Totally free transit service for everyone?

By Pepper Parr

July 11th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Doug Brown – a transit advocate has something to smile about.

Totally free transit service for everyone?

That is the Staff Direction put forward by Councillor Sharman put on the table; he wants a report early in 2024.

Sharman is the last person many  thought would put forward a Staff Direction like this.

It has been the wish of Mayor Meed Ward for some time and it would be a huge win for the Bfast people who have been sterling advocates for better transit service.

Sharman has always been a data hawk – he wants to see a lot of data before doing anything.

 

 

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Mayor unable to Chair City Council meeting

By Pepper Parr

June 11th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in her city hall office

Councillor Stolte is Chairing the meeting of Council.

Mayor sent her regrets and advised that she would take part virtually “when she is able”

Unusual procedure.

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The public might hear a little bit more today about the Public Conduct Policy

By Pepper Parr

June 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council is meeting today to work through a 22 page agenda.

One of the items is Public Conduct Policy and Trespass Bylaw. .

The public first learned of the plans the city has to invoke the Trespass Act when it was on the agenda of the June 26th Standing Committee meeting agenda.

The standard practice is for an item on the agenda to be presented by a Staff member who explains what the report is about after which Council members can ask questions.

This particular report was not presented – no one spoke to it. It came from the Clerk’s Office – we learned later during the meeting that the report was written by a Staff member in the Legal department.

The public had no idea what the city administration was up to and how severe the restrictions were and how the city planned to clamp down on the matter of people harassing staff or speaking to them in an unacceptable mater.

The Mayor Tweeted a comment saying they were elected to serve – not to become punching bags.

In a draft of the Policy they begin to define what misbehaviour is.

The purpose of this policy is to guide City staff in identifying and responding to behaviour that qualifies as misconduct. The decision to classify someone’s behaviour or actions as misconduct could have serious consequences for the individual.

Steps that may be taken to address offending behaviour may range from the issuance of a verbal or written warning to the issuance of a Trespass Notice in accordance with the City’s Trespass By-law.

Any restrictions imposed under this policy are dependent on the relevant factual circumstances, and there is an opportunity for the affected individual to have any restrictions, including Trespass Notices, reviewed in accordance with the applicable procedures.

This policy applies to:

(a) all persons in attendance on or at any and all City of Burlington properties, facilities, or programs, including any City of Burlington transit vehicles; and
(b) all persons interacting with City of Burlington staff, volunteers, Members of Council, or members of the public in any manner, including, but not limited to, one or more of the following:

(i) public meetings;
(ii) written communications;
(iii) telephone communications;
(iv) in-person communications;
(v) electronic communications, including e-mail, text message, and social media;
(vi) at City owned property, parks, and facilities; and/or
(vii) at non-City owned property, when interacting with City staff.

Implementation
This policy will be followed in determining whether behaviour constitutes misconduct. Once it has been determined that misconduct has occurred, this policy will be followed in the implementation of any restrictions.

Definition and Examples of Misconduct
The term “misconduct” as utilized in this policy applies to a range of inappropriate behaviour from disruptive conduct, such as frequent unreasonable demands or requests by a customer, to conduct such as vandalism, threats of violence, or actual violence. For further clarity, misconduct includes:

Does the Policy make the point ?

• Conduct that is designed to embarrass or annoy the recipient, or is part of a pattern of conduct by an individual that amounts to an abuse of a City process or service;

Repeated complaints by an individual that have no serious purpose or value, or about a matter so trivial or meritless on its face that investigation would be disproportionate in terms of time and cost.
the decision to identify an individual’s behaviour as misconduct and to impose Examples of possible misconduct include:

• refusing to specify the grounds of a complaint or changing the basis of a complaint/request as the matter proceeds, despite offers of assistance;
• submitting falsified documents from themselves or others;
• making excessive demands on the time and resources of staff with lengthy phone calls, emails to numerous staff, or detailed letters every few days, and expecting immediate responses;
• refusing to accept a decision or information provided by staff/repeatedly arguing points with no new evidence;
• persistently approaching the City through different routes about the same issue;
• covertly recording meetings and conversations;
• causing distress to staff, volunteers, Members of Council, or members of the public which could include use of hostile, abusive, or offensive language, or an unreasonable fixation on an individual member of staff, volunteer, Member of Council, or member of the public;
• making unjustified complaints about staff, a volunteer, or Member of Council who are trying to deal with the issues;
• engaging in or inciting violence or making threats of violence;
• engaging in aggressive, harassing, hostile, intimidating or disrespectful behaviour;
• vandalizing or causing damage to City property or vandalizing or causing damage to the personal property of persons while attending City premises;
• using coarse language, or making racial or ethnic slurs, while accessing a City program, service, program, event or facility;
restrictions based upon that determination can have serious consequences for the individual.

An appropriate public response perhaps ?

