Hospital wants to dump municipal representation on its Board

By Pepper Parr

May 3rd, 2023



Most people probably do not know that the Joseph Brant Hospital is a non-profit corporation. You would’ realize that when you pay for parking over there.

There is an item in the agenda of the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability Standing Committee related to the governance of the hospital that recently completed a governance compliance review that proposed amendments to Joseph Brant Hospital Administrative By-laws one of which is to:

Approve the recommendation outlined in Appendix A to office of the city clerk report CL- 11-23, Briefing Note dated April 18, 2023 regarding a recent Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) compliance exercise, and proposed amendments to Joseph Brant Hospital Administrative By-laws, one of which is to discontinue the Municipal Representative seat on the Joseph Hospital Board and adopt a practice of inviting the Joseph Brant Hospital Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer annually to a Council meeting to provide updates on the Hospital and its future directions.

Everything city Council does is expected to align with the Vision to Focus, which is the part of the Strategic Plan Council focuses on during its term of office.

The report presented to Council had the following two lines:

Alignment: Delete this line and the areas that do not apply.
Building more citizen engagement, community health and culture

The Hospital included Briefing notes on how and why they made the decision they made. The bulk of those notes are set out below. The full briefing note is available on the city web site.

A rendering of the hospital before the addition was completed. At that time the hospital was reaching out to the public for donations.

“As part of its By-law review, the OTF discussed the size and composition of the Board and independent Counsel recommended the Hospital contact the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) on best practices related to the role of municipal representatives on skills-based Boards.

“With regard to the composition of the Board, which currently includes an appointed position of a Municipal Representative as well as ex-officio (non-voting) positions as stipulated within the Public Hospitals Act (Regulation 965), the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) provided guidance that Hospitals have increasingly moved away from having ‘non-legislative’ positions on the Board as best practice to Boards that are resourced based on skills and to avoid any inherent or systemic conflicts that would arise from political appointees and special interest groups vis- a-vis the Board.

Eric Vandewall addressing a reception that was waiting for a provincial minister to show up and announce a large chunk of cash the province was handing over to the hospital.

“The OHA referenced the Guide to Good Governance which supports having a skills-based board as best practice. Further, with regards to ex-officio positions on the board from government or other such entities, the Board “should question why it has specific ex-officio positions and consider whether other actions might be more appropriate to maintain strong relationships”. The OHA noted in its Guide to Good Governance that “best practice in hospital governance is to recruit a skills-based board that is independent of any one interest group” and noted the inherent risk that ex-officio directors will have a greater potential for conflict.

He loves the hospital – does the hospital love him?

“More specifically, the OHA noted that “this is particularly evident where members of local government…feel a conflict between duty to the electorate and a duty to the hospital”. The OHA further noted that “it is important that a board be comprised of individuals with the skills, experience, qualities and diversity that are appropriate for the hospital’s mission, objectives and strategic directions”.

“The OHA had also confirmed that “the majority of Hospitals had some time ago shifted away from having Municipal, special interest groups and political appointees on Boards due to systemic conflicts.” This was done along with other considerations to ensure that these types of groups remain aligned with the hospital but not necessarily with a seat on the Board. The Board’s independent Counsel bolstered this view in the advice provided.

“Joseph Brant Hospital, as similar to other Ontario Hospitals, had historically had open memberships whereby members of the Community can purchase, for a nominal fee, a membership which would allow them to attend meetings and have a vote on hospital affairs.

“Over time, like most Ontario Hospitals, JBH became a closed membership whereby the Hospital Membership and the Board of Directors are the same. In his 2008 Annual Report, the Auditor General recognized “the challenging position in which ex-officio directors are placed when specific interests of the group they represent are in conflict with the hospital’s and the community’s best interest”. Once the Hospital moved away from open membership, some legacy ex-officio positions on the Board including the Hospital Foundation, the Hospital Auxiliary and Municipal Representative remained in the By- laws.

Interesting to note that the hospital met with the Mayor and ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna separately – six weeks apart.  Any idea why ?

The Board Chair, Randy Smallbone and Eric Vandewall President and CEO, met with Mayor Meed-Ward on February 3, 2023 to discuss discontinuation of the Municipal seat on the Hospital Board. On March 14, 2023, Board Chair Randy Smallbone and Eric Vandewall met Councilor Angelo Bentivegna to discuss discontinuation of the Municipal seat on the JBH Board.

Both Mayor Meed-Ward and Councillor Bentivegna appreciated the opportunity to hear from JBH in the regard, they understood the rationale and importance of best practices in governance, and both endorsed the hospital’s decision to proceed in this direction.

It was also agreed by both Mayor Meed-Ward and Councillor Bentivegna that based on the Board’s decision to update the Hospital By-law and discontinue the Municipal seat on the Board, that every effort will be made to ensure that the ongoing positive relationship between the Hospital and the City of Burlington continue.

Specifically, it was agreed that the City will invite the Hospital Board Chair and CEO on an annual basis to update Council on the hospital and its future directions. In addition, on a bi-annual basis, the Board Chair, Vice Chair and CEO will have a joint meeting with the Mayor and the Acting Deputy Mayor of Ceremonies and Emergencies to discuss any pertinent matters.

This is a story you might really want to comment on.

The Hospital is requesting a Motion of Endorsement from the City of the Burlington Council as follows:

THAT Council for the City of Burlington endorse the Joseph Brant Hospital Board of Directors decision to discontinue the Municipal Representative seat on the Hospital Board and THAT the Hospital commits to continuing its engagement and ongoing positive relationship with the City of Burlington.

Related news story:

Spectator tells the story about conditions at the hospital

Hospital CEO, Mayor and Councillor on the hospital board refuse to comment on what was a scathing report

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City unable to work with developer: votes to refuse a demolition permit for Brant Street property

By Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2023



City council has a policy of saving as much of the city’s heritage as possible. Some developers work with the city – others fight them every foot of the way.

A rendering of the 31 storey tower the developer want to build.

The Camero development at 795 Brant (at the intersection of Brant and Prospect) is one of the examples where the developer has dug in their heels and seems prepared to spend whatever it takes to get their way – which is to demolish the two storey house on the property and build a 31 story building on the site with 356 residential units.

The house the developer want to demolish as it stands today. The city wants to see the facade at least kept and included in the final plans.

Constructed in 1854, the house, according to a Staff report has significant heritage value.

On Sept. 21, 2022 the owner filed an application for an Official Plan Amendment and a Zoning By-law; The proposed new building did not incorporate the existing heritage structure. The application was deemed complete on Sept. 23, 2023.
On Dec. 13, 2022, City Council stated its intention to designate the property, and on Jan. 24, 2023 passed heritage designation bylaw No. 03-2023.

City Council did not decide on the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendment Applications within 120 days after they were deemed complete as required by the Planning Act, and on Jan. 27, 2023 the owner appealed Council’s non-decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

On Feb. 28, 2023, the property owner appealed the heritage designation to the OLT.

On Mar. 8, 2023, the owner submitted a heritage permit to facilitate the demolition of the heritage designated building.

On Apr. 12, 2023, the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee (HBAC) reviewed the application and recommended that City Council decline the application.

Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 is very clear: Significant built heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes shall be conserved.

The heritage value of 795 Brant St. has been established in two separate consultant reports. It meets six out of nine criteria for heritage designation under Ontario Regulation 9/06, whereas only two are required. The building is an early example of a brick-built vernacular Georgian house with a symmetrical three-bay façade. It was constructed by James Cushie Bent and Jabez Bent between 1854 and 1855 using brick manufactured on the site

It is historically significant in the following ways, among others:

The property is a physical reminder of the market gardening industry in Burlington; the agricultural output of the 53-acre property was substantial;

The building was prominently featured in the 1973 Centennial documentary “The Eyes of Memory and is one of only three heritage properties (1134 Plains Road East, 2021 Blairholm Avenue, 736 King Road) currently within the City of Burlington that were nineteenth century fruit farms of early settlers that produced goods for the market garden industry. It is the last visibly historic building on this section of Brant St.

A 1902 photograph of the house when the property was a large 53 acre garden market that had a substantial output.

Heritage Impact Statement Conservation Options
Consultants hired by the city had proposed to the owner that the new development retain the original 1854 house facing Brant St., provided the brick could be conserved; the developer claims the brick is beyond repair – Staff report that they do not see any evidence to support the claim.

