Members of Council have found a way to stiff people who want to address them

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We wrote last week asking where have all the good delegators gone – those men and women who pay attention to what is taking place at city council and then make the time to put their thoughts and observations on paper and speak to Council.

We wondered aloud if the issue was the limitations put in place by Covid19 or was there something else?

The something else is a change in the way the Clerk’s office handles requests for delegations.

You have to let the Clerk know that you wish to delegate – which isn’t unreasonable; the Clerk has to know how many delegations there are going to be in order to get a sense as to just how long a meeting might last.

What is new is the requirement that a delegate submit a copy of the delegation before they are told they can actually delegate.

The Chair of the meeting explains that this is done so that members of Council can think about what they are going to hear and be able to ask questions of the delegation.

On those occasions when there are no questions from council, the Chair of the meeting will tell the delegate that there point was so clear there was no reason for any questions.

Jim Young standing

Jim Young

That is so slick as to be just a little sickening.

It is the open sharing of ideas and the willingness to not only listen but to hear what is being said that keep a society stable.

Jim Young, a frequent delegator in the past,  put it so well when he told council during a delegation: “the power they have was given to them by the electorate “in trust” and that they were expected to use the power they were given wisely.”

Council seems to have tired of listening to the people that elected them.

Related article.
When was the last time …

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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Moving Beyond “Business as Usual” With Sustainability as the Driving Force

opiniongreen 100x100By Nicole Ramberg

November 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the word “sustainability” is mentioned, what comes to mind? Maybe the battle that is climate change, or on a smaller scale, deciding to bring coffee to work in a reusable mug instead of buying one on the way. A connection that may not be as quickly drawn is how sustainability relates to business operations. This may be attributed to the fact that incorporating sustainability principles into business processes can be difficult and confusing for many reasons. A local organization, Sustainable Hamilton Burlington, recently launched their new Sustainability Leadership Program that helps businesses navigate the process, providing a clear path forward.

sustainabilityThe journey to becoming a more sustainable business is usually not an easy one. There are various challenges that can present themselves along the way, hindering or even halting the process. For businesses either thinking about, or just starting on their path to more sustainable practices, the process can seem daunting:

• Sustainability focuses on the triple bottom line, including economic, social and environmental sustainability – where do you even begin?
• How do you determine your performance indicators, and measure changes to identify when improvements occur?
• When you decide to take action, how can you ensure your actions are credible, and gain recognition for your efforts from your stakeholders and the public?

These challenges can be especially hard for smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). “It really comes down to resources. SMEs often lack the human, technological, and financial resources to implement sustainable change, and quickly. It’s also higher risk because there needs to be obvious returns on their investments – financially and otherwise – to warrant these changes being made,” says Jordyn Divok, Program Manager. “Another challenge is recognizing these successes in a credible way, which is achieved through third-party recognition.”

With these challenges to becoming a sustainable business, it’s important to seek guidance, support and resources to help you on this journey. Sustainable Hamilton Burlington (SHB) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to inspiring sustainability leadership in business organizations for healthier environments and thriving communities. From retail to energy providers, from architectural firms to local airports – sustainability can be built into any business. Business Sustainability 101 is a course offered by SHB to introduce businesses to the vast benefits of sustainability, including increased profits, efficient operations and employee satisfaction – to name a few. This starting point allows for any business to better understand the potential that sustainability has to offer for their triple-bottom line.

When the organization is ready to take the first step on its sustainability journey, the Sustainability Leadership Program guides businesses towards becoming truly sustainable. The membership-based program helps businesses to identify and overcome challenges along the path to becoming a more sustainable operation, building brand recognition and business resiliency in doing so. The program consists of a sequential four-step approach, each of which accomplishes new objectives that help organizations address different aspects of sustainability, while developing the systems and support needed to drive these changes forward.

Outcomes from the steps involve learning about how to calculate the organization’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, expanding the understanding of sustainability to include social and economic pillars, the use of globally recognized standards in sustainability reporting, and ultimately embedding sustainability into policies and work culture as a core value.

Sustainable Hamilton Burlington publishes an Annual Impact Report to highlight the impacts that members have made over the past calendar year. Conservation Halton recently won the Social Initiative Award 2019 presented by SHB for their initiative which positively impacted the Burlington community. Ash trees on Conservation Halton’s properties were removed. Rather than disposing of the wood, they decided to partner with Notre Dame High School to donate the lumber. The wood shop students used the material to create items like live-edge wood tables, in turn auctioning them off to fund raise for their school programs and activities. By incorporating a social sustainability guideline into their organization, and developing initiatives like this one, Conservation Halton was able to increase their brand value and recognition within the communities they serve.

Though this year has been a roller-coaster to say the least, excellent examples of sustainability in business have emerged, which have helped businesses become resilient and able to adapt in a changing economy. With sustainability as the guiding force, the future of business is about more than just the money they make; it’s about the impact they can leave behind.

Nicole RambergNicole Ramberg is a graduate of McMaster University where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences.  She is currently a student at Fleming College in Lindsay ON, where she is studying Ecosystem Management Technology.