This policy applies to members of the public whose behaviours and actions amount to misconduct; it is not intended to apply to generally difficult clients and individuals. Determining whether particular behaviours or actions qualify as misconduct requires a consideration of all of the circumstances of a particular case; the key question is whether the behaviour is likely to cause, or has caused, an unjustified disruption or distress to staff, volunteers, Members of Council, or members of the public.

If a Staff member, any staff member felt they were not being treated with the respect they were entitled to they could take a complaint to their Director.

If a citizen called people in a department seeking some information and felt they weren’t getting the full story and decided to call around and talk to other staff members. Here is how that gets covered:

• refusing to accept a decision or information provided by staff/repeatedly arguing points with no new evidence;
• persistently approaching the City through different routes about the same issue;

If someone uses a picture of a member of staff. Here is how that one is worded:
• photographing, filming or recording patrons, volunteers or staff without their express written consent or knowledge or without the permission of City staff;

Any Staff member can make a complaint to the Director of the department they work for. The Director listens and makes a determination that could ban them from attending events at city hall. If the person who has been WORD does not accept the Director’s decision it can be appealed to the Executive Director the Director reports to – but first you will have to pay a fee of $200 to be heard.

The document that sets out what this Public Conduct Policy and Trespass Bylaw 13 pages long. You can count on two hands the number of people who will have read that document on the city web site.

The city seems to have figured out how they will manage misbehaviour. Ban people from attending Council meetings or talking to staff.

What is more important is that the public has not been given a chance to hear how this Policy is going to be implemented and managed.

Expect the Gazette to report as often as possible on what the city is setting out to do.

Stephen White, an accredited Human Resources specialist and frequent commenter on public issues.

Stephen White a frequent commenter in the Gazette put it very well when he said:

“Gone are the days I suppose when, if someone was presumed to have uttered an offensive and defamatory comment that the offended and offending party would meet to resolve the issue in private. With the advent of social media anything goes, and defamation, slander, libel and threats run amok.

“That said, there is a quantum difference between defamation and offensive behaviour vs. constructive criticism, honest disagreement, and public opposition. The City seems overtly concerned with controlling the narrative and limiting free speech and free expression. This is probably part of the ESG/EDI agenda in which everyone is expected to quote WOKE missives, indulge in equity “happy talk”, and not express disapproval.

“City officials don’t comprehend that cognitive dissonance and honest disagreement are the trademarks of a thriving democracy. If City officials expended as much time and effort on promoting engagement with community groups as they do on silencing honest opposition we might actually have a more politically active populace rather than one where civic involvement is moribund, and the citizens are essentially kept in the dark.”

To get a sense as to just how silly this is: Realize that Spencer Smith Park is city property.

This is your city council. It is there to represent you and to ensure that you are getting the services you want at a tax rate that is reasonable and fair.

The budget that will be debated in the fall appears to be looking at an increase of 8% – some observers are predicting an increase of 10%.

The new policy replaces a policy that was due for a review in 2020. When the city finally got around to revising the bylaw “they try to ram it through without public input and Engagement. This is scandalous, was the way one reader described what is taking place..

Councillor Rory Nisan – the Councillor for ward 3 who lives in ward 2

Another citizen who is very familiar with how city administrations work said: “this one makes me nervous! And which people will be targeted? “

There is more – we will be watching the Council meeting very carefully – perhaps someone might even say something about the policy – so far no staff member has said is as much is as a word. Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Rory Nisan liked the policy and commented favourably.

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Does the Mayor not see herself when she says 'we’re not there for you to beat up on.'

By Pepper Parr

July 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Marianne Med Ward said in a tweet she sent out that had a graphic that included her picture saying:

Mayor Meed Word tweeting.

“We wanted to put in place some formal policies if there ever is another time where we have to ban somebody from City Hall.

“It has happened in the past; people who have engaged in offensive, abusive, sexist behaviour, harassing behaviour. You know, I like to tell folks we’re elected officials. We’re not punching bags. Our staff are not punching bags, we’re not there for you to beat up on.

“So we really do require and insist on a respectful workplace; doesn’t mean you have to agree with us, but it means you have to treat everyone with respect. In the past there have been limited but still some occasions where it’s been required to limit contact from some members of the public who would not behave.

“But we didn’t have a policy around you know, how do I get back? How long is this? You know, and that provides transparency accountability, not only for Individual in terms of our expectations but for the public so that’s what we did.”

I was stunned when I heard what the Mayor had to say.

The cheek, the gall; this was despicable behaviour.

We have published what the Mayor said and did to Stolte and we are re-publishing it again.

“We are not punching bags” she said, forgetting what she did to Councillor Shawna Stolte that was so offensive.

What is wrong with this woman?

How much longer is she going to embarrass herself and the citizens of the city. Meed Ward represents every citizen; when she steps forward to speak she is doing so on our behalf.

This is so embarrassing and so hypocritical.

The only way behaviour is changed is people letting her know that what she did to Stolte is not acceptable.

Was the Mayor having a bad day when she re-ordered the agenda of a Council meeting (which she had every right to do) ?

