Two shot in the earlier morning hours outside Waterfront Hotel

By Staff

June 24th, 2023



Gun fire in downtown Burlington.

Police cruisers and paramedics in front of the Waterfront Hotel. Two transported to hospital; a third person sought by police.

The shooting are believed to have taken place in the parking lot on the east side of the Waterfront Hotel.

Two were injured with a suspect the Regional Police are searching for

The shooting took place sometime after 1:00 am. Police and emergency services responded to a parking lot on the south side of Lakeshore Road near John Street.

Police located two men with “gunshot injuries,” police said in a news release. Both victims were transported to an area hospital.

One of the victims is reported to have serious injuries while the second victim has minor injuries.

One suspect is believed to have fled on foot.

“Investigators will provide updates as this investigation progresses,” police said in the release. “Based on existing information, this is believed to be a targeted incident and there is no known or ongoing threat relating to public safety.”

Return to the Front page

Slow moving showers and embedded thunderstorms expected to develop this afternoon and continue over the remainder of the day

By Staff

June 24, 2023 – Time: 12:00 P.M. 



Conservation Halton advises that slow moving showers and imbedded thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon and continue on and off over the remainder of the day. Total accumulation could be upwards of 50 to 75mm of rainfall before the rain ends this evening.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated, however fast flowing water and flooding of low-lying areas and natural floodplains may be expected.

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts, inlet & outlet structures/grates and dams.  Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous.  Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers. 

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream and weather conditions and will issue an update to this Watershed Condition Statement –Water Safety message as conditions warrant.

This Watershed Condition Statement will be in effect through Monday June 26, 2023.


Return to the Front page

City gearing up to have the public name the Bateman site.

By Pepper Parr

June 23rd, 2023



There is some movement on the Bateman High School file

A staff report goes to Committee on Wednesday of next week – the 28th.

There are two recommendations:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture and the Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement to engage the community during Q3 of 2023 on naming options as outlined in recreation, community and culture department report. “Former Robert Bateman High School – Naming and Sponsorship Update” for the location formerly known as Robert Bateman High School; and

Direct the Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement and the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to report back to council on the future of sponsorship and naming of assets by Q4 2025 inclusive of sponsorship opportunities at Former Bateman.

Not much haste on putting a name on the place

A statement included in the Staff report: “The uncertainty of what programs and services will be offered at Bateman, as well as key decisions yet to be made about site plan development for both indoor and outdoor spaces,” should raise some eyebrows.

On December 13, 2022, Council approved the overall proposed Phase 1 facility design for the adaptive reuse of Robert Bateman High School and further directed staff to report back in Q2 2023 on, among other considerations, the “process for naming and branding the new facility

The City has a naming policy that provides guidance. Sections are excerpted below. The city appears ready to take a pass on finding sponsorship for for what is going to be a hub that includes space rented by the school board; space rented by Brock University and space that will be rented by TechPlace.

A library branch will be included.

No mention of a coffee shop – but there will be gymnasiums and a swimming pool included.

Don’t make mention of parking at this point – like almost everything else, controversy surrounds parking. Best comment heard so far is – make people pay for parking.

The city has a protocol on the naming of corporate assets that may be considered:

• When honouring a person, persons, a family, person, or group;
• Educating residents about a historical figure or event;
• Providing recognition of donations, sponsorships, and joint ventures;
• Recognizing International, National, or Provincial events/ competitions/ participants
• Opening of a new corporate asset or re-opening of corporate assets following refurbishment;
• When circumstances dictate the renaming of an existing asset.” “Preference will be given to names that:
• Give a sense of place, continuity, and belonging reflecting the geographic location, community, neighbourhood, or street where the corporate asset is located and/or:
• Reflects those who have or are advancing anti-racism and equity;
• Reflects cultural, ethnic, racial and gender diversity by honouring historically under-represented groups such as women, Black and Indigenous communities, people of colour, LGBTQ2S, and other communities;
• Recognizes the historical significance of the area and/or;
• Reflects the unique characteristics of the site and/or;
• Reflects the type of service offered and/or;
• Is in keeping with a selected theme and/or;
• Honours a person, persons, a family, or group, living or deceased, who have made a significant contribution to the community.”

The City managed to get a sponsor for the Community Centre part of Alton complex xxx ; naming Haber Community Centre’s
In what the city called an “an aggressive campaign that solicited over 2,500 companies, in the end securing Haber as naming sponsor.

Our recollection is that it was Haber that was aggressive – this is something they wanted – more ego involved than anything else.  They got a very good deal.

Does Burlington have 2,500 companies that would have the dollars the city was asking for?

What the city has learned is that the process represents a significant investment of time by staff. Sponsorship solicitation requires a specific skill set and the City is not well resourced in this area.  It typically takes 18 months or more to secure sponsorship if one is secured at all.

In the example of Haber, despite retaining a consultant and the diligent, hard work of staff there was limited community and business interest in this significant investment.

Recently, the renaming of Ryerson Park to Sweetgrass was achieved through a process of community engagement. Public interest was high, with more than 500 names submitted and 1,650 votes cast by residents. As another example, in 2020, three trails were named though public engagement. In that case, over 300 names were submitted and an average of more than 800 votes per trail were received (more than 2,400 votes total).

A three–step process is followed when soliciting community engagement for naming:
1. The community suggests names.
2. A selection committee composed of City staff and advisory committee members create a shortlist from those submitted by the community. The committee uses City policy to guide the shortlisted options.
3. Residents vote on shortlisted names.

In the case of Bateman, staff recommend decoupling naming of Bateman from sponsorship. The timelines for naming are near term, with construction requiring a name to be agreed upon by Q4 2023. Due to the uncertainty of what will be offered at Bateman and what the final site design will consist of contrasted with typical timelines associated with securing a sponsor of this nature, staff do not believe naming and sponsorship will align.

