Aldershot residents want the city to force developer to play by the rules. Planner thinks the issue will go to the OMB.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 30, 2011 – When the city planner tells a council committee that he can “see this one heading for the OMB ” – pay attention. Bruce Krushelnicki the planner knows a lot about the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB); he wrote the definitive text on the organization and once sat as a Board member.

Massive five building complex that has been a problem since day one – now has to deal with a Council committee.

Massive five building complex that has been a problem since day one – now has to deal with a Council committee.

The Planner was speaking at a Community Development Committee meeting at which close to 50 residents from the Plains Road and Fairwood Place East area of Aldershot where a five unit development of 20 storey high-rises are going up.

The developer, Drewlo Holdings has been described as a “difficult” neighbour and has a tendency to walk all over the rules that regulate development in Burlington.

Mark Preston, a known Burlington Tory operative, has an office directly across the street from the construction site and complains of noise, dust and traffic problems. Such is the price of development in a community.

However, the residents of Fairwood Place East have decided they are not going to sit quietly by while a developer consistently flouts the rules.

The issue at the moment is the decision on the part of the developer not to put in one of the five ramps to the massive underground parking complex. They just didn’t build it – and when the city inspectors began asking questions the developers sought an amendment to the site plan.

The city wasn’t prepared to go along with the request to an amendment to an approved site plan, especially when neighbours in the immediate area said the decision to change the ramps to the garage would have a profound impact on traffic in the immediate area.

Rob Cooper, speaking on behalf of the 40+ resident who crowded into Council chambers, said the developer was trying to use the application for an amendment to legitimize something they should not have done in the first place.

One of the ramps just wasn’t built and the planning department wants to see it built.  Residents have very strong feelings about the ramp and want the city to enforce its construction.

One of the ramps just wasn’t built and the planning department wants to see it built. Residents have very strong feelings about the ramp and want the city to enforce its construction.

The planner had a clear understanding of what was going on and he asked Council to un-delegate the site plan. When a development is approved the matter gets turned over to (delegated) to the planner who oversees the construction and ensures that all the rules are followed. He makes all the decisions and because Krushelnicki is pretty sure this difference of opinion just might be taken to the OMB he wants to be sure that the cities case, in the words of Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward is “bullet proof. So after hearing all sides of the issue Council went along with the request to un-delegate which means the matter is now in the hands of the Committee.

And what will the Committee do for the suffering residents of Fairwood Place? Well first, the Committee wants a detailed report on just what has taken place and then wants to hear what the planner recommends. While the report writing is going on the developer is expected to initiate talks with the city to look for any possible compromise.

No problem there for the planner – he is there to keep things moving and he is also there to ensure that things move the way they are supposed to – and with this development very little has moved the way it was supposed to. The complex we are talking about will, when completed, have 950 residential units and Rob Cooper believes that many will end up using Fairwood as the street to get out of the complex of apartment units.

Cooper argues that gridlock has already taking place with the twice a day Aldershot school traffic as well as traffic to the public swimming pool and the 750 students who travel through the area to the high school.

When approved the project, a cluster of three buildings that were supposed to have five ramps leading into the underground parking. The developer arbitrarily failed to construct one of the ramps to the under ground garage and then when challenged decided to ask for an amendment to the site plan which would make his arbitrary decision legal.

This kind of hanky panky doesn’t go down very well with our planner. A gentleman to a T and more than prepared to be reasonable – but don’t cross him or try to pull a fast one. That’s what Drewlo tried to do and now they are in the cross hairs of a planner who knows the rules.

Rob Cooper says the planning department believes that on “a technical level, the street can support additional volumes of traffic” “We absolutely challenge that” said Cooper

“We believe” said cooper, “that the planning department is relying on outdated traffic data, and given the ongoing difficulty of dealing with Drewlo, are not dealing with this matter effectively.”

More than forty residents attended the Council Committee meeting to voice their anger with a developer who has been a consistent problem.

More than forty residents attended the Council Committee meeting to voice their anger with a developer who has been a consistent problem.

“It is the city’s responsibility” he added, “to act in the best interests of its residents. That simply is not the case with regard to this entire Drewlo development. There have been many violations of the original site plan but tonight we wish to focus on the traffic gridlock that this amendment, if approved, will create.”

Cooper and his neighbours want the city to:

Reinstate the central ramp exiting onto Plans Road.

Generate a new traffic report conducted by the city and not Drewlo Holdings

Provide the staff with more legal support.

No one knows yet if the residents are going to get what they have asked for. The matter is now back in the hands of the Council Committee who will now wait for a detailed report with recommendations from the planner. That should be in hand by the middle of July.

Council committee with then review the report and make a decision. The planner believes that the developer will appeal any decision that is unfavorable to the developer to the OMB. That process can take months and there is nothing the community can do until the OMB makes a decision. The critical part of this process is that the city have the strongest possible report in hand should there be an appeal to the OMB – that’s the bullet proofing Meed Ward was talking about.

While all this is going on the city will not be issuing and additional building permits for other parts of the development – which makes it a little sticky for the construction people – because the summer is the time of year to get those buildings up.

But developers have to deal with any number of issues: financing, marketing demand for construction crews elsewhere. It is a complex business that usually runs smoother when the rules are followed. Because the rules are as complex as they are the planner said “there are times when our hands are tied.”

What Councillor Craven wanted to know, “will the report tell us that we don’t already know” “Not much” was the response from the planner – but the report is being done for two reasons; to communicate to the developer that the city will be prepared if there is an OMB appeal to the decision council committee makes and (2) there will be a recommendation in the report on what the best next step should be.

The best line of the evening came from a staff member from the traffic studies group when he said: “What we have is a central ramp that is not there.”

It’s a messy situation with a developer who has chosen to break rules rather than comply. Time will tell if Council will give the Planning department the clout is needs to bring this situation back in line.




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We were named # 3 best city to live in – now we are the # 2 best city to raise children in. What’s next for us?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 30, 2011 – Any event you attend where either the Mayor or the President of the Chamber of Commerce or the General Manager of the Burlington Downtown Business Association and heck even Kyle Benham of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation will remind you that Burlington was named the third Best City to live in – two years in a row. None of these guys give up an opportunity to tell you just how significant we are.

Well, are you ready for this? Last week, Mayor Rick Goldring told his Council that Burlington is now the Second Best City to raise children in – in all of Canada. The only city better than us is St. Albert in the province of Alberta. And you know what else? The Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre came to Burlington from St. Albert. This is all absolutely fabulous – isn’t it ? Aren’t you excited?

Well, the devil is in the details isn’t it. We learned from the Mayor that the people who publish Money Sense magazine, they were the ones who said we are number 3 as the best place to live – they also own the magazine Today’s Parent which has us as the number two Best City to Raise Children in. It’s all a little incestuous.

But a prize is a prize – look for the Board of Educations to latch onto this one and every day care in the city will want to put this on their web site. And can you imagine what the real estate people are going to do with all this glory?

Why does Burlington need to have all these awards ? We have the Philanthropist of the Year, the Entrepreneur of the Year, the Citizen of the Year. Are we missing anything? Or are we telling more about ourselves than we want to or should be saying. A smart, sophisticated city tends to grow beyond the need to do all this self congratulating.

Nothing wrong with the people we recognize, they are all fine people. It is significant to note that many of those named in these lists go on to public office; almost as if you can’t get elected unless you have done community service.



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Citizen participation builds better communities – they make Burlington what it is today.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 29, 2011 – It turned out to be a lesson in Civics when Walter Mulkewich, a former Mayor of Burlington spoke of his colleague John Boich who was given the Citizen of the Year award posthumously at a municipal event last Thursday


Six Recognized for Civic Participation.

Click on each of the names below for full details.