The Ontario Heritage Act requires that the City approve or decline a heritage permit application no more than 90-days after a heritage permit submission is deemed “complete”. If a decision is not made in this time frame, Council is deemed to have “consented” to the application.

Staff sent the applicant a notice of completeness on Mar. 23, 2023 confirming that the application was complete on Mar. 8, 2023, which is considered “Day 1” of the required 90-day period. Day 90 will be June 6, 2023.

Once a decision is made, the owner has the option to appeal the decision to the OLT within 30 days.

Options Considered
Option 1- Decline the Application (Recommended)
Staff are recommending that Council decline the application, consistent with the PPS, 2020 and the Burlington Official Plan, which require that significant built heritage resources be conserved and their heritage attributes protected.

Option 2- Approve the Application (Not recommended)
Approving the demolition of a designated heritage building, which multiple heritage professionals have confirmed is worthy of protection, is not consistent with provincial and municipal policy and is not recommended.

The Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee recommends that City Council refuse the application for a heritage permit to demolish the two-storey Georgian- style brick house at 795 Brant St.

John Reilly, the Staff member with the best understanding of the file and is understood to be one of the team talking to the developer set out for Council where things stood and why he brought forward the recommendation to not approve a recommendation to demolish the heritage designated property

The file has an extensive history.  The city did not act on the OP amendment or the Zoning Bylaw Amendment which were then appealed to the OLT for a non decision.  The applicant then submitted a heritage alteration permit requesting permission to demolish the building which is the application before Council today.

Built between 1854 and 1855. Staff believe the property has historical value as a local landmark and would like to see some part of the structure built into the tower they want to build.
Reilly explained that the team on the project has done their best to convince the developer to work with the city to incorporate changes.

Nothing so far.

There is a lot of development planned in the area.

Reilly explained: “Situated on the property in a way that makes it relatively easy to conserve, the applicant objects to the designation and is planning to demolish the building because there is some damaged masonry on facades of the building. Staff have considered these objections. the areas of damaged brick are fairly minor. We’re not looking at 100% or anywhere close to that 100% of brick being damaged or stalled or cracked.

“We’re looking at specific areas of each facade that where there are some bricks in need of replacement or repair many of the alterations or you know evidence of age that the applicant is citing are repairable these are the alterations many of them are reversible windows are easily replaced. For example, paint can be removed from brick or a building can be repainted in a more sympathetic colour or historically appropriate colour. Staffs view, is that this building is not beyond repair . The building occupies less than 3% of the site and we haven’t been presented with any new evidence in the form of an engineer report that would tell us that the building is about to fall down or is past the point of saving.”

Staff are recommending that council refuse this heritage permit application to demolish the building.

The development is in ward 2 however the Mayor was the only person who asked questions.

“Your report mentions that refusing the demolition will create another appeal opportunity and can you just specify what that is?

Reilly: “There would be an opportunity for the applicant to appeal to the Ontario land tribunal.

He imagined that all the appeals would be merged into one hearing, assuming the developer actually appealed the decision council was about to make when the report gets to Council later in the month.

Core Development has kept the Carriage Gate restaurant and included it in their development situated between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road.

“Our goal is for them to incorporate this into a development” which, we have seen take place at other development; the Beausoleil at Pearl and Lakeshore and the Core development on old Lakeshore Road that has included the Carriage House restaurant into their development.

Reilly – there are many conservation options and we’ve signalled flexibility throughout every meeting that we’ve had with the applicant.

The Mayor moves the motion and comments that “your rationale is entirely defensible”, adding “We have seen how well development can be incorporated into heritage redevelopment and the best example currently which is really exciting to see in real time is the Pearl and Lake Shore redevelopment adding that she has “never believed that it’s either preserve heritage or have redevelopment.”

“I believe there’s a win win here. And staff have been very clear about encouraging the applicant to go for the win win. “I continue to encourage them to incorporate this into a redevelopment and redo their plans. So fingers crossed, but I certainly support what we have here.”

With no further comments the vote was called to refuse the heritage permit application for demolition of 795 Brant street

The hands were raised – it passed and that was it for the day.

It was a short agenda that ran for less than an hour.

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Halton’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9% between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023;

By Staff

May 2nd, 2023



On April 6, Statistics Canada released the Labour Force Survey data for the first quarter of 2023.

The data shows that Halton’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9% between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023; remaining lower than the provincial and national rates.

Meanwhile, Halton’s labour force participation rate decreased by 1.8 percentage points from the previous quarter, averaging 68.9% in Q1, similar to the pre-pandemic rate in Q4 2019.

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Getting a deeper understanding about the problems with the provincial health service

Making a Killing:
Everything you want to know about privatization of public hospitals
Wednesday May 3 at 7 p.m.

By Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2023



The Ontario Health Coalition is made up of groups across the province that want to see change in the way the health system works.

Using the attention grabbing headline:
Making a Killing:
Everything you want to know about privatization of public hospitals

The Halton unit of the coalition is putting on a series of events to help people understand what they are doing and to answer questions.

They are holding a briefing with a question and answer session on the privatization of public hospitals including:

• what the real-world experience of privatization has been across Canada, in the United States and internationally; and,
• what the evidence shows regarding its impacts on quality of care, access to care for patients, health care costs, quality and deregulation for the workforce, and the foundational principle of equity in health care.

You can join and participate in any of the following ways:

• Zoom: To join the session via Zoom, please register here: Afterwards, you will receive an email with a link to join the meeting on Wednesday May 3rd at 7 pm.

• Facebook livestream: To join the session via Facebook livestream, go to on Wednesday May 3rd at 7PM to watch and participate in the livestream

• Twitter spaces: To join the session on Twitter through a Twitter Space, go to on Wednesday May 3rd at 7PM, and click on the purple twitter spaces icon that will be at the top of our profile once the meeting has started.

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Was whatever the deal was done at this point or was it a conversation about a golf game and who would play with who.

By Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2023



When there is a public event that brings different interest groups together one has to watch carefully what is taking place in the room; who is talking to whom.

Last week the Burlington Chamber of Commerce hosted an event on Red Tape Reduction. It wasn’t particularly well attended – a little over 100 people took part.

Lou Frapporti, second from the right is keeping a close eye on City Manager Tim Commisso, with his back to the camera. Frapporti is a Partner at Gowlings, a Hamilton law firm and corporate Counsel for Alinea. Dave Pitblado, second from the left is attentive. John Hutter is on the far left runs King Paving.

A decent number of people from City Hall attended: Mayor Meed Ward was on hand to chat people up, she wasn’t one of the speakers. City Manager Tim Commisso was on hand as well is as city Executive Director Jackie Johnson who is responsible for Communications and Engagement. Neither spoke

Three city councillors were on hand: Paul Sharman, Angelo Bentivegna and Kelvin Galbraith; he was one of the panel speakers.

A number of politicians did speak: provincial Minister of Red Tape Reduction Parm Gill whose riding includes parts of northern Burlington: he addressed the attendees,. Natalie Pierre who is the MPP for Burlington said a few words.

Lou Frapporti, a partner at law firm Gowlings, spoke and told the audience that he was corporate counsel for Alinea , an organization that had taken over Paletta International, the largest land holder in Halton Region.

After the formal part of the event people gathered in small groups to chat. One group of four caught my attention. Dave Pitblado of Alinea who does a lot of the stick handling for different Alinea developments. Two of the developments on the go are 1200 King Road and Bronte Meadows. Recent changes made by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing made changes to the Regional Official Plan that opened up the kind of development that would be permitted on those two properties.

Recently Burlington City Council went into a CLOSED session to discuss an Alinea property. There was no detail given when Council came out of the CLOSED session.

Dave Pitblado listens carefully to what City Manager Tim Commisso has to say. It was clear that Commisso was explaining something that was important to Pitblado and it wasn’t whether or not the Leafs were going to win the first round of the Stanley Cup finals. This was business – big business.

So, when we spotted City Manager Tim Commisso in discussion with Dave Pitblado, Lou Frapporti, Corporate counsel for Alinea and John Hutter of King Paving we wondered what that conversation was about.

Time to take some pictures.

The two that are part of this story offer one interpretation of what the conversation is about.

We expect City Council to get brought up to speed when they are next in a CLOSED session.