In this section, several options are presented for naming, outlining the benefits and drawbacks of each, and a pathway forward on sponsorship is presented for consideration.

Staff recommend option 4 – community engagement – for naming the facility, this presents a positive engagement opportunity for the community and fosters a sense of place and inclusion for participants.

Recent examples of community engagement for naming illustrate that processes can be put in place to ensure City policies for naming are followed. If this recommendation is endorsed, staff will seek to engage the community during Q3 of this year, aligning the conversations around naming to the community visioning exercises for Bateman.

The uncertainty of what programs and services will be offered at Bateman, as well as key decisions yet to be made about site plan development for both indoor and outdoor spaces, create an uncertain value proposition for sponsorship at this location. This, coupled with the generally elusive nature of municipal sponsorships causes staff to believe it will be difficult to secure sponsorship at this time.

For the approach to naming, staff recommend community engagement. For revenue generation linked to sponsorship, staff recommend reporting back to Council on the future of sponsorship by Q4 2025.

Return to the Front page

Strong Mayor Powers in the wrong hands could do irreparable harm to the city

By Pepper Parr

June 23rd, 2023



Mayor Marianne Meed Ward released the following statement:

“Last Friday (June 16), I released a Statement from the Mayor after the Province of Ontario announced it will be extending the strong mayor powers it recently gave to Toronto and Ottawa, to additional municipalities, effective July 1, 2023.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward speaking to Council members from London, Ontario where she was attending the graduation of her daughter.

“These new tools will be extended to every municipality that has adopted a housing pledge, including Burlington — City Council unanimously endorsed the pledge to build 29,000 homes by 2031 and we currently have 23,000 units under review.

“These tools are not something I have requested.

“My focus has always been on building a strong city and a strong collaborative Council.

“I believe the best decisions are made in collaboration with Council, City staff and the community — that will not change.

“We have always taken a “made-in Burlington” approach to changes that affect municipalities. Burlington Council works well together, and I know we will continue to do so.
The fear in the minds of many is that the Mayor is not being transparent. In remarks made during a Council meeting, intended to coerce a fellow member of Council do not reflect the operation of a “strong collaborative Council.”

It appears she will do whatever she feels she has to do to make her point. The Strong Mayor Powers she will have on July 1st allow her to do almost whatever she wishes.

Given what we have seen her do so far, there is reason to be concerned.

Strong mayor powers and duties include:
• Choosing to appoint the municipality’s chief administrative officer
• Hiring certain municipal department heads, and establishing and re-organizing departments
• Creating committees of council, assigning their functions and appointing the chairs and vice-chairs of committees of council
• Proposing the municipal budget, which would be subject to council amendments and a separate head of council veto and council override process
• Vetoing certain by-laws if the head of council is of the opinion that all or part of the by-law could potentially interfere with a provincial priority
• Bringing forward matters for council consideration if the head of council is of the opinion that considering the matter could potentially advance a provincial priority

Return to the Front page

Canada Day + the Celebration of the 150th anniversary

By Staff

June 23, 2023



The City will celebrate Burlington’s 150th Anniversary and Canada Day in Spencer Smith Park on July 1.

The Canada Day events is as well is as the 150th anniversary of the city will officially kick off at 4 p.m. with the Burlington Teen Tour Band and remarks from Mayor Meed Ward and special guests at the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony will be hosted by Clint “Bubba” O’Neil, TV sportscaster with CHCH TV.

Mayor Meed Ward will also be presenting the Key to the City to several recipients.

Brant Street will be car free from Caroline down to Lakeshore Road

All events, except the citizenship ceremony, will be held at Spencer Smith Park. The citizenship ceremony will be held at City Hall Civic Square, 426 Brant St.

All musical special guests have called Burlington home. Performances start shortly after the opening ceremony kicking off with Rob Preuss (of The Spoons & Honeymoon Suite) and friends, and will feature some chart toping musicians that you won’t want to miss through till the fireworks.

July 1 events at Spencer Smith Park
• Yoga in the Park
• Canada Day Run, 1k and 5k hosted by VRPRO

The only time fireworks are permitted in the city.

Afternoon and evening
• Opening ceremonies and entertainment at the stage begins at 4 p.m.
• Food and marketplace vendors
• Special musical performances 6 to 10 p.m.
• Fireworks at 10 p.m.

The Canadian citizenship ceremony at Civic Square, 426 Brant St. will start at 1 p.m.

Free Canada Day Shuttle
Downtown parking is in high demand during Canada Day festivities. Residents are encouraged to consider other transportation options such as cycling, walking, car pooling or Burlington

A fully accessible, free shuttle service will run from 2 to 11 p.m. The shuttle will make stops at the Burlington GO Station (north side) and travel to the downtown bus terminal. Free bike parking will be available near the Waterfront Hotel for cyclists to secure their bikes.

Return to the Front page

The PRIDE statement - some understand why it matters - some don't

June 23, 2023

Where in the city of Burlington is a bunch of balloons like this be put on display ?

Not the Catholic School Board.

Lobby of the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Why do two different organizations – both very important to the city – have such different approaches the the PRIDE statement ?

Return to the Front page

Procedural by law up for review - Clerk's Office doing a survey

By Pepper Parr

June 22, 2023



For those who have concerns over the way the current council manages itself – this is your time.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon

The Office of the City Clerk is conducting a review of the Procedure By-law and is looking for community input through a community survey on the sections of the by-law pertaining to the public.

Your feedback will considered as part of the review and help us improve our meeting experience.

The Procedure Bylaw is a bylaw that rules how Council and Committee meetings are run and details the decision-making process of Council.

The Procedure Bylaw makes sure the City’s Council and Committee meetings have consistent, collaborative decision making.

It does this by establishing transparent and accountable governance and includes information about:

  • membership,
  • scheduling,
  • agendas,
  • voting and
  • public participation.

You may feel the city, Clerk in particular, don’t listen.  You might be right – but you still need to go on record with your concerns.

