15th at the Dundas Street location in Burlington. In that incident the suspects loaded up two shopping bags with shaving razors and blades totaling $6000.

Two from Toronto were charged with multiple offences:

Steven BENNETT, 38 years, of Toronto has been charged with Theft Over $5000;  Theft Under $5000 and possession of Stolen Property Under $5000  They got this guy coming and going – look for some plea bargaining on this one.

Hali SNOW, 32 years, also of Toronto has been charged with theft Over $5000., theft under $5000., possession of Stolen Property Under $5000 and fail to comply with a Probation Order (two counts)  Ms Snow is clearly not a nice lady.

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These robbers weren’t amateurs – Break and Enter at electronics store results in $30,000 heist.

By Staff

 BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  – On October 20th at 10:36 p.m. Halton Police got an alarm call from the Future Shop, 3060 Davidson Court, Burlington.  Thieves had broken into a vacant store next to the electronics store, broken through the wall and began stealing.

Suspects stole approximately $30, 000 in electronics, including Apple iPads (second generation), BlackBerry Playbooks, and Beats by Dr Dre headphones.

The following suspect descriptions were acquired from surveillance video footage:


Safe, confidential place to help keep your community crime free.

Suspect 1 – Male, wearing a blue jacket with a white vertical stripe on the arms, black hooded sweater with the hood up, jeans, and gloves.

Suspect 2 – Male, white, mid to late 40’s, dark hair, wearing a black baseball hat, black coat, white running shoes, dark pants carrying a hockey bag,

Suspect 3 – Male, white, wearing a dark jacket, dark jeans, dark shoes, carrying a hockey bag.

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


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Parking – Craven says you will never satisfy everyone. Is overnight street parking coming ?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 29, 2011  In Burlington – you don’t get to park overnight on the streets and according to Councillors Dennison and Lancaster – that’s the way Burlington wants it.  Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward thinks the city should look at extending the amount of time people can park on a residential street at night, at least on the downtown streets, and asked her fellow council members to support her request for a Staff Direction that would look into the problem.

Council members can ask city hall Staff to look into a problem and report back to a Council committee with ideas and options.  Any council member can put forward a staff direction but they have to get their fellow council members to go along with the idea.  Frequently, the council member will work with Staff to craft the wording for the direction – and so it was on Wednesday Councillor Meed Ward put forward a Staff Direction that would look into various options to allow residential parking in the downtown core – which no one actually defined at the meeting but everyone seemed to know what it was.

The Staff Direction went as follows:

Does Burlington want on street parking 24 hoiurs a day? What about those who just don't have the off-street parking they need?

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to bring forward a proposed study scope, public participation process and budget as part of the 2012 current budget process to examine the feasibility on increasing Burlington’s 3-hr on-street parking limit between Friday evening to Monday morning, on select streets, to accommodate visitors; and

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to include in the evaluation of extended on-street parking duration, the pros and cons of changing the time limit, including the criteria for assessing which streets should be included or excluded, hours covered, experiences of surrounding municipalities with similar by-laws, and other matters staff feel are pertinent to the decision-making.  (Councillor Meed Ward) (CC-15-11)

Councillor Taylor pointed out that parking on residential streets had not been looked at for the last three terms of council so “perhaps it is time to review the three hour parking limit on residential streets”.

Taylor however wanted to know what it was going to cost to get the outline for a study put together and when he heard “about $7500.00” he relaxed.  The Direction went through a number of changes before it got to this point. And it was during this process that one could see the different views of what kind of a city the individual council members want Burlington to be.

Meed Ward talked of her time in Toronto where people paved parts of their front lawn to park on, or bought a permit that let them park on the street.  She saw this as part of urban living – just what you had to do if you had a car and needed place to park the thing.

As the comment and debate went around the horseshoe there were suggestions that people be able to park in the public parking lots overnight or in those lots next to parks.  Nope – that wasn’t possible – those lots had to be plowed when there was snow and the cars would get in the way.

Councillor Taylor said he wasn’t on for this kind of parking.  “Nefarious things happen in cars that use those parking lots” he opined – which led his fellow councillors to much mirth and the question: “Was he speaking from experience” to which the jolly council member mumbled something about that “being a long time ago”.

Councillor Dennison wasn’t on for overnight parking either.  He just didn’t want to see cars on any Burlington  residential streets overnight.

Councillor Lancaster didn’t want cars on the street overnight either. “We’re not Hamilton” she explained. “I don’t want to go there.”