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When was the last time you heard a good delegation?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Where have all the good ones gone?

Where are the dozen or so people who could be relied upon to delegate responsibly, to keep the members of Council on their toes?

Where is Gary Scobie, where is Tom Muir, where is Greg Woodruff, Blair Smith, Jim Young, Roland Tanner and Hunter Lawson?

Jim Young 2

Jim Young

Roland Tanner

Roland Tanner

Scobie 3

Gary Scobie

Hunter Lawson

Lawson Hunter

Dee Dee Davies  always spoke in a measured deliberate tone abd had that ability to pause when she felt she wasn’t being listened to.

These are the people who did their homework and had the courage of their convictions to stand before council and speak on behalf of their communities.

Some say that people are going through burn-out.

Some say that the people who were always available to speak no longer believe that they were heard, worse they don’t believe they are being heard now.

Is the awkwardness of delegating under the conditions that the pandemic imposes what is keeping them away from Cit Hall?

Do delegators find they don’t feel there is any real connection with the members of council when they are speaking ?

Council chamber - new look

There is more than enough room for the members of Council to attend in person. Staff would have to take part virtually.

Could this council find a way to have at least some of the Councillors in the Council Chamber? There is more than enough room in the Chamber for at least half of the Council members be in place with the delegator at the podium.

The Halton District School Board has 4 trustees in the room.

What we aren’t seeing is any effort to make the process of citizens speaking to the elected

When a delegator has finished there is, frequently, all too frequently, a statement read by the Chair that there were no questions because the delegator made their point very clear.

Balderdash – the Chair just blew the delegator off.

What City Council is doing now is not healthy for the democracy we are all so proud of – it actually stinks.

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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When is an apology appropriate? When do they become almost trite? What about those that are not followed up on? Ask the Aboriginal community

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

It’s Justin’s own fault. Unlike some other world leaders, notably GW Bush, Mr. Trudeau’s name became synonymous with ‘I’m sorry’.

Another day, another mea culpa. Residential schools, LGBT discrimination, turning away refugees – those were the easy ones. Somebody else was responsible for those mistakes. Justin even apologized for the Pope not apologizing over the role Catholics played in the residential school disgrace.

Jstin in black face

Was this the object of the first apology or was that the trip to India?

And then there were the occasions he goofed up: that vacation with the Aga Khan, brown-face gate, and the WE fiasco. And some would say he should have even apologized for his choice of costume while visiting India. But he balked when Jody Wilson-Rayboult (JWR) demanded he apologize for clarifying her place in the political pecking order. Instead he got rid of her and also her mutinous buddy Jane Philpott, who wanted him to apologize for not apologizing to JWR.

So Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has asked Justin to also apologize for the War Measures Act, which his father reluctantly imposed to rout and eliminate Canada’s homegrown terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ). Well heck, Brian Mulroney had apologized for correcting an earlier War Measures action, the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII. In fact, he paid out $21,000 per internee and re-instated the citizenship of those deported.

Perhaps Blanchet is also looking for compensation for the 500 or so FLQ suspects who were later released without charge – or those who weren’t? Who knows? So even the opposition Conservatives are not giving him any encouragement.

Blanchet was five years old at the time the War Measures Act (WMA) was imposed for the very first time in peacetime, and for the last time before it was re-labelled the Emergencies Act. So perhaps he doesn’t clearly remember all the events of that period.

There was this reign of terror going back to 1963. The FLQ blew up mail boxes and buildings, attacked military bases to steal weapons, attempted to sabotage a train carrying former PM John Diefenbaker and robbed banks to finance themselves. There was Soviet KGB involvement, and FLQ operatives had been trained in military camps by the Palestinian PLO and other organizations deemed terrorist back then.

War Measures Troops on streets

Troops were on the streets in Montreal with close to 500 arrested without a warrant. The tension was very high in the province of Quebec

By 1970 the FLQ had 7 deaths on their hands including a Minister in the government of Robert Bourassa. Before they were eliminated they had rung up an impressive list of violent acts, (see link below). In all there were more than 200 bombings and dozens of robberies by this dis-aggregated, but well organized and highly motivated, group with a single goal in mind.

Pierre Trudeau only reluctantly imposed the War Measures Act, and only after Quebec’s premier and the mayor of Montreal had formally requested that the federal government to do so. Trudeau then took the decision to Parliament where it received near unanimous approval, including support from the major opposition party leaders.

Almost all Canadians supported the action which wiped out the FLQ, including 86% of Quebecers. The measures abrogated Canada’s Bill of Rights and included unwarranted search and arrests. But it was effective and ended only a few months later, in early 1971. And there were no documented casualties as a result of the Canadian military and police actions.

But most important, the FLQ and its reign of terror had been completely eliminated. So which Quebecers in Mr. Blanchet’s mind should Mr. Trudeau be apologizing to? Though perhaps someone needs to apologize to those who became victims of the FLQ’s reign of terror.

Background links:

Trudeau’s Mea Culpas      Blanchet’s Request –      FLQ Timeline – 

History of War Measures Act –    Opinion in Retrospect –     Read My Book

No Need to Apologize

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

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Will Halton be moved back to Stage 2 this week?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is it time for a painful reality check?