Related news story:

Ward newsletter sent out late

Return to the Front page

Federal Cabinet shuffle expected: will Karina Gould get a promotion ?

By Pepper Parr

June 22nd, 2023



The House of Commons has recessed until September 18th when they will resume sitting at 11:00 am.

What did they get done this session – They passed a budget that gives more than it takes at this point.

They continue to serve as the government of the country based on the agreement they have with the New Democrats.

They stumbled badly over the appointment of a former Governor General who had been appointed to look into the matter of the Chinese government investigating members of Parliament and setting up what some called “police” stations in Canada to spy on and harass Chinese nationals.

They took a big one on the chin when no one seemed to know that serial rapist and murderer Paul Bernardo was moved from a maximum security prison to a medium security prison where he will continue serving his life sentence. The families of the two woman he and Karla Hamolka murdered learned of the transfer the day it took place.  Most Canadians expect Bernardo to die in prison.

The backing away from the assault weapons ban, the way the Emergency’s Act was interpreted during the Convoy event that locked the center of Ottawa down for days and how the managing of removing a Judge from the Supreme Court Bench didn’t do much to endear the Liberal Party to the public.

Gould at her Ministry desk on Parliament Hill

Where does Karina Gould, the MP for Burlington sit in all this?

For the past six, maybe seven months she has been a front line fighter;  on her feet almost every time the House in in Session challenging the Conservative party to say what they would do about climate change when they cancel the carbon emission measures in place now.

She gets quite feisty and has certainly grown and matured is as a Cabinet Minister.

Gould doesn’t sit on the front row; her Cabinet levels have been mid-level but significant nevertheless.

There have been consistent reports that there will be a Cabinet shuffle – no mention as to when that will actually happen.

The question for Burlingtonians is – will Gould remain in Cabinet – yes she will – and will she get a promotion?

Gould’s first major media scrum.

She first served is as the Minister of Democratic Institutions where she was thrown under the bus when the Prime Minister backed away from ranked ballots rather than the current first past the post procedure. The Prime Minister took the view that there was a clear view of just what Canadians wanted and so he was backing away from the ranked idea.  And he left Gould to face a media scrum that was tough.

The upside on that matter was how well Gould acquitted herself – she stood up to a battering in a media scrum.  It was clear then that she was a fighter.

She later became the Minister of International Development and again did well. For the youngest woman to be made a Cabinet Minister and the first Cabinet Minister to bear a child while serving in the House of Commons Canadians were watching a women grow is as a Parliamentarian.

When she became Minister of Families, Children and Social Development she had to stick handle the national child care program that was being funded by the federal government but administered by the provinces.

Gould succeeded in getting all the provinces and Territories on-board. Ontario was the hold out – and, while it took time to get an agreement with Ontario in place – she did it.  Gould worked very hard to get the province onside with the daycare funding – many thought it would be in place by now

Close but not quite there yet

The province of Ontario now has to put agreements in place with the Regions – that isn’t going all that well – but that is not a problem Gould has to manage.

So – when the Cabinet shuffle is announced where will Gould stand. It would be stunning if she were dropped.

Where might she end up?  Probably not as a front row Minister>; Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defence are not levels she is ready for yet.

One source we talked to suggested that she would fit in well with a portfolio that interfaced with Ontario and had a social welfare twist to it.

Gould comes across to most people is as comfortable; approachable – just a decent young mother who happens to be a Cabinet Minister.

In the Mandate letter she was given by the Prime Minister he set out the following in what was a three page letter.

We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.

As Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, your immediate priority is to build a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system that reduces parent fees, creates more high-quality spaces, recruits and retains skilled educators, and ensures all kids get off to the best possible start. At the same time, you will work with Indigenous partners to implement a culturally appropriate Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care system. You will also focus on implementing the Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize as well as ensure Service Canada provides reliable and accessible services to Canadians, regardless of where they live.

To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.

  • Gould meeting with an organization representative in Ottawa

    Gould focused and very direct.

    Supported by the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, continue advancing the creation and sustainability of a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, including:

    • Concluding negotiations with remaining provinces and territories and implementing agreements:
      • Reducing fees for regulated child care by 50 per cent on average by the end of 2022 everywhere outside of Quebec,
      • Reducing regulated child care fees to $10 a day on average by the end of fiscal year 2025-2026 everywhere outside of Quebec, and
      • Building 250,000 new high-quality child care spaces and hiring 40,000 more early childhood educators by the end of fiscal year 2025-2026;
    • Introducing federal child care legislation to strengthen and protect a high-quality Canada-wide child care system;
    • Establishing a National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care;
    • Continuing to advance work with provinces and territories to reduce fees for families for before and after school care; and
    • Ensuring the Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Child Care is fully resourced and operational by early 2023.
  • A small group of demonstrators walked into a public meeting to let the Minister know where they stood. Gould handled the event very well – she let the demonstrators speak and thanked them.

    Work with Indigenous partners to ensure that Indigenous children have access to a culturally appropriate Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care system that meets the needs of Indigenous families wherever they live, including ensuring more Indigenous families have access to high-quality programming, creating 3,300 new child care spaces, and continuing to support before and after school care for First Nations children on reserve.

  • Advance the implementation of the Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize as they recover from the pandemic.
  • Continue advancing the Social Innovation and Social Finance strategy, including fully implementing the Social Finance Fund and launching the Social Innovation Advisory Council.
  • Through the delivery of Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and other measures, continue leading implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations.
  • Work with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to work toward a national school nutritious meal program.
  • Work with the Minister of Seniors to provide seniors with a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits.
  • Gould meeting with people in Spencer Smith Park in Burlington

    As the Minister responsible for Service Canada, lead the development and implementation of modern, resilient, secure and reliable services and benefit delivery systems for Canadians and ensure those services and benefits reach all Canadians regardless of where they live.