Dennison and Lancaster were speaking for the older more sedate Burlington that has a view of itself as very different than Hamilton.

Councillor Sharman didn’t have a viewpoint he wanted to put forward other than to say that parking was a “horrendous” problem for people in his ward.

Councillor Craven came up with the most striking comment when he said that parking arrangements amounts to a “fragile balance”.  “When you upset the balance all you do is change who is complaining.”  That’s the kind of wisdom that comes being on Council for more than ten years.

There are a number of parking programs that are available for those situations where a resident has relatives or friends staying with them for a couple of weeks – they can get a 15 day permit.  These would apply to situations where a driveway is being repaired or renovations are being done on a house.  You can get one 15 day permit per vehicle – per year, which means you’re kind of stuck if your renovation takes more than 15 days.

While Council members debate residential parking in the city the Burlington Downtown Business Association is coming to Council with a report developed for the Downtown Parking Committee – that report is due to be released early in November for discussion at a meeting November 16th.

All this discussion around parking – what happened to the cutting back on the use of cars; getting everyone on either a bus or a bicycle? Meed Ward made the comment that Burlington was in a state of “transition” between our reliance on cars and the move to public transit.

Viewpoints can get pretty ugly. We are going to hear many different opinions on street parking.

Meed Ward pointed out that there is “an opportunity to ‘repurpose’ and ‘recycle’ the asphalt we have for parking.  It was a cute phrase and would go down well with the environmentalists but Burlington isn’t going to buy that one.  Our environmentalism gets limited to the Escarpment.

Burlington, like many Ontario municipalities has had a 3 hour limit for the past 20 years.  Behind that regulation was a policy to encourage residents to provide off street parking for the number of vehicles they own; to allow road maintenance and snow removal as well as the collection of residential garbage.  It would also control the problem of derelict vehicles and result in clear and uncluttered streets.

The city does have a policy that would accommodate on street parking if enough people in a block petition for it.  No one was sure what the policy was – other than Councillor Taylor who knew that it had a name with a lot of  SS’s in it.  That policy was approved in 2001 and amended in 2003.  Called the NOSSP – Neighbourhood on-Street Parking Program – allows a minimum group of 10 residents (both sides of the street) or an entire street block to apply for extended on-street parking.

Any “parking zone” within the city may apply by picking up a package from parking services.  A minimum of 75% support must be obtained within the designated zone in order to qualify.  There are three different categories of NOSSO’s:

Category 1:  weekends only which would be from Friday at 6:00 pm to Sunday at midnight

Category 2: 7 days a week, 24 hrs. a day.  This one is to accommodate residents who are faced with inadequate off-street parking.  In order to get this category residents must demonstrate to city hall staff that a problem exists.  City hall defines inadequate as “1 or less spaces designated for off-street parking”.  That seems like a very limiting definition – you might want to talk to people at the parking department about that one.

Category 3: Overnight which would allow parking on the street from 1 am to 6 am and to get this you must be able to demonstrate inadequate off-street parking facilities exist – which means 1 or less spaces designated for off-street parking

You can get an information package by clicking here.

You can get what the city calls a resident survey form by clicking here and you can also get the Designated Street Representative check list by clicking here.

This is your tax dollars at work.

The Staff Direction calls for an outline for a study that will gather facts, inform and consult with citizens and come back to Committee with a list of options.  This one will be contentious.

On street parking makes for a much different city. But one needs a car to get around Burlington - what are the other options. City council is going to revisit their parking policies.

Programs like NOSPP meet needs – some of which are created by your council when they approve building projects that have inadequate parking space to begin with.  Your Council is caught between the realization that we need to cut down on the use of fossil fuels if we are to do anything about global warming, and the fact that you need a car if you are going to live in Burlington.

The city was built during a time when land and gas were cheap.  The city has yet to come up with policies that will result in a transit system that works adequately.  A former Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson,  is going to be in Burlington in the middle of November for a book reading.  The social class that wants to hear what she has to say is just not going to take transit from their homes south of New Street out to the Royal Botanical Gardens on a cold winter’s day.  And I just can’t see this crowd sharing a taxi from their condo’s on Lakeshore out to the RBG.

We have some distance to go on policy development and coming to terms with the reality we face before we really resolve the transportation problem.  It’s about a lot more than parking on the streets overnight.


