Getting to 100 is significant - more than 2300 people will gather for four days to celebrate what Burlington Central High has meant to their lives.

By Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

The pandemic changed almost everything including the 100th anniversary of Burlington Central High School. The pause hasn’t made much of a difference.

Celebrating 100 years of existence is a big deal.

That is what Central High School will be doing between June 1st and 4th

In 1922, William Lyon MacKenzie King was the Prime Minister of Canada, Ernest Drury was the Premier of Ontario, and Frederick Banting & Charles Best developed insulin treatment for diabetes. Lincoln Alexander was born in Hamilton in ‘22 – he would become Canada’s first black MP and Cabinet Minister and eventually the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

At the same time, what was then known as Burlington High School welcomed its first students to a building that had five classrooms open for fewer than 100 students. Over the years, the school’s name has changed several times, but the strength of the community has not.

It was a big deal when it first opened. It was a bigger deal when there was a move to close it – and it is an even bigger deal for the 2300 plus people who will take part in the reunion events

For the more than 2300 people taking part in the reunion event, it might be the first time they have seen each other since the 75th anniversary. More than a two decades of catching up to do.

The Central Reunion is much more than a catching up. They are celebrating a unique institution that was a critical part of the evolution of the city.

The four day event is packed with activities.

Thursday will include sports activities, Career Day and social events for current and former staff. The sports events are a reflection of how change takes place – the pickle ball event is now closed – all the court time has been taken up.  Pickle ball hardly existed when the graduates met last for the 75th anniversary.

Dinners have been set up for four different time frames – one can imagine the conversations that will take place.

Teri Ruf, former principal of Burlington Central High School and co-coordinator of the 100th anniversary reunion.

The Reunion work is headed up by Terry Ruf and Todd Ford; both were staff members at Central before they retired; one a principal and the other a department head. They head up a team of 24 people that field all the questions and make sure that things that weren’t quite right the first time are right the second time

Central has what every first high school in any community had – it drew from a catchment area that included students from farm families on Maple as well is as those who lived in what we call the downtown core today.

In the beginning schools were a municipal responsibility; when new space was needed they had to appeal to what was then a Town Council – and they didn’t always get what they asked for.

Burlington was of course a much small community.  The QEW didn’t even exist then

There is an event, takes place on the Friday, called the Alumni Career Day, where graduates who went on to build a business will be on hand to tell students what it was that made them the success they became. Wonder what Steve Cussons will have to say to these students about the printing business – a sector of the economy that has changed as much as the high school. The best advice any successful business or professional person can give these days is:  be nimble.

What would become, for a period of time, as the transit service for the city, started when C. H. Norton used what might have been a truck to transport rural students to the new high school.  The story goes that he eventually bought a Pierce Arrow limousine that could carry seven passengers and grew that into the first transit service the city had.

A wall on the second floor of the school memorializes those who were lost.

One of the unique aspects of Burlington Central is the board and portraits on the second floor that commemorates those former students who served in the two World Wars -particularly those who perished during their service.

Some will perhaps feel a connection because the name of a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle is memorialized on the Board of Honour, or you may just want to honour those brave men and women for their service.

On the closing day of the four day event there will be a ceremony at the Cenotaph in Veteran Square to celebrate the memory of a very special group of Burlington Central alumni.

Burlington’s population shot up in the mid to late forties with immigrants from war torn Europe coming to Canada.  Central was for a time an ESL – English is as a Second Language school.

Over time it became a school that had a strong drama department that has continued to grow.  There is now a tradition, more than just a tradition in the hearts of the students who are on stage or backstage building sets or promoting an event  – a sense that they are carrying that tradition forward and enriching it each year.

But the history of the school and what it has done is not what the reunion is about. It is about the people who attended and were shaped by two building that were mere yards apart.

For those who attended Central Public School and then moved on to the high school meant, for thousands, spending at least ten years of their lives in a very small area.  Add in JK & SK and you get to 12 years – no wonder memories are so strong.

Mature trees frame the front entrance of the oldest high school in the city.

Those who put themselves in the 40 to 50 cohort will have the most to look back on, reflecting perhaps, on how well they did and how well their children are doing.

Expect a lot of rejoicing, remembering and reflecting.

Marriages, divorces and deaths will be part of the conversations as people who have, for the most part, done well.

Will anything be different when it is all over? You never know with human beings do you

2,300 people have registered for the event.  Co-coordinator Terry Ruf expect that number to rise to 2500 before things begin June 1st.

Day by Day

Thursday

Career Day for current students featuring alumni speakers

Co-Ed Alumni Athletics:

    Golf Tournament  (now closed)

    Hockey  (now closed)

    Volleyball  (now closed)

    Basketball  (now closed)

    Pickleball  (now closed)

Former & Current Staff Social        

Friday

Friday, June 2

Friday Evening Marquee Tent Event

Music Theatre Performance

Saturday

Saturday Daytime School Events

    Opening Ceremony

    School Open House (call for memorabilia)

    Family Fun Fair & Lunch

    Meet the Staff

    Music Theatre Matinee  

Saturday Evening Decade Events

    40’s/50’s

    60’s/70’s

    80’s/90’s

    2000’s

Sunday

Sunday Memorial Event – 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at the Cenotaph in Veteran Square

Breakfast – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Cafeteria

Many will take part in the Sunday breakfast recovering from the Saturday evening events. They will want to once again join their friends and take one more tour of the school for “old times’ sake”.

Closing Ceremony – 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Auditorium

The concluding celebration of the 100th Anniversary Reunion is a chance to say goodbye until we they come together again in 2047 for Burlington’s Central’s 125th Anniversary!