  • Work with the Minister of National Revenue toward the implementation of a real-time e-payroll system, and ensure that businesses of all sizes benefit from this work.
  • Gould in the kitchen of the Burlington Legion – she has a superb relationship with the veterans.

    Enhance the capacity and effectiveness of Black-led and Black-serving organizations through the continued implementation of the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative. You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion.

  • Work with the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth to ensure the voices and needs of children are represented in our Government’s agenda, as we work to make Canada the best place to grow up.
  • Work with the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions to ensure mental health supports are accessible to children and youth as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Has Gould succeeded? That is a question that will get answered by the Prime Minister and his advisers.  It will be interesting to see what comes out of the expected Cabinet shuffle.



Return to the Front page

Second meeting of homeowners and commercial people on properties that could be included in Heritage clusters - noisier than the first

By Pepper Parr

June 22, 2023



The second meeting with home owners in the proposed Heritage Culture Districts (HCD) the city appears to want to create was even worse than the first.

Shouting matches between real estate agents, bewildered home owners finding they were caught in the middle of a plan coming out of city hall that isn’t that clear.

The people involved in the two meetings have asked that they not be identified and we are going to respect that wish.

In order to create a HCD at least 25% of the locations deemed to have the criteria to be identified as heritage properties.  Several of those at the meeting questioned the way the city is interpreting that criteria.

A source told us that an estimated 16 to 18 people took part that includes “three or four married couples”.

“Only one person spoke up in favour of intensification, saying basically we need more people living downtown to bring the vibrancy & commerce back to the area. He was the only one to speak to that – personally agree with him but no one else seemed to.

“Two people spoke of how living in one of these nightmare older homes is privilege- I’ve run across them before the last time the city did this – they didn’t get much support – how having spent thousands on just maintaining the darned things is a privilege is beyond me.

“Another person had a good point – they were concerned that the city would single out certain properties while leaving others alone – he felt that it should be a heritage district where everyone is in the same boat or just don’t do it at all.”

Somewhere in this area the Heritage Planners hope to find enough homes that can be designated and identified as a Heritage District.

One real estate agent said “you can knock at least 30% off the value of your property if it’s singled out for designation – in general buyers don’t want anything to do with designated properties – the impact would be a bit  less if all the properties in the area were designated as in a Heritage district.”

“Somewhere in the mix the issue of grants/ tax rebates came up if you agree to designate your property – but as stated John O’Reilly overstated the amount of tax rebate – he probably doesn’t know – a real estate agent set him straight on that.”

The grant –  $15,000 elicited a lot of groans – that wouldn’t even cover the cost of replacing the roof on my home and mine isn’t that big. Some properties are pretty large

A person who lived on Locust Street made a very good point saying the “proposed area is so fragmented with parking lots, – with a house here or there she couldn’t see any way they could be cobbled into any kind of district – which to me just spells designate.  She was quite right, it’s a dog’s breakfast.

“There was a gentleman who asked where the information was for his property on Ontario St – he was frustrated because he felt the uncertainty was affecting his ability to sell. I think it’s currently a commercial or professional property but again, first names only & not everyone identified their property so…

Interesting though that the consultant said there were a lot more addresses in the study area – she didn’t have the complete list but said John O’Reilly should have it

“Makes me wonder if they are dribbling this out a bit at a time so that people can’t meet and organize. But on the other hand they seem in a big rush to get the final report before council so probably only John O’Reilly could clarify if there are other properties – none the wiser

“I mentioned the couple that wanted to build side by side properties, one for their family & one for them. They insist they had done everything required and were told they could demolish the existing property and erect the new structures – then the city pulled the rug out from under them and they are left with a useless property. I couldn’t understand how that could be right but I said that it sounded like the city reneged on the deal and the real estate agent agreed that perhaps they had reneged on the contract.

“The husband approached me after asking if I would be interested in a class action law suit but on what grounds? He didn’t specify.

“One real estate person there – she was spitting nails at John O’Reilly openly arguing with him in front of everyone. Again I don’t have all the information as she was sitting quite far away from me but I think the property concerned was on  Locust and the gist of it was she can’t sell it due to something the city will not sign off on – said she’d lost two buyers because of the city.

“All in all if anyone signs up to delegate at the public meeting that may very well descend into chaos – I do hope so

“Oh, and they made a big point of saying the meeting was being recorded every time things got a bit rowdy so I’m not sure if that will be available- this wasn’t a public meeting so not sure what that means.

There were concerns with just how much the heritage consultant hired by the city knew about the area.  At one point she asked a real estate agent which side of Lakeshore Road (which she called a Boulevard) was the Waterfront Hotel located on. We  reached out to the Heritage Planner for the name of the consultant.  We did not get an answer.

“I fully expect them to designate my property against my will. Can’t wait for the public meeting.”



Return to the Front page

Blake Hurley new Executive Director of Legal Services & Corporate Counsel

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2023



Blake Hurley has been appointed as the Executive Director of Legal Services & Corporate Counsel for the city of Burlongton,

Blake Hurley, long before he arrived in Burlington.

Hurley joined the City of Burlington in 2008 as an Assistant City Solicitor, where he worked closely with members of the City’s leadership team, Council and various City Committees to assist in advancing the City’s goals and strategic plans relating to growth and development. He has been the acting Executive Director of Legal Service and Corporate Counsel since the retirement of Nancy Shea Nicol in April 2023.

Following his call to the Bar of Ontario in 2004, Hurley began his legal career in private practice at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto, where he supported the firm in the area of Municipal and Planning Law. While there, he also completed a secondment at the Town of Oakville as an Assistant Town Solicitor. Before beginning his legal career, Hurley supported the City of Kitchener as a municipal land use planner.