Are we paying attention to the COVID-19 numbers?

1042 new cases identified in Ontario – highest number ever and the colder weather that will keep us inside more often has yet to really start.

Region graph Oct 25

We are in the beginning of a second wave – it was expected. How long will it last?

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna penned a letter to the Chief Medical Officer for the province urging him not to put Halton back into Stage 2. York, Peel and Toronto were moved into Stage 2 earlier in the month when their numbers kept climbing.

With Peel in Stage 2 there are reports of people from those communities driving into Halton for dinner at our local restaurants.

A tough question: Are restaurants essential?

More than 15 schools in Halton have reported infections – not huge numbers but infections nevertheless.

A Burlington MacDonald’s reported an infection; a very popular Oakville supermarket reported an infection.

Is it time to think in terms of mothballing the hospitality sector?

These are tough decisions that have to be made.

McKenna has asked the Provincial Medical Officer to hold off – isn’t that a decision that is made by the Halton Medical Officer of Health?  In her letter McKenna said: “In June, when we began to emerge from the lockdown, the advice given by our medical experts was to wait two weeks (the incubation period), before lifting any restrictions. When taken together with our decreasing case counts, there is no evidence to suggest that moving Halton to a modified Phase 2 will have any meaningful impact on reducing case counts. One thing that is certain, is that many people and businesses can not financially withstand another shutdown.”

Noteworthy is the fact that neither Oakville Mayor Rob Burton nor Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette signed the letter – perhaps they were unavailable?

Burlington is spending very large sums of money to protect the people who work at city hall. The majority are still working from their homes and for the most part doing a good job.

The economy is vitally important – is a healthy population not just as important?

Do we really have to get out for a beer and mix with people? Can we not buckle down, find within us the personal discipline and do what is in our best interests and see ourselves through what is a crisis that has the potential to rip us apart as a society?

What will we do if a third of the schools are shut down for a couple of weeks at a time? What happens when the number of classroom teachers who become infected are in the hundreds?

Is this being alarmist?

That 1042 number of infections reported on Sunday by the province was a fact.

The Premier will be sweating this one out when it is the public that needs to do the sweating. The people from Toronto and Mississauga who travel to Burlington and Oakville for an evening out have to learn to stay within their own communities and spend time with the people who are in their immediate circle.

This virus may be very hard to beat and we may have to wait until there is a vaccine – but in the meantime we can limit its growth by limiting what we do.

Do your best to not pick up the infection from someone else and do your best to not pass it along if you do get it.

In the meantime we wait for the numbers from the province Monday morning and wait to hear what the Halton Regional Medical Officer of Health has to say.

Her job just got a lot harder.

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Mayor skirts the offer of quarry land being turned into park land - no political upside in thisfor her or the ward Councillor.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has a regular television show on the Cogeco cable network.

Cogeco provides the free time as one of the conditions attached to their license.

Late in September the Mayor and Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan took part in a virtual conversation with Curt Benson, the Regional planner about the Nelson Aggregate application for new licenses to continue open pit mining for aggregate needed for the concrete used in construction for everything from high rise towers to sidewalks in the city.

MMW + Nisan + Benson on Cogeco

Mayor Meed Ward, Councillor Rory Nisan (lower right) and Regional Planner Curt Benson on the Cogeco cablecast.

There is considerable opposition to the license applications from people who live in the rural part of the city.

The process and level of public involvement is complex and involves five levels of government and agencies.

The Mayor had Benson take her through the process that would be used. It is complex and time consuming and will take at least two years before they are anywhere near a decision. A municipal election will have taken place before the issue is ready for a decision.

Burlington’s city council is one of the bodies that makes a decision but it is the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) that has the clout. If they decide the granting of licenses is not in the public interest and does not meet with the NEC mandate there will be no license.

The provincial Ministry is the body that will actually issue the license.

At this point in time the focus is ongoing through the thousands of pages of documents that were submitted with the application. It will take a couple of years for this to be completed.

Quarry time line

There are a lot of hoops for the application to get through before this gets to a decision point.

During the half hour broadcast Meed Ward and Nisan talked about community involvement, protection of the environment and the interests of the citizens – especially those who live in rural Burlington. Ward 3 covers the North West part of the city and while the population is not all that large – they certainly have clout.

Meed Ward and Nisan want to be able to say that they have done their best to save rural Burlington. They are half way through their first term of office and can be expected to shift the shape of the way they see things and move into election mode.

As elected officials they are not in place to focus on just the immediate and short term interests but the longer term interests of the city.

And that is where Meed Ward and Nisan failed miserably.

Neither made any mention of the offer to turn the mined out properties over to the city to be used as a public park.

Meed Ward did say that the area did have a park – she was referring to the Cedar Springs Golf Club – private and expensive.

Much mention was made of the community group that is opposed to future development of the open pit mines – little mention of the citizen’s group that would like to see a park created out of the land once the aggregate is mined out.

Spencer Smith Park and the Beachway are packed on the weekends when the weather is good.