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Confusing crime scene and Crime Stoppers information that doesn’t add up.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 27, 2011  This is an odd one.  Sometime last week unknown suspect(s) smashed the front glass door to gain entry to A1 Transmission located on 4179 Harvester Road. It appears that the lobby and the office were entered, however no items were disturbed. Total loss of the damage glass door is valued at $300.

Here is what is odd about this: – the break in took place sometime between 1:30 p.m.  and 8 p.m. on October 22nd, a Saturday – in the afternoon to early evening.

Wouldn’t the shop have been open at that time?

Fuzzy information on this Crime Stopper request for help.

The police report says that shortly after the break and enter, (hold it – they have the time as between 1:30 pm and 8:00 pm – confusing) a small modified blue Honda car was observed exiting the driveway at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was last seen travelling westbound on Harvester Road.

The whole story obviously isn’t here – but if you know something both Crime Stoppers and the police would appreciate your help.

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 or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

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The little piggies will not be going to the same market – Maple Leaf pulls the plug on Burlington, will Fearman’s take their space?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 24, 2011  Maple Leaf Foods announced yesterday that they are going to close the Burlington distribution and refrigeration plant on Harvester Road sometime  2013, which will mean the expected loss of 87 jobs.

Maple Leaf announced at the same time a massive expansion into the Red Valley Business Park in Hamilton where more than 1,500 jobs will be created. The announcement of the Hamilton move just may be the beginning of a stretch of economic growth that Hamilton needs if it is every going to shed its steel manufacturing industrial base.

Given that Burlington has had a working relationship with Maple Leaf Foods for some time one wonders if this city was ever in the game for the expansion?  We certainly have the land and the Paletta people do know how to take advantage of an opportunity.

Hamilton did have a leg up on this one with the Canada Bread operation also being set up in the Hamilton community as well.  The municipal taxes on the meat processing plant will amount to $2 million annually.

The Maple Leaf announcement was brought about by that city’s Economic development department which is an in house operation.  The Burlington Economic Development Corporation is an arms length organization that has council representation on it.

A 150 year old corporation that plays a significant role in the Burlington economy. Should a slughterhiuse be in this location?

There are some who feel that there is a bit of a silver lining in the announcement for Burlington and that is Fearman’s could take up the Maple Leaf Foods space which is immediately adjacent to their property on Harvester Road abutting the Applyby GO station.  The question for the city is – does Burlington really want a slaughter house right in the middle of an industrial part of town and next to a GO station?

Burlington will begin reviewing its Official Plan in 2012 and that question is sure to be asked.  The Strategic Plan, that city council will pass within a week, sheds no light on industry specifics, but does talk about prosperity and those elusive high tech, high paying jobs.  Nothing high tech or high paying about a slaughterhouse; but without them, bacon and eggs, and a ham at Easter won’t happen.

The F.W. Fearman’s brand is over 150 years old. So, it’s not only the oldest continuously operating pork processing plant in Canada, but also the first of its kind in the country. It was established in 1852, in Hamilton, Ontario, by F.W. Fearman, a dealer in sugar-cured hams and smoked meats.

Fearman’s sits on a site immediately to the west of the Maple Leaf plant and were the object of one of the more misdirected protests the city has seen in some time.  Nearly 20 Toronto Pig Save supporters picketed the Fearman plant early in October. “We’re talking about how animals are inhumanely treated,” said Patti Blersch. “I live in Burlington and one of Ontario’s largest slaughterhouses is down the street.”

Blersch wore a pink pig costume while protesters also spread their message with signs, pamphlets, a megaphone and video-audio display. They plan more protests in Burlington, said one of the animal rights group’s founders. She claims 8,000-9,000 pigs are killed each working day at Fearman’s.

Fearman’s is  an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Boca Roton, Florida hedge fund that has recently provided significant amounts for the upgrading of plant and equipment at the Burlington location.

Obviously a major hydro user and also a company that is well funded and in a postion to grow their operation if the market demand is there.

“The Ontario pork processing business is an impressive facility with significant potential to increase production levels. We are fully committed to growing the business, bringing our investment experience in the food processing industry to bear, working closely with hog suppliers and serving the markets with top-quality products. We believe there is opportunity to further expand into international markets and build out the company’s market share for specialty and value-added products,” said Anthony Polazzi, Principal at Sun Capital Partners. “Maple Leaf Foods will continue to be an important customer as we move forward.”