 

 

 

 

 

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A flood plain that no one knew much about impacts development applications at the intersection of Brant and Ghent

By Pepper Parr

May 28th 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington recently completed a Phase 1 Flood Hazard and Scoped Stormwater Management Assessment for downtown Burlington and the Burlington GO Major Transit Station Area (MTSA).

The Phase 1 study revealed a flood hazard in the Lower Rambo watershed that is greater than previously understood.

A Phase 2 study is currently underway to further refine the flood hazard mapping, but the Phase 1 study is considered the best available information for decision making when development is contemplated in hazardous areas.

Under Ontario Regulation 162/06, Conservation Halton regulates all watercourses, valleylands, wetlands, Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay shoreline, and hazardous lands, as well as lands adjacent to these features.

Map that came out of the Phase 1 study.

The purpose of the regulation is to protect people and property from the risks associated with natural hazards and to prevent worsening of existing hazards or the creation of new hazards. Conservation Halton’s regulation now applies to identified flood (i.e., floodplain and spill areas) and erosion hazards, as well as a 7.5 metre regulatory allowance, in the Lower Rambo Creek watershed.

Permission is required from Conservation Halton to develop in these areas.

The Molinaro Group have a development before the Planning department to build on three of the four corners at Brant and Ghent.. The issue of a flood plain that few new much about is now relevant with climate change impacting almost everything.

This matter came before Council some time ago but there has been no news since.

The developer with the most risk is Molinaro who have a development that is located on three of the four corners at Brant and Ghent.

At a Standing Committee meeting the Molinaro planning consultant said the Molinaro people were aware of the Phase 1 report and believed they would be able to do whatever was necessary for their project to be safely completed.

Every one is waiting for the Phase 2 report.

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Introducing Cartoon Bob and his take on the Councillor for ward 3 who lives in ward 2 - it's complicated

May 28th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

From the keyboard of the Publisher:

Cartoon Bob makes his first appearance as a regular contributor in the Gazette this Sunday.

He will appear every Sunday with his perspective on Burlington’s people, places and key “actors”.

Look out world – here he comes.

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75% of Canadian Household Debt Comes From Mortgages: CMHC

By Staff

May 27th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Canada is drowning in more debt than any other G7 country, with the escalated cost of mortgage borrowing to blame for three-quarters of the country’s total household debt burden.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported on Tuesday that the country’s very high levels of household debt — which has edged past its GDP — “makes the economy vulnerable to any global economic crisis.”

Unsurprisingly, the elevated interest rate environment is to blame.

“Over time, these higher interest rates translate into higher mortgage payments for households when those on fixed five-year terms renew at higher rates,” writes CMHC Deputy Chief Economist Aled ab Iorwerth. “Those facing the most challenges are those with variable rate mortgages who see higher interest rates immediately.”

Unsurprisingly, the elevated interest rate environment is to blame.

The report also draws attention to “distributional concerns” — more specifically with respect to lower-income households, which tend to be more highly indebted and “disproportionately” implicated by economic downturns and rising housing costs. socialpoll id=”2885215″

Mitigating Canada’s debt pressures will hinge on restoring housing affordability, says CMHC, which is certainly no simple feat.

Limited labour force, higher lumber and concrete expenses and borrowing costs that have risen – combine to limit the number of homes that can be built – at a time when they are needed most.

“Reestablishing affordability means less debt will need to be taken on by first-time homebuyers,” continues ab Iorwerth. “By lowering the share of income spent on housing and creating more options, increased housing supply is key in this respect. Renewing and rebuilding Canada’s rental stock to be modern and attractive will help prevent Canadians from being compelled to be homeowners.”

CMHC’s latest report comes on the heels of the agency’s latest housing market outlook, released in late April, which revealed insights to a similarly bleak tune. In addition to slashing any hope that Canadian home prices will revert to pre-pandemic levels, the agency forecasted a drop-off in housing starts through 2025, citing labour shortages and elevated material and project financing costs.

That said, CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan alluded to a light at the end of the tunnel in that same report, saying that once inflation returns to the Bank of Canada’s 2% target, mortgage rates will gradually decline, “supporting both housing demand and a recovery in the construction of new housing supply.”

This article appeared in STOREYS and was written by Zakiya Kassam, a staff writer with STOREYS.

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Central High School 100th Reunion: Local generosity helped lower ticket prices

By Staff

May 27, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the generosity of many people that resulted in the Central High School 100th Reunion being able to surpass their original target of $100,000  – they have raised over $103,000 to date that will help offset the significant costs of the reunion and allow them to lower the cost of ticketed events making them more affordable for the 2,300 people registrar so far.

Burlington Central High School – A long and very admirable role played in the evolution of the city.

Platinum Level

The Curow Family
Robert and Margaret Donaldson Family Foundation
Smith’s Funeral Homes (Don Smith)
Sutherland Development Group (Scott & Craig Sutherland)

Gold Level

Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore
Donnell Insurance
Dr. David Fielding & Linda Fielding
The Heersink Family
In Memory of Mendy Jennings (Kelly Jennings)
Gerry Kavanaugh
Terry & Kathy Ruf
Kelly Tilson Graphic Design

Silver Level

Ian Brisbin – Personal Injury Lawyer, Velolaw
Cranberry Hill Dentistry (Aaron Langdon)
Davies General Contractors (Mark Davies)
Long & McQuade
Yurincich Family (Dave Yurincich)

Trojan Level
3 D Lawn Care (Massey Family)
aerowater.ca (The Herriot Family)
BCHS Class of 1969
Burlington Taxi (Scott Wallace & Sara Rams)
David H. Coons Insurance (Chris Coons)
Brian Cross
Dee Signs
A Different Drummer Books (Ian Elliot)
Nolan Duke
The Ford & Forbes Family
Halton District School Board
Hess Millwork
IntelliStaff Medical (Samantha & Julie White)
Joe Dog’s Gasbar Grill
La-Rose Wellness and Basketball
David & Janis Leslie
Greg MacPherson
Markay Homes
Mark McLelland
Molinaro Group
Gwynneth Richardson
Victor Roy
Ward Russell
Wealth Stewards (Tyers Family)
The Sutherland Family
Richard Szymczyk
Dr. Roy Tanaka
Taylor Moving
Rick Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament
Brian Thorpe
Triess Properties Ltd. (David Perrott)
Jeff Turk
Katherine Vyse
Larry Zavitz

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Have you opened the envelope that has your tax bill inside it.

By Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Have you opened up that envelope from the city yet?

The one with your tax bill in it?

Have you gone through your household finance papers and compared the current tax bill with what you were paying last year ?

A lot of questions there – and reasonable people should be asking questions is as well.

What is the tax money being spent on? There is a brochure along with the tax bill – look at carefully. This is how your tax money is being spent.

The tax bill you got this week is higher than the tax bill you are going to get next year. And, if the city projections are correct, it will not be until the tax bill you get for the 2025 city fiscal year when you can expect to see a reduction in the taxes you are paying.

Every municipality has some tough decisions to make.

The pandemic that is now seen as an endemic – we are now getting a better idea on just how much damage was done during the two years plus that we were wearing masks and living with lock downs.

The housing issues are at the critical point but we have yet to see a really sound policy from the provincial level other than making wet lands available to the development community and requiring municipalities to sign a pledge to build a specific number of new homes within a specific time frame.

The city can’t do much on its own. However …

The city of Burlington own a significant amount of land. The Gazette would like to see a Council member with the courage to move a Staff Direction for a report on just how much land the city owns and is there any city owned land that can be used for affordable housing.

At this point the policy seems to be waiting for school board property to become available.

There are seven people who determine what your taxes will be. Press them to be more creative and explain just what they are spending your money on. The brochure isn’t good enough.

In her regular newsletter to the community Mayor Meed Ward makes mention that Council Approves 2023 Tax Levy Bylaw but says nothing about the impact the increase is going to have on households and what has been projected in the way of tax increases for the next two years.

Not a word other than to say there is some relief for people who are already under serious financial pressure.

Mayor Meed Ward is on the left almost across from the Minister of Health who was at a meeting of the Ontario Big City Mayors. She is beside Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie who stepped down as Chair while she is considering a run for the Liberal Part leadership.

We did learn that Meed Ward is now the Chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors group; they lobby the province and the federal government on municipal issues.  Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie stepped down and is expected to announce her plans to run for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party.  Crombie is expected to be named the Leader of the party at a leadership meeting in December.  Her changes of defeating Premier Doug Ford are better than good BUT in the world of politics nothing is ever certain.

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Monday, May 29 is Election Day for the Halton District School Board School Trustee By-Election for Burlington Wards 1 and 2

By Staff

May 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON


 Monday, May 29 is Election Day for the Halton District School Board School Trustee By-Election for Burlington Wards 1 and 2. This is the last opportunity for eligible voters to cast their vote. To date, 1,519 eligible voters in Wards 1 and 2 have cast their vote, either by voting online (1,226) or at an advance poll (293) earlier this month.

Voting locations in Wards 1 and 2 are open on Monday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for in-person voting. Locations include:

Eligible electors can vote at any voting location.

What to bring when you vote

Before heading out to a voting location on Election Day, remember to bring:

  • your Voter Information Letter – if you do not have a Voter Information Letter, you can still vote.
  • one piece of identification that has your name and address on it. Photo identification is not required. See a list of accepted forms of identification at myvoteburlington.ca.

Voting results

  • The City Clerk declares the official by-election results as soon as possible after voting day on May 29.
  • Unofficial results will be shared at myvoteburlington.ca/results on election night.
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Health Coalition holding referendum vote on Friday & Saturday - Burlingtonians will miss out - they couldn't find any volunteers

By Pepper Parr

May 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They call themselves the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) and they are doing everything they can to keep the hospitals as public places where people can go to for the health services they need.

The provincial government tabled a Bill in the Legislature – Bill 60 – that has resulted in private clinics being set up where people can go to for surgeries and pay for a service that is free if you have an OHIP card.

The Ontario Health Coalition hopes they can gather a million votes and present those numbers to the government then demanding that the government change their policy.

Unfortunately there will not be any voting stations in Burlington. The organizers weren’t able to find any volunteers who would take on the task. That says more than you want to know about the people of Burlington.

The OHC is setting up voting station around the province that will be offering people a ballot they can fill in

It’s a bold move – the teachers did something similar when they ran into problems with the way the province was paying educational assistants.

It is being called the People’s Referendum to stop the privatization of Ontario’s public hospitals – and it takes place on Friday and Saturday.

Referendum voting locations

Look for the signs at the almost 1000 voting stations that will be staffed by thousands of volunteers in a massive effort to force the Ford government to respect democratic process and input on their hospital privatization plans; just don’t expect to see any in Burlington..

Vote counting & results announcement information listed here

Online voting is also available for all Ontario residents at PublicHospitalVote.ca

Voting closes on Saturday, May 27 at midnight.

At time of writing, more than 160,000 votes have been received online and in advance polls.

Province-wide results will be announced outside Queen’s Park on Wednesday May 31 at 10 a.m.

A massive pile of ballots from the people’s referendum will be brought in from across Ontario and piled in front of the Legislature to be delivered to the government. Local health coalitions across the province will be counting ballots on Saturday evening May 27 or Sunday, May 28 as listed below and announcing results locally on Tuesday, May 30 as listed below.

 

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Time to end violations of Canada Health Act with illegal fees for service

Time to end violations of Canada Health Act with illegal fees for service

If you’re covered by OHIP, all medically necessary hospital and physician services must be provided without extra user charges.