The Conservation Authority is now charging a fee to enter their parks and limiting the amount of time you can spend there.

Lowville Park, a destination for large family gatherings, now meters the number of vehicles that can be in the park and limits the amount of time people can stay – which puts a real damper on family groups that often spend the best part of a day in what is a very nice park.

If there are limits now on where people can enjoy the outdoors what will Burlington do when they have added 15,000 to 20,000 people to its population by the time the quarry is ready to be closed?

The long range look is part of a city Councillor’s job – a Mayor is expected to take a long term view and to prepare the public for what is coming and to make the best of an opportunity.

The public didn’t see much of that when the Mayor dragged the Regional Planner into the fray.

Benson was pretty good at keeping his distance by being the professional he is – he was not about to be co-opted by a Mayor.

Nelson Aggregates may be talking to the wrong level of government. The Conservation Authority operates the Mt Nemo property which is a couple of football field lengths away from the quarry. They would be more suited to operating any park that might be developed in the future.

More on this in the weeks ahead.

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.

Related new stories:

Citizens organize to oppose quarry expansion

Nelson Aggregates releases plan to turn quarry into parkland

 

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Halfway through this term of office Council may want to reflect on what they have managed to get done and if this is really the job for those new to the job.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

 October 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For most of us it’s a Friday, another weekend where there are more restrictions than things to do.

But for most of the members of city council Friday matters. Marianne Meed Ward was elected Mayor, Angelo Bentivegna, Kelvin Galbraith, Rory Nisan, Lisa Kearns and Shawna Stolte were elected to council for the first time.

Full council

Paul Sharman was re-elected – he wasn’t certain that he was going to pull it off – but he did.

Mayor Meed Ward

Minutes before the Chain of Office was placed on her shoulders in December of 2018

Meed Ward has certainly made her mark during this first two years as Mayor. She has and is moving the needle.

The Gazette will report in depth on how each of the newly elected have done now that they are at the half way point and their minds get turned to re-election or deciding that being a council member isn’t everything they thought it was going to be.

It is certainly a harder job than any of the five new members thought it was going to be.

Some have grown into the job, for others it’s clear they shouldn’t be there.

There have been some surprises – the job is clearly a calling for them.

COVID-19 hasn’t helped these people adjust to the job.  There is still a little trying to figure out just what they can do and what they can’t do as members of Council when a lot of the decision making is in the hands of the City Manager and senior staff.

This Friday the five newbies deserve congratulations – they have worked hard; they have struggled and they are learning.
Mayor Meed Ward is, for the most part, doing what she said she would do. There are parts of her promise she may not be able to keep but it won’t be for lack of trying.

Like the five newbies she is adjusting to a role she has thirsted for, fought for and won.

Much to her chagrin she has found that some of her colleagues are not looking to her for the leadership she would like to provide. In the municipal world the Mayor is just one vote with a bully pulpit along with some bling.

The money is decent, more than most of the members of this council have ever earned in their lives.

The newbies have power; they can make things happen.

Power often does funny things to people; it tends to eat into whatever humility they had before they took the oath.

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

 

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The steak was great - the brownie was 'heavenly': Turtle Jack's had a full covid-level house - there was a reason for that

By Michele Bogle
October 21st, 2020
BURLINGTON, ONTARIO

Originating in Ontario in 1992, two of Turtle Jack’s franchised locations are conveniently located at either end of Burlington. One located at the Mapleview Mall at Maple Ave and Fairview St; and the other at Appleby and Ironstone giving you the convenience of not having to travel far to this popular fine-dining eatery.

Taste Oct 18 Turtle Jack'sThis may be a chain of commercial restaurants but it doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality food and flavours. The decor is trendy and lighting is low for a stylish, yet inviting setting.

Of course, everyone donned a mask, both staff and patrons – evident when entering. There are direction markers on the floor in an effort to avoid close contact while moving within the restaurant. Much of their seating are booths and cannot be moved; temporary plexiglass partitions were erected in between them. No reservation is required for small groups when contact information is typically gathered, but rather it’s collected, at the door. Standard practices seemed to be in place; the tables weren’t pre-set.

Although it was a Saturday night, there was no evidence that the Appleby location was suffering from a decline in patronage. At 6:30 Turtle Jack’s was at full capacity, adhering to the new guidelines of safely spaced seating, and a two metre spaced lineup developed at the door.

There was a family of ‘energetic’ people with resounding voices seated near to us. The General Manager asked if we were at all bothered. Another time my answer may have been different, but today I was quite happy to hear the sounds of ‘life’ in an otherwise quieted environment of late.

Even having looked ahead at the Pre-Fixe Taste of Burlington Menu for Turtle Jack’s, I was still undecided when I arrived. Their three course menu choices, exclusive to this dining event, all looked entirely too delicious to pick just one from each course offered. I really wanted to try the ‘Seafood Chowder’, therefore reluctantly eliminated the blackened bass from my entree choice. My son chose the ‘4 Cheese Cajun Chicken Penne’, so I knew that I’d get to sample a little; and happily landed on the steak.