When the public will hear anything from the City Communications department is anyone’s guess.

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The public art along the Naval Promenade at Spencer Smith Park is very good

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2023



If the sun comes out and things warn up a bit you might want to spend some time walking along the Naval Promenade and taking in the public art now in place.

It is a combination of Indigenous work and items from the Dan Lawrie collection

A Waterfront Sculpture Trail with an interesting mix of some work that is a delight to the eye. Does anyone know what the flag markings on the left mean ?

There is a story behind the Lawrie Collection – we are working on that.

Having a woman putting on lipstick in front of those mirrors would make it complete.

This is a fine piece of work.

The Indigenous art is included in the collection spread out along the Naval Promenade

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Red tape reduction gets a solid hearing but no one brought a pair of scissors - so nothing got changed

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2023



It was billed is as a Symposium on Red Tape Reduction put on by the Burlington Chamber of Commerce with Alinea  as the main sponsor.

Attendance was thin – maybe 100 people. City Councillor Paul Sharman and Angelo Bentivegna were on hand; Mayor Meed Ward glad handed her way around the room;  Councillors Nisan and Kearns took a pass on the event – Councillor Stolte is out of action and on a leave of absence.

For some reason the photo op is a necessary part of these events

Milton MPP Parm Gil, Minister of Red Tape Reduction gave a pretty strong political speech which seemed to take too many pokes at the former Liberal government and far too much patting on the back for the Ford government – but this was a Chamber of Commerce crowd.

A banner at the front of the room with the statement ‘’’Business without boundaries” surprised me.  They wish.

My immediate thought was – have they never heard of Walkerton?

Parm Gil made mention of using robots to do inspection work – can you imagine how quickly that would spiral out of control.   Where public safety is the issue experienced eyes are required.  You can program a robot to do whatever you want it to do.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Galbraith

Our interest in the event was to see how ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith handled himself.  He was positioned as both a small business owner and a Council member with a Deputy Mayor for Business and Red Tape Reduction portfolio on a panel of three people. That included John Romano  of Nickel Brook Brewery and Josie Tavares, Senior Development Planner/ Project Manager, CLV Group Developments Inc., a group that has significant rental properties in Burlington and is one of the partners involved with the Holland Park development on Fairview close to the GO station where seven towers are proposed.

Kelvin Galbraith getting a look from Josie Tavares during the panel discussion

Ms Tavares knew her stuff and talk with both confidence and experience about the problems – she didn’t appear to hold much hope for any real change in the way planning is done remarked that planning is getting to be a legal exercise.

She made some very good points; knew her brief and was able to point to situations where the developers were able to work with the planners.

John Romano, Co-founder, Nickel Brook Brewing Co. had some hard earned experience with the planning department.  When he moved from Drury Lane to Mainway his intention was to take the brewery operation with him – years later years later the brewing is now being done in Etobicoke and Romano has no idea when it will be on Mainway – if ever.

Galbraith didn’t have much in the way of experience as a business man with planning issues but as the Deputy Mayor for Business he was the guy getting the calls and the person who probably knows best where the problems are at city hall.  And that wasn’t something he was going to talk about in a public session.

He did mention the reduction in the length of time needed to get a development application through city hall and spoke as well of the “My File Portal” software that was due any day now that would let an applicant log in and see exactly where their application was and where the holdup was is as well.

John Romano – Nickel Brook Brewery – waiting for an application to get through city hall

Tavares and Romano appeared to agree that the problem in Burlington was at the Engineering level and that the number of retirements taking place has put a lot of younger people behind those desks now doing the work.

Did anything useful come out of the panel discussion ?  Could anything useful have come out of it ?

The province is introducing new legislation that is going to have a huge impact on the way development gets done.

Burlington is expected to have 29,000 new homes in place by 2031 – they signed a pledge saying they would deliver.

Some of the legislation cuts deeply into the amount of money from Development Charges and Community Benefit Charges the city would receive.

The municipalities don’t have the power to do very much – they are on the receiving end of everything except the cash needed to do the work that has to be done.

The federal government is bringing in close to half a million people every year to do the jobs that are part of a robust economy.

Growth is taking place at every turn with a public that is fine with the growth –“ just don’t put it where I live”.

Kelvin Galbraith responding to a question during a symposium on Red Tape reduction

Anyone expecting more from Galbraith would be disappointed – he just wasn’t able to make a presence. His hopes to at some point be the Mayor of Burlington didn’t advance much at this event.  This was a panel where the speakers were there to talk about planning problems – Galbraith didn’t have any.  However he has more in the way of planning issues to deal with in his ward.

Lou Frapporti, a partner with Gowlings in Hamilton said publicly that he was corporate counsel for Alinea, adding that Alinea  had taken over the Paletta International operations – which while true was just part of what was a messy corporate battle that ended up with Angelo Paletta leaving the firm and Paul Paletta taking the reins, forming a new corporate entity and doing his best to create a different, less abrasive approach to development.

Alinea  is the largest landowner in the Region and the holders of the three largest development properties in Burlington; Bronte Meadows in the east and 1200 King Road in the west.  Eagle Heights, in the north west, is outside the urban boundary where the infrastructure needs a lot of work.

Waterdown Road is undergoing some widening north of the 403.

It is in the southern part of Waterdown Road where all the action is taking place and where Galbraith has significant personal property holdings.


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Conservation Halton Foundation Connected Campaign aims to raise $20 million

By Staff

April 29th, 2023



The Conservation Halton Foundation has launched the largest fundraising campaign in its history. The Connected Campaign aims to raise $20 million to grow Conservation Halton’s ‘greenprint’ to provide communities with more opportunities to connect with nature. This effort will not only help to expand and enhance parks and greenspaces in the conservation authority’s watershed – it will also accelerate restoration projects that protect local ecosystems and make nature-based learning and outdoor recreation more available and accessible to all.

The campaign was announced by Garner Beckett, Executive Director of the Conservation Halton Foundation and Hassaan Basit, Conservation Halton President and CEO, during the official launch event held at Crawford Lake Conservation Area in Milton. The park is one of eight conservation areas that Conservation Halton protects and manages within its watershed.

“Halton has grown rapidly in the last two decades; in Milton alone, the population has quadrupled.

Turtle clan longhouse at Crawford Lake.

It is not surprising that Conservation Halton has seen record-breaking numbers of park visitors. People in our communities and across the province place great value on spending time in nature,” said Basit. “Being able to experience nature, learn about it, and really feel connected with it benefits our mental and physical wellness. These connections also motivate individuals and communities to safeguard these greenspaces for all to enjoy – today and well into the future. With this campaign, we aim to ensure these vital areas are preserved, protected, and enhanced for years to come.”

The announcement highlighted transformative projects and goals for community investment aligned with the campaign’s three priority areas: Parks and Greenspaces, Biodiversity and Resilience, and Education and Community. The campaign’s leadership also celebrated the generosity of new and long-time donors whose contributions have been “instrumental in the launch of Connected,” said Beckett.

“Over the past three years, our foundation’s efforts have been building momentum – thanks to the collaboration, partnership, and incredible support of our growing community of partners and donors.”

Catherine Mulvale, center standing, is the Conservation Halton Foundation fund raising Chair.

Campaign Chair, Catherine Mulvale, recognized Parks and Greenspaces donor EATON for supporting the creation of lakeside gathering spaces at Area 8, Biodiversity and Resilience donors Sheila and Keith Minkhorst for their significant gift toward Area 8 habitat restoration, and Education and Community supporters Francine McCarthy and Mike MacKinnon for recently establishing The McCarthy Fund for Crawford Lake, an endowment that will support engagement and education about the globally significant meromictic lake protected at the park.

Mulvale also recognized RBC, whose lead, multi-year funding commitment kickstarted a new climate action program for newcomer youth, enabled investment in new environmental monitoring technology, and is helping Conservation Halton connect more youth with nature at its parks and across the watershed.

Conservation Halton safeguards over 10,000 acres of forests, wetlands, creeks and other natural areas, all within one of Canada’s fastest growing regions.

The Conservation Halton Foundation is a registered charity and partner organization to Conservation Halton that raises funds for environmental projects and programs that protect natural assets, connect people with nature, and inspire positive change.

Our vision is an engaged and supportive community, driven to creating a healthy environment with clean streams, abundant forests and thriving natural spaces.