By Natalie Mehra

Fri., May 26, 2023

Last month, a friend was told by his doctor it would take a year to have a colonoscopy performed in his local hospital. (A highly dubious claim.) Then, he was told he could have it done in the same physician’s private clinic faster … if he pays $75.

That is an outright violation of the Canada Health Act.

A Toronto woman wrote on May 7:

“I just had cataract surgery at a private clinic. I was not warned until I got to the doctor’s office that it would cost me just under $2,000. I asked the referring ophthalmologist why I was charged so much. She said I could have asked to waive the fees. But I was not offered that by the doctor who performed the cataract surgery.”

Last week, a man in Southwestern Ontario told me he has to pay for laser cataract surgery because it isn’t covered by OHIP. (It is.)

When Premier Doug Ford announced plans to expand private clinics, he promised patients would never have to pay with their credit card. Yet, existing private clinics in Ontario, already force — or manipulate — patients into paying outrageous extra costs. And the clinics are extra-billing with impunity.

The Ford government used its majority to pass Bill 60 earlier this month. This new law expressly enables the transfer of surgeries and diagnostics from public hospitals to for-profit clinics. It puts foundational principles of our public health system — that people get care based on need, not wealth — in real and urgent danger.

Patients need to know two things:

First, patients have a “Bill of Rights” under the Canada Health Act. If you’re covered by OHIP, all medically necessary hospital and physician services — including cataract surgeries, colonoscopies and MRIs — must be provided without extra user charges, whether in a public hospital or private clinic.

To be clear: No amount can be charged to a patient for medically necessary lenses and eye tests, nor for the premises, equipment or personnel.

Second, private clinics generate profit from “upselling” to patients — pushing a dizzying array of add-ons that are medically unnecessary.

Bill 60 does not ban this practice. Shockingly, it actually invites the new private clinics to lay out their plans for upselling to the government. If they are not stopped, can anyone doubt it’s only a matter of time until we’re being manipulated into paying thousands of dollars for “extra-special” joint replacements and more?

What is most appalling is that this privatization puts our public health care at risk for no reason. We categorically do not need private clinics to cut surgical wait times. Virtually every public hospital has operating rooms that are closed evenings, overnight and on weekends. They should be funded and staffed to open to full capacity to clear backlogs.

Lest anyone believe we can’t afford it, Ontario funds its hospitals at the lowest rate in Canada.

Our public hospitals have been developed over a hundred years. Communities built hospitals to care for victims of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-20. Veteran’s memorial hospitals were built after the world wars. Over generations, Ontarians volunteered, fundraised and built our hospitals. They are ours: our public assets, our inheritance, our legacy.

With no democratic mandate whatsoever, sixty-eight MPPs voted to pass Bill 60, privatizing the core of our public hospitals.

In response, the Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a massive volunteer-run referendum. More than 150,000 people have already voted online and in advance polls. Community votes across Ontario will be held outside local businesses and public spaces on Friday and Saturday.

When governments take away our democracy and threaten what is ours, we have to find ways to empower people to have their voices heard. And, if we speak in large enough numbers, the Ford government will ultimately have to listen.

Natalie Mehra is executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition

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Flood hazard mapping for Tuck, Shoreacres, Appleby, and Sheldon Creeks

By Staff

May 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

This is an opportunity for those looking for further information to learn more and ask questions. To register for the virtual public engagement session, please visit
https://www.conservationhalton.ca/mapping-and-studies/ and click on “East Burlington Creeks Flood Hazard Mapping Study”.

Draft mapping and reports, as well as a recording of the public engagement session, will be available online for comment until July 6, 2023.

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

To register for the virtual public engagement session, please click here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_sl19iHNURcerow1W3mK8PQ

An important exercise to better understand how the several creeks that run through the city have to be monitored now that we are undergoing a climate change.

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

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Robbie Brydon: Candidate for ward 1 & 2 trustee: The residents will be lucky and well served if he is elected

By Pepper Parr

May 25th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

There is a by-election taking place in the city.

The Halton District School Board needs a new trustee for Ward 1 and 2; the incumbent resigned.

There are eight candidates.

Of the eight six live in Burlington

Of that six, three live in either ward 1 or 2

Robbie Brydon: Candidate for the Halton District School Board Burlington ward 1&2 seat.

They are:  Robie Brydon, Ross Montgomery and Daniel Warren Oke

While many think the school board trustees are small potatoes – if they do their jobs they can have a significant impact.

Education is directed by the Ministry of Education.  They call the shots and local trustees have to abide by whatever the province requires them to do.

Many Boards of Trustees cave into the Ministry of Education – but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Former Chair of the HDSB  Trustee, Andrea Grebenc showed what can be done.  She managed to become a focal point for many trustees across the province who wanted to take on the Ministry of Education.

Of the three candidates that should be considered there is one that is outstanding.

Why anyone who does not live in the ward, know the landscape, understand the needs of the parents and actually knows where the schools are located seat would run for a seat on the Board of Trustees is beyond me.

Anyone who lives in the Region can run for a Burlington seat.

Online voting took place the week of May 15, the advance polls are open today, May 24. Election Day is Monday, May 29.

This stuff matters.  By now parents should know that – they were the ones who had to put up with their children being home during the pandemic.

They were the ones who had to deal with teachers that were not prepared to handle virtual classrooms and attempt to manage their households when classes were on, then they were virtual then they were back on.

Don’t blame the teachers – they had no idea what they were going to have to do day to day.

It was chaotic and to some degree parents are still dealing with the damage the pandemic did to the way educations are delivered.

The Halton District has to members who have earned doctorates – hard to see all that much in the way of value to the public from those two.

There is one trustee who serves her ward exceptionally well – she should give serious consideration to running for a seat on city council.