Taste Oct 18 soup

I really wanted to try the Seafood Chowder – it did not disappoint.

The seafood chowder has a blend of flavours that hits your palate in the most delightful way. While just the right serving size as an appetizer, it left me wanting more.

Taste Oct 18 steak

Steak that passed my touch test.

My family, well aware that I avoid ordering steak anywhere because of the exhausting disappointment expressed when the temperature of my steak is wrong. I had noticed them shoot one of those glances that expressed concern over my choice. I hadn’t ordered steak in some time and after tasting the well-balanced blend of flavours in the chowder, I thought I’d give this restaurant the heavy task of impressing me.

The presentation for me, is a great part of the sensory preparation for what is about to be enjoyed. On paper, I had ordered steak and potatoes. Quite straight forward. The plating of my “Certified Angus Beef 8OZ Top Sirloin” was 5-star quality. On my plate was a pillow of fluffy mashed potatoes with just the right amount of salt added; crisp sauteed green beans and mushrooms; then in the centre a perfectly-sized steak with a medium-rare cook that I just knew by looking, as well gestured with great approval when doing the finger touch and it sprung back; adorned with evenly cut, buttermilk-dipped onion strings. It’s quite easy to destroy a steak.

My tastebuds rejoiced at the ‘sight’ of this dish. When the General Manager came around to ask how everything was, I was quite pleased to respond with, “perfect’ followed by the sounds of my family unanimously exhaling, then resuming their conversation. The seasonings worked well together. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

Taste Oct 18 pasta

Cheese Cajun Chicken Penne

The ‘4 Cheese Cajun Chicken Penne’ is always going to be a palate-pleaser if you’re a cheese lover. The combination of cheeses: Asiago, mozzarella, cheddar and feta produced a very satisfying flavour combination. What was remarkable to me was the presence of cheddar that I could taste. It usually takes a back seat to the other flavourful cheeses, but I loved it! It was made with quality Barilla pasta; complemented with a tender piece of blackened chicken.

Taste Oct 18 brownie

Heavenly brownie covered w/ a layer of caramel & chocolate caramel mousse.

We moved on to the dessert, all of us ordering the ‘Turtle Pie’. Here is the restaurant’s description: “Heavenly brownie covered w/a layer of caramel & chocolate caramel mousse. Sprinkled w/walnuts & chocolate flakes.” First of all, the plating was beautiful. This dessert isn’t at all brownie-like. What I tasted was a slice of chocolate mousse that was exquisitely silky smooth, not too sweet. The drizzle of caramel was the right amount to complement this dessert. While the sprinkling of walnut pieces was present, I was captivated by the silkiness of the mousse.

During the course of the time spent at Turtle Jack’s, we had gaps when our server wasn’t present and would have made mention while there if it wasn’t for the General Manager who filled in those moments when we were looking for service, in a timely manner. I have never dined at Turtle Jack’s before last night, but I’d return. I give the food ‘3-thumbs up’.

For more information on the Pre-Fixe menu options during this dining event that ends on October 25, 2020, please check the Taste of Burlington website for more details. https://tasteofburlington.ca/prix-fixe-program/. Remember to sign up for the Taste of Burlington Passport to make menu selections from the app, paperless. The more you check-in from the app, the more chances you have of winning the weekly gift certificate giveaway and eligible for the grand prize of a $500 gift card to a restaurant of choice. This is useful for family gatherings now that the holidays are approaching.

Turtle Jack’s
1900 Appleby Line , Burlington, L7L 6A1
289-288-0390

OR

Turtle Jack’s
900 Maple Avenue Mapleview Centre, Burlington, L7L 6A1
289-288-0484

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues. Ms Bogle has taken part in the Food Network for the second year in a row to audition for the ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ 2020 and 2021. She made it to the second stage of auditions for ‘Wall of Chefs’ 2019 and finished top 1% of auditions last year for ‘The Great Canadian Baking Show’.

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Paradiso: a Neapolitan Cuisine destination that rarely disappoints

By Michele Bogle
October 20, 2020
BURLINGTON, ONTARIO

ParadisoWithout going into an extended history lesson on Neapolitan Cuisine, suffice it to note that its cuisine took much from the culinary traditions of Naples, Italy; reaching a balance between dishes based on rural ingredients (pasta, vegetables, cheese) and seafood dishes (fish, crustaceans, mollusks). Fortunately for us this tradition was brought to our very own Village Square by the Paradiso Restaurant Group in 2003, after great success opening the first Paradiso Restaurant in Oakville, in 1993. This Mediterranean gem has impressed guests since its inception. Tripadvisor rates it #10 out of more than 300 restaurants in Burlington and snagged a #2 spot on the top 10 best Italian restaurants in Burlington, by Yelp.

Taking part in the Taste of Burlington’s Fall Dining Pre-Fixe menu, we ordered the butternut squash soup; soup-of-the-day, and the ‘Baked Brie’ as our dinner appetizers. While we waited, freshly baked fragrant bread with tomato and carrot incorporated in it, among other seasonings, was placed before us to enjoy.

parad soup

Combined with a little extra nutmeg and cumin I believe that I tasted caramelized onion in a lighter than usual base.