John Boich

Emma Harper

Carole Ward

Burlington Teen Tour Band

Guy Granka

Dr. James Henry


“The Citizen of the Year award is for an individual who has shown devoted and energetic service to worthy causes and has been an example to others” explained Mulkewich. He added: “This award symbolizes the immense role citizens have in making our community the best it can be. It is citizens who build community.”

“Most in this room will be aware that John died just a little more than two months ago. Many here tonight are aware of the lasting impact John has had on them as individuals and on our community – and could tell their John Boich stories.”

A recent article about citizen engagement in the Toronto Star suggested that we live in a swamp filled with cynicism, anger, disengagement, diminished expectations, and an attitude that has reduced citizens to their roles as taxpayers and consumers. John’s contribution has been to try to lift our community out of that swamp. To understand John Boich’s contribution to our community we need to understand how profoundly and passionately he embraced a positive ethic of community involvement and practiced the creative art of citizenship.

An American study on civic engagement offered a metaphor for two styles of community participation and governing. There is the vending machine metaphor where you as a citizen put your money in and get services out. When the machine does not deliver, you do what people do – kick the machine.

Another more useful metaphor is the old-fashioned barn-raising. A barn-raising is not a transaction where you pay someone to do work on your behalf, but a collaborative process of working together. The same report suggests that the community is more livable and government works better and costs less when citizens do more than simply choose decision makers. In John’s community work, mentoring, and advocacy, he promoted the barn-raising model.

He was a member of the Political Action Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. He became the leader and President of the Burlington Provincial Liberals. When the City established the new Inclusivity Committee John became a member and helped get that committee off the ground. He was citizen member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Niagara to the GTA Transportation Corridor Study (also known as the Mid Peninsula Highway).

In November of 2009, our former Mayor asked John and I to put together and Co-Chair a Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Civic Engagement. After a unique and intensive five-month process ending mid April 2010, a dedicated committee of citizens presented to the community a report known as “Shape Burlington, Creating an Engaged Community”. John’s fingerprints are all over that landmark report which I hope will move Burlington into the barn-raising model for city building.

Then, John was a part of the new group, Shaping Burlington, which took on the task of advocating for the Shape Burlington Report.

John is being recognized not only because he was part of a lot of committees and went to a lot of meetings. His presence at those committees and meetings made a difference. He prodded, he encouraged and mentored people, he asked questions, he listened to others, he encouraged intelligent and informed dialogue, he was always positive rather than negative, he presented ideas and alternatives, he encouraged people to expand their expectations, and to see a vision of what can be.

Four other Burlington citizens and one community organization were recognized for the role they have played in making this city the community it is. Emma Harper was recognized as Junior Person of the year; Carol Ward was given the Community Service Award, Guy Granka was given the Environmental Award and Dr. James Henry the Senior Person of the year. The Burlington Teen Tour Band was recognized as the Group of the Year.

A total of 19 Burlingtonians were nominated for a Civic Recognition Award and each person was recognized for their contributions and presented with a certificate of congratulations. Nominees for the 2010 Civic Recognition Awards included Peter Andreana; Burlington Teen Tour Band; BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association; John Boich; George Curran; Finger 11; Guy Granka; Emma Harper; Dr. James Henry; Greg Hunt; Beverley Jacobs; Madi Lalonde; Mary Nichol; William O’Rourke; Richelle Papin; Jackie Ralston; Sally Romanowski; Deb Tymstra and Carole Ward.




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Emma Jane Harper recognized as Burlington’s Junior person of the year. Start them early and they just get better and better.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 30, 2011 It all began when she was 10 years old. Not an awkward child but certainly not a child that would stand in front of a group of people and make a short speech. Today Emma Jane Harper expresses all the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ and the “awesome’s” that populate the speech of her generation.

Emma Jane Harper, Burlington’s Young Person of the Year.  Keep an eye on this one, you’re going to read a lot more about her.

Emma Jane Harper, Burlington’s Young Person of the Year. Keep an eye on this one, you’re going to read a lot more about her.

The Junior Person of the Year award for her was appreciated but what she takes away from the night was being able to sit amongst a group of people who have made such a difference to their community”. It was amazing, absolutely amazing and when it was my turn to make a few comments I wasn’t really sure what I was going to say”.

A student at Corpus Christi High School Emma Jane got into the community service business at an early age when she took part in a CIBC Run for the Cure Race and a few years later, at the age of 10, she became became a team captain and basically hasn’t stopped since then.

Her list of achievements just goes on and on. When she graduated from elementary school to high school – she was attending a brand new school and because there wasn’t much in the way of structure or student organization – Emma Jane jumped right in and began setting up student groups.

She has worked with her twin brother Luke on a video about veterans that he taped and edited. The video was about the contribution veterans made during the Second World War. “I found them to be just so positive. They told me I could do anything I wanted in life and that was surprising to me to hear those words from people who had gone through so much pain.” The video was done with the S4S (Students or Students) group at her high school. The lesson that I got from that experience was the question: “Why do we go to war?

Her best subjects in high school? History and English and right now Louis Riel is getting a lot of attention from this student. University will follow once she graduates with Queen’s and Brock at the top of her list. That next step in her journey has a bit of trepidation attached to it, “I’ve never been away from my family” she explains, but she is still looking forward to the idea of being a full time university student.

School used to be about text books and classroom conversation. That changed when the internet arrived and today much of the research and a lot of the social chit chat gets done on computers. Emma Jean took charge of that as well and created a web site for the Students 4 Students project she set up for her high school. The link for that web site is: Check it out.

The most recent book she read and liked? Three Cups of Tea. Most recent movie she liked? The Note Book. The magazine she would pick up at the airport is she were taking a long flight? “17”, the teen magazine for girls, and that just about sums up Emma Jean Harper; a bright outgoing, giving young woman who still has a lot of girl in her life. Keep an eye on this one.

A touch of poignancy to close this piece. Arlene Miller, the woman who accepted the Citizen of the Year Award on behalf of her late husband John Boich taught Emma Jane’s Mother English as a high school student. That’s a bit less than six degrees of separation.



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He stood his ground, gave as good as he got and got us a little closer to real civic engagement.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 25th, 2011 – It came down to a one hour delegation with phrases like:

“Give the money back to the developer.”

“Money from developers is tainted.”

The fix was in.”

It’s hush money.”

“City staff` want money for their favorite projects”.

from a citizen who stood his ground and gave better than he got from a Council that paid lip service to the Shape Burlington report said needed to be changed in terms of engaging the citizens about changes made to the way the city is going to grow.

Council heard a delegation that went much longer than anyone expected and one in which every council member had something to say and, except for Craven, they were all inclining towards a: Yeah, the community should be more involved and there was one of those inevitable staff directions that leads to… Our Mayor wasn’t happy – he wanted the meeting to move along and was behaving as if he had an upset stomach and wanted to go home.

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Mark Henderson a retired teacher who lives on Burlington Avenue, a block away from the 14 storey project the Molinaro Group wants to build at Brock and Elgin where the official plan permits 7 storeys, was given his five minutes to make his point and got cut off rather abruptly by the Mayor.

This project had gone through two public meetings that were long and noisy and at which, if you believe the residents, none of their concerns were shown in the application the planners approved and sent along to a city council committee. There, the project was once again raked over the coals by unhappy residents, with Ward 2 Council member Marianne Meed Ward putting forward four amendments on which she insisted on a recorded vote and lost 6-1 every time.

Meed Ward was back at when the matter came before a Council meeting, but this time she had a single delegation that did all the talking. Every member of Council engaged Mark Henderson, and each time he came back with cogent arguments about the process the city had taken with this particular project that left Burlington city council looking very pro- developer, a Council that gives developers anything they ask for.