Some of the trustees have been trustees for far too long.

To the candidates:

Daniel Warren Oke does not appear to understand what trustees can and cannot do.  He has a personal agenda that includes support for the Convoys that shut down the nation’s capital for the best part of two week.  I question is ability to work collaboratively with fellow trustees and Board staff

Robert Montgomery has no public experience; he is just out of high school and wants to represent the student voice.  The Halton Board already has student voices sitting with the trustees.  Those student voices are chosen by high school students from across the Region – some of those who have served in the past have done superb job.

Robbie Brydon brings a truckload of experience to the job.

Research Coordinator

McMaster University

Sep 2017 – Present5 years 9 months

Department of Health, Aging & Society
• Project lead for income and health research project: Develop and execute scoping review of all articles on cash transfers and health in high-income countries. Develop research project to explore effect of Canadian cash transfers (child benefits, OAS, disability) on health.
• Coordinator for evaluation of Ontario Basic Income Pilot, contributing to study design, data analysis and project management
Homeward Trust Edmonton

Manager, Data & Analytics

• Oversee data management/analysis and evaluation of funded agencies, leading a team of four
• Develop integrated model to forecast caseload and budget
• Brief senior leadership on policy and advocacy implications of research and evaluation findings

Research and Evaluation Analyst

• Execute evaluation framework by writing program to produce dashboard results from database
• Process results of 2014 point-in-time homeless count and write report for broad public consumption

Lead Consultant, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment

Mercy Corps

Nigeria

• Develop methodology in consultation with staff and stakeholders
• Hire, train and manage field staff

Engineers Without Borders Canada

Karamoja, Uganda

• Coach field staff and management on market facilitation methodology and implementation
• Support staff in gathering, managing and analyzing data
• Help adopt, adapt and create profitable pro-poor business models

Research Intern

C. D. Howe Institute

Manage large databases and conduct econometric analysis
Author and co-author policy papers based on analyses
Provide research support to colleagues for presentations and publications
Research topics include: income support programs, housing prices and credit, patent regulation, school quality, apprenticeship regulation, business cycle indicators and trade in services

Research Analyst

Ministry of Infrastructure, Ontario Public Service

Construct inter-jurisdictional comparison of infrastructure investment
Research details of each jurisdiction’s figures to assess and present level of comparability

Consultant, Evaluations of UNICEF’s Programme and Work in Relation to Adolescents

Kartini International

Design and administer surveys in English and French
Code and analyze qualitative and quantitative results
Interview UNICEF country representatives, partners and staff

Education

McMaster University

Master of Arts (M.A.)Economic Policy

University of Toronto

Honours Bachelor of ArtsEconomic / International DevelopmentWith high distinction

Languages

  • English
  • French

Brydon has been door to door canvasing and meeting the people he wants to represent.  The residents of wards 1&2 would be lucky to have Brydon speaking for them.

Related news stories:

Robbie Brydon

Daniel Warren Oke

The Gazette was not able to reach Ross Montgomery.

There is a news story on Montgomery here

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

 

 

 

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Federal funding goes to YMCA to enable young people aged 13-30 years of age support in developing effective coping skills

By Pepper Parr

May 25, 2023

Burlington ON

Federal funding goes to YMCA to enable young people aged 13-30 years of age support in developing effective coping skills

Social isolation, virtual learning challenges, job insecurity, and financial hardship worsening their mental health and well-being; all part of the pandemic have had disproportionally impacted young people

Burlington MP Karina Gould out in the community

Burlington MP, Karina Gould, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced a grant of $237,557 directly with an additional $50,000 through centralized resources and supports to the YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford.

The funding will support the scaling up and expansion of the “Y Mind” and “Mind Medicine” evidence-based, youth-informed, early intervention programs across Canada.

The programs are intended for young people aged 13-30 years of age who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression and aim to support the development of effective coping skills and improvements to participants’ overall well-being.

Y Mind introduces them to evidence-based tools and connects them with peers and experienced professionals. Mind Medicine, an adapted version of Y Mind, has been developed specifically for Indigenous young people, and will be implemented in partnership with Indigenous-serving organizations and communities.

This announcement is part of a $100 million investment provided in 2021 Budget to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Burlington added: “Mental health is health, and supporting young people in our communities is a top priority. With leaders like the YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford, we are setting youth up with the essential tools, resources, and support they need to live a healthy life.”

Manny Figueiredo, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford

Manny Figueiredo, President & CEO, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford explains what the grant has made possible: “Extended periods of isolation during the pandemic created lasting impacts on the mental health and well-being of youth in our communities.

The Y Mind program introduces new early intervention supports for youth with mild to moderate anxiety and depression. We must support youth with the skills and tools they need now for their mental health and we’re grateful to the Public Health Agency of Canada for this important investment which will improve accessibility and help more young people receive the support they need.”

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Those Tim Hortons Smile Cookies are Going to be Part of a Photo Op

By Pepper Parr

May 25th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Imagine how much food a $144,929 donation is going to buy.

Hmm – wonder what I can do to get a box of those cookies.

This “incredible news” comes from the Burlington Tim Hortons Restaurant Owners who achieved an outstanding milestone, through the 2023 Smile Cookie Campaign. This incredible accomplishment would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our community, dedicated volunteers, and the fantastic team at Tim Hortons.

To celebrate this achievement their will be a cheque presentation and photo opportunity at the end of the month.

Maybe they will hand out a smile cookie for those taking part – it will help the photographer get the right look.

Quite an achievement – those funds will go a long way to helping those that need help.