Hurley has extensive experience and knowledge of land use planning and municipal legislation, regulations and policy. This will allow him to ensure compliance with local, provincial, and federal requirements, and ultimately protect and assist in the guidance of the strategic long-term growth and sustainability of the broader Burlington community. As Executive Director of Legal Services & Corporate Counsel, Hurley will provide strategic advice and guidance to the City, ensuring that it meets its legal obligations and the changing needs of Burlington with integrity and efficiency. Within this portfolio, Hurley will support Legal Services, Realty Services as well as Halton Court Services.

The development Hurley wishes he had never seen.

Hurley has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo where he specialized in Urban and Regional Planning, as well as a Bachelor of Laws from Queens University.

Hurley began in his new role on June 19, 2023.

Hurley has been given a rough ride the past few years – his role was not to lead but to follow the the courts set out by Nancy Shea Nicol who has served the city for several decades.

Hurley now has the opportunity to craft his own course – a challenge for anyone involved in the city and its legal problems.

Blake Hurley is a decent man, soft spoken, well informed and not led or driven by an ego that is bigger than his personality.

If he is given the time he will need to let people appreciate the difference he will bring to the department we can expect to see different results.

Good luck to him.

Return to the Front page

Communications department mandate is to foster, promote and deliver on Community Engagement.

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2023



Kwab Ako-Adjei: Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement

How does one explain this ?

Newsletters get sent out by the city communications department for each of the six ward Councillors.

Those newsletters always have listings of events that are taking place in the ward.

So why this?

A ward newsletter dated June 2nd, sent out on the 21st of June at 10:15 am. The Post Office provides better service than this.


In ward 1 there were closes to half a dozen events that had already taken place by the time we got the information

One of the prime parts of the Communications department mandate is to foster, promote and deliver on Community Engagement.

Return to the Front page

Provincial statutes get different treatment in Burlington and Hamilton - not a good sign

By Pepper Parr

June 21st, 2023



The Ontario municipal election campaign donations appear to be treated one way in Burlington and another in Hamilton.

When the Gazette was doing a series of articles on the donations given to ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith we noted that in his Election Donations and Expenses document (a Forn 4) that Galbraith did not appear to have opened a separate election campaign bank account; a requirement before he could accept donations.

Burlington City Clerk Keven Arjoon – a little loosey goosey when it comes to ensuring that candidate reports are reviewed.

When we brought this to the attention of Burlington City Clerk Keven Arjoon his office responded that they did not go through the reports in detail, other than to confirm that it was provided by the candidate.

Hamilton has a much different approach. Hamilton City Clerk, Andrea Holland presented a report to Council in which she set out a number of donation infractions.

If the name Andrea Holland sounds familiar – it should. She was at one time a Burlington employee working in the Clerk’s office. She was one of a number of bright women who found greener grass in other municipalities.

In Hamilton a special committee must decide whether to take some of Hamilton’s biggest developers and business names to court for allegedly donating too much to candidates in last year’s city election.

Under Ontario election law, no donor is allowed to contribute more than $1,200 to a single municipal candidate or more than $5,000 in total. Candidates are required by law to tell prospective donors about the limits, but it is up to donors to ensure they do not contribute more in total than the law allows.

A review by the Hamilton City Clerk of financial contributions made during the election last fall found several donors who “appear” to have violated the maximum donation rule — although not by much, in most cases.

That triggered a meeting of an arms-length “election compliance audit committee” to decide if a violation occurred — and if so, whether it warrants pursuing rare court action that could result in fines.
Several big-name donors were under the microscope – but only one, Sam Mercanti, showed up in person.

“I apologize,” said the 75-year-old founder of national auto body chain Carstar, who told the committee he was unaware of the $5,000 donation limit that he exceeded by $700. “Now that I know, it will not happen again.”

Other notable donors on the alleged over-contribution list included:
Darivoj (Darko) Vranich, Hamilton’s downtown mega developer, appeared to nearly double the donation limit with $9,600 given to eight candidates;

Sergio Manchia, a developer and ubiquitous planning consultant, appeared to donate $5,300 to 13 candidates;

Tighter oversight in Hamilton when it comes to municipal election campaign donations.

Silvio Guglietti, founder of Rosehaven Homes and a multi million-dollar development player in Hamilton’s Elfrida expansion area, appeared to donate $5,200 to seven candidates.

The committee ruled at that time no legal action should be pursued.

The Hamilton committee went behind closed doors to discuss whether to pursue any legal action over violations.

In Burlington any concerns remained in the office of the City Clerk.

Return to the Front page

Federal By-elections - No Tea Leaves Here


By Ray Rivers

June 21st, 2023



On Monday four federal by-elections were held and the results were much as anyone might have guessed. Nothing changed except that four new MPs will take their seats in Parliament.

Marc Garneau’s former riding in Montreal was retained by the Liberals as was that of the late Jim Carr, in Winnipeg. In that case Carr’s son kept the riding for the Grits. And the Tories retained their hold in rural Manitoba to replace Candice Bergen who threw in the towel. Ontario’s Oxford country also stayed Tory though former Conservative MP Dave MacKenzie, called his party on dirty tricks and ended up supporting the Liberal candidate.

Dave McKenzie – Oxford in Ontario

Ben Carr, Winnipeg South, MB

So what did we learn from these by-elections? Not much. These ridings were about as safe for their respective parties as any in the country. It was a test of tribal loyalty for the most part. National polling indicates that Canadians are getting tired of the Trudeau government, but that would probably be just as true for any federal government after 8 years in power. Tired or not the 51 year young Trudeau heir has promised to lead his party into the next general election, which could come at any time – despite his deal with Mr. Singh to keep him in power until 2025.

Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre – they will face each other in the next federal eleection.  When?  That’s the big question.

If the public is getting weary of the Liberals, that was not the message that anyone could take from the by-elections. If anything Mr. Trudeau’s party did better than expected, including a relatively close run in true blue Oxford. And recall that sitting governments normally suffer in mid-term elections as disgruntled voters are free to vent their dissatisfaction without upsetting the political apple cart. But that didn’t happen.