I’m constantly amazed at how squash soup can be modified and recreated to have the varieties of flavours that it has. This soup was again quite different in appearance. My curiosity peaked when I saw the colour cast of Paradiso’s butternut squash soup and had to taste some. Combined with a little extra nutmeg and cumin I believe that I tasted caramelized onion in a lighter than usual base. Quite delicious. I had ordered the Brie – a very generous serving of baked brie, wrapped in honey basted phyllo; paired with crostinis and a sweet tomato jam.

While there were several delectable choices, I thought that it made the most sense to try Paradiso’s signature pasta dish; Crab Ravioli. The description found online; Goat cheese stuffed ravioli, rock crab, tomatoes, chiffonade spinach, spicy basil cream sauce, says it all.

The flavours of each of these individual elements were present. I found myself scraping the bowl for final remnants of the not-too-spice cream sauce at the end.

Don’t be fooled by the portion size of the dessert offered. Flourless cakes are known for being extremely dense. This cake didn’t disappoint. The chocolate was a perfect compliment to the end of the meal. I couldn’t have eaten another bite.

Parad desert

The chocolate was a perfect compliment to the end of the meal.

The restaurant exercised the standard safety practices; face masks, table spacing, tables were not preset, sanitization station. Nothing extra to report. Our server was friendly, attentive, knowledgeable about the menu as well as the ingredients used. The music was a mixture of oldies with current hits, low enough to allow for comfortable conversation. I would dine here again.

Support your local hospitality; Paradiso does as evidenced on their social media platforms.

Paradiso Restaurant
2041 Pine Street, Burlington, L7R 2L8
905-639-1176

For more information on the Pre-Fixe menu options during this dining event that ends on October 25, 2020, please check the Taste of Burlington website for more details. https://tasteofburlington.ca/prix-fixe-program/.

Remember to sign up for the Taste of Burlington Passport to make menu selections from the app, paperless. The more you check-in from the app, the more chances you have of winning the weekly gift certificate giveaway and eligible for the grand prize of a $500 gift card to a restaurant of choice. This is useful for family gatherings now that the holidays are approaching.

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues. Ms Bogle has taken part in the Food Network for the second year in a row to audition for the ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ 2020 and 2021. She made it to the second stage of auditions for ‘Wall of Chefs’ 2019 and finished top 1% of auditions last year for ‘The Great Canadian Baking Show’.

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The politics of COVID 19: it is reshaping our political world

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

COVID 19 is helping to reshape our political world. Nowhere was that better seen than in the re-election of New Zealand’s young prime minister, who has led her country and shown the world how to deal with the coronavirus. She was rewarded by the voters with a landslide victory and a first ever parliamentary majority since New Zealand adopted proportional government back in the 1990’s.

By contrast there is the US presidential race and if Trump loses, which appears likely, it will be because of his mishandling of the pandemic. Americans are constantly reminded of the quarter million folks who have died under his watch, despite his assurances that the virus was just a flu and would be gone by last May.

NZ prime minister

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern is a very talented leader who built a coalition with the Green Party on the left and the NZ First on the right and ably governed to the respect of New Zealanders during the devastating global pandemic. But unlike Canada, New Zealand was prepared for the pandemic and it acted swiftly to contain and eliminate the virus months ago.

There have been the inevitable outbreaks since then, a consequence of allowing returning nationals into the country, but they have been contained by contact tracing and mandatory quarantine. Like Canada, New Zealand closed its borders, but it did so much earlier and avoided much of the initial spread we allowed.

Being a unitary state it was easier, no doubt, to effect a consistent national health care policy. That was also true for the early lock down rules which kept people from spreading the virus. New Zealand is an Island but the virus arrived there as it did here – by airline passengers, so that is no excuse for Canada’s much poorer performance.

NZ sports audience

New Zealanders are now able to attend sports events and concerts – the Covid19 virus

New Zealand’s success can be attributed to its viable and consistent plan which was followed and enforced until the virus was gone in addition to a compliant population who followed the rules and a strong and visionary leader, of course. Today there are only a few active cases remaining – all of which are contained and under quarantine. Meanwhile the rest of the country has gone back to normal. The shops and businesses have re-opened and even crowded sporting events are back.

Masks are no longer required, even on public transport.

The New Zealand economy has taken a hit, along with just about every nation on the planet. International tourism makes up a large portion of the country’s economy. And since the airports are mostly closed to non-citizens, domestic tourism is being promoted to help keep that business sector going.

New Zealand should be a model for how other nations deal with the epidemic and protect their populations. But it is not the only model. Uruguay, another small nation, bordered by Brazil and Argentina, both of which have significant contagions, has done remarkably well. Taiwan with a population five times that of New Zealand has suffered only 7 deaths. And both Uruguay and Taiwan have come through without a lock down so far.