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Halton District School Board wants to fill three vacancies on the Human Rights & Equity Advisory Committee

By Staff

May 25th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has issued a call for membership, looking to fill three vacancies on the Human Rights & Equity Advisory Committee (HREAC).
Since 2021, the HREAC has proposed and responded to human rights and equity initiatives that support the HDSB’s focus on student achievement and well-being, helping to support commitments outlined in the Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan: The Way Forward and 2020-2024 Multi Year Plan.

The Committee is composed of parent/guardian and community organization representatives living in or providing services to Halton children, youth and families, as well as Indigenous Inherent Rights Holder and Treaty Partner and HDSB staff representatives.

Those interested in joining the Human Rights & Equity Advisory Committee are invited to view the HREAC – Call for Membership from Parents/Guardians and Halton Community and complete the HREAC Community Expression of Interest Form by Tuesday, June 13 at 6 p.m.

“The HREAC has been a vital part of the HDSB’s work to promote human rights and equity across our system,” says Jennie Petko, Superintendent of Education with responsibility for Indigenous Rights & Education, Human Rights, Equity & Inclusive Education.

“As we continue the work outlined in The Way Forward and seek to dismantle systems of oppression and challenge dominant traditions, we look forward to welcoming new members and fresh perspectives to this Committee.”

The HDSB Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan: The Way Forward requires ongoing action on the part of all individuals and departments within the Board. The plan identifies strategies and actions to ensure all students, staff and families are supported in schools and workplaces by creating and maintaining equitable and inclusive learning and working environments.

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The Pink Project gets Mayor's Award at Chamber of Commerce event

By Pepper Parr

May 25th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Recipients of the Mayors Award for their Pink Project: Olivia Netto, centre, and Iman Nemar with Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

 

Earlier this week the Burlington Chamber of Commerce presented the Mayor’s Award to Olivia Netto and Iman Nemar for their Pink Project that put menstrual products in city washrooms and as well as high school washrooms.

The two women became friends in high school and launched The Pink Project Burlington in their senior year.

What began in the Burlington community has now spread beyond — The Pink Project has been able to successfully advocate for free period products being available now in Milton and Halton Hills as well. The duo say they live by their two-part mission statement: to deliver and to inform.

The Gazette interviewed the two women when they were getting ready to take their project to city council hoping that it would be taken on as a pilot project.

In our initial interview was asked the two women: How does change come about?   What makes people decide they want to change something that they think could be better.

Netto and Nemar were both students at Nelson high school out riding their bikes and a situation arose that had them talking about those occasions when you really need a product there is nothing at hand.

The product in this instance was feminine personal hygiene products – a taboo for many people and something that young men just don’t know all that much about and are not comfortable asking questions either.

But for Netto and Nemar it was a serious subject and they decided they wanted to try and bring about a change: Getting free mental products in as many public locations as possible.

“Over the course of the past few years, we’ve noticed a lack of accessibility to feminine hygiene products both within the community and at schools. Our mission is to create a donation-based drive to cater to those in need. At school, in the workplace and in Burlington”, said Inman.

Olivia Netto, on the left  and Inman Nemar were both students at Nelson high school.

They took the view that offering free menstrual hygiene products in public washrooms is now considered as essential to the community as offering toilet paper, soap and paper towels.

Their original focus was Burlington – given the success they have had – they have their eyes on the Region, then the province and – why not the whole country.

Earlier this week they were recipients of the Mayor’s Award. When the two women took their idea to city Council the Mayor was on board the moment she first heard about it. She has been a champion of the project from the Get Go. While the Mayor promoted the project it was the initiative from the two women that made it real.

Olivia is studying Industrial design at Carlton University and Inman is studying Life Sciences at McMaster.

Asked how they monitor the distribution and the take up Oliva said: “We have scouts out there.”

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Chamber of Commerce announces the 2023 Business Excellence Awards

By Staff

May 25th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Recognizing leadership and distinction within the community is one part of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce mandate.  One of the ways they do this is through their Business Excellence Awards which were awarded earlier this week when 400 attendees took part in an event to celebrate the finalists and winners of the 2023 event.

Randall Smallbone: Chair of the Chamber Board, appointed in June 2021. Chair of the Board of Directors of The Burlington Economic Development Corporation.

Randall Smallbone, Chair of the Board of Directors spoke for everyone when he said “We are delighted to be back at the Burlington Convention Centre this year! We took a different approach on the format last year and following the feedback from our members, the response was to bring the event back to its original format” everyone gathered in one place stated

Smallbone added that the Business Awards Task Force was faced with the challenge of bestowing nine Awards of Excellence. The Chamber named 24 local organizations as finalists in a variety of categories.

Award nominations were based on overall business excellence; the criteria included excellence in business leadership, community contributions, entrepreneurship, employee welfare, innovation and market growth.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Business Excellence Award Winners were:

Retail & Wholesale Award: She’s Got Leggz inc.
Not-For-Profit Award: Burlington Soccer Club
Service, Small Award: Oakstone Wealth
Service, Large Award: Spectrum Airways
Food, Beverage & Tourism Award: Backed By Bees
Young Entrepreneur Award: Dale Gray – Creature Comforts HVAC Inc. Heritage Award: Burlington Public Library
Women Business Leaders Award: Nancy Romic – Shifra Homes Inc.
Employer of the Year Award: Ritestart Limited

The 2023 Mayor’s Award: The Pink Project

Burlington Economic Development Award for Excellence in Global Business: ABS Machining Inc.
Burlington Economic Development Award for Excellence in Innovation & Technology: Innovia GEO
Burlington Economic Development Award for Excellence in Retail Innovation: Stillwater Float Centre

Most of the award winners have web sites that tells part of their story.  The Gazette will do its best to interview as many of the award winners as possible.

 

 

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Of the eight candidates running for school board trustee only three live in either ward 1 or ward 2

By Lynn Crosby

May 24, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington is in the midst of a by-election for the Halton District School Board Ward 1 and 2 Trustee seat.