At the time she was attending the graduation of one of her daughters at Western University and chairing the Council meeting virtually.  One would have liked to think she would be bursting with pride as she watched her daughter step onto the stage and accept her degree.  Not our Mayor – she was focused on skewering a member of Council.  To what end?

Stolte had the strength to not be bullied by the Mayor and refused to bend to her will and instead left her seat in the Councillor Chamber.

She had the grace as well to return to her seat later in the meeting and apologized to the woman who felt she had been identified by a comment made by Stolte when she was interviewed by the Gazette.

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

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The Region of Halton 2023 Employment Survey is underway - the data is important - take part

By Staff

July 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Nothing in the Region will be able to open up – maybe next week.

The Region of Halton 2023 Employment Survey is underway!

The 2023 Employment Survey is underway until September 29. A team of Planning Employment Surveyors from the Region’s Planning Services Division will reach out to businesses across Halton to gather information about:

the number of employees working at the place of employment;
the type of employment that’s taking place there; and
the type of business activity at the place of employment.

To participate in the 2023 Employment Survey, you can:

Take our survey online: Complete the survey from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Speak to one of our Employment Surveyors: Our Planning Employment Surveyors will be contacting businesses in Halton until September 29, 2023. Businesses will be visited in-person, or contacted by phone or email using the contact information that was provided by the previous survey respondent at the business.

If you are unsure whether you are being contacted by a Planning Employment Surveyor from Halton Region, you can call 311 or 905-825-6000 to confirm their status as a Regional employee.

Alternatively, you may request to be contacted by email and our Planning Employment Surveyor will reach out to you using a verified Halton email address.

 

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Mayor now has to state why she didn’t use Strong Powers she now has but has said she would never use. Huh!

By Pepper Parr

July 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From the Mayor’s web site page:

In a public Council Information Package published on July 7, 2023, there is an item from our City Clerk breaking down the Strong Mayor Powers recently announced by the Province of Ontario.

Now we know just how much clout that Chain of Office has.

As part of these new tools, the City also has a new bylaw approval process. The Mayor has the ability to veto any new bylaws and as a result, if the Mayor does not exercise this veto, they must make a note stating so that would need to be signed.

The City Clerk’s memo notes: “This practice will allow staff to waive the two-day cooling off period, and action by-laws immediately. The written approval constitutes a decision of the Mayor and will be posted to the City’s Mayoral Decision webpage.”

Provincial legislation states the decisions made by the Mayor are captured in writing, and are to made publicly available. As part of this, staff have created a Mayoral Decisions webpage to support transparency in this process, and make the information accessible to the public. Staff will be updating this webpage as they receive Mayoral decisions. Link to Mayoral Decision Webpage: www.burlington.ca/mayoraldecisions

Since the rules dictate I must make a note in the event I do not exercise a veto to any new bylaw, you will begin seeing this reflected on the new City webpage created, starting after Council approves any new bylaws at our meeting next Tuesday (July 11).

Staff are also working on a report to present at the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability (CSSRA) Committee meeting on Sept. 11, 2023. The report will provide a fulsome review of the provincial legislation, how it will affect the City of Burlington, and further information on implementation.

This is all getting very very bureaucratic – never a good sign

 

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SIU to handle the investigation related to two who fell from a balcony on Ghent

By Staff

July 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating after two people fell from a Burlington apartment.

In the early morning hours on Saturday, Halton Regional Police said officers responded to a call for reports of a man with a firearm at an apartment building on Ghent Avenue.

The Special Investigations Unit invokes its mandate usual when there has been local police involvement when. More to this story than anyone is saying at this point.

Police provided limited details in their release, but said as a result of their investigation, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was contacted and will invoke its mandate.

A spokesperson for the SIU confirmed it is investigating after a man, 29, and a woman, 24, fell from an apartment balcony. The SIU said based on preliminary information, Halton police were called at about 10 p.m. on Friday.

When officers arrived at the apartment in relation to the 9-1-1 call about a man with a gun, the SIU said when they knocked on the door of the unit, nobody responded.

 

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Gregory Blount shares first place in the 18+ Library writing contest for Cooper Falls

By Staff

July 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Write Here. Write Now contest received an incredible number of entries this year—they doubled last year’s total!  The creators ranged in age from 10 all the way up to 93.

The Gazette is publishing the two winners in the short story 18+ category.  The first is below, the other will follow later in the week.

The winners in each category are:

Poetry

10-12: Kayla Gareau, Dream experts, Dream catchers, Dream chasers

13-17: Griffin Dekker, Beginning of an End

18+: Denny Williams, Reflections on pet ownership

Short Stories

10-12: Avery Parkes, Ali in Winterland

13-17: Mia Greene, Nefelibata

18+: Jennifer Filipowicz, The Swan and Gregory Blount, Cooper Falls

Comics

10-12: Brody Hanks, Muffinhead and Bagel-Brain

13-17: Ali Thompson, The Duck

18+: Dominique Bowler-Brown, Elephant Bones

Gregory Blount proves to be imaginative and quite a story teller.