Henderson was appearing before Council as the spokesperson for the Ward 2 residents committee that didn’t like the idea of a developer giving the city a significant sum of money ($500,000) in community benefits for permission to put up a 14 storey structure when the Official Plan allowed only 7 storeys. The Ward 2 residents thought that stunk and they felt the city should not accept the money and stick with the 7 storeys. This Council wanted the 14 storeys and used the excuse that it was what the Planners had recommended. However, there was no mention in the Planners report of the significant community dissatisfaction and Council didn’t ask why there was no mention. They certainly knew about it.

Henderson didn’t get a chance to finish his delegation before his five minutes was up and the Mayor, who is usually a little on the tolerant side with delegations wasn’t in a tolerable mood with Henderson although he did congratulate him at the close of the Council grilling and said he had earned himself a beer to which Henderson responded: “Are you buying?”

A stones throw north and a bit to the west of the Burlington Art Centre, there is what is close to a concrete jungle. This kind of concentration has become a ghetto in many North American cities where delinquency and poverty grow.

A stones throw north and a bit to the west of the Burlington Art Centre, there is what is close to a concrete jungle. This kind of concentration has become a ghetto in many North American cities where delinquency and poverty grow.

The March 3, 2011 community meeting, held at the Burlington Arts Centre, was noisy and it was clear the resident didn’t like what was being put in front of them but none of that dissatisfaction made its way into the report the planners sent along to the Council Committee that approved the report. The community had already met once with the planners and made their views known that time as well.

The process is was now before Council which was going to put its stamp on all the papers and the builder could start digging holes. There were two delegations: the Ward 2 residents and the planner for the Molinaro Group. Each had five minutes to make their points. Mark Henderson, who was speaking for the Ward 2 residents got his five minutes after which Council members kept him at the podium for an additional 45 minutes.

The Ward 2 residents had two concerns. The way the Official Plan was basically ‘thrown under the bus’ and the way the $500,000 given by the developer was allocated. The $500,000 was the result of a section 37 agreement (Planner speak for a getting money in exchange for giving the developer increased density.)

Besides not liking the way the money came to be Henderson, speaking on behalf of the residents, didn’t like the way city hall planning staff were deciding how it was to be spent.

The beef for the Ward 2 residents was the way the decision to use the provision in the Act got decided. They wanted to be inside the tent as it were, shining their light into what they thought might be dark corners. Meed Ward felt the community should be involved in determining what happens in a community and she wanted to be involved much further up the food chain. She maintained that way back in December of 2010 she asked the Planning department to bring her in on these conversations and says she was told things weren’t done that way and, because she was a freshly minted municipal councilor at the time, she didn’t know what else to do and took the word of the planning staff. Thus Meed Ward was a little surprised when she heard Ward 1 councillor Craven say that he had been invited to take part in a Section 37 conversation when there was a project in his ward. Meed Ward will be having a conversation with the planner about that.

However, this being an issue that involved Meed Ward it wasn’t going to be that simple – it wasn’t Meed Ward that was making it difficult – she just insisted in getting down to the details. And that’s when Council learned more than they may have wanted to know about how parts of the Planning Act actually work.

The developer was quite prepared to give up the $500,000 and he didn’t give a hoot how it was spent – all he wanted was his building permit and he made it clear he wanted it approved at the Council meeting – and this Council doesn’t have the cahonies to tell a developer to cool their heels while the city works through its issues.

Not only is it a very uninteresting building it exceeds the height limits set in the official plan and has a postage stamp of a park and no schools in the immediate area.  Still said to comply with good planning principles.

Not only is it a very uninteresting building it exceeds the height limits set in the official plan and has a postage stamp of a park and no schools in the immediate area. Still said to comply with good planning principles.

The citizens however were concerned with how the $500,000 was spent and they wanted to give that process a review, with involvement from the community. Henderson’s argument was that if the city is giving a developer additional density in return for a financial benefit then the residents should be involved in deciding just what those benefits should be. There was never an issue with how much money was going to be given to the city – the issue for the residents was what that money got spent on.

Meed Ward had thought she could get agreement to approve the project and figure out how the $500,000 would be applied – and that’s where the Planning Act got in the way. Council could not “uncouple the two. If the project was to be approved and the developer given the additional density council had to approve BOTH the additional density and the benefits. That would have meant holding up the approval and without the approval no building permit. And this Cou

The Molinaro Group already has a very productive relationship with the city. They found their cash flow wasn’t quite what they needed to b able to pay the $655,000 in development charges on the Maple Avenue project in2010 and, rather than approach their bankers, the developer approached the city and proposed a schedule of payments that stretched the paying of the $655,000 over three years.

On March 2, 2010 City Council did the following:


Approve a residential development charges deferral agreement for 551 Maple Ave [535-41/06] at the prime lending rate plus 1% of the city’s bank with the payment plan specified in Appendix B of Finance Department report F-14-10, dated February 5, 2010; and

Authorize staff to prepare a legal agreement for the development charges deferral agreement for the development at 551 Maple Ave [535-41/06]. (F-14-10)

The developer was putting up a large building on Maple Avenue, a part of town where there are already a number of high rise buildings. That project is still under construction.

Here is where it gets a little messy. The Molinaro Group meanwhile did an additional land assembly within a couple of blocks of the one it got the deferral on the development charges. It was on this second assembly that they made an application to build a 14 storey building on land that the Official Plan said should permit just 7 storeys.

More housing being crammed into an area that has the potential to become a bit of a low income ghetto.

More housing being crammed into an area that has the potential to become a bit of a low income ghetto.

The developer, being an adroit business person knew that the city had to comply with the provinces Places to Grow policy and intensify and he felt he had a development that would meet a number of the city’s needs which he set out in a document that justified the application being made.

The developer hires an architect, and a planner who put together a project that has a big buildings that exceeds the plans. Burlington is seen as a community that doesn’t give developers that tough a time – they approve just about everything. There are situations where they ask for significant changes but for the most part Burlington will give you what you ask for.

The planners and several members of Council argued that the high rise buildings in the Maple Avenue sector would provide affordable housing for people who would spend money in the downtown core. According the Meed Ward, people living in affordable housing don’t spend money downtown. The merchants, she says tell her that their customers are the people who work in offices downtown. The people who are going to live in these new high rises are not seen by the downtown core as people who will be getting out for lunches and shop.

The people who live in a very established neighbourhood to the east, see very significant changes taking place. They don’t understand how the Official Plan can be flouted so easily.

That’s what the issue really was all about. “If we have an Official plan then why don’t we follow it?” they wanted to know. The Official Plan is supposed to represent the vision of the city – so how come planning staff get to over-ride that vision and why does Council just rubber stamp everything that comes from the planning department ?

The Planning department took the view that density was needed and the project had merit and they were prepared to pass it along to council committee with their approval.

Sharman’s view is that “It might be reasonable to assume that most of the decisions “go the developers way”. It seems that way because by the time the decision gets to council a huge amount of work has been done by very senior and highly qualified staff to make sure that such proposals meet legal requirements and serve the stated needs (per official plans etc) of the community in general. They have also held public information sessions. Often times the developer has made significant changes to their plans in order to satisfy broader community expectations.”

“It is incorrect”, Sharman maintains “to believe that the zoning bylaw is final and binding on the city. Variances to zoning bylaws are expected and intended. The system is designed so that staff and council have an opportunity to review such modifications.”

What Staff did not do was look at the concentration of poverty already in the area. The illustration set out below shows moderate to high poverty along Maple Avenue with high poverty clustered around the 403,407 and QEW interchange.