Anyone who lives in the Region can run for a Burlington seat.

Online voting took place the week of May 15, the advance polls are open today, May 24. Election Day is Monday, May 29.

Voter turnout in the June 2022 provincial election was the lowest in Ontario’s history, at only 43.5%. Here in Burlington, it was far worse, with only 27.6% bothering to vote. By-elections historically result in even lower turnouts, and when the by-election is for School Trustee, it is likely lower still.

This is a shame – voting is a right for which our veterans fought and died, and we Canadians are lucky that we have this right, where so many in the world do not. I suggest that we have a duty to vote, but also to first inform ourselves about the candidates and the issues.

For many of us who have been following this by-election campaign, we are questioning some factors that are both abnormal and concerning.

We have eight candidates running for Burlington Wards 1 and 2 HDSB Trustee. Only three of them live in either Ward 1 or Ward 2.

Two of them don’t even live in Burlington – they live in Oakville.

The chart below has been making the rounds on social media. Former HDSB Chair Andrea Grebenc and other past and current Trustees in both the HDSB and HCDSB have shared this chart.

All believe that the public should research their candidates carefully and then must get out and vote.

Why is a candidate from Oakville running to be a Burlington Ward 1 and 2 Trustee in the first place? Personally, I would never vote for a Trustee who doesn’t live in my city, let alone ward. I feel it is very important that our Ward 1 and 2 community be represented by someone who lives here, knows the schools and can provide meaningful input on boundary reviews and the neighbourhoods.

If an Oakville candidate wants to be a Halton school trustee, he or she should have run in June 2022 in Oakville, or should wait until the next election and contest an Oakville seat.

Six of the eight candidates live in Burlington but only three of the six live in either ward 1 or ward 2.

While the provincial rules permit anyone living in Halton can run in any municipality in the Region, the practice has always been for the trustee to live in the ward to effectively represent parents.

The Gazette has interviewed two of the three – links to those interviews are set out below.

The other head-scratching factor in this by-election campaign is the recent public endorsements on social media by two Oakville MPPs, Stephen Crawford and Effie Triantafilopoulos for one of those Oakville candidates, Celina Close.

Close was also endorsed by the Burlington People’s Party of Canada candidate and spoke at their recent event. When Effie was questioned by a trustee on Twitter about the appropriateness of her wading in to endorse a school trustee candidate, Effie responded in the usual manner of many politicians: she immediately blocked the trustee from communicating with her on her Twitter.

What is going on here that we have such interest in this seat, from across Burlington’s wards, into Oakville, and by sitting Ontario MPPs?

I urge Burlington Ward 1 and Ward 2 residents to get out and vote on Monday, May 29. Please know your vote matters – in a by-election especially, every vote counts, and the seat could be decided by a 20-vote difference. Look at the platforms and experience of the candidates, think about where they live and why they are running. Whether you have children in the school system or not, your vote is a vote for the future. We all benefit from having the best public schools possible, and from having strong leaders on our school boards. We pay considerable tax money for our schools and our Trustees represent our voices.

Our children are our most precious resource – they can’t vote, but we can. Vote wisely.

Related news stories:

Robbie Brydon

Daniel Warren Oke

The Gazette was not able to reach Ross Montgomery.

There is a news story on Montgomery here

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A Solution to the Bateman Parking Problem Has Been Put on Hold

By Pepper Parr

May 24th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Parking at the former Bateman High school site, commonly called the community hub until a name has been agreed upon was an issue as soon as people realized that the sports field that consisted of a track with a playing field in the middle was going to be used to park cars.

That idea didn’t go down very well – so much so that the city put any engagement on the outdoor amenities on pause: scheduled to resume following the investigation for accommodating additional parking.

Parking was barely adequate when the site was just a high school. With university students and participants using the facilities the staff view was that parking would be overwhelmed and came back with suggestions that some of the track and sports field space be used. That didn’t go over very well with those who delegated and it didn’t appear that a majority of the Council members liked the idea either.

Council is being asked to:

“Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services, to work with the Director of Transportation, and the Executive Director of Community Planning Regulation and Mobility to report back to council by Q4 2023 with costs and timelines related to alternatives to accommodate additional parking for the Project inclusive of Phases 1 and 2 that minimizes impact to the existing greenspace, including but not limited to:

1. Amending the city-wide zoning bylaw related to parking or granting council Public Authority to amend the requirements where circumstances warrant.
2. Construct structured parking on the existing built area of the site.
3. Providing layby parking on New Street in front of Bateman.
4. Exploring shared and leased parking options with nearby sites.
5. Providing time limited on-street parking signed for the community centre uses.
6. Provide additional parking requirements utilizing permeable materials.

Options Considered
This project represents a significant investment by the City to retain this site in public ownership for a variety of community uses and to address the current and future recreation needs of our community.

As such, it is important that this investment be accompanied by a thorough and complete communication and engagement plan. In developing the plan, staff considered working through existing and established engagement efforts to maximize the potential reach; examples of this include the various master plans and reviews as well as community events such as Food for Feedback, connections with Council advisory groups and community and sport user groups, to name a few.

Related news stories:

Communication Plan

An innovate and very welcome approach to involving community groups.

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Staff have suggested an interesting approach to getting the public involved in how the Bateman site could be used.

By Pepper Parr

May 24th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

In a staff report to a Standing Committee the communication and engagement tactics and milestones are set out.
They are structured around critical construction targets.

There are additional other engagement opportunities for the community as it relates to recreation programs and indoor/outdoor recreation amenities.

Staff have outlined the connections with the Parks and Recreation Cultural Assets Master Plan (PRCAMP) and the Direct Delivered Program Review and wherever possible are drawing synergies between these various engagement opportunities.

The engagement tactics as they relate to allocation of space for community use will include a visioning exercise followed by a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI).