Well worth a read.

Chief Librarian Lita Barrie explained that two of the short stories were so good they decided to make both winners.

The were certainly right.  The story reminds me of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Enjoy

It was a sunny June day. Russell Stewart and I were cutting through Memorial Park on our way home from the falls. As usual, I wasn’t feeling very sunny myself. There were two spots up at the river where a kid could test their courage, Chicken Run and Dead Man’s Bluff. Chicken Run was about ten feet over the water, and Dead Man’s Bluff, at the top of the falls, was about twenty-five feet high. Russell, a freckle faced redhead, wasn’t the only boy in town brave enough to run right off Dead Man’s Bluff, but he was the only one who could do it blindfolded. I, on the other hand, had never progressed past Chicken Run with my eyes wide open. I would sometimes crawl out along the slippery rocks of Dead Man’s Bluff, but one look into that dark green water far, far below with the roar of the falls drowning out all other sounds and I would start shaking so bad I’d have to crawl right back away from the edge. Russell was always pushing me to try things. Life was easy for him and he saw no good reason why it shouldn’t be easy for me too. We were opposites, but we were also best friends.

On our way home we passed the old cannon near the gazebo in the centre of Memorial park.

Russell stopped and made an announcement, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, for our final performance this afternoon we proudly present Sam Cooper, the Human Cannonball! He will astound you with his amazing 500-foot flight into this glass of water.’ He held out a pretend glass of water. ‘Sam, do you have any last words?’

‘Russell, this is silly, come on?’

‘Come on yourself! Need I remind you this is not Dead Man’s Bluff, Sam. Do you have any last words?’
I knew when I was beat and announced, ‘I would like to dedicate this feat to Mary-Anne McCovey the prettiest girl in the universe!’
Russell and I both had a major crush on Mary-Anne McCovey.

‘Dream on,’ said Russell, ‘and now observe ladies and gentlemen as the fearless Human Cannonball enters the cannon. Get in the cannon Sam.’

‘Come on Russell.’

‘Come on yourself Sam! Need I remind you that … ‘
‘ … this is not Dead Man’s Bluff,’ I finished. Okay.’

And I lowered myself into the cannon feet first.

And Russell pulled the lever.

Now one fact that neither of us was aware of at the time was that the park caretaker, Elroy Stubbs, had made no mistakes in his job these 25 years. Two days earlier, he was loading that very cannon for a 21-gun salute for Flag Day. Elroy carefully placed the charges in the cannon, ‘1, 2, 3,’ he counted; I want you to remember that last number, 3.
At that very moment, the Mayor of Cooper Falls, a round and soft young man by the name of Junior Follows (who incidentally was up for re-election that year) ceremoniously marched out to the cannon where Elroy was working to present him with his Error-Free Certificate.

“Elroy Stubbs,” the Mayor interrupted, “For 25 years of error-free service I hereby present you with this lovely certificate. I hope I can count on your vote, Elroy.” Whereupon, he handed the certificate over to the astonished Elroy, shook his hand and marched back to City Hall.

Elroy folded up the certificate, shoved it into his pocket, spit, and with a puzzled look on his face, resumed loading the cannon, ‘3, 4, 5, 6,’ etcetera.
The upshot of this was that after the ceremony was over, there was still one charge left in the cannon. And as I climbed in, and Russell pulled the lever to “pretend” fire the cannon there was an ear-shattering … BOOM!

Several things happened very quickly at this point. The dinner plate sized circle of blue sky that I was looking at out the end of the cannon was instantly replaced by a scenic view of Cooper Falls from about 300 feet up. My body was going quite a bit faster than my brain at this point. In fact my brain was still trying to work out how I could be seeing all this from inside a cannon.

As my body exited the muzzle of the cannon there was a loud THWACK as my clothing exploded. Singed articles of clothing drifted to the ground not more than ten feet from the end of the cannon, shirt, socks, sneakers, bathing suit.

Deafened, Russell froze on the spot with his hand on the lever, his mouth hanging open, and his red hair standing straight up. Then he looked into the barrel and saw nothing but a bit of smoke. He must have thought the clothes were all that was left of me. Then he high-tailed it, screaming, across the park to the police station where he commenced to blubbering something about shooting his friend. When it was obvious no one there understood a word he was saying, he grabbed one of the deputies, and with superhuman strength carried him kicking and screaming into the park.

By an extraordinary coincidence, three blocks away, the beautiful Mary-Anne McCovey was having a pool party. There were a dozen girls from our class sitting along the edge of her pool with their hands carefully placed on their thighs and stomachs, and so on, marking the furthest splash up to that point in the cannonball contest. Mary-Anne McCovey was standing on the diving board about to take her turn.

At about 500 feet, I felt a queasy sense of weightlessness. Time itself seemed to slow down. I began to fall.