And then there is China, where the virus originated, but which managed to virtually eliminate it in short order and has dealt effectively with the inevitable periodic outbreaks related to foreign travel. But unlike most other nations China’s economy is showing a marked rebound and life is mostly going back to normal.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

Day after day Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario goes before the TV cameras to explain the most recent decision on combating Covid19

So what about Canada? Canada’s focus has always been on ‘Flattening’ rather than ‘Eliminating’ the curve. So when the provincial lock downs had been successful in flattening the infection curve we got carried away with our success, declaring victory and opening up the economy so people could mingle and spread the disease again. We did ask people to wear masks and distance, but the messages were mixed and the test/tracing practices unsuccessful. As sure as night follows day the contagion got a second wind.

Bringing the infection rate down will be much harder this time. Schools are open, cold weather has pushed people inside where the virus is where it wants to be, and we’re COVID fatigued, tired of it all. We’re sick and tired of the restrictions, and the steady stream of bad statistics, and the daily media briefings, and the mixed messages from our politicians, and the economic malaise, and the ever-rising debt we’ll have to reconcile one day.

So perhaps next time our leaders will take a lesson from nations, like new Zealand, which have been successful in overcoming this contagion the first time. And if they do perhaps political rewards, like one kind Jacinda Ardern has just been given, will be in their future as well.

Background links:

Jacinda –   New Zealand Gets IT–    China Gets It

Rivers in maskRay Rivers, born in Ontario earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community,

 

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Barra Fion’s: Spanish inspired tapas restaurant, part of the Taste of Burlington

Michele Bogle
October 15, 2020
BURLINGTON, ONTARIO

Barra Fion’s Pre-Fixe Taste of Burlington menu boasts seven appetizers and five delicious-sounding entrees to choose from. With such a fantastic selection, it took us longer than anticipated to decide.

This Spanish inspired tapas restaurant was well spaced with plexi-glass shields in between the tables set in the middle of the room to allow for additional and safer seating. The best part was the non-contact facial recognition temperature scanning at the entrance. Our servers were patient, knowledgeable about the menu, and engaging. The restaurant was clean and guests wore masks while moving within the restaurant. As a reminder; using the Taste of Burlington Passport App also allows you to read menus digitally to avoid paper contact.

fioni crab cakes

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

For starters we tried the ‘Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes’. Two, only, may not sound like a generous portion but they were considerably large, hearty, flavourful and the aioli sauce was addictive, as well a perfect compliment to the dish.

Fioni shrimp

Blackened Shrimp and Farro Mediterranean Salad

We had also ordered the ‘Blackened Shrimp and Farro Mediterranean Salad.

This dish overloaded my senses. A culinary delight which was visually intriguing with all of its elements. Each ingredient with a specific purpose; a little crunch, a little spice and a little zing. I highly recommend this item on the menu.

fioni stew

Spanish Inspired Seafood Stew

Delightfully perplexed by my choice for the next course, we happily landed on ‘Spanish Inspired Seafood Stew’ as our entree. Don’t let the uninspired name fool you. This dish was a whole new eating adventure with its individual elements. The perfectly spiced blackened tilapia needed to be experienced first before dropping into the delicious seafood broth below; held up by a generous number of mussels and surrounded by a medley of stewed vegetables and herbs. Within the broth were found large gorgeous shrimp and an almost serrated roll of calamari. In my mind the garlic bread was provided to enjoy the delicious broth with. I was still echoing an “mmm, mmm, mmm” as I placed my empty bowl to the side.

dessert pumpkin

Pumpkin Spiced Mini Churros

For dessert, my daughter and I chose the ‘Pumpkin Spiced Mini Churros’ with caramel sauce. I think that the chef forgot that they were supposed to be minis. Shhh, it’ll be our little secret. Adding a touch of pumpkin spice to an already perfect dessert is ‘brilliant’.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Barra Fion and would recommend that if you haven’t yet experienced their food, that the pre-fixe menu offered during the Taste of Burlington Dining Event is a perfect time to try different items on their menu at an excellent price.

Please note that this event runs only until October 25. You won’t want to miss it. Some restaurants are giving out additional offers. The more you use the Passport App to check-in when you dine at one of the participating restaurants, the more chance you have of winning the weekly gift-card giveaway and the grand prize of a $500 gift card to a restaurant of choice.

Barra Fion is located at;

1505 Guelph Line, Unit 10A
Burlington, ON L7P 3B6
905-319-3466
Open 7 days a week, 12-9pm

 

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues. Ms Bogle has taken part in the Food Network for the second year in a row to audition for the ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ 2020 and 2021. She made it to the second stage of auditions for ‘Wall of Chefs’ 2019 and finished top 1% of auditions last year for ‘The Great Canadian Baking Show’.

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Citizen suggests a pause on adding people to Advisory Committees

opinionred 100x100By Lawson Hunter

October 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As Council knows, public engagement is near and dear to my heart. I’ve spoken about community education, a wider approach to give citizens the opportunity to comment on policies and plans, and I’ve proposed various methods of having community voices heard – in particular – citizens’ assemblies.

I respectfully ask that Councillors search out information on how Citizens’ Assemblies work and how they are successfully being used around the world.

Fortunately, I have the time to attend Standing Committee and Council meetings being held during the day. Many in our community cannot afford to take time off to participate.