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Province opens up for King's Coronation: Rivers now has an event he can celebrate locally - RBG will be free

By Staff

April 29th, 2023



Ontario will celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III and Her Majesty The Queen.

This historic occasion will mark the first coronation of a Canadian Head of State in seven decades.

To commemorate The King’s Coronation, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Premier Doug Ford, Speaker Ted Arnott, and Indigenous leaders will hold a flag raising ceremony, 21-gun salute, and drum circle at 11:15 a.m. on May 6.

The ceremony will also include a special presentation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. Members of the public are invited to attend; the event will also be available to view via livestream on the Government of Ontario YouTube Channel.

South Lawn of Queen’s Park (that doesn’t seem to have been renamed yet),

Following the ceremony, ‘Coronation Celebration: A Fun Royal Fair’ will be held on the South Lawn of Queen’s Park from noon to 6 p.m.

Free family fun activities will include carnival rides and live entertainment. A ‘Taste of Ontario’ will provide complimentary food and beverages from Ontario farmers and processors. The Coronation Celebration is open to the public, free of charge.

Extending the celebrations across the province, 10 major cultural attractions and 39 provincial parks will offer free admission for day use.

To find out more about the provincial parks, please visit Ontario Parks.

Cultural attractions offering free admission on May 6 include:

Art Gallery of Ontario

Fort William Historical Park

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Niagara Parks’ Butterfly Conservatory and Floral Showhouse

Ontario Science Centre

Royal Botanical Gardens Free Admission on Coronation Day

Royal Botanical Gardens

Royal Ontario Museum

Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

Science North

Upper Canada Village

Participating provincial parks

39 provincial parks across Ontario will be open and offer free admission to the public.

Visitors will be able to book their day use permit at 26 parks that will be open on May 6 and participating in the advance daily vehicle permit service starting on May 1 at 7 a.m.

The Ontario Parks Reservation website can be found at the following link, Ontario Parks Reservation System or customers can navigate from our webpage. Where available, reservations for a daily vehicle permit are recommended but not required.
Customers can go directly to the reservation website through the link, or they can navigate through the “Reservations” drop down if they are on the main page.


Related news story

Rivers feels he might have to watch the Coronation by himself

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'Walking a mile in your shoes' was much more than a photo op

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2023



They can be looked upon as photo ops, elected officials getting their picture taken – helps keep then in the public eye.

From time to time there is a photo op that is also a statement; a drawing to the attention of the public an issue that certainly isn’t pleasant to think about – but is important and needs to be addressed: Violence Against Women.

Burlington MP’s Karina Gould and Pam Damoff helping get the story out: Violence Against Woman has to be stopped.

There isn’t a day that goes by that a woman is abused, struck or diminished and has to seek shelter.

Adan van Koeverden said recently, is as he stood wearing a pair of pink high heal shoes that: “Being an effective male ally in combating Gender Based Violence requires us to acknowledge something and articulate it clearly. The prevailing issue is men’s violence against women. Terms like “gender based” and “domestic” violence may be more acceptable, but the onus is on men.

“Men need to talk to one another, commit to being better ourselves, act like an ambassador for change and actively listen to women, survivors and those working in the sector for practical solutions to ending men’s violence against women and children.”

van Koeverden spoke at a reception organized by the Halton Women’s Place and the Women’s Centre of Milton/Halton for their work in organizing today’s reception, “adding it was a privilege to “walk a mile” in your shoes today – though it was considerably less than a mile this time.

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Karina Gould on the civil service strike and child poverty

By Staff

April 28th, 2023



Burlington MP Karina Gould, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in the Trudeau government spoke in the House of Commons on a number of public policy issues.

Responding to the comments made by a member of the opposition Gould said:

The current Liberal government believes in the right to strike and the Public Service Alliance of Canada didn’t let them down.

“Mr. Speaker, I think what is particularly concerning about what the member opposite is saying is that the public service grew at a time when Canadians were in their darkest hour. We are talking about a once-in-a-generation pandemic. We supported, and those same public servants supported, 8.5 million Canadians to access the Canada emergency response benefit. Those same public servants supported Canadians to receive the Canada emergency business account support. They were there in Canada’s time of need.

“We believe in collective bargaining. We believe in the right to strike, and we will get a good deal for the public servants and for Canadians.”

Burlington MP Karina Gould in the House of Commons while former US president of the United States Barack Obama addresses a joint session.

Later, on the same day, Gould said:
“Mr. Speaker, in difference to the Conservative members of Parliament, on this side we actually respect workers and we respect their rights. We are at the negotiating table right now to ensure that we get a fair deal for Canadian taxpayers, as well as for the hard-working public servants who have been there for Canadians, particularly in their moment of need, particularly during the worst economic and health crisis that we have seen in a generation.

“We are going to get a good agreement that is going to support our workers as well as Canadian taxpayers.”

It was a busy day for the Burlington MP who spoke about how they improved Canada’s child poverty rankings

“Mr. Speaker, it is a bit hard to take the Conservatives at face value when they talk about Canadians in poverty, because when the Conservative government came into power in 2006, it was 17th in the OECD when it came to child poverty rankings. By the time Conservatives left office nine years later, they had fallen to 24th. They had actually done nothing to alleviate people who were living in poverty.

“We came into office in 2015. We have helped 450,000 children get out of poverty. We have helped 2.7 million Canadians get out of poverty. We are going to keep being there for Canadians, unlike the members opposite.”

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Town Hall meeting on level of crime in the community; ties in with new government bail initiative

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2023



There is a Town Hall meeting taking place on Saturday at the Mainway Arena – the topic is the level of Crime in the Community.  The event is sponsored by the Burlington Conservative Association. A recent provincial government announcement ties in with what concerns the public.

Town Hall meeting

The Ontario government is investing $112 million to immediately strengthen the province’s bail system and ensure that high-risk and repeat violent offenders comply with their bail conditions. The funding will be used to support new technology, establish violent crime bail teams, expand the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Squad and provide prosecutors with the resources they need to conduct complex bail hearings.

“As the country and our province face rising crime rates and people are feeling increasingly unsafe in their communities, this funding will help ensure anyone out on bail is following the rules and high-risk, repeat offenders are kept in jail,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We can’t have a justice system where violent criminals are arrested one day and back out on the streets the next. We’re doing our part to fix a broken bail system and look forward to working with our federal partners to finish the job.”

Specifics of the investment include:

The creation of a new Bail Compliance and Warrant Apprehension Grant

$24 million will be made available over three years to help the OPP and municipal and First Nations police services establish dedicated bail compliance teams. Teams will also assist prosecutors with gathering evidence and assessing public safety risk during the bail hearing stage.

Grant funding may also be used to acquire bail compliance technology or support a network that police services could use to share bail offender information.

Expansion of the OPP Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement (ROPE) Squad

$48 million to create a dedicated Bail Compliance Unit within the OPP’s Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Squad. This new dedicated, provincewide, Bail Compliance Unit will apprehend high-risk provincial offenders who have broken their bail conditions or are unlawfully at large.

Establishment of Intensive Serious Violent Crime Bail Teams

$26 million to create Intensive Serious Violent Crime Bail Teams within the courts system to ensure that there are dedicated prosecutors and subject matter experts to prepare for and properly conduct the often lengthy and complex bail hearings.

Rollout of the Bail Compliance Dashboard

A new province wide bail monitoring system to allow police services to monitor high-risk offenders with the most accurate data possible.

“When it comes to keeping people safe and addressing crime in our communities, we’ll stop at nothing,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “This funding will help police and justice sector partners address issues of bail compliance by expanding the resources needed to monitor and apprehend high-risk repeat offenders violating bail conditions. It will also help to ensure that both sentencing and bail processes work to reduce violent acts and keep our communities safe.”

Today’s announcement follows months of advocacy from all of Canada’s premiers for the federal government to amend the Criminal Code and implement meaningful bail reform to prevent violent and repeat offenders from being released back into communities. The federal government has signalled its willingness to work with all provinces and territories to identify and implement meaningful solutions. Ontario will continue to be a partner in this work and looks forward to these changes being made.