There are no schools in the immediate area, a postage stamp of a park and no plans for a school or more park space in the immediate area. The planners say that one of the best parks in the city, Spencer Smith Park, is just two blocks south of the proposed development and that is true – but you have to cross Lakeshore Road, one of the busiest and more dangerous intersections in the city. Only good thing is that the hospital is about 100 yards away should you be struck by a car.

The developer provided this 3 dimensional view of how his building relates to others in the immediate area and they point at that theirs is lower than the others.  True, but what the view does not show is that their building is at the edge of the high rise area and that there is no stepping down to the two storey single detached homes immediately to the east.

The developer provided this 3 dimensional view of how his building relates to others in the immediate area and they point at that theirs is lower than the others. True, but what the view does not show is that their building is at the edge of the high rise area and that there is no stepping down to the two storey single detached homes immediately to the east.

Where did the meeting get us? This Council may have begun to realize that there were things about the Planning Act they didn’t really understand. One would have thought that Craven with his 10 years on Council, Taylor with his 20 + and Dennison with 16+, would have had all this stuff down cold. But that group doesn’t bring the zeal for citizen involvement to the table that Meed Ward brings.

What we are beginning to see is a shift in thinking of both Taylor and Dennison. They were both surprised that they couldn’t make changes to the way the $500,000 in community benefits were to be spent. Dennison was prepared to make changes on the spot. Taylor made a point of saying he wanted this whole community benefits issue looked at carefully. If Meed Ward can learn how to cultivate these two guys a little more effectively, we may see a Burlington where the residents are listened to a little more closely and understood by the planners. However, there is a building sense among several of the Council members that Meed Ward is being obstructive and difficult and not ‘playing the game’ the way it is usually played. She would respond with a ‘you got that right’ for she wants to be obstructive and difficult because it is the only way she knows how to bring about the change she feels is needed. She’s right on the need for change but wrong on the tools she’s using

Meed Ward represents a part of the community that wants more say – and as Mark Henderson said: “Theses are not a bunch of crazy people meeting in a basement somewhere. These were solid respectable people who felt that if there was an Official Plan it should be respected – and in this instance they didn’t feel the plan was being respected and they wanted to know why. What the residents didn’t know was that the majority of Council felt the 7 storey limit in the plan was a mistake. Several used the argument that the provinces Places to Grow policy meant that parts of an Official Plan had to be changed but Meed Ward pointed out that Places to Grow was known in 2003 and that the Official Plan was revised in 2007 – so that argument wasn’t going to hold much water with her.

Click to view report

Blair Lancaster, Councillor for Ward 6, seems concerned mostly with who is in charge. Her view is that Council was elected to develop policies needed to run the city and ensure that senior staff were carrying out that policy. She has great difficulty understanding what Meed Ward is up to

Sharman talks of free market forces and while both were part of the Shape Burlington Committee, they didn’t bring all that much of the spirit John Boich and Walter Mulkewich were trying to foster. Sharman however does understand the need for affordable housing. In a communication with a citizen Sharman said: ” There is a little push back on intensification from some people in Burlington. Mostly it is a misunderstood topic in Burlington. Burlington is not going to experience the kind of growth that Oakville is/will be. We expect to grow by about 20,000 in the next 20 years. So an average of 1,000 people a year. Intensification in Burlington will happen in specific and a relatively few number of zones. Burlington is now the slowest growing community in the GTA and is expected to stay that way.

Sharman takes the view that there will be intensification – but not all that much.  What’s in the water he drinks?

Sharman takes the view that there will be intensification – but not all that much. What’s in the water he drinks?

The big challenge for the city is that house prices will rise accordingly and will leave no where for those entering the housing market, or those wanting to reduce their financial commitment to housing to live in Burlington. We need affordable housing. The only way that will happen is for smaller homes that use less land. My son and his wife and 2 young children, for example, bought a home in Whitby for 60% of the comparable Burlington price. That upsets me because they now live over an hour’s drive away or over 2 hours by public transportation.

It was pretty clear that Councillors Taylor and Dennison didn’t like the process. Dennison was quite prepared to make changes to the way the $500,000 was to be spent at the meeting but the rules didn’t allow for that. Rather than insist that the approval be put on hold while the matter of how the community benefit money got spent – this Council approved it and, unless someone suggests there was a failure of due process on the part of Council and asks the Ontario Municipal Bard to review this, nothing is going to happen. This is a done deal.

However, this Council has heard the community rumblings and Taylor and Dennison don’t want to do business this way. They Mayor just seemed to want to get on with it. He felt the 14 storeys was a good thing and that the Official Plan limit of 7 storey was wrong and even though the Official Plan represents the will of the people, the vision of the community – didn’t matter. It was going to be a 14 storey building.

Why the rush to approve the change to the Official Plan that was needed to approve the project? The developer is still completing a different project on Maple Avenue and there doesn’t appear to be a huge demand for new residential space.

It was equally clear is that this Council doesn’t fully understand the rules they have to deal with – their Planning staff do, but what the professionals know doesn’t seem to work its way onto the desks of the Council members.

Meed Ward fought this development every step of the way and while she did not win this battle she is on the way to winning the war.

Meed Ward fought this development every step of the way and while she did not win this battle she is on the way to winning the war.

Meed Ward didn’t win this battle but she is on her way to winning the war. Ward 5 Councillor Sharman said he would be preparing a Staff Direction on how community benefits are arrived at. It will be interesting to see if any of the Spirit of Shape Burlington has clung to Sharman now that he sits at the Council table.

It will be sometime before a developer tries to play the Section 37 game the same way again. The more senior members of this Council will begin looking more closely at just when the community gets involved in a development. Shape Burlington told the city that the public wanted more involvement and more information and that point was made brutally clear during the hour long delegation during which Mark Henderson held their feet to the flames.

Mayor Goldring went live on Cogeco Cable a few days after the Council meeting to talk to the citizens about how they can, and he wishes they would, get involved in the development of the city’s Strategic Plan. He wants ideas, their thoughts and ideally a dialogue. It would have been nice to see some real dialogue at the Council meeting where the city gave a developer double the height – 14 storeys instead of the seven, set out in the Official Plan.

Many citizens feel the Official Plan is a bit of a joke that gets amended whenever a developer walks in with a request for more density which is usually translated into height.



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A planning tool that forgets people are part of the planning process. Section 37 – a missed opportunity.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINTON, ON May 28, 2011 – Burlington is one of a few cities that makes use of Section 37 of the Planning Act. Ottawa, Toronto and Markham use the provision which can be a very useful planning tool. In Burlington we are fortunate to have a planner who wrote the definitive text on the Ontario Municipal Board and a man who has served as a member of that Board. The significance of this is that most matters that go to the OMB are related to planning matters and to have a planner who knows the ins and outs of the OMB as well as the intent of the Board gives Burlington an intellectual advantage.

The way Section 37 of the Planning Act is implemented just might get a re-working in Burlington if Council members follow up on their comments.

The way Section 37 of the Planning Act is implemented just might get a re-working in Burlington if Council members follow up on their comments.

Section 37 of the Planning Act relates to situations where an Official Plan calls for a certain type of development. It could be single detached housing, row housing organized as a condominium or a high rise, inevitably the issue become one of density. How many units can you put in a piece of property ? The municipality’s Official Plan (OP) will set out what the density can be and the zoning on the piece of property will set out what kind of building can be built on the site.

There are occasions where a developer will approach a municipality with a proposal that exceeds what is set out in the OP, but after discussions with the Planning Department, agreement is reached that the proposal is “good planning” and meets both the immediate and long term needs of the city.

We had two instances of just that happening in Burlington very recently and both created significant opposition within their communities. One was a condominium development south of the Queensway and the other was the apartment/condominium development at Brock and Elgin. In both instances the city approved an amendment to the Official Plan to permit the development

Burlington is faced with a provincial requirement that we grow our population. The province tells us that is what we have to do and that is what we do. The provincial Places to Grow legislation requires Burlington to grow its population by 20,000 people over the next 20 years – that’s 1,000 new housing units every year.