That was when I learned something about myself that I hold dear to this very day. I did not scream hysterically, and my life did not pass before my eyes. The screamers and those whose lives pass before their eyes do not often survive the predicaments they are in. It is the people who spend this short time planning who, on occasion, survive. I found out that I was a planner.

I looked down and saw a tiny rectangle of blue in front of me. Could it possibly be a swimming pool? And could it possibly be directly in line with the cannon in Memorial Park? Was there any chance that I might land in a swimming pool? I began to move my body as I had seen stunt men in the movie serials do, head down, feet up, slow tumble to land flat on my back.

But as I picked up speed, I realized that even if I was lucky enough to land in water, I had better not land flat on my back so at the last moment brought my knees up and held them in my arms … SPLOOSH!”

The resulting splash blew all twelve girls flat against the fence, and Mary-Anne who you will recall was on the diving board at the time found herself looking down from her neighbour’s roof. I couldn’t climb out of the pool on account of the new water level, and had to be rescued by Mary-Anne McCovey and her friends, which they did shortly after they rescued Mary-Anne from her neighbour’s roof. I would have been out quite a bit quicker if the girls had been able to control their laughter.

Around this time, the town’s three deputies were dragging Russell to jail for his own protection. And old Abraham Johansen, a farmer on the outskirts of town, who had been scanning the horizon and wishing for rain for more than five weeks, was burning his copy of the Farmer’s Almanac. He thought he heard thunder, and ventured out onto his porch. Several drops of water splashed his face. He looked up at the clear blue sky, and grumbled, ‘Very funny.’

I won the cannonball contest, although the girl who was ahead at that point challenged it briefly on a technicality, and for several weeks my rear end swelled up to four times its usual size.

You see, in the end, that trip to the falls changed Russell and me forever. About a month later I went up to the falls and easily leaped off of Dead Man’s Bluff.
Russell was never the same again. Although we remained friends, he never again went near the cannon in Memorial Park. He never even went near the park if he could avoid it. However every now and then down at the gas station where he works, a car backfires, and he loses about a week of his lifespan.

I was fortunate enough to marry Mary-Anne McCovey, and periodically, whenever I get too serious about things, she’s kind enough to lean up close and whisper into my ear …BOOM!

“Oh yeah, and Elroy Stubbs had to return his certificate to the Mayor

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Chamber decision resonates with other organizations that create scholarships

By Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The decision on the part of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce to mention the politicians who took part in the Scholarship Breakfast and neglect to name and recognize the students has resonated with a number of organizations that create scholarships for students.

A member of one of those organizations brought to our attention that “many scholarships are handed out at this time of year by service organizations, private foundations, etc.  One organization recently awarded eight High Schools (cash scholarships for students taking further education –  as we have done for many years) and about thirty elementary schools (a brand new program – modest achievement awards to grade 8 graduates heading into high school) for a total of about $16,000.

Sitting in the front row: Burlington High School students recognized during a Scholarship Breakfast.

“Nothing wrong with an additional recognition event for the youth at the Chamber, but it does look a bit strange with all the big shots in a photo op.

“It should be acknowledged that other organizations and people in Burlington do the same without much fanfare.”

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Banning people who 'misbehave'. What the city is setting out to do - Part 2

By Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Tuesday the city wants to : Rescind the existing Zero Tolerance Policy.

Then

Approve the Public Conduct Policy substantially in the form set out by the City Clerk in a report to Council.

Then they to:

Approve By-law (to be numbered once it has been passed by Council) substantially in the form attached as Appendix C to office of the city clerk report CL-08-23 and in a form satisfactory to the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel; and

Approve amendments to the 2023 Corporate Customer Experiences – Service Burlington fees as outlined in office of the city clerk report CL-08-23, effective July 11, 2023; and

Approve By-Law   to be numbered once it has been passed by Council)  substantially in the form attached as Appendix D to amend the Rates & Fees By-law 83-2022 to include the appeal fees as detailed in the financial matters section of office of the city clerk report CL-08-23 and in a form satisfactory to the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel; and

Fund any Public Conduct Policy and Trespass By-law investigations through the Contingency Reserve (#111460).

In short Council wants staff to be able to prevent a person from doing and saying things they don’t like to hear and using a complex process that would/could involved being charged under the Trespass Act to allow the city to call police and then charge the person a fee to be able to return to City Hall.

There was no Staff presentation – that meant that no one explained to the public what was being done.  The City would/could ask the police to lay charges under the Trespass Act.  For most cases of trespass, the trespasser will get a provincial offences ticket. They may be fined, but won’t go to jail.  The fine could be as much as $10,000

Would Jim Thomson be cited for misbehaving as he made physical gestures while Nick Leblovic was trying to defend comments he had made about a Conflict of Interest matter ?