“As part of our ongoing efforts with the federal government to reform the broken bail system, we are adding new resources to support our work to make Ontario’s bail process stronger,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “These investments will immediately help to address serious, violent and repeat offenders by providing more resources to police to investigate and apprehend these accused persons and to prosecutors and courts to conduct complex, time consuming bail hearings with the best evidence possible.”

Quick Facts
On March 10, 2023, federal, provincial and territorial Attorneys General and Ministers of Justice and Ministers of Public Safety met to discuss Canada’s bail system. The federal government agreed to take action through amendments to the Criminal Code that would target repeat violent offenders and serious offences committed with firearms and other dangerous weapons.

Ontario experienced a 57 per cent increase in serious violence and weapons cases before the courts between 2018 and 2021. (Ontario Court of Justice)

Toronto Police Service report that over the last two years in the city of Toronto, 17 per cent of accused charged with shooting-related homicides were already out on firearms bail at the time of the alleged fatal shooting.

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Education Week - every school will celebrate one student for their excellence in self-improvement

By Staff

April 28th, 2023


The Halton District School Board has set out an ambitious series of activities for each day of next week to celebrate Education Week.

Monday, May 1 – Equity and Inclusion: This area of focus shows how schools champion supportive and inclusive practices to ensure equitable access to positive opportunities and outcomes for all.

Figuring it out.

Tuesday, May 2 – Mental Health & Well-Being: This area of focus highlights how students strengthen safe and caring school environments that promote well-being, and enhance relationships and positive learning and working climates where everyone belongs and feels safe. May 1-7 is also Mental Health Week, as designated by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), which promotes mental health awareness, decreasing stigma and helpful resources.

Wednesday, May 3 – Environmental Leadership: This area shows how students and staff take action to help create a sustainable world and will be showcased to demonstrate how HDSB schools are providing opportunities to learn about connections between ecosystems, social justice and climate, as well as elevate local environmental initiatives and practices.

Thursday, May 4 – Learning & Achievement: Examples will be shared of how the HDSB strives to create learning environments to elevate student achievement, foster a culture of high expectations to maximize student and staff achievement and promote innovative strategies.

Also on May 4, the HDSB is proud to recognize the success of students through the annual Celebration of Student Excellence event. This virtual event will start at 7 p.m. Each year, one student per school is honoured for their excellence in self-improvement, enhancing the school and/or local community, citizenship, student leadership, academics, vocational studies and specialized programs or extra-curricular activities.

A link to view the ceremony will be on the HDSB website ( on Thursday, May 4 at 7 p.m.

Friday, May 5 – Indigenous Perspectives & Awareness: On the final day of Education Week, the HDSB will highlight the many learning opportunities for students and staff that help promote knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives and realities.

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The cherry trees are in full bloom and there is a really good collection of public art

By Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2023



It was the best day we have had, the weather was really nice – even though many people were out wearing winter jackets. Dozens and dozens of women out pushing carriage – some seemed to be travelling in groups of eight and ten carriages – almost in a convoy.

The cherry trees are in full bloom. They are a gift to us from a man in Japan many years ago.

Small groups gathered around the cherry trees that were really a welcome picture.

As one strolled along the Naval promenade there were welcome opportunities to look at some really amazing art. The Dan Lawrie collection is on display – some really exciting art.

The Lawrie collection shares the space with some interesting Indigenous art.

There are a few of the pieces included in this story- we will follow up with more later.

The art on display in Spencer Smith Park is really worth your time.

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Burlington will celebrate its twin cities, Apeldoorn and Itabashi, at the Performing Arts Centre May 13th

By Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2023



Burlington, that city on the edge of a lake with an escarpment to the north has links to two cities: Apeldoorn and Itabashi

Each year in spring, the City celebrates the connection with those cities. This year, the city’s Mundialization Committee is hosting two events on May 13 that will honour the cultural bonds we share with our twins.

In the morning, we mark the Canada Netherlands Friendship Day to commemorate the liberation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands by Canadian Armed Forces in 1945.
In the afternoon, we will celebrate the cherry blossoms with the Sakura Festival as they do in Japan. Both events are free and open to all the public, so be sure to attend and enjoy our immersive experience

Canada Netherlands Friendship Day – May 13 – 10 a.m.
Burlington Performing Arts Centre, 440 Locust St.
The Canada Netherlands Friendship Day will celebrate the 18th anniversary of the City of Burlington’s twinning agreement with the city of Apeldoorn. It will also recognize the 78th anniversary of the Netherlands liberation by the Canadian Armed Forces during World War

The Burlington Teen Tour Band lined up along the streets of Appledoor in Holland.

The free event will include:
• Canadian and Dutch national anthems
• Greetings from, Consul General of the Netherlands, Harman Idema; Elizabeth Witmer, former Deputy Premier of Ontario; Mayor Ton Heerts of Apeldoorn; and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
• Artwork on display from B.T. Lindley Public School and Trinity Christian School
• Art presentation from Nelson High School
• Presentation by Community Pathway Program
• Music from Burlington Teen Tour Band


Members of city staff led by Marianne Med Ward in xxx Japan. City Manager Tim Commisso, center, struts his stuff.

Sakura Festival – May 13 1 p.m.
Burlington Performing Arts Centre, 440 Locust St.
Each spring, the Sakura Festival celebrates the arrival of the beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms. It also recognizes Burlington’s 34-year friendship with its twin city, Itabashi, Japan. The free event will include:
• Greetings from Consul General of Japan, SASAYAMA Takuya and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
• A Japanese drumming performance from Do Kon Daiko
• A demonstration from Shudokan Family Karate
• Burloak Aikikai Aikido martial arts demonstration
• Japanese dance by Suzuran Odori
• A Koto performance from Logan Scott
• A singing and shamisen performance from Ten Ten Canada, featuring TAKAHASHI Aki
• A performance from dance group Sakuramai
• Taiko (drum), flutes, and shamisen by Nagata Shachu

Also in celebration of Itabashi, Japan, the Taste of Japan event will run at Japanese restaurants in Burlington from May 13 to 31. This event is organized by Tourism Burlington.

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Food trucks and feeding the public - Councillors loved the idea and wanted access to all the data collected

By Pepper Parr.

April 24th, 2023



The staff from the Communications and Engagement department showed up at a Standing Committee recently with a long report that set out everything they’d done since their last report – one list was 15 pages long.

Kwab Ako-Adjei Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement

Kwab Ako-Adjei Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement  and his team spoke of the “extraordinary amount of engagement that was done by the city which includes council as well” and then went on to take council through what had been done since their last annual report.

We are a “ very data driven department” and we will start sharing a lot of that with counsel in the near future”, said Kwab

The phrase “giving people a choice for their voice” was the way Communications explained the decision to continue in person or online engagement or a combination of both.

The question Kwab may have wished he didn’t ask was: “What is the will of council for having the Food for Feedback event as an annual event? And what about the locations?

He and his team were before Council to get reaction on various city communications issues, however the Food for Feedback initiative quickly became the focus of the meeting – that and the desire on the part of every member of council for access to all the data collected and a plea that the event be held in their ward at some point.

The Food for Feedback idea was you got a ticket to get something to eat from a Food Truck that was parked nearby – but you had to “engage” with city staff at one of the booth set up in the Band Shell park next to the Library.

It was a popular event – two Food for Feedback events were held – Covid did get in the way of their longer term plans, but it worked and that was the premise behind the report.

Kwab wasn’t prepared for the reaction. He explained that these events were expensive.

Council didn’t seem to care – what they were interested in was doing more of the Food for Feedback events and asking if they could be held more often and in their ward would be nice.

Councillor Sharman explained that it would cost next to nothing to do a Food for Feedback event in his ward and tied it into events that were already scheduled – his annual Appleby Line Street Festival was his angle.

The first Food for Feedback event drew 1000 people. What the Gazette doesn’t recall learning was – what did the city get in the way of feedback – and what did the event cost ?

The first event was held in 2019, 1000 people were reported to have attended. COVID knocked out 2020 and 2021. An event was held in 2022 at Brant Hills where 640 people are reported to have attended.

The criteria for these events was put together by the communications department – their recommendation was to hold the event at Central Park band shell because it met all of the criteria.

That criteria became an issue – first because Councillors didn’t think it was accurate and second – they didn’t like the criteria.

Kwab said “… we know you have questions – we have a lot of documentation about how we came up with this criteria, adding that not all wards actually have a suitable location based on this criteria.”