Because the city no longer has very much “green space” to build large projects on they have to resort to intensification.

Developers see opportunities to take land that is being under utilized and they begin to assemble properties until they have an area large enough for the plans they have in mind.

In the Queensway area this resulted in a developer purchasing six properties that consisted of half an acre each. These lots were created at the end of WW II and known as Veterans Land Act properties. Once the land was assembled the developer asked for permission to build a 74 unit complex on the property and the local community was up in arms. That development eventually got cut back to 58 units but is still a significant bit of intensification – going from six homes to 58 on the same pieces of land.

In the Brock Elgin area the developer did an assembly and came to the city with a proposal to increase the density permitted in the Official Plan from 7 to 14 storeys. The community was aghast and argued against the development at two public meetings and a third meeting at a Council Committee and finally at a Council meeting. They were beaten back at every meeting.

In this instance the developer made a Section 37 proposal in which the city determines how much the value of the land the development is being built on is going to increase due to the development.

Note that the unit of measure here is the increase in ‘value of the land’ not the revenue and potential profit the developer expects to see. The city gets an appraisal of what the land was worth before the development and what the land will be worth after the development and then asks the developer to contribute half of the increase in value back to the city as community benefits.

In the Brock Elgin development the increase in the value of the land was deemed to be $1 million and the developer agreed to pay for community improvements worth $500,000.

This is seen as a way for a city to share in the gain that a developer earns when asking for and getting an amendment to an Official Plan. Sounds fair and is seen as a sound planning practice.

Where people in Burlington get really wound up is how the community benefits are determined. The Planning department does all that thinking – with not a peep from the community. Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward thinks this is wrong and fought vigorously to have the community involved in determining what the benefits should be.

She came close to getting her Council colleagues to look at what was being proposed then, to the surprise of just about everyone, they learned that if Council wanted to make any changes to the community benefits the matter had to be sent back to Committee.

Several Councillors believed that the amendment to the Official Plan and the applicable by law could be approved and the specific make up of the community benefits looked at later – wasn’t possible. The two had to be approved at the same time.

Section 37 of the Planning Act is a very sound and accepted planning tool. What Burlington hasn’t done is bring the community in on the process and get their input before deciding what to do.

Councillors Sharman and Taylor have said they want to see the community benefits issue handled much differently. We will be watching.


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Burlington gets Targeted – dog with bulls eye may be seen on the streets. Bargains for all

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 27, 2011 – The dog with the red target over his eye will soon be seen at the Burlington Mall located at Guelph Line and Fairview.

Target, the second largest chain of retail stores in the United States is coming to Canada, much to the satisfaction of thousands of Canadian shoppers who have loved the bargain available south of the border.

Target has created a “cheap chic” brand that has been giving Wal-Mart a run for their money. The first Target store will be at the Burlington Mall where it will replace the existing Zellers.

The company has taken over the Zellers stores leases and intends to invest heavily in upgrading and modernizing the retail outlets.



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Brother reminisces about John Boich, the man chosen as Burlington’s Citizen of the Year.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON ON May 26, 2010 They were born 15 months apart and as boys they were inseparable. They grew into young men who were taught to serve their communities and this evening Eli Boich will sit with his brother’s widow as she prepares to receive the Burlington Citizen of the Year Award on behalf of her husband, John Boich who passed away in March.

John Boich<br>Burlington Citizen of the Year 2012

John BoichBurlington Citizen of the Year 2012

“We were taught that serving was not just a responsibility for the privileged but a responsibility for all of us”, said Elijah Boich. “John would be so honoured to know that he was being given this award by his community.”

John, said Eli, believed that if a problem was man made then there was a solution for men to bring to the problem and he used that principle to guide his life. He was a teacher who expected you to arrive at your own conclusions and then to use those conclusions as you went about your work.

We did everything together. We played ball together, we had a small dance band and many people may not know it but John directed a student musical while he was at Trafalgar in Oakville. For those who knew John Boich, the thought of his directing a production of Oklahoma will gladden their hearts. We can just imagine him directing those students. Eli will quickly tell you tat there is a 78 rpm vinyl disc of that production.

John Boich wanted people to be publicly useful and privately happy and he lived his life that way. The school in Burlington named in his honour while it is under construction will have close to 1000 students enrolled; there are already 200 registered for kindergarten explains Elijah. Imagine a couple of hundred students being educated as little Boichs

The Civic recognition event will celebrate and remember a man who had an impression on everyone he met. You may not have liked John Boich but you certainly remembered him and he would be very quick to tell you that he didn’t want or need to be liked but you were going to respect him. You will be with us forever John.




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City decides not to take up Pier construction proposal from contractor’s insurance company.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON – May 25, 2011 The city has decided not to accept a proposal made by the insurance company that provided the performance bond put up by the builder who walked off the Brant Street Pier construction site last December.

The city has sued Zurich Insurance for the value of the performance bond and the insurance company, in an attempt to mitigate their damages put together a consortium that is believed to include Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., the original contractor.

The proposal was delivered to the city early in April and it had to be given the serious consideration and it took time to go through the documentation. . The city received the proposal through Zurich Insurance Inc. in April 2011, but needed time to review the document. City staff provided advice regarding the proposal to members of City Council in a closed session update at the city’s May 11 Community Services Committee meeting.

“City Council gave careful consideration to what we saw within the proposal before making our decision,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “Council does not believe that this is the right solution to completing the Brant Street Pier. As such, the city will continue on its path to finding a new contractor.” City council chose not to make the reasons for turning down the proposal public from the insurance company and is proceeding with the plan issue a tender document for general contractors to complete the pier, with that tender expected to be released in July 2011. The tender will only be sent to pre-qualified general contractors.

In March, the city hired Morrison Hershfield as the lead engineer on the pier project and announced it is no longer working with former engineer Aecom Canada Ltd.



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Cover the environmental waterfront and fly a kite while you’re at it. Kite Fest June 5th – make it a family event.

Getting that kite up into the air is the first challenge – then the fun starts keeping it in the air.

Getting that kite up into the air is the first challenge – then the fun starts keeping it in the air.

BURLINGTON, Ont.— May 24, 2011 – This is a sure fire, family fun event. Pass along the link to every family you know with children.

The city (your tax dollars at work) is sponsoring Environment and Kite Festival on World Environment Day, Sunday, June 5 at Brant Hills Public School between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 2330 Duncaster Dr. in Burlington.

You’re going to get the whole nine yards from the environmentalists – energy retrofit projects, green building design and construction, water bottle refilling stations and the ‘Know where to throw’ staff waste diversion campaign are just some of the ways the city is cutting back on waste, increasing energy savings and continuing our progress as a sustainable organization.

Along with the opportunities to build and fly a kite, there will be a displays from the City’s Office of Sustainability; Burlington Transit; Halton Region Waste Management Services; Halton Region Museum; Conservation Halton; Burlington Hydro; Union Gas; Burlington Public Library; Burlington Sustainable Development Committee; BurlingtonGreen; Halton Environment Network; Iroquois Bruce Trail Club; and Environmental Defense. Representatives will be available to answer questions and discuss local projects and issues.

The event will also feature entertainment including Mountsberg Raptors birds of prey, Reptile Rob, a live performance by the Funky Mamas and the popular, “What do you know about water?” puppet show.

“As part of the city’s Thirsty campaign to promote regional water and reduce the use of single use disposable water bottles, there will be an onsite water refilling station available for visitors to fill their own reusable water bottles,” said Lynn Robichaud, Senior Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Burlington.