“This sale will complete the transformation of our fresh pork operations to focus our growth on branded, consumer-focused prepared meats and meals business,” said Michael Vels, Chief Financial Officer of Maple Leaf Foods. “We are very pleased to have secured a buyer who will continue to operate the facility, providing ongoing employment to a highly skilled workforce, and an important market for Ontario’s hog producers.”

Sun Capital has approximately $8 billion of capital under management and often bridges the entire purchase price at closing, raising permanent debt financing afterwards.

The company targets companies with up to $5 billion or more of revenues, but many of the transactions are with businesses with sales between $50 million and $500 million. A staff of approximately 150 people and a decisive approach to business enables them to close deals within 30 days compared to three to six months for most other buyers. Appropriate acquisition and investment targets may include private businesses, divisions of larger companies, and publicly-traded companies.

Fearman’s is clearly owned by people with very deep pockets – so buying up the Maple Leaf plant is not a financial problem.  A reliable source in Burlington’s financial community suspects conversations between the two are already taking place.  Should that happen – the jobs lost through the Maple Leaf closing would be more than made up with a Fearman’s expansion.


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City turns the Performing Arts Centre over to the community and serves cupcakes to keep everyone happy.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 23, 2012   It was a lovely fall afternoon; people were out and about – and hundreds, close to 1000 actually gathered at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre to walk around the place and kick the tires and look into every nook and cranny they could find.  Few if any were disappointed.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band took over the Family Room of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre the day the city turned the building over to the community.

There was a festive sense to the day – all the politicians were there but all they were able to do was say hello to people they knew and to people who wanted to know them.

Mayor Rick Goldring was very much the man of the moment even though the building that was being handed over symbolically to the Burlington Theatre Board got its genesis from two men who asked the right question and motivated people to begin something that resulted in the building we have today that sits on a site that used to house the city`s police station.

Babies and politicians - something magnetic about the two. Here Burlington MP Mike Wallace greets a little one. Some day that child will vote..

One citizen, pushing his Mother in a wheelchair wanted to say hello to the Mayor and did so – the Mother had a shamrock pin in the lapel of her jacket which the Mayor picked up on and asked is she was Irish – she was Irish and the conversation was amiable, the kind of thing that takes place at events like this – and then they asked – when the Pier was going to open – the Mayor just can`t get away from that one.  He now has an answer – sometime in 2013.

One couple mentioned that a restaurant north of the Centre was sold to the current owners by her Father. `That used to be where our orchard was`, she commented and her husband added Ì used to come to the police station that was on this site for my papers to be a volunteer.

Actors from Burlington Student Theatre were on hand for the turning over of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Everyone had a comment, hundreds picked up a cup cake or a cup of coffee and just milled around until the Burlington Teen Tour Band marched into the building through glass doors on the east side that opened up fully to the plaza.  And in they came – all the redcoats you would ever want to see in one place.  They played a couple of tunes and marched smartly out the building.  The Main Theatre has great sound and we now know that the Family Room has even greater sound.  The sound from those drums reverberated off the walls and just filled the large hall.

David Vollick, the Town Crier for Burlington did his first official gig for the city and read out the proclamation that had the symbolic key to the building placed in the hands of the Burlington Theatre Board president Allan Pearson.  Didn’t see Pearson turn over the $1. annual rent to the city – perhaps that cheque is in the mail.

Our Town Crier was at his very best – a full force voice boomed out as he read the proclamation.

“Oyez, Oyez, Oyez” he began.

“Citizens of Burlington draw near and bear witness to an historic event in the growth of our fair city.

Today we celebrate the beginning of a new era for comedy, tragedy, aye for theater in all its forms in our newest and most favourably furnished facility –

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

It was a proud day for former Mayor Walter Mulkewich, standing center with his hands in his pockets. The Centre has been a gleam in his eye for more than 20 years.

Mayor Goldring and his wife look on as the Burlington Teen Tour Band entertains hundreds in the family Room of the Centre.

The centre is a gift from the City of Burlington to all the citizens of our fair city. It will encourage local talent of both our performers and our technical producers and will draw performers from across the great Country of Canada, and also from the world at large — to grace its stage.

To mark the significance of this occasion His Worship –

Rick Goldring – The Mayor of Burlington, will present the Symbolic Key to the Performing Arts Center to Mr. Allan Pearson — Chairman of the Board of Directors.