City folk generally prefer the Liberals while the Tories tend to dominate in farm country. It’s always been like that. The exceptions are when the public decides it’s time to kick the bums out as we did with the Mulroney crowd or Pierre eventually. And of course there are the times when some bright light inspires the masses to cross partisan lines, as was the case with both of the Trudeaus in their days.

Anna Gainey in Quebec – Branden Leslie in Manitoba

In addition to the urban/rural divide there is the east/west split, which today has been spirited mostly by the Alberta political mafia. Of course it’s really only anti-Trudeau. But it can’t be smart to be underrepresented federally even if you hate the leader’s guts. So an ongoing Liberal presence in that Manitoba riding which they nailed should be looked at as just a blessing in disguise.

And that Winnipeg South riding for some reason had an incredible number of independent candidates, each getting little more than their own votes back. Talk about democracy gone berserk. Did these folks think they were running for mayor of Toronto?

The Tories are rejoicing that their almost leader only a little while ago, Maxime Bernier, suffered another set back in trying to get his so-called People’s Party of Canada into the hallowed halls of Parliament, finishing second against the real Conservative. But he had a pretty radical or reactionary or, some might just say rubbish, platform, so go figure.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – reaching for a fourth term?

Don’t go looking at these four by-elections as some sort of prescription for the big one yet to come. There are no tea leaves here, no foreboding of fortune or failure for Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Poilievre as they prepare their cannons for the big fight yet to come. This is just what we get in a Canada divided, more than ever, and mostly along tribal lines.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor, writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers



Election Results –  Trudeau’s Next Election –  An Interpretation

Return to the Front page

Does the city need Heritage Culture Districts ?

By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2023



There was an interesting comment made by a woman who attended the first of two community meetings on the creation of Heritage Designated areas.

A Burlington downtown resident who lives in one of the areas the city wants to designate a Heritage Cultural Area questions both the idea and the way the city is working with residents.

She made these comments on the differences between ZOOM (virtual) meetings that the bureaucrats seem to prefer.  City meetings are webcast – it is not unusual to have close to half the members of Council working from their homes.

“If you’ve watched any of the Zoom meetings the City had regarding this matter, where they all blabbed away and at the end of it said “that went well thanks everyone “

Citizens will show up for a meeting if you make it interesting enough and promote it effectively. This crowd was going through the city budget. Virtual or Zoom meetings are not popular to citizens.

“The meeting last night was the equivalent of a Zoom meeting – the City and the consultant struggled so much and came across as ill prepared and uninformed because … they had to sit in a room face to face with real people, real business owners with real questions.

“Zoom meetings are not a substitute for real life – they really need to stop “working from home”

“When Zoom meeting participants have to confront real life… they can’t cope”

The city and the consultant(s) were completely bewildered as to why everyone wasn’t going yeah – let’s do it and do it twice

Does she have a point?

Return to the Front page

First of the community consultations didn't go all that well

By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2023



Heather Fenton wasn’t impressed.  After a meeting that lasted an hour and a half, Fenton, along with about 12 other people including Dr. Michael Shih, realtor Michael O’Sullican and Downtown Burlington Business Association Executive Director Brian Dean listened to a presentation about an area that was labelled Foot of Brant – Village Square for the purposes of the meeting.

One meeting participant called the map of the area under discussion an exercise in gerrymandering.

City Heritage Planner John O’Reilly was the facilitator.

Fenton saw the plans that were put forward as an attempt to gerrymander that part of the city so that the planners could locate and identify 25% of the properties in the area that would be defined as a Heritage Cultural District.  Burlington wants to create Heritage Cultural Districts which they can do if 25% of the properties in the HCD boundary if they meet two or more criteria in the regulation in order to be designated.

The fear that Fenton, and others have, is that the city is going to designate the properties and leave it to the owners to take the matter to the Ontario Land Tribunal (at the owners expense) and let them battle it out at that level.

Village Square is included as a Heritage site.

Bill 23 the Act under which all this is permitted was passed and effective January 1, 2023; it included an authority to set out processes to amend and repeal HCD bylaws in regulation; however, this regulation has not been developed yet

Those attending the meeting did not appear to have a document they could refer to when they got to the meeting.

The requirement for municipalities to make their municipal registers available on a publicly accessible website will not come into force until July 1, 2023 to provide municipalities with time to ensure compliance.

Elsewhere in the Act there is a section that states:  The ability to issue a Notice of Intention to Designate on a property subject to a prescribed event is limited to only those properties included on a municipal register.

It all appears to be a little messy – a second community consultation is scheduled for tomorrow; Heather Fenton expects to attend.

Return to the Front page

Will the current or any future Mayor of the city actually use the Strong Mayor powers ?

By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2023



Come Canada Day the Mayor of Burlington will have what are called Strong Mayor Powers.

Just in case you don’t understand what those powers are about, let me list them for you.

Strong mayor powers and duties include:
• Choosing to appoint the municipality’s chief administrative officer
• Hiring certain municipal department heads, and establishing and re-organizing departments
• Creating committees of council, assigning their functions and appointing the chairs and vice-chairs of committees of council
• Proposing the municipal budget, which would be subject to council amendments and a separate head of council veto and council override process
• Vetoing certain by-laws if the head of council is of the opinion that all or part of the by-law could potentially interfere with a provincial priority
• Bringing forward matters for council consideration if the head of council is of the opinion that considering the matter could potentially advance a provincial priority

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Is this a problem for Mayor Marianne Meed Ward? Or is it an opportunity? Hard to tell – she has said she doesn’t need them and never wanted them. Her statement as Chair of the Big City Mayors Organization was not as resounding as I would have liked it to be – but she was speaking for an organization.

Meed Ward has not gotten into the habit of doing interviews with media so there hasn’t been an opportunity to ask questions directly. To the best of our knowledge Mayor Meed Ward has never held a media event. She uses social media extensively and once said she had 17 points from which she can communicate with the community. They are all one way channels.