The RFEI will look for alignment with the community and council’s vision for the facility and will be open to organizations looking for exclusive or dedicated space.

The process will require interested parties to briefly state their space interest at the new community centre.

Following the RFEI, staff will review the interest and provide an update to council.

Subsequently and 18 months prior to the expected construction completion date, staff will begin the process of allocating space with the goal of striking a balance between existing user group expansion, new community offerings and expansion and/or re-allocation of various city direct-delivered programs; all with the goal of realizing the community vision. In the event of competing interest, staff may wish to proceed with a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Strategy/process/risk
From the Staff report comes the following:
Engaging people on issues that affect their lives and their city is a key component of a democratic society. Public involvement encourages participation, actions, and personal responsibility. Burlington’s commitment to public engagement is reflected in its Community Engagement Charter, adopted by City Council. The Charter establishes the commitments, responsibilities, and concepts of the relationship between the City of Burlington and the residents of Burlington related to public engagement. The goal of community engagement is to lead to more informed and, therefore, better decision- making.

Staff appreciate council’s wish to roll out comprehensive and extensive engagement efforts with the community on this project. Specifically, staff have outlined a chart for both indoor and outdoor engagement opportunities respectively; the chart includes timing, milestone, messages, stakeholders, and level of engagement expected.

Those charts are set out in a separate article.

Engagement efforts began in Spring 2022 with the development of a project page on the City’s engagement portal Get Involved Burlington. In addition to the project page, residents have been kept updated on the project including seven media releases and five staff reports. Upcoming milestones include various visioning exercises with the community (in person and virtual) over the summer months and will be followed by a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) in early fall where community groups will be invited to share their interest in space at the new community centre. Engagement efforts for the indoor space will be centered around the spaces identified for community use; this space includes:

• ~ 14,000 square feet of open community space located near the back of the building.
• ~ 7,000 square feet of shop space located on the west side of the building.
• Potential Additional ~ 9,000 square feet of shell space that would be temporarily available to the community. It is intended to be used as expansion space by one of the partners in the next few years.

Ground floor

This is a very interesting and innovative approach to involving the public.  Stay on top of your Council member and push your ideas and seek their support.

Related news story:

Communications and Recreation, Community and Culture

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Council will get a detailed briefing on the next steps for the Bateman property on June 1st. Some very good news despite the cost

By Pepper Parr

May 24th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On the first day of June a Standing Committee will go over how the city is going to engage the public on the evolution of the former Bateman High School.

The material from the staff report is detailed and complex.  However, there are a couple of gems.

Parts of the report spits out all the bromides that are supposed to settle the tummies of a very concerned public that shudders at the amount of money that has been spent to date on a project the citizens, so far, have had little in the way of input on.

The size and scope of the community centre (It needs a name of its own very soon) will be the biggest the city has. While it is in the eastern part of the city it could well turn into a magnet for a number of groups that are looking for a home. .

The site as it stood when the city purchased the property.

 

A rendering what of the former high school will look like.

The Standing Committee agenda:

Receive and file recreation, community and culture department report plus the Former Robert Bateman High School – Communication and Engagement update; and

Direct the Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement and the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to execute the communications and engagement tactics or recreation, community and culture department report.

Council will hear from the Communications people and the Recreation, Community and Culture – you knew them as Parks and Recreation – that is now led by Emilie Cote who is doing a superb job so far.

The development aligns with the city’s Vision to Focus position – that’s the portion of the Strategic Plan Council is working on during this term of office.

Those who pay attention to these issues know that the City of Burlington purchased the former Robert Bateman High School building and site and that it is being repurposed with sustainability and community-building in mind.

The reuse and conversion of the former secondary school will have extensive interior renovations including renewal of all major building systems and exterior site and building modifications required to support the intended community uses.

When the renovation is complete, tenants including Brock University, Burlington Public Library, Halton District School Board, Tech Place and City of Burlington will move into the building and begin offering services.

There is currently parking, a small woodlot associated with the adjacent Appleby Creek Valley and a track with a football field (inside the track) located on the site. The building and property will remain in public ownership.

In addition to the existing pool and gymnasiums and the new enhanced common areas of the building there will be approximately 21,000 square feet of new dedicated community recreation space and approximately 9,000 square feet of temporary recreation space that do not have defined uses at this time and that would form part of Phase 2 of the project.

In this report, staff are bringing forward for council’s awareness a draft communication and engagement plan addressing tactics.

On April 18, 2023, council approved the tender award for the Renovation and Conversion of the Former Robert Bateman High School (EICS-23-09). The high-level project timelines are as follows:

Maps of spaces, with exact dimensions are set out below.

Ground floor: Phase 1

 

 

Total Financial Impact
Communication and engagement tactics that will be rolled out for phase 1 and 2 of this project will require funding. Staff estimate the cost to be approximately $100,000 and it will be funded from prior approved capital.

Other Resource Impacts
This project is a large undertaking for City staff, as is the engagement and communication efforts. Various staff members will be engaged and required to carry out the various efforts including but not limited to staff from:

• Recreation, Community and Culture
• Communications and Engagement
• Customer Experience
• Engineering
• Parks Design and Construction
• Transportation
• Transit

Climate Implications
The project aligns with the Council approved Climate Action Plan.

Recreation, Community and Culture Director Emilie Cote

Engagement Matters:
Staff have come up with a very interesting approach that is set out in a separate report.

In that seperate article various groups including, but not limited to community user groups, community members, partners, Council advisory groups, council, City staff will have an opportunity be engaged along the way.

The report that will be before the Standing Committee is exhaustive and requires a close reading.

What Council will learn is that Recreation, Community and Culture Director Emilie Cote and Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement plan to do as the evolution of the former Bateman High School plays out.

 

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