Why are they doing this? To

Building more citizen engagement, community health and culture
Deliver customer centric services with a focus on efficiency and technology transformation

The background set out in the Staff report:

Various departments at the City of Burlington are, from time to time, required to manage difficult or inappropriate behaviour exhibited by members of the public. Such behaviour can occur in a variety of settings (in-person, electronically, by phone, etc.) and can be directed towards City staff, other members of the public, or City property (e.g. vandalism and trespassing). When difficult or inappropriate behaviour is observed or reported, staff may be required to impose consequences upon the offending individual.

Consequences can include issuing warnings, restricting access to City property or services, or banning individuals from entering onto City property and notifying the individual that if they do enter onto City property they may be prosecuted under the Trespass to Property Act.

However, at present, the only department at the City with a policy in place that guides its decision-making process and provides members of the public with a right of appeal when consequences are imposed is Recreation, Community and Culture.

The current policy in place within Recreation, Community and Culture is called the Zero Tolerance Policy, which policy was originally implemented in 2003 and was last updated in 2007 (prior to many of the court decisions and ombudsman reports that inform these types of policies across municipalities today). As a department-level policy, the Zero Tolerance Policy applies only to recreational facilities and programs at the City.

Rescinding the Zero Tolerance Policy and implementing a City wide Trespass By-law and Public Conduct Policy would provide the following benefits:

Establish clear expectations for staff and members of the public across all departments, facilities and programs
Clearly delegate authority to make decisions and issue restrictions in response to inappropriate behaviour
Reduce uncertainty and guard against arbitrary action
Allow the City to respond to improper behaviour in an appropriate, proportionate and fair manner
Infuse principles of natural justice into decision-making and appeal processes
Reduce/mitigate risk (risk of infringing a person’s rights, risk of arbitrary action, risk of court challenges)

If a complaint is made against a person  it is first reviewed by the department Director.  The Director’s decision can be appealed to an Executive Director.  There is a fee of $200 to file an appeal.

There were no delegations made when the policy was presented to a Standing Committee.

There was no Staff presentation – the Mayor and Councillor Nisan commented.

The Policy document is 13 pages long – we will publish excerpts from that document in the coming days,

Part 1

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Mayor on why banning people from city hall bylaw is needed -  to be approved July 11th. Part 1

By Staff

July 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a tweet Mayor Meed Ward sent out yesterday she explained the banning people from City Hall decision that will go before Council on Tuesday for approval.

She said: “We wanted to put in place some formal policies if there ever is another time where we have to ban somebody from City Hall.

“It has happened in the past; people who have engaged in offensive, abusive, sexist behavior, harassing behavior. You know, I like to tell folks we’re elected officials. We’re not punching bags. Our staff are not punching bags, we’re not there for you to beat up on.

“So we really do require and insist on a respectful workplace; doesn’t mean you have to agree with us, but it means you have to treat everyone with respect.  In the past there have been limited but still some occasions where it’s been required to limit contact from some members of the public who would not behave.

“But we didn’t have a policy around you know, how do I get back? How long is this? You know, and that provides transparency accountability, not only for Individual in terms of our expectations but for the public so that’s what we did.”

Part 2 explains the bylaw and the fees people will be required to return to city hall.

Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Speakers sponsored by Burlington Green to focus on Youth

By Staff

July 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Monday, July 10th from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm the BGYN will be hosting a panel of incredible Guest Speakers from A Greener Future.

We will welcome Nicole, Maddi and Paige to share their journeys with us. Plus, event guests will learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities right here in Burlington.

Check out our IG page for more info about each individual speaker.

Visit the link in our IG bio or check out our Youth Network webpage for the Zoom link.

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Performing Arts Centre recognizes its ushers

By Staff

July 8th 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Whenever you attend an event is always a crew of ushers on hand to welcome you; help you and usher you to your seat if you happen to be a couple of minutes late.

The Performing Arts Centre has more than 100 men and women who show up whenever there is an event.

The BPAC administration holds an appreciation event every year. This year Pepperwoods provided the food and treat for those that attended the recognition event.

They look like a pretty happy bunch of people.

Performing Arts Centre ushers out of uniform taking part in a recognition event.

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Scam scum go after federal Grocery Rebate

By Staff

July 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The scum scammers are still at it.

They recognize every opportunity possible to separate you from your money.

When the federal government announced they were going to distribute billions to households in Canada as a Grocery rebate, the scum scammers could hardly wait.

The amount being sent could run as high as:

  • $467 if you are single
  • $612 if you are married or have a common-law partner
  • $161 for each child under the age of 19

A Patron sent this one to us: Within hours of the money being deposited into the bank accounts the scum scammers were at it – using every platform (Twitter, Facebook, direct email) they could find to tell you that you are entitled to the rebate and it will get to you just as soon is as you confirm your bank account number.

Some people might have fallen for that one – the scammers didn’t realize that the funds were already in the bank accounts of those that qualified.

Losing your savings is one thing – the emotional damage lasts a life time.

There isn’t a week that goes by without our reading about someone who lost a lot of money because they were taken in by a scammer or a con artist – aren’t they the same thing?