That’s where the differences of opinion began to become evident – almost every member of Council was able to explain how the event could be run in their ward.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan did his best to make sure the Food for Feedback was held in his ward as often as possible.

First up was Councillor Nisan who said “great work, expecting less and you more than exceeded expectations adding that he was “ basically really happy with everything else but was having a sports field as a criteria is a good thing or a bad thing ?”

Kwab: “We often cannot use a sports field – some other group may have booked the space but not the rest of a park area.
The staff member who had worked in the Events depart with the city for 10 years, explained “we are not permitted to have events on sports fields. We can be in a park but not use the sports fields that are adjacent to and within a park.”

Nisan, no fool when it comes to bringing opportunities to his ward, offered to have the Food For Feedback event at Brant Hills every second year asking “Is there a willingness to rotate – have it at Brant Hills … do you have any issues with doing so?

Kwab responds: “Our first choice would be Central Band Shell however, we are obviously open to the will of council to have north- south alternate every year and our suggestion would be Brant Hills would be the North location because it does meet all of the criteria.

Mayor Meed Ward followed Nisan saying she had few questions – mostly comments and asked if “You have social stats for other channels; there’s the City of Burlington and then there’s the rec one. Are there other city channels out there that we can get data on ? The only other data source I can think of off the top of my head is transit; I am very interested, if you gather those stats, to see any other city channels that are out there.

Kwab: “Recreation has a number of accounts as well as Instagram accounts – we do work with them with to make sure that they are properly engaging with the community. We could share the stats and data on that.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – she wanted data.

Mayor: “That’d be awesome. And I assume that there’s some sort of technology tool that you possibly pay for to get all these stats. Can you run it for council channels, so we can see what our own engagement levels are? Other than just you know, looking at them?

Kwab: I’d have to go back and chat with Kevin (City Clerk) about that. There would be an additional cost, because it’s Sprout Social that we use and they are limited in the accounts. But we can see if there is a way to do it. I mean, it does do comparisons to neighbouring municipalities and as you can see, generally speaking in terms of engagement or impressions, we are well above the industry so it does do those sorts of comparisons but to pull specific Councillor data; I’d have to check on that and get back to you on what the potential cost of would be.

Mayor Meed Ward: “We can talk about that offline. I’d be really interested to look into Sprout.

Shawna Stolte, ward 4 Councillor who is currently on a two month leave of absence.

Councillor Stolte noted that the event held in September 2022 had a total of 640 people attending and was told that approximately 1000 people attended at Central Park in 2019?

“When I attended the one at Brand Hills I asked if they were feeling there was representation from across the city and asked: “ Did you take any stats on where people were hailing from when they came out? I certainly got the impression that most of the attendees of 640 were from the north ward 3 area.

Kwab: “Some might have asked but as a whole we didn’t ask – but that’s something we can definitely implement for the future.”

Councillor Kearns: “Can we think about or bring back something to have a more thorough discussion on regarding Food for Feedback during the election year? There was quite a lot of conversation out there around the appropriateness of sitting councillors and or candidates attending – wondering if we can have a further discussion on that at some point.

Kearns also wanted to know more about the social media – “wondering if you can provide some additional insight on how does the information garnered through social media get back to council or help with decision making?”

Kwab – Do you mean the kind of feedback that we get?

Stolte piped in with: “ I don’t think I’ve ever received something from social media through the city to help with decision making, whether that be in a report or anything to that effect goes out, or how it comes back in?

Michelle Dyer, part of the Communications department team, who does more than analyze data.

Michelle Dyer, part of the Communications department team: “ We know we do want to make sure we’re sharing more information with counsel in terms of our social media, posts and content. So stay tuned – we’re developing a toolkit that will point to some of the information that we share on social media that will be coming to council very soon.

“In terms of feedback. I mean, we get a lot of comments on social media, a tonnes of comments. I mean, if we compile it all there would be reams and reams of pages. Kevin (City Clerk) and Victoria do a great job of going through those comments. And if they do pertain to a particular department or anything like that we do share it with them. If there’s anything specific to council I think you need to see I’m fairly certain that’s something that we would share directly with members of council but there are many instances that we share the feedback that we get from social directly with staff, which couldn’t make its way into reports or memos or any of that information. They’re also very looped into our social media channels and what we’re doing but if there’s anything specific, I think that counsel needs to be aware of we would definitely share with you directly.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna wanted more detail on the criteria that was used to choose locations for the Food for Feedback events. He pointed out that the ward 6 Arlene Park and Millcroft Park;, two fairly large parks in his ward “but the criteria says no in terms of parking and I don’t understand that.”

Kwab: ” In regards to the two parks in your ward, the reason it was no is because based on the other amenities that are in the park and the attendance that we expect for the event we don’t believe there would be enough parking for the event to occur as well as the regular Park activities. So that’s why we put no just to kind of prevent any potential parking issues.”

Ward 6 Councillor had to update the Communications on the number of parks in his ward.

Bentivegna:. “We’ve got parking lots including two massive parking lots next door to each other. My other question would be choosing the location and the question about which wards they come from. I agree with Councillor Stolte I think people sometimes assume okay, it’s in central that means it’s downtown stuff. I know food trucks costs money but you know, maybe we don’t do the food trucks. I think the neighborhoods would walk. I mean, if you’re having it in Alton Village, they’re going to walk to play in the Doug Wright park. I do believe the criteria as to where and why people go to these events is very, very important.

Kwab: “I think if we just step back for a second, we had a clear interest from counsel to make sure that we would move this around. So that’s where we started from knowing that this is what counsel wants. Let’s look at the location. If counsel says they want to have this ongoing feedback every year; my opinion is that they would be in September and as we stand right now, it will be with food trucks, because I know they’re very popular. So we said okay, let’s go and let’s look at where we can actually have this. And when we take all these things into consideration – we could live with moving around; sure we can, but I think we have to consider that there may not be enough parking. If it rains, we may have to move it indoors. We can’t get on the sports field, these are all the things that we need to consider.

This is our recommendation, council wants to move it around. That’s why we presented those options for Council to consider and ultimately direct us to what you what want us to do.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – no he wasn’t asleep.

Councillor Sharman : “Thank you very much for the report. Lots of complexity. So with respect to the Orchard, it is probably the urban area furthest away from downtown and Orchard people don’t come downtown very much. Orchard Park has a school right in the middle that has washrooms and has parking. We did a 2000 person event in Orchard Park last summer and there was no problem. My question is it possible that the school board properties can be used?

“This is a Sunday event? no kids in the schools; there’s plenty of space and there’s even public washrooms paid for by the city.”

The Appleby Line Car Free Sunday was better attended than the one on Brant Street several weeks later. Over time the attendance grew to the point where it is now an annual well attended event.

Kwab – “We can certainly work with them, Again, we do have those risk factors to take into consideration .”

Sharman: “The other question I have is Sherwood Forest Park. It has everything Why is it not on our list?”

Kwab: “We tried to kind of pick two locations per ward that have had events in the past. Sherwood is such a well utilized space. We wouldn’t want to take that out of the inventory for the community if there was already bookings there in regards to the different amenities they have.

Galbraith: I’m just gonna jump in here first time. Thanks for the report. Really, really good and congratulations for creating such a great event that every counselor wants it in their ward including myself.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith – he wanted to see those food trucks at LaSalle Park.

Looking at the two parks available for Ward 1 – Can you explain the no because of parking at LaSalle?

Kwab: “I think we’re hearing what counsel wants. So we can take this away and come back with our recommendations and we’ll move this around, or we can certainly wait for direction at this at this point in time. I mean based on based on the discussion that we’re hearing, – I will certainly leave it to counsel but I think we’re getting the message – loud and clear.

Galbraith: I think if it was moved around the city and then came back to Central it would be even better because everyone got exposure to it.
Stolte: “Back to Food for Feedback – there’s no doubt that having it in a park with green grass is ideal. But the real ideal is getting as many people out as possible and having it at the right location.

“Could we consider other city facilities and I’m thinking in Ward 4 maybe the Mainway arena?”  “Can we consider venues other than just parks? If we’re going to look at moving it around?”

Kwab: We didn’t plan it that way initially and we have the indoor space more as a rain area in case there’s inclement weather; if there was too much separation between the booths and the food trucks people may eat but not take part in the purpose of the event – let’s be honest, they’re giving out food, some wouldn’t be doing the feedback.