A blue sky and string upon string of kites.  Great family fun.  Don’t miss it.

A blue sky and string upon string of kites. Great family fun. Don’t miss it.

Children of all ages can come out and build a kite with the free supplies provided on a first come first served basis. There will be separate areas available for children flying their kites and for professional kite flying demonstrations. New additions include a variety of vendors offering various items for sale such as light snacks and large colourful kites.

The Environment and Kite Festival will take place rain or shine.

If you want to know more about building kites and maybe make your own try going to

The only thing in doubt is the weather but surely we’ve been given all the rain we need for awhile. Ya think!



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Weather moves nomination date for Civic Rose Award back a week. Mayor may be moving away from the Cup.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 22, 2011 – The weather isn’t all bad. The closing dates for the Civic Rose Award nominations has been moved back a week. Lawry Ellis said earlier this week that the wet Spring is going to mean a lot of gardens just won’t be at their best so we have moved the date on which nominations have to be in back a week.

The nomination forms must be in by June 30th. CLICK HERE for a copy of the nomination form. You can if you wish nominate yourself.

The Civic Rose Award is the top and much sought after prize for the gardening crowd with the 2010 Mayor’s Cup going to an address on Idlewood Court. For a look at all the 2010 winners – CLICK HERE.

Judge’s Choice in 2010 was a home on Burlington Avenue.
Judge’s Choice in 2010 was a home on Burlington Avenue.

Mayor Rick Goldring mentioned at a recent Council meeting that perhaps the Mayor’s Cup could be renamed the Burlington Cup, which isn’t going down all that well with the gardeners who point to a 32 year tradition which they don’t think should be tampered with.

While the Mayor may not be a gardener he is an environmentalist and does have a sense of history. One would hope that the Mayor doesn’t flush 32 years of history into the lake.



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We see getting snow off the sidewalks quite a bit differently than we do getting snow off the roads.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 18, 2011 – Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven will tell you that the one thing that will always get your phone ringing is snow on streets that have not been cleared. The only thing that does one better than that is sidewalks that have not been cleared of snow.

The importance of snow clearing was part of a list of ten items that are summarized below.

While the citizens of Burlington are basically happy with the service provided, clearing snow from the streets and roads is always at the top of their “importance” list.. Ward 1 and Ward 2 residents were more likely to show increased satisfaction with snow clearing when compared to those living in ward 6. Of course, the snow removal people have to deal with Councillors Meed Ward and Craven in wards 2 and 1 – and they fight for their constituents. In ward 6 mild mannered Blair Lancaster may not manage to get the response Craven and Meed Ward get.

How important is it to the residents of Burlington to have the snow cleared from the sidewalks? In 2011 28% saw it as extremely important, up from 24% in 2003

Very important rose from 48% in 2003 to 53% in 2011 It would seem evident that the rising seniors population places more emphasis on the importance of snow being cleared from the sidewalks.

When it comes to clearing snow from the roads the numbers shift a bit. Not only are the numbers different but there are significant differences in the views of men and women and then differences in how important getting snow off the roads is in each ward. Women, for the most part saw clearing the snow from the roads more important than men did.

The Quality of Service Survey was done for Burlington in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2011. The data is based on a random and representative telephone survey of 752 residents over the age of 18 and is considered to be accurate to within plus or minus 3.6%, 19 times out of twenty. For the full survey CLICK HERE.

On balance people in Burlington are happy with the services provided them by the city.




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Huh! I didn’t know. Wonder why they didn’t want him, seemed like a nice enough guy.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 17, 2011 – Boy, when we screw it up, we really screw it up. I took a day off to get caught up on my television watching and well the bottom just fell out of the political world I was watching. Bad enough that the Liberals got creamed federally but to learn that others chose to fall on their sword before they even got nominated – that is something to behold.

In a piece on Karmel Sakran’s acclamation as the Liberal candidate for Burlington in the upcoming provincial election I mentioned that there were two men seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in Burlington. WOW, was I ever wrong.

Rene Papin falls on sword.

Rene Papin falls on sword.

After running at least one half page full colour advertisement in a newspaper that will go un-named, Rene Papin posted the following to his web site:


Bert Radford
Burlington Progressive Conservative Association
Box 8007
Appleby Postal Outlet,
Burlington, ON,
L7L 6B1

Dear Bert Radford,

On the advice of a number of close advisors whom I believe to be well connected within the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, I am withdrawing my application for nomination as the Conservation candidate for the Burlington riding. I have been advised that my candidacy, at this time, does not fit the strategic direction of the Party, and that it would be in the best interests of the Party if I were to withdraw.

It has truly been an honour to have been considered as the candidate for the nomination, but I have always believed that the interests of the Party must come before those of the individual.

I therefore, respectfully withdraw my application for the nomination.


I missed that one. My apologies of the piece I wrote misled anyone.




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If you’re happy and you know it – clap your hands. And in Burlington – we appear to be clapping our hands.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 17, 2011 – Do we like where we live? We do. Are we happy with the services provided by the civic administration? Apparently so. The folks in Ward 4 would appear to be the happiest campers while those in Wards 1 and 2 are not as certain that Burlington is a second heaven.

This information is contained in a Quality of Service survey the city had done by a research firm in the Big Smoke to the east of us. This research work was first done in 1998 and repeated again in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2008. The 2011 survey gives people who reads these reports a look at where the city is today and where it was in each of the years the survey was done.

The city wants to know if they are delivering on the promise when you put the cheque in the mail to pay your taxes. The research firm interviewed 752 people. It took on average 17 minutes to get answers to all the questions. The person answering the question had to be more than 18 years of age. The survey was done between April 4-11. Some over sampling was done to ensure that at least 125 people in each ward were interviewed.

Interesting data. In the next few days we will provide data and commentary. If you are a real data geek the full report is available at: Click here.

A difference of 10% in impression level is significant. Those who thought it was very good has been in a consistent decline while those whose impression was excellent has increased. The difference based on ward is quite telling.

How happy are we with the services provided by the city. Basically half of us are somewhat satisfied while the other half is very satisfied. No one is reported to be totally ticked off with the service.


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Burlington firefighters place well in auto extraction competition.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON, May 16, 2011 – On Saturday, May 14, the backyard of Burlington Fire Department’s headquarters was transformed into the scene of multiple car accidents as seven teams of firefighters from Ontario, the Maritimes and New York State competed in a high-intensity Vehicle Rescue Challenge.

Burlington Fire Department’s auto extrication team works to save a mock patient trapped inside a vehicle during one of the simulated scenarios in the annual Vehicle Rescue Challenge.  2011 BFD Team members are as follows: Mark Eales (Team Captain), Derek Baranowski, Chris Porter, (Medic), Jenny Blain, Ryan Head and Mike Carroll
Burlington Fire Department’s auto extrication team works to save a mock patient trapped inside a vehicle during one of the simulated scenarios in the annual Vehicle Rescue Challenge. 2011 BFD Team members are as follows: Mark Eales (Team Captain), Derek Baranowski, Chris Porter, (Medic), Jenny Blain, Ryan Head and Mike Carroll

Spectators gathered to watch as each team raced against the clock to complete a series of rescue scenarios and safely remove mock patients from inside the wrecked vehicles.

Fire departments enrolled in this year’s challenge included: Halifax and Enfield, Nova Scotia; Brampton; Mississauga; Chile and Brighton, New York; and Burlington.

“This event spotlights the skills of our city’s firefighters and their commitment to continuous learning,” said Fire Chief Shayne Mintz. “Putting our skills to the test through international competition will allow us to hone our expertise in motor-vehicle rescue so that we can better serve our community.”