The really tragic ones are those people who want someone in their life and they part with their money only to learn that the person that was romancing this wasn’t real or sincere. A recent reported case saw a woman lose $50,000

There is one golden rule; Trust your instincts – if in doubt – don’t

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It is known as the Anniversary clock and was donated to the city on its 125th.

By Pepper Parr

July 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I knew the moment they started talking about the clock outside city hall that they were mistaken.

Councillor Galbraith said he thought it was a gift from one of our Sister Cites, the Mayor wasn’t sure, which one.

The clock was donated by several corporations, mostly banks, to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Burlington.

The photograph below of the plaque at the base of the clock tells the story.

It is yards away from the flag poles the members of Council like to gather around for the photo op.

 

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Full Closure of Niagara-bound traffic on the QEW Burlington Skyway

By Staff

July 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This evening, July 7 from 8 pm to 9:30 am, there will be a full closure of Niagara-bound traffic on the QEW Burlington Skyway for critical repairs. Advance signing and notification will be provided to motorists so they can plan an alternate route.

Travellers can also visit http://511on.ca/ or @511Ontario for updates on work and traffic impacts.

Closed to Niagara bound traffic

Background:
• The work involves the removal and replacement of an expansion joint system. Expansion joints for road bridges are critical to ensure the continuity of the road surface as well as load bearing capacity and the movement of the bridge.
• Travellers can also visit http://511on.ca/ or @511Ontario for updates on work and traffic impacts.

 

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City sticks with the plans it has for cooling centres

By Staff

July7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday we published an article on how different communities were handling a situation where the world had reached its hottest day in recorded history July 3rd and then see an even hotter day on the 4th

The article was an in depth look at what communities are up against when record setting heat condition prevail. Included in the article was mention of a book: The Heat Will Kill You First,  in which veteran journalist Jeff Goodell makes a searing case that most of us think about extreme heat is all wrong, and to disastrous effect.

We wondered what Burlington was doing in the way of revising its plans or at least discussing with the Leadership Team what the city and its citizens might be up against.  We sent a note to the City Communications department asking:

Can you confirm that meetings have and are  taking place to prepare for the opening of additional locations where people can cool off during the intense heat waves.  The response we got consisted of a list of the locations people could get away from oppressive heat.

The response is set out below.  It was almost as if nothing had or was being done.

What happens when there isn’t enough room for all the parents who want to find a place for their children to cool off ?

Cooling Centre information: Where to go in Burlington

Library locations:

Aldershot Branch

550 Plains Rd. E.
905-333-9995

Alton Branch

3040 Tim Dobbie Dr.
905-634-3686

Brant Hills Branch

2255 Brant St.
905-335-2209

Central Branch

2331 New St.
905-639-3611

New Appleby Branch

676 Appleby Line
905-639-6373

Tansley Woods Branch

1996 Itabashi Way
905-336-5583

The Communications department added:

The adjustments that summer camps make during a heat wave include:

  • Provide staff and children opportunities for additional water breaks
  • Engage in outdoor activities in the morning hours in shaded areas
  • Encourage staff and children to stay indoors in air conditioned rooms during the height of the heat wave; simultaneously, we also incorporate a more regular break schedule and utilize air conditioned, cooler spaces at times when heat is less intense but it’s still hot outside.
  • Utilize splash pads, and some of our camps include swimming as a means to cool off
  • Play additional water games as another means to cool off
  • There are too many parts of the city where facilities like this just don’t exist.

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City of Burlington looking for people or groups interested in exclusive space at former Robert Bateman high school

 

By Staff

July 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Without anything from the community at large on what should/could take place in the former Robert Bateman high school, now being called the new community centre, the city  wants to hear from anyone interested in providing community programming.

“At this time, the City is only looking for interest related to long-term rental agreement or exclusive use of the space” said  Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development

She adds: “Exclusive use is different than an open gym or room where multiple service providers can quickly set up and take down equipment for different activities. Exclusive use means the area is dedicated to the service provider on a long-term rental basis instead of an hourly basis.

“There is no formal commitment or expectation at this point in the process. Tell us what services you want to provide at this new community centre by visiting getinvolvedburlington.ca/bateman-highschool. Fill out the form and share your interest by Sept. 30, 2023.

“The building is being renovated to accommodate community partners and recreational/cultural space. The facility has approximately 21,000 square feet of space for rent, programs and user groups, as well as an additional 9000 square feet of potential temporary space available to the community.

Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development

“Individuals, groups and service providers are all welcome to express their interest in the space. Following this process, a formal bidding process will be launched in 2024 with the chosen renter/service beginning in 2027.

“Later this year, the community will be asked about the types of recreational/cultural services or programs they would like to have within the new community centre.”

All submissions must be received by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 30, 2023. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Denise Beard adds: “We’re looking for any person or group who could provide a recreational or cultural service to the community. Anyone interested is asked to fill out a form to simply let us know what you could do. There is no commitment at this point as we’re simply gathering information and ideas.”