Stolte: Food trucks could go inside the arena. Would it be the least bit feasible to consider hosting two food for feedback events, whether it be two on the same day, or subsequent Saturday’s holding one in the south and one of the North?

Kwab Ako-Adjei Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement found he was getting a lot of criticism and fed new ideas by members of Council.  The upside for him was he is going to be able to go after a bigger budget in future.

Kwab: The short answer: anything is possible. The logistics and the costs would have to be taken into consideration and how you would determine which staff you send North versus the South, which engagement opportunity that you that you had so simultaneous – that would maybe be a challenge.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

“Let me reiterate we’ve only done this twice. So we are definitely open to feedback and in terms of how we improve this.

Nisan: “I am open if there’s more questions about Food for Feedback but let me just put it on the table at this point. And then they can have questions and answers. That’s what I would suggest. The motion was to approved the continuation of Food for Ffeedback as an annual engagement event to be rotated between different suitable locations across the city each year.

“I think that gets us landing what we want of this This leads us to essentially a report back

“I would assume staff would come back to us through a CIP which would allow us to, to review and make modifications if we wish, but give them the opportunity to do some more work on it and look at some of the different options that we’ve all raised today.

Certainly would love to have Brant Hills park back again.”

Stolte: Thank you just speaking to this proposed amendment, which I certainly agree with about it being rotated between different suitable locations. Staff. Do you feel the need for us to add in things like and consider two events or a weekend event or anything like that? Or do you feel as though you have enough feedback from the conversation?

Kwab: “We would have to have more resources to look at multiple events.

“The recommendation is to have it in at Central Park for 2023 .”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – hold the events at either his Appleby Street Festival or at Sherwood Park – and don’t feel you have a tonne of money.

Sharman: “I really appreciate the hard work that goes into the annual event. That is a big deal. But actually, you don’t need to put a lot of work into doing it in existing events. And it doesn’t need to cost us a lot of money. We don’t need to pay bags of cash for food, because we’ll have people that we can do other incentives.

“I’m also suggesting that we don’t necessarily limit this to an annual event and you don’t need to make it a big deal. Perhaps you could just put that into your thinking, because you can have as many as you want. It may be a booth and it may be some incentive but I think there’s opportunities to do a lot more.

“Last year, we had 14 or 16 booths and I think it was similar in 2019. So I mean, we would have no issue. Our staff if it was just you know, having a booth on engagement and communication, but I think maybe where it might get tricky is is having the number of events if in fact we wanted to have that many booths to garner feedback, that would possibly be the only issue.

“The other thing too is the timing of projects that require feedback, right? It changes throughout the year. So those would be the only some of the cautions that I would add please, for that, you’re gonna have the north end of our Appleby Line Festival – and you can have as many booths as you want.

Now we wait to see how the Communications department reacts. It is clear council wants the Food for Feedback events to happen.

Equally clear is that Communications didn’t appear to have brought much in the way of imagination or innovation to revising the event.  All the good ideas came from members of Council with Kwab saying he would “look into that,”

What was all too evident was that the engagement people don’t do engagement very well.  But they do collect data – ‘tonnes of it”.



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If Nisan relocates to his new Ward 2 home 43% of Council would live in the one ward

You don’t have a home until you leave it and then, when you have left it, you never can go back.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

By Pepper Parr

April 26th, 2023


Part 2 of a two part feature.

Last June, Roderick (Rory) Steiner Nisan, together with his partner, purchased a home in Ward 2; one long block from the Lakeshore and close to the downtown. It’s a quiet little neighbourhood and the house would struggle to be even “unassuming”.

So, why is this noteworthy and why should we care? Well, we should care for exactly the same reasons and in exactly the same measure that we care about open, honest and honourable behaviour on the part of our elected representatives.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan attending a Council meeting

At the time of purchase, June 2022, was Mr. Nisan aware that his house acquisition might be contentious? Almost certainly since, as previously reported, during the 2018 campaign his non-Ward 3 residency was an issue. So, in 2022, at the beginning of his next campaign, it’s safe to assume that every Ward 3 voter (his family perhaps excepted) believed that this architect of the Brant Hills splashpad was a Ward 3 resident and, if re-elected, would continue to be so through the next term of Council. This is the impression that he gave and, we assume, wished to give.

There is a pattern here. The purchase of the little house on a quiet Ward 2 street in 2022 has echoes of Rory’s 2018 past. There are a whole spectrum of questions that the purchase raises – who knew at City Hall and why, who didn’t know and why, why buy in a different ward if he intended to continue living in Ward 3, why not disclose if he saw no problem with the purchase?

There may have been no legal obligation to disclose but there certainly was an ethical one. If Nisan’s intent was to eventually relocate during his 2022-2026 term (noteworthy that permits were issued and renovations seem to have been completed), his constituents had the right to know; to have a ‘heads up’ so that they could go to the polls completely informed. It would have been the ‘transparent’ and honourable thing to do.

If Nisan’s intent was otherwise, then why not divulge? Are we to believe that the residents of Ward 3 are his priority, or do his priorities now lie elsewhere?

We believe that every individual is entitled to keep their private affairs as closed or as open as they wish. However, we also believe that public officials have a competing obligation to disclose things that are in the public interest to know or are necessary for citizens to make knowledgeable decisions concerning their rights. Where does this house purchase stand on that particular spectrum? Well, we think very much on the high side because it goes to character, trust and fundamental honesty.

Mr. Nisan has something of a history of campaign issues. He was investigated for inappropriate fund-raising activities during the 2018 contest and was censured accordingly. In 2018, he conducted door to door visits around the Ward 3 neighbourhoods prior to the actual campaign period, introducing himself and passing out his business card but not, in an official and illegal manner, “campaigning”. In the eyes of many, he overstated his credentials and work experience as a diplomat. In the 2022 campaign, incumbent Nisan seemed to have had his fair share of possible electoral bylaw issues, as did almost every candidate. It is the “silly season” and tempers run hot. However, he seems to attract a rather unusual degree of vitriol from his opponents with claims of ‘just not playing fair’. Leopard and spots sort of thing.

We have obviously made certain assumptions and these may, if faulty, prove to alter the narrative. Nisan’s purchase of a property in Ward 2 at the beginning of the 2022 campaign may be perfectly reasonable and without the least amount of campaign intrigue if:

He bought the property as an investment with no intent to relocate but planning to personally live somewhere in Ward 3. Currently, he has vacated his rented housing and he and his family are reportedly living in the Ward with his mother.

That he did not actually buy the house but has a doppëlganger with the same name, Roderick Steiner Nisan, and his partner and co-purchaser also has a doppëlganger etc., etc.

These scenarios aside, if and when Mr. Nisan relocates to his new Ward 2 home, there is a definite impact on the actual composition of the City’s Council. At that time, there would be 3 of 7 members (43% of Council) living within blocks of each other and with no ‘in situ’ representative in Ward 3 (unless Councillor Nisan resigns and forces a costly by-election). Arguably, we had the same situation in 2018 with Councillor Stolte in Ward 4 but to her credit she resolved the situation; Councillor Nisan would be creating it and it would be a ‘sticky mess’ by any measure.

2022 – 2026 City Council being sworn in. Councillor Stolte has to take part virtually – a Covid19 victim.

You see, the Achilles Heel of the Burlington Council is its extremely small size; seven elected members including the Mayor who bear both local and regional portfolios (not to mention the new Deputy Mayor assignments). It is a very small pond and even the smallest ripples can have an impact. Indeed, the Burlington Council has the highest per capita representation of any Tier Two or Independent Municipality. It urgently needs a critical review but political inertia and self-interest have dominated to date.

It’s somewhat complicated to change the roles and composition of a Municipal Council and, for the existing Council, two pay cheques for the same 16 hour day are far better than one.

Marianne Meed Ward wearing the Chain of Office for the first time. The campaign to get to this point started back in 2006 when she first ran for office in ward 1

What does all this likely mean? It seems to give credence to the growing speculation that Councillor Nisan plans to compete for Mayor in 2026 (some would say with the current Mayor’s concurrence and help) or, failing that, challenge for the Ward 2 chair. He has said privately that he wants to be Mayor but would never run against Meed Ward; one of the most astute and cunning politicians in the province and his mentor. Wise man.