There is a scenario that could have Meed Ward using some of those new powers.

The province has said it needs to build 1.5 million new homes by 2031. The province doesn’t build homes, nor does a municipality. Homes are built by developers.

The city sets out the rules that developers have to adhere to.

One of the rules is to comply with the Official Plan which the developers aren’t very pleased with. So they appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal – those appeals take a considerable amount of time and the city tends to lose most of the appeals.

What the city has undertaken to do is build 29,000 new homes by 2031 – they signed a pledge with the province to do just that.

Application has been approved: Seven (7) residential towers on top of four (4) mixed use podiums. Overall heights ranging between 29 and 37 storeys. Podium heights ranging from 2, 5 and 6 storeys. A total of 2,494 residential units of mixed type and tenure. 3993 m2 of commercial space. 41, 821 m2 of shared amenity space. Five (5) levels of underground parking and a four (4) storey parking structure which will be integrated with the residential units. Pedestrian connections to the surrounding neighbourhood and Burlington GO Station.

City Council was successful in getting the Urban Growth Centre boundary moved north which pushed a lot of development north of Caroline and along Fairview where a very large development is planned. But there are no shovels in the ground yet.

Experts seem to agree there is no joy for developers in the rental market – the big bucks are in high end condos – not what Burlington needs.

With Strong Mayor powers would Meed Ward be able to get some of the badly needed housing built? Go back and look at the power she will have come Canada Day

The fear is not what Meed Ward would do – it is about what a future Mayor could do. There are two members of this Council who have said to me directly that they would like to be Mayor – both made the statements before they were halfway through their first term of office.

In the last election we saw a candidate with no local history, a campaign committee that consisted of a close friend with his home phone number as his campaign number to call. Given what little effort was put into the campaign he did remarkably well – and is understood to be ready for another campaign.

It would not be difficult for special interests to find a person, work with that candidate to build a public profile and pump thousands of dollars into the campaign.
Burlington has two habits that make something like this possible.

Voter turnout is traditionally low. In 2022, 27.6 per cent of eligible voters in Burlington voted in the municipal election; in the 2018 municipal election, 39.79 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

And, for the most part, most residents, are woefully ignorant at how important city hall is to the life they live.

Something to think about.

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.

Return to the Front page

Joyce Family Foundation contributes to YMCA program for the 14th year

By Staff

June 19th, 2023



The Joyce Family Foundation has provided continuous support of YMCA Beyond the Bell™ for the past 14 years. The 2023 contribution amounted to $370,000 that will help vulnerable children get the help they need to reach their full potential.

Students in Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Six Nations and other Indigenous communities, will have better access to academic help through YMCA Beyond the Bell™ to provide programming at its current locations and will look to expand into other priority communities and neighbourhoods.

YMCA Summer camp programs.

Children from low-income backgrounds, family trauma and other social determinants of health, are faced with an academic disadvantage compared to their middle-class counterparts before even starting school. Reading at grade level by Grade 3 is a crucial milestone that predicts future school success.

Three quarters of children from low-income neighbourhoods fail to meet this milestone.

The pandemic had a considerable impact on the communities where YMCA Beyond the Bell™ delivers programs, while also changing the way the program traditionally operated. Between 2020 and 2022, the program was delivered through a hybrid model of virtual programming and in-class programming in fewer schools. Right now, the program is being offered virtually as well as in-person with the goal of returning to predominantly in-person delivery of YMCA Beyond the Bell™ at 10 schools by September 2023.

“Now more than ever, students need our help. The pandemic has caused significant disruptions in academic learning, but it has also hampered our children’s social development,” says Manny Figueiredo, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford.

“In YMCA Beyond the Bell™, we found an impactful program academically, that provides support and personal relationships in the lives of young people,” says Michele Thornley, Trustee of

“Mentors and role models are so important in the development of young people. It is transformative for a young person to have consistent support in their educational path.”

The Joyce Family Foundation is a private, family foundation created by Canadian entrepreneur Ronald V. Joyce. His philanthropy reflects a deep-rooted sense of responsibility to give back to his community. The Foundation’s primary focus is to provide access to education for children and youth with significant financial need or facing other socio-economic barriers to success.

YMCA programs help break the cycle of poverty and closing the achievement gap.

The YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford has delivered the YMCA Beyond the Bell™ program for more than 20 years. The objective has been to help break the cycle of poverty and closing the achievement gap experienced by low-income children compared to their higher income peers through a highly unique after-school and summer program. YMCA Beyond the Bell™ features a unique blend of literacy, numeracy, nutrition and recreation elements.

The four key goals of the program are to realize academic achievement, improve health and wellness, explore culture and creativity and develop social skills.

Return to the Front page

An airlineline named Play will make its inaugural flight into Hamilton later today.

By Pepper Parr

June 19th, 2023



The passenger airline industry has a unique way of welcoming a new airline to a destination.

In Hamilton, fire trucks, that are a part of every airfield, drive up to both sides of an arriving aircraft and spray an arc of water over the air craft – that’s how they get welcomed to Hamilton International Airport.

Lynx inaugural flight being welcomed to Hamilton.

Sometime today Play, yes that’s the name of the airline, will arrive in Hamilton on their inaugural flight celebration.

Play offers the following destinations: Iceland, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, London and Dublin via Iceland.

With Play serving Hamilton there will be six airlines using the airport.

The corporate slogan is Come out and Play. The airline serves a number of prime European destinations – easier to get to than for Burlington residents than Pearson.

While Pearson airport is the big player in the Toronto market many of the smaller airlines that want to provide service find that the costs at Pearson are just too high – they choose Hamilton instead.

Many business people and vacation travellers find that Hamilton is an easier destination to get to if they live west of the Toronto core.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce calls the John C. Munro International Airport “Burlington’s Airport”.

The airport is also a major departure and arrival point for the commercial jet cargo business.