This is the 27th year Burlington has participated in the challenge, and Burlington Fire has earned an international reputation as being one of the most respected departments in vehicle rescue. This year was no exception, the Burlington Fire Department came in second just behind Mississauga.

Top Medic Award went to Burlington Fire Department’s Chris Porter and Best Incident Commander was awarded to Trevor Shea of the Mississauga Fire Department.

“The Vehicle Rescue Challenge provides our community with an up-close look at how fire department personnel function as a team to perform vehicle rescues under intense pressure,” said Burlington’s auto extrication team captain Mark Eales. “Sometimes people forget that our jobs go far beyond firefighting. It’s competitions like this that demonstrate the expertise and teamwork that is vital in real vehicle rescues and saves lives on our streets and highways each year.”

The goal of the challenge is to help rescuers stay current with auto extrication practices and share ideas to improve life-saving techniques. The concept of the Vehicle Rescue Challenge originated at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, Ont., in 1984, with teams from across Ontario and the United States. Since then, this International event has grown to the point where regional and national competitions are held annually coast-to-coast in Canada and the United States and countries from Europe, as well as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.



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Burlington Liberals acclaim their man – local lawyer Karmel Sakran wants the job as MPP.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 17, 2010 – More than 275 people packed the Seniors Centre in Burlington to see Karmel Sakran be acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in the October 6th provincial election.

With the federal election over the political junkies in the city can now focus on the provincial event. After that they are in for a long dry spell until 2014 when another municipal race takes place and, if feelings about the current council prevail – that event will be a snore.

A prominent Burlington lawyer and Chair of the city’s 2010-11 successful United Way campaign, Karmel Sakran is now the official Provincial Liberal candidate .

The small variety store the Sakran family operated on Ontario Street still serves the community.

The small variety store the Sakran family operated on Ontario Street still serves the community.

“Growing up in downtown Burlington on Ontario Street behind my late father’s little grocery store taught me the importance of community,” said 46-year-old Sakran, who arrived in Burlington at age 13. “From behind that counter, I saw how he treated people with friendship and respect and how they returned it in kind. It was a powerful message that will stay with me forever.”

Reflecting that early influence, Sakran has become well known in Burlington for his community involvement. A long-time Rotarian, former Regional Chair of the Halton Community Consultation Committees, he is a founding board member of The Carpenter Hospice.

Sakran is currently a member the Board of Governors at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital since 2006 and member of its executive, chairing its Human Resource Policy and Compensation Committee. He is the board representative on the hospital’s Foundation Campaign Steering Committee whose target is to raise $60 million for much-needed capital re-development.

When it took a small amount to get the United Way over the top Sakran took out his cheque book while Timothy Brown and Len Lifchus, both of the United Way, looked on approvingly.

When it took a small amount to get the United Way over the top Sakran took out his cheque book while Timothy Brown and Len Lifchus, both of the United Way, looked on approvingly.

For Sakran, chairing Burlington’s United Way campaign, which raised a record $2.2 million this year, was an eye-opener. “People don’t typically think of Burlington as having citizens in need, but we do,” he says. “Many youth, families, and seniors benefit from the 44 social programs and services funded by the United Way.”

Seeking the Liberal nomination in Burlington is Sakran’s way of continuing to work for his community. Originally from Nazareth, Israel, of Christian Arab parents, he arrived in Canada at the age of 3 and moved to Burlington when he was 13. Sakran attended Central High School and later Assumption Secondary School, because “I didn’t make the football team at Central and at Assumption, I made the team”.

Sakran later attended the University of Windsor and, after graduating in law, articled for the Criminal Appeals Division of the Attorney General of Ontario in Toronto. He quickly returned to Burlington after being called to the bar.

“I always wanted to live and work in Burlington – that is where my heart is,” he said. “Burlington has been my home and my community for the past 34 years, and my goal is to win the nomination and then represent Burlington in the Ontario Legislature.”

For Sakran, “It’s time Burlington had a Liberal at Queen’s Park.” Conservatives have represented this riding for decades, he notes, adding that they have been less than effective in upholding Burlington’s unique heritage and its integral role as the hub between the GTA, Hamilton and Niagara Corridor.

“Burlington has a leadership role to play in what is happening around and inside its border and we can’t allow another four-year term to pass with us taking a spectator role. The Conservatives want to pave paradise with the mid-peninsula highway and, despite having a Conservative MPP for all this time, no provincial money has been secured for capital re-development of our hospital in the past 40 years.”

His social conscience also stretches beyond Canada’s borders. In 2009, he and two friends travelled to civil war-torn Sierra Leone to help two orphanages and a polio village. Since then, his small group continues to draw on local churches, service clubs and private donors for help, resulting in:

Shipping two large containers to Sierra Leone filled with tools, equipment, food and other essentials – not to mention hope.

Four Rotary clubs formed a steering committee to help develop 11 acres of land outside Freetown for a school, residences and playground for the orphan children, plus partnering with other agencies to establish a sustenance project to raise chickens and produce clean water.

Get ready to see a lot of this “official” photograph of Karmel Sakran

Get ready to see a lot of this “official” photograph of Karmel Sakran

Sakran also holds two annual Burlington fundraisers – one of which is the Wills and Powers of Attorney Event which has raised more than $55,000 for local charities since 2003. The other – a five-K run/one-K walk every Canada Day – raises health and wellness awareness, honours Canada’s Service men and women and raises funds for local charities.

A matrimonial lawyer in Burlington, Sakran recently founded Roseland Law Chambers, a group of seven sole-practitioner lawyers with wide experience across all aspects of the law. He is married and has 2 daughters; his youngest is 5 ½ years old.

The Progressive Conservatives have yet to nominate their candidate but Brian Heagle is said to be in the race and out there in the coffee shops making his case. Rene Papin chose to fall on his sword and withdraw from the race.


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Habitat doesn’t let the drizzle fizzle the re-launch of their ReStore on Appleby Line.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 14, 2011 – The Habitat for Humanity Halton ReStore did a “re-launch on Saturday and despite the drizzly weather small groups of people showed up and learned about a resource in the community they did not know about.

ReStore – like any other retail building supply store – great prices and no HST.  Can’t beat that.
ReStore – like any other retail building supply store – great prices and no HST. Can’t beat that.

The ReStore is a retail outlets that sells recycled construction material and building supplies that are donated to the store by contractors who salvaged the material or who had surplus material and supplies they donated. The Restore on Appleby Line is on of 62 spread out across Canada and is part of the Habitat for Humanity organization that builds homes for people who would normally never be able to afford a home of their own

The quality used and surplus building materials and other home-ware products at attractively reduced prices 40% to 75% off
the original cost are sold without HST being added. Kind of place you want to drop into before you head for the big box store in the Mall..

The proceeds from ReStore support the programs of Habitat for Humanity Halton in the community. All materials sold by ReStore were donated for that purpose. In addition to raising funds, ReStore helps the environment by diverting thousands of tons of usable materials away from landfills.

Habitat Halton was founded in 1999 by a group of individuals from Port Nelson United Church. The first chairman was Peter Fisher, a long time resident of Burlington. Initially, the group served just Burlington, however in July 2002; they became Habitat for Humanity Halton. They were granted charitable status in March 2000. To date, the group has built and sold eleven homes to hard-working, local families with mortgages structured so they can afford them. Five homes are in Burlington, two are in Acton, and four are in Georgetown. Currently Habitat Halton is building two homes in Oakville.

Father and daughter look over a door that was recycled and just might meet their requirement.  If it fits, the price will be right.  Little Miss Pig Tails however, wasn’t all that keen on the colour.
Father and daughter look over a door that was recycled and just might meet their requirement. If it fits, the price will be right. Little Miss Pig Tails however, wasn’t all that keen on the colour.