So, where to Marianne Meed Ward, the Red Queen, in 2026? This may be the most interesting question (and concern) of all.

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What types of games can I play in an online casino?

By Aleksandar Angelov

April 25th, 2023



We as human beings always have the endless desire to satisfy our curiosity for the enjoyable things in life. We want to enrich our lives with colourful moments, memories, and new experiences as often as possible. This counts for all aspects of our life including our hobbies.

Gambling has been a part of social interaction – it has been with us almost from the beginning of time.

What has always been in fashion since the very beginning of civilization is the passion for gambling. Now, that our reality has changed due to the pandemic, we can all observe a massive transformation of the whole industry into a virtual one. Now that we can gamble from the comfort of our place, it is easy to explore online casino games.

Why online casinos?
Online casinos have many benefits that we cannot just ignore. We can all agree that in the 21st century, they are not only similar options to the physical ones, but they even exceed them with all their advantages and with no disadvantages on the table.

1. Comfort
We all love the physical betting institutions with those dim lights, the soft carpets, the sound of every single machine, and the beautiful women walking around and taking care that you feel at home. However, Gambling on the web has another level of comfort to offer! You can enjoy the games and win jackpots right from your couch, wearing comfortable clothes and eating chips while spending time with your pet. Nothing can beat this!

online casino canada2. Convenience
Gambling has never been this easy. Online betting websites can give you the option to bet from everywhere around the globe. You can live in Ontario and still bet. You just need an electronic device and an internet connection. Gambling required no download if you decide to do it through a browser.

However, gambling applications are available to you to set up on your desktop or your phone. You can be stuck in a traffic jam in Toronto, Canada, and even though you cannot use Canadian betting services, you can still play and win jackpots, a reward, or a bonus through your phone by using the services of a foreign website.

Online gambling doesn’t mean travelling – it is something you can do when you have some idle time on your hands. Be responsible when you gamble – it is a form of leisure.

3. Accessibility
If you have ever been to a physical betting institution, you have probably noticed that when it comes to the bigger games, not just slots and spins, nothing comes for free. You have to invest a significant amount of money so you can join the game. This is the complete opposite of what happens when gambling online. Website services with more serious games are unique as they do not require such a massive initial deposit. This makes these games much more accessible to the general player group.

4. Bonuses
Many people believe that in casinos you play and either lose or win. However, this is not the case with online casinos. You can lose in a few games, but the website can give you another chance to try your luck by giving you a bonus. It can be a small one such as a few more free spins, or it can be a great welcome pack that doubles your initial deposit. With the VIP programs that most casinos offer, you can enjoy bigger rewards with every step of your gambling experience on the web.

5. Crypto
You can use crypto as a token instead of money and this is clearly out of question in physical gaming institutions. Now almost all cryptocurrencies are accepted. The biggest favourites such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are always accepted but even simpler ones like Stellar would do you just as well!

What are the best games to play in an online casino?

1. Slots
Slots are one of the most popular options for both beginners and passionate gamblers. It goes this way as it insists on no preparation and you do not have to put a lot of effort and thought into the game. You just press the button and watch the images roll around.

Playing the slots online is certainly a different experience – something some may try because it is so convenient.

2. Blackjack
This one is one of the most preferred games in online casinos as well. It is usually a live tournament game. This means that it happens in real time and you have a live dealer at your disposition. The game can be very strategic if you decide to explore statistics and numbers. However, this is not a requirement to hit a good win.

The nice about this game is that you, as a beginner, do not have to fight with those crazy passionate gamblers who are ready to eat you alive. You are plating with the dealer. The dealer picks a number, and you have to pick another number that you should always pick smaller than 21 and hope to win!

3. Roulette
Roulette is very popular for two reasons. First, it is easy and you need no preparation or strategy. Second, it is very popular for its winning rates. You can pick a number and bet on it, but the even easier way to play is to pick between two colours – red or black. If the ball falls on your number or your colour, you win. What makes the winning rates go up high is playing by colour. When you do this, mathematically you have the biggest chance to win – 50%.

4. Baccarat
Baccarat is one of the games that beginners love when they are just stepping into more serious games. To play this game you have to know the ruler very well and have a strategy. Most websites offer a demo version of the game so that you can try your luck and strategy there at first.

Before you choose a game to focus your efforts and money on, we suggest that you try different ones from the great variety in online casinos. You may be surprised by the good experience of trying new things and you will surely find a new passion of yours.

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Hospital president gets a 24.73 % increase in salary over previous year

By Pepper Parr

April 26th, 2023



Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Joseph Brant Hospital

A number of weeks ago, Eric Vandewaal, president of the Joseph Brant Hospital chose ignore requests for comment on the front page + four pages inside the Hamilton Spectator article on the state of conditions on the hospital.

It was not a pretty picture.

Vandewaal has been a senior executive for the past twenty years and should know better; when you are the president of a public tax payer institution there is a responsibility to react to news and engage the public.

It appears there is another story on the hospital working its way to the front page.

Until that appears we can leave you with the data in the chart shown below.

The hospital Board consists of 12 people. They are:

Randy Smallbone (CPA, CGA),

Chair, Board of DirectorsRandy Smallbone, Board of Directors

Omer Aziz, PENG, CHRL

Dr. David Charland, President, Medical Staff Association

Paul Clarke

Margaret Doma, a recently-retired Risk Management professional.

Barbara Elliot, Vice Chair of both the Board of Directors and the Governance & Nominating Committee and is a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.

Lisa Garland, CPA, CA, Vice Chair of  the Finance & Audit Committee an also serves on the Governance and Nominating Committee

Anna Iacobelli, TD Bank Group’s Senior Vice President

Dr. Salina Juma, General Internal Medicine, MD, FRCPC,

Corrine Kennedy, Board of Directors. Is a member of the Human Resources Policy & Compensation Committee.

Leslie Motz – Executive Vice President, Clinical and Chief Nursing Executive

Young Park, currently the Vice Chair of the Human Resources Policy & Compensation Committee and Vice Chair of the Digital Health Strategy Committee.

Anjlee Patel, serves as Chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee

Ian Preyra, M.D., M.B.A., FRCPC (EM), Chief of Staff,

Eric Vandewaal, President and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Brant Hospital

David Wagstaff (CPA, ACC), currently the Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee and a member of the Human Resources Policy and Compensation Committee.

Deanna L. Williams, BScPhm, R.Ph, CAE, C. Dir, Currently serves as Chair of the Quality Committee.



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Handpicked for you - by library staff

By Staff

April 25th, 2023



The library (BPL) is launching a brand new service called Handpicked For You.

It’s kind of like a personal shopping service, at the library. Customers can fill out a short form online or with a staff member to request a custom list or bundle of items.

240,000 items.

Considering BPL has a physical collection of around 240,000 unique books, movies, and music CDs spread across seven locations (plus more in its digital collection!), it’s easy to overlook many outstanding titles. Handpicked For You helps customers find just what they’re looking for and discover hidden gems they may not have found otherwise.

“Our staff have exceptional knowledge of our collections, and they are trained to help people find items that suit their needs and interests,” says Frances Hanemaayer, Manager of North Branches and the leader behind BPL’s Handpicked For You service. “We want our customers to take advantage of this talent so they can enjoy a great read (or watch) every time.”

To get started using this service, simply complete the Handpicked For You online form or ask staff for help submitting your request by phone or in person. You’ll list what you like to read, watch, or listen to, and library staff will take a deep dive into our collection to find titles they think you’ll love. As part of this personal ‘shopping’ service, you select whether to receive a digital booklist of suggested titles or a bundle of items to pick up and check out at your preferred branch.

How Can Handpicked Help You?

Handpicked For You makes BPL’s collection more accessible in a few ways:

• Customers who cannot readily visit the library can select a bundle of titles for a friend or family member to pick up on their behalf.
• Staff can help customers find immediately available hidden gems and discover new authors so they don’t have to wait for our most popular items.
• Customers looking for support on niche topics like welcoming a new sibling or managing incontinence can get discreet help to find useful resources

Of course, the library will continue to welcome people to visit in person and browse! With both options you can enjoy standing in a field full of wildflowers AND receive an artfully curated bouquet.

This service is only available to Burlington Public Library members. Fill out the Handpicked For You form at

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