Links

www.getinvolvedburlington.ca/bateman-highschool

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Being Prepared Financially for Aging - The Silent Worry

By Staff

July 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

After a full house at the inaugural seminar for the Empowered Seniors Speaker Series, notice has come in that the next event – July 12th 1:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Burlington Central Library (Centennial Hall)

The July session will be on The Silent Worry and Being Prepared Financially for Aging.   Aging expert Neela White, who will guide people through what we should know surrounding the challenges of aging. Neela will demystify some common assumptions, the largest being that the government will take care of us.

The Silent Worry – Plans for affording care shouldn’t be “I hope I just die in my sleep.”

In Canada, more than 600 people a day turn 65, and almost half of these people will require long-term care. Most of us have nothing saved for that care or even a health crisis – this is the big silent worry. Plans for affording care shouldn’t be “I hope I just die in my sleep.”

During this seminar attendees will learn:

• What options are available
• How to start this difficult conversation with our families
• How to maintain control of the decisions
• What longevity planning is and what components should be included
• What matters in planning financially for aging
• Why you need to be prepared
• The benefits of having and sharing your plan

Register for this event at Empowered Seniors Speakers Series (www.empoweredseniors.ca) or by calling 905-330-5201.

Neela White: Certified Professional Consultant on Aging

Neela White is a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA), Elder Planning Counselor (EPC), Certified Dementia Care Provider (CDCP) and a Senior Portfolio Manager at Blue Wing Advisory Group, a division of Raymond James.

She began her work in the field of Gerontology in 1993 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University with degrees in Psychology and Gerontology, and having a career in long term care.

Educational Partners: SeniorCareAccess, 360 Downsizing, Burlington Memorial Gardens/Arbor Memorial, Estates of Niagara, Qualicare Burlington and Smith’s Funeral Homes.

Marion Goard

Host Marion Goard is Burlington’s most trusted Lifestyle 55+ Master Agents and Senior Real Estate Specialists® (SRES). Through initiatives such as 100 Women Who Care Burlington, the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington and others, she has brought her caring and compassionate personality to community service. She is focused on protecting the interests of seniors while developing meaningful relationships with everyone she serves.

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We Need to Think Differently About Extreme Heat

By Pepper Parr

July 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

“When heat comes, it’s invisible,” opens Jeff Goodell’s new book, The Heat Will Kill You First. The veteran journalist and Rolling Stone correspondent makes a searing case that most of us think about extreme heat all wrong, and to disastrous effect. Like his previous book, The Water Will Come, this one is essential reading for climate journalists everywhere.

Did you know, for example, that heat already kills nearly twice as many people a year as guns? And that death toll is bound to increase as global temperatures continue their inexorable rise. Monday, July 3, was the hottest day on Earth since humans began measuring temperatures — that is, until Tuesday, July 4, replaced it in the record books.

Reams of climate science reports have warned that if global temperatures rise by 2 degrees Celsius — 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — then ice sheets will collapse, droughts will kill crops, and famine will follow. “But to nonscientists — which is to say, most humans on the planet — 3.6 degrees [F] of warming does not sound dangerous at all,” Goodell writes. “Who can tell the difference between a 77-degree day and an 81-degree day?” Therein lies the central challenge to journalists: How to not let the smallness of numbers like “3.6 degrees” belie their immense danger.

Portland Oregon has opened up large cooled spaces where people can sit at table and do some work or relax in comfortable chairs

“The kind of heat I’m talking about here is not an incremental bump on the thermometer,” he adds. “It is heat as an active force, one that can bend railroad tracks and kill you before you even understand that your life is at risk.”

News coverage has a track record of under-reporting heatwave deaths. Death certificates tend not to name “extreme heat” as a cause of death; only later do epidemiological studies make an accurate count overflowed; bodies were stacked in the street. Initial reports put the death toll at 15,000, a figure journalists repeated for years.

But statisticians later concluded that, in fact, more than 70,000 people had died. (In one of the first climate attribution studies, researchers found that climate change had doubled the likelihood of such an extreme heatwave.)

Water is being sprayed into the streets beside the Eiffel Tower in France creating a huge wading for people to cool off in.

The Heat Will Kill You First has gotten rave reviews, and it offers many lessons for journalists covering not only this year’s heatwaves but the evergreen news that global temperatures will continue to rise as long as humanity burns fossil fuels.

One key point: Heat is a climate justice story. “If you’re poor,” writes Goodell, “you swelter in an uninsulated apartment or trailer with no air-conditioning or an old, inefficient machine that you can’t afford to run. You can’t move somewhere cooler because you’re afraid of losing your job and you don’t have the savings to start over.”

Responding to the news that July 3 was (at least until the following day) the hottest day ever recorded, climate attribution scientist Dr. Friederike Otto declared: “This is not a milestone we should be celebrating… It’s a death sentence for people and ecosystems everywhere.” It’s up to journalists to make those stakes clear.

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