Everyone wins when either shopping at or donating to ReStore. The vision that drives Habitat is a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. The Mission behind what they do day to day is using their knowledge, skills, community relationships, volunteers and other resources to create and promote safe and affordable home ownership options with the aim of alleviating the cycle of poverty within our community.

The core values are Housing for All and Human Dignity for everyone. Habitat for Humanity Halton does this by partnerships with others.

Habitat believes that faith is lived through action. Building on their Christian foundation, they serve and work with people of all faiths and beliefs in a spirit of justice and compassion. They believe there is a role for everyone committed to their vision, mission and values and seek only to enrich the organization through diversity.

There are currently two homeownership opportunities. Habitat for Humanity Halton will have a one bedroom condominium in North Burlington that might make homeownership possible for someone.

Habitat in Halton is run by a ten member community Board chaired by Edward McMahon with Anne Swarbrick serving as the Executive Director

Koinonia Farms (a Christian community in the USA founded by Clarence Jordan) used the concept of building affordable houses as the basis for running their housing ministry. Multi-millionaires Millard and Linda Fuller served as volunteers and embraced Jordon’s concept of partnership housing, forming the basic model for Habitat:

  • Those in need of adequate shelter would work side-by-side with volunteers from all walks of life to build simple, decent houses;
  • These houses would be built with no profit added and no interest charged; and
  • The building would be financed by a revolving Fund for Humanity with the Fund’s money coming from the new homeowners’ house payments, donations and no interest loans provided by Supporters. These monies would, in turn, build even more Habitat houses.

In 1973, the Fullers decided to apply the Fund for Humanity concept in developing countries choosing the former country of Zaire to launch their house building program. In 1976, they returned to North America and chose Americus, Georgia as the headquarters for Habitat for Humanity International. In recent years, Habitat has grown to over 1600 affiliates in the US and Canada and is at work in over 90 countries around the world. To date Habitat for Humanity has built over 300,000 houses worldwide making Habitat the largest homebuilder in the world.

Executive Director Anne Swarbrick chats with customer during the re-launch of the ReStore on Appleby Line.
Executive Director Anne Swarbrick chats with customer during the re-launch of the ReStore on Appleby Line.

Habitat is a independent, non-profit, Christian housing program dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing by building homes in partnership with families in need. Families contribute hundreds of hours of sweat equity to the construction of their home and repay a long-term no-interest mortgage. Habitat for Humanity is not a giveaway program. We give families a “hand up, not a hand out.

Habitat is a partnership between volunteers, homeowners, churches, businesses and communities. In 1984 Habitat’s most famous volunteer, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, along with his wife, Rosalyn, participated in their first Habitat build project. Their personal involvement in Habitat’s ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat’s work.

Habitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC) was born in 1985, with the formation of the first Canadian affiliate in Winkler Manitoba. In early 1988 an HFHC national office was established, which is currently located in Waterloo, Ontario. HFHC now has over 73 approved affiliate organizations from coast to coast. To date, HFHC has built 2000 homes in Canada. As of January 2009, HFHC Foundation, the fundraising branch of the organization, is located in Toronto, Ontario.

The International headquarters is the “hub” of all of the Habitat’s activities and goings on. Do you want to build in Jamaica or another part of the world? For more information visit Habitat for Humanity International

If this is something that interests you as a volunteer, call them; if this is something you think you can donate surplus material and supplies to, call them, if you think Habitat can help you find a decent home – call them The number is 905-637-4446.




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Bike check up for the kids and a helmet thrown in – you want to get there early to get in on this one.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 13, 2011 – Mark it on your calendar. Saturday May 28th at the Burlington Mall South Parking Lot – 9 am to noon – come early – get your bike safety checked FREE – get a Bike Helmet – FREE and lots more – sponsored in part by Burlington Neighbourhood Watch, Halton Regional Police Service, and Burlington Mall.


The event takes place in the south parking lot of the Burlington Mall

The event takes place in the south parking lot of the Burlington Mall



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That Pier – progress, good solid progress – but we’ve not settled with the bonding company yet.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 12, 2011 – There was another update on progress with the building of THE Pier at the foot of Brant Street. This time both the City Solicitor, Nancy Shea Nicol and the Director of Engineering, Tom Eichenbaum were on hand to answer questions. That expensive lawyer from the Big Smoke to the east of us was also on hand to advise and direct. This time he was carrying his smaller briefcase – think that was a good sign.

It looks a little rough today while it undergoes inspections and the drawings to complete the work are brought up to date – but the Pier is coming along just fine.  The city has control of this file now.

It looks a little rough today while it undergoes inspections and the drawings to complete the work are brought up to date – but the Pier is coming along just fine. The city has control of this file now.

Council, as they usually do on this file, went into closed session to talk behind closed doors about the latest from Zurich Insurance on where things stand with the submission they delivered to the city a number of weeks ago. The city is suing the insurance company for several million – asking them to pay up on the performance bond put up by Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. to ensure that they would finish the job. Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., the original contractor walked off the job last December and the city sued both the contractor, the company that designed the Pier and was overseeing the construction and the insurance company that provided the bond.

The City was handling the file rather poorly under the former Council but when the new team took to the horseshoe table in the Council Chambers a new attitude was evident. As well, a number of engineering types are no longer on the city payroll.

The legal stuff will take time but my sense is that the City will prevail and that there will be a settlement in the City’s favour when all is said and done. There is now a Project Management Team (PMT) in place which consists of a professional project management firm (Mettko) and a procurement consultant (Cassels Brock) – we’re not going to be buying any sub standard steel this time around. Recall that there was failure with some of the steel used for the deck of the Pier that failed when there was a concrete pour.

The city is on schedule to have half of the construction drawings ready by June 1. An inspection of the caissons and other parts that are under water has been done – the preliminary report says no problems at that level. The electrical room has been inspected and it is fine. The city is working with the supplier of the light fixtures to determine how to incorporate what has apparently already been purchased into the design.

The site was basically abandoned by the previous contractor, Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. Last December. Working through various contractors, the city has had to go in and ensure that everything is as it should be.

With the drawings that will be available early in June Mettko will prepare an initial cost estimate and then go out to tender in July. Tenders will close in August and a decision made in September as to who the contractor that will build the Pier is going to be.

The Mayor might want to put the Burlington Teen Tour Band on notice that they will be needed Labour Day to March down Brant Street to celebrate the signing of a contract and as a dry run for the Official opening that is penciled in for sometime in June of 2013.

The submission from Zurich Insurance didn’t help when it arrived a number of weeks ago but if the smile on Tom Eichenbaum’s face when he left the closed session of Council Committee last night is any indication – things are going just fine.

The Pier is going to get built and it will open before the summer of 2013.





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If you’re into firemen and how they get people out of cars when there is an accident then we have a deal for you.

BURLINGTON, ON May 11, 2011 – Saturday, May 14, at the Burlington Fire Headquarters Station on Fairview St. fireman from Canada and the United States will take part in an exciting auto extrication competition.

Seven auto extrication teams with six members each will participate in the competition.

Fire Department teams currently enrolled are from Halifax and Enfield, Nova Scotia;

Brampton; Mississauga; Chili and Brighton, New York; and Burlington. The goal of the

challenge is to help rescuers stay current with auto extrication practices and share ideas

and techniques to improve life-saving techniques.

Burlington fire fighters will go up against fireman from Canada and the United States in an auto extraction competition.

Burlington fire fighters will go up against fireman from Canada and the United States in an auto extraction competition.

This event is open to the public. All are welcomed to attend. Food and beverages are available. Children under 12 years of age will receive a free hot dog. Saturday, May 14, 2011, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Headquarters Station, 1255 Fairview St., Burlington
Competition to be held at Training Complex at rear of station.



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