I call forth His Worship Mayor Goldring”

And with that the Mayor came on stage and the transfer and presentation of the key began.  The building was now in the hands of the Burlington Theatre Board which is the organization that oversees the working of the staff at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.  But the building is still very much a people place..  With the Burlington Teen Tour Band having sort of blessed the place with its sound people were milling about as if they were on a village square meeting friends and chatting away.  The chatter and the exchanging of gossip was all part of the day.  Our Theatre had been launched and the people of the city were there to witness the event.

Sometime in December there will be a very fancy $400. a ticket event and then the Centre will move into its Christmas Season program.  The Nutcracker Suite has been sold out.  Stuart McLean’s The Vinyl Café was sold out and – an additional performance added and it too was sold out.  Both are tried and true events.  As we move into 2012 the staff at the Centre can begin to bring in more innovative programs and begin to stretch the artistic imaginations of the community.  Expect some birth pangs.

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Sakran is sanguine about his election loss – but he isn`t losing any sleep over it. Back at his law practice.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  He is in really great shape.  Jovial, animated and having fun.  Karmel Sakran didn’t want to lose the provincial election but – lose it he did and while he certainly isn’t saying no to another run – that’s not on today’s agenda.  “I went four months without an income and now I’m glad to be back to work doing what I was trained to do.”  He might have added that his wife and family get to see more of him these days.

For Karmel Sakran this all started back in November of 2010 when he got a call from the late John Boich.  “I was coming out of Cumis with a cheque for $92,000. for the United Way in my pocket and I was feeling great.  I was on Bluetooth and John Boich called and asked me if I would consider being the Liberal candidate in the 2011 election.  It came right out of the blue – I wasn’t even a member of the association.  I was kind of stunned – John had to ask me several times if I was still on the line.   I said that I would have to take some time to think about it – and I found that all I needed was a day.” I called John the next morning and said I would stand for nomination.”

Karmel making his views known to a Spectator reporter

As it turned out Sakran had a competitor for the nomination when Alyssa Brierley put her name forward but she withdrew shortly after when she was asked to run as the federal Liberal candidate against Mike Wallace.  Brierley ran a short vigorous campaign but lost to long time Burlington Conservative whose roots went back to municipal council.

As for Sakran – what’s next?  His time on the Hospital Board has come to end.  “The day I was nominated I was legally required to resign from the Hospital Board”, explained Sakran who was on the Board when that internal bit of hospital governance was passed.

“I’ll be seen more frequently at Rotary where I`ve been a member for a number of years.  I will hold my annual fund raiser – the Wills & Power of Attorney event I put on, so I`ll be busy.

We did our very best as a campaign and I`m proud of the team I was given to work with”, is the explanation Sakran gives for the loss.  A look at the numbers and it was evident that Burlington was not prepared to elect a Liberal provincially.  McKenna took every one of the advance polls – and while those numbers weren`t evident during the last few days of the election – they are an indicator of just how well the Conservative team did.  They got their vote out.

The Liberals also got their vote out – but the New Democrats got more of their vote out – a surprising 19.9% of the Burlington total went to the New Democrats – in the past their numbers were in the 5% (in the 2007 by-election) and 11% in the 2007 election.

No one really knows yet why the NDP did so well.  Walter Mulkewich, former Mayor of Burlington and chair of the NDP Finance Committee for their campaign,  will tell you that the NDP is back to where they have been historically.  Others think there was a distinct Layton factor in play.  The federal New Democrats took a very significant number of seats in Quebec during the federal election and basically wiped out the Parti Quebecois.  Shortly after the federal election Jack Layton died and many felt there was a sympathy vote that brought out NDP types in Burlington that had in the past gone to the Liberals.

The overall poor voter turnout didn’t help.  Because Burlington actually had a bit of a contest going,  the voter turnout was higher here than in the rest of the province.  For many it just wasn`t that exciting an election.  Andrea Horwath, the NDP leader brought some colour to the picture but other than that it had a bit of a boring cast to it.

Quite why elections have to be exciting and a real contest is beyond me.  That poor bugger who died in a mud filled trench in France trying to clear the mustard gas from his lungs didn`t sign up so that we could have exciting ‘elections.  But I digress – this is something that I get a little steamed about.  It`s not about partisan politics – it`s about a democratic process where a community chooses the best person it can find to represent that community in the Legislature.

As for Karmel Sakran – he is sanguine about the whole thing. “It was an amazing experience.  I loved every minute of it and I sure learned a lot.  Would I do it again – maybe.“

If you`re a community based organization and you are looking for some very experienced executive talent – Karmel Sakran is in the phone book – give him a call.