Hamilton International has been described . “As the largest domestic overnight express cargo airport and the third largest cargo freight airport in Canada, Hamilton International is a key economic driver and vital transportation hub for the Hamilton region and across Ontario.”

Hamilton International’s 2021 Economic Impact Study, completed by ICF International Incorporated, found that Hamilton International delivered 4,720 jobs and $1.5b in total economic output, with 2,770 jobs and $1b of that directly attributed to its cargo business.

Cargo operations at the Airport have experienced a 29 percent growth in all areas, including employment, labour income, value added and industry activity, over the past five years:

New warehousing space is being created for what is a growing niche in the supply chain: warehousing that can hold goods coming into the country to be sent to destinations across Canada.


Return to the Front page

Where is Council going on the Heritage file - where should they be going ?

By Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2023


Heritage homes have been an issue in Burlington for at least two decades.

The Real Estate industry seem, at times, to be doing everything they can to convince their clients to do everything they can to prevent a property from being put on a Registry.

The sell everyone short with this kind of behaviour and unfortunately the city has yet to see the kind of leadership from the Real Estate community that could show the upside to there being a significant number of homes that are deemed significant from a Heritage perspective.

Some feel that battle was lost when former Mayor Rob” MacIsaac ticked off a lot of people with his approach.  “The city as learned a lesson” said one of the residents that lives in a house that is part of the study group; “they aren’t going to get caught like that again.

The city is currently trying to carve out parts of the city that have significance from a heritage perspective.

Two and perhaps thee members of the current city council are strong property rights people who believe a property owner should be able to decide on their own if their property has heritage value.

In a recent council decision related to a property on Locust Avenue where the owner wanted to make some renovations and additions to a property they had purchased that would allow the extended family to live in the house they had purchased.

In a separate article the Gazette will take you through a rather disappointing resolution on the part of the city on that Locust Street property.

At the moment the city is in the process of having studies completed on what they refer to as “clusters” of properties in the downtown core.

Parts of the downtown core that are the subject of Heritage Studies

The Heritage Planner is holding private meetings with groups of people to discuss the options.

One resident sees the structure of the meetings is as a “divide and conquer” tactic because “they don’t want people to get together and organize against what the city is trying to do” was the way one resident put it.

On Monday John O’Reilly, the Heritage Planner, will be meeting with residents from the Foot of Brant Street; Village Square and Downtown East communities; later in the month – June 21st – he will meet with residents from Locust Street; and Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road.

Media are not permitted to attend.

The city would like to see the facade of this 1830’s house built into the tower, shown on the left, that the developer wants to build. The house is the last structure of its kind left on Brant Street.

The current city Council is doing everything it can to retain at least some of the city heritage.  There is just one building on Brant Street standing that was built in the 1830’s – the city would settle for keeping just the facade and have it built into the proposed 29 storey structure.  The developer refuses to meet with the Heritage planners and has taken his case to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

There are small, very small collections of houses that are thought to have some heritage potential and efforts are being made to produce studies that will support what the city is trying to do.

There isn’t much a city can do – they can refuse to issue building or demolition permits but those refusals don’t last forever.

There doesn’t yet appear to be all that much demand for retaining houses with what planners see as significant heritage value.

Those who want heritage to be part of the city culture are not the people who own the houses.

As one resident put it –  “the city wants to create streetscapes that will allow people to walk or drive by and comment on how nice the neighbourhood looks – we want to be the ones who determine what our homes look like.”



Return to the Front page

Intimate Partner Violence: Ending the epidemic can start with men saying to men: You cannot do that

By Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2023



Jeff Hill is a Deputy Chief with the Halton Regional Police Service.

Jeff Hill: Deputy Chief of Regional Operations Halton Regional Police Service where he oversees Regional Investigative Services (including Intimate Partner Violence, Frauds, Victim Services Unit, Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, Intelligence, Forensic Identification, Drugs and Human Trafficking, Tech Crime, and Homicide)

He was one of several people who delegated at City Council recently on the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) incidents in Burlington.

He reported that last year the police responded to 3500 calls, 1346 of them came from Burlington. 341 arrests were made.

As of last week the police attended on 544 incidents so far this year.

It was numbers like this that brought the problem to council where they passed a resolution declaring that Intimate Partner Violence had reached epidemic levels.

Deputy Chief took the issue several steps further.

He said “the police alone are not the solution to this issue and we will not arrest our way out of this epidemic. If we don’t do something different, the problem will continue to grow.

“Intimate partner violence cannot be a private issue. We cannot be silent about the violence that is occurring. The resolution before you is a start but we must do something to raise community awareness and education on the surveillance of the issue with the necessity for a holistic approach from the community as a whole; one entity cannot do this alone.”

Hill made an additional comment that was chilling. After saying he was not a big social media participant he then said that whenever he tweeted about IPV, the number of people tuning in dropped.  “People don’t want to hear about the issue.”

Hill closed his delegation saying in “the last 40 years the Region alone has seen 22 women murdered at the hands of their partner, a woman was murdered every other year in our region alone. This absolutely has to stop.”

The Region has a 24 member intimate partner violence unit that responds to every call. The victims are supported and charges are laid. The police believe that they hear from about 30% of the women who are victims. The others live in fear believing that they will not be believed or supported.

The victims are one part of the issue – the men who beat their partners are the other side. Sending them to jail isn’t going to change the behaviour – that is not what jails do.

There has to be programs that work with men to change their behaviour. Having groups of men walk in women’s high heeled shoes does a little bit to bring the issue to public attention. I doubt very much that it changes behaviour.

Research has to be done to understand why men feel they can beat their partners. It is certainly an anger management problem – but I suspect there is much more than that to it.

Hill came close when he said there had to be “a holistic approach from the community”.

The shape and form that approach takes has yet to be determined. It can start with men saying to men: You cannot do that and then helping those that do get the help they need.

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.

Return to the Front page