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Community party FREE! Big deal, it was also a very expensive deal and it is now up to you to make it work.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011 – A golden key, a silver bullet – something to commemorate the handing over of a building constructed for the Performing Arts – something brand new for Burlington.  That’s the schedule for Sunday afternoon – October 23rd.

Thousands of people put in a lot of time and large sums of their own money during the past 30 years, which was when the idea that the city should have a performing arts Centre.   One donation that is particularly poignant was the $60,000.+ donated by what was then Performing Arts, but renamed Creative Burlington who found recently they could not sustain themselves financially and had to cease regular operations.  They were one of the first groups to put up real cash – it has been that kind of selfless dedication that has resulted in the building the city is going to turn over to a non-profit corporation that will provide a level of entertainment generally not available to Burlington.

You are the owner - make some time to check out the property - get your face pained and enjoy a piece of cake.

We’ve done stories on the relationship between the various organizations before and will do more of them in the future – but this Sunday afternoon from mid-day to 4:00 pm in the afternoon the public is invited out to look the place over, get your face painted, enjoy a piece of cake, get your bum in a seat, and take in a small performance.  Basically just check the place out.

There will be tours through the building, many if not most, of the volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and show you around.

The Centre has a great bar – just not sure if it’s going to be open.  No one was sure if this was a city event and therefore their bar and Centre staff couldn’t get us an answer to that question in the hour we had.

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Black four door sedan – with a spoiler – do you know of one ? Police would like to hear from you.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  October 21, 2011  The police need your help in locating a vehicle that struck a 12-yr-old girl, at the intersection of Appleby Line and Lakeshore Road, Burlington early in October.

It was 4:30 pm. In the afternoon, the girl had just exited her school bus and was walking westbound across Appleby Line when a vehicle travelling west on Lakeshore Road, turned north onto Appleby Line and struck her.

The vehicle ran over the girl’s foot, causing her to fall to the ground and scrape one of her knees.  As a direct result of being struck, the girl sustained a fractured foot.

The driver of the vehicle stopped briefly, but subsequently left the scene prior to police arrival. The police are looking for a male, non-white, 45-55 years old, short black hair (spiky), wrinkly face, with a high-pitched voice.  The driver was wearing blue jeans and a jogging style ‘Adidas’ jacket.

The vehicle is a black, 4-door sedan, with a spoiler on back.

The driver of the vehicle knew what he had done – he could have and should have remained at the scene of the accident.  For failing to do so – he just may spend some of his time in a jail cell – that will only happen if he is apprehended – and that will only happen if you help.  Keep your streets safe – make the call if you know anyone who drives a black four dour sedan with a spoiler on the back.  Police will take it from there.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to contact Detective John Ophoven at 905 825-4747 x2307, or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222 TIPS(8477), the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crime).

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Great deal for children on HALOWEEN – Ireland House is going to become creepy

BURLINGTON, ON October 20, 2011 – Halloween can break the bank and there is more taking on the part of the kids than giving.  Burlington’s Ireland House has revived a program that is intended for smaller children and their families.

Takes place Sunday October 30st – beginning at noon and running through to 4 pm.  Small fee of $5. For the children and $2. for the adults.   Thrown in to make it a real deal is a pumpkin for everyone for as long as supplies last.

Lots of activities and crafts for children and adults! Pumpkin carving and painting! Make a magic potion, see special amulets and learn about herbs with The Witch (La Bonne Sorciere) in her creepy cabin!


Goblins and ghosts and the scary cabin at Ireland House - great entertainment for the young ones

Put on a brave face and find your way through our haunted woodshed!  March in a costume parade!  Enter our costume contest and win prizes! Make some supernatural creations with Mad Science!  See a breathtaking fire & ice show!  Have you fortune read in a crystal ball! Sink your fangs into delicious barbeque refreshments! Take in carnival style games & a Giant Maze! Live entertainment for children and adults including costumed belly-dancing instructions with Belly-up Dance Studio and other special attractions!

 Looks like a fun program:

 Storytelling with Child Proof: 12:30

Mad Science Fire & Ice Show: 1:15

Belly-Dancing Demonstrations & Lessons: 2:30

Costume Parade & Contest: 3:15

Crafts, activities, tours and other attractions all day!

 The house itself will be decorated for the Halloween season with a woodshed being set up for a special surprise as well as the cabin being put to interesting use.  We are told there will be “belly dancers” on the premises – that should ensure that Dad comes along with the kids for this event.

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