I attended one of the Citizen Action Labs, have spoken to several ex-members of Citizen Advisory Committees, attended a few of those committee meetings as a silent observer, and read the various documents, staff reports, committee minutes and the recommendations from the Citizens Advisory Committee Review Team. As you know, I go in for the deep dive.

As public engagement goes, I look at what the City has done with regard to the Adopted Official Plan and the ‘Take a Closer Look Downtown’ initiative as the gold standard. Dozens of opportunities, countless interactions, volumes of documents to pour over, many, many Get Involved messages, even walking tours and town halls.

Compare that to the City’s outreach for the Advisory Committee Review. Three Action Labs, an online survey and a questionnaire at an outdoor market. All done over a year ago. Yes, there was a citizens Review Team that, I presume, worked diligently to interpret the responses heard. But there was no opportunity to respond to the document that they produced.

Basically, a year has passed and silence. If nothing screams Public Engagement – in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS – it’s the Advisory Committee structure. Something that the public has been complaining about for over 20 years.

Then, on Sept. 17th up pops a staff report with a phased in approach and a request from the Corporate Services CSSRAC committee to start recruiting Advisory Committee members.

Which to my mind, means that we’ve gone back to the status quo while the Clerk’s office works out the details.

So here’s my request. Hit the pause button for a few more months. We’ve all been distracted by COVID. Parents are struggling how to send their kids to school and keep their families safe. Operations at City Hall has morphed into a giant Zoom call. Council is about to be swallowed up with the City’s 2021 Budget. Business owners are fighting to keep their doors open. And more and more people have lost their jobs, and are lining up at Food Banks and COVID testing sites.

Is this the time to start recruiting for Advisory Committees? We’ve gone seven months without them. What harm would another few months do?

Hit the pause button and give this staff report, and some details, to those people who spent their time attending the Action Labs, who bothered to fill out the surveys, who sit or have sat on previous Advisory committees, the Engagement Charter and Shape Burlington.

Give us a chance to review what’s being proposed. One last chance to make a suggestion or comment. A bit more time to decide whether or not we want to sign up for a committee, or decide to let others take over.

That would be Public Engagement, the kind that we deserve here in Burlington.

 

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Delegating at City Hall is not what it used to.

background graphic redBy Staff

October 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the days before Covid, a delegation would be sitting in the Council Chamber, often amongst their peers.

You would be called up when it was your turn and you would address the members of council. On many occasions there would be questions from the members of Council which at times got quite frothy.

Scobie 3

Gary Scobie delegating. The public doesn’t get this kind of performance anymore – and we are the poorer for it.

I recall an occasion when Gary Scobie was delegating – and when it came to questions he was able to give as good as he got. That was during the days of the 2014-2018 council

A regular Gazette reader wanted to delegate on an issue that concerned him.

The Agenda for the meeting (and accompanying application form to delegate) was not online until Thursday afternoon. Our reader was busy until 7pm.

He filled out application form at 7am on Friday (to meet the deadline of noon the next day – weekends don’t count – for Monday’s Council meeting)

Friday morning – he was busy on a community matter.

Friday 4pm – open emails to find a note from Clerk’s department which read:

“I have received your request to delegate at City Council on September 28, 2020. Due to COVID-19, all requests to delegate must contain a copy of the delegate’s intended remarks which will be circulated to all Members of Council/Standing Committee in advance of the meeting as a back-up to any technology issues that may occur.

“Once I receive your delegation comments I will confirm your delegation.”

This was new to our reader.

Capture1

The first of four images sent by the city to the delegator.

He is a quick writer but commented that there was no way he could prepare anything reasonable in 30 minutes. So I wrote something, anything, over the weekend and sent it in.

As a back-up he emailed his Councillor ask him to intervene just in case there was a hiccup – there wasn’t.

Sunday 7:20PM Clerks office emails, got your remarks, you’re good to go.

Monday 1pm – into the Delegates Room. Was asked in the instructions sent to me to “open my video (thought about it but decided not to).

Capture2

The second of four images sent to the delegator

When it came to my turn to delegate and I was facing a screen with 15 little people staring back at me (council and staff). Just as well I didn’t open my video, I spent the whole time looking down to read.

Seeing the Councillors is also a new feature. Last time (one month ago) my screen displayed what you see at home “Delegate Speaking”. So when I did look up, it was a bit unnerving, and everyone’s face was too small to read reactions.

The “rooms” we are placed in are all virtual.

There was a virtual Room shared by the people getting ready to delegate and then a separate virtual room for people who were about to actually delegate.

Capture3

The third image sent to the delegator

Everything I did was from the comfort of my home in Aldershot.

I was first in what was referred to as the delegate room where I could look at a screen and see who the other people waiting to delegate were.

When it was my turn I was moved (again virtually) to were it was me and the members of Council along with whichever Staff members were taking part.

All I could see where the 20 or so people taking part – all set out before me on a computer screen.

When a particular person was speaking a yellow box was placed around their picture so I didn’t have to look all over the place for the speaker.

Capture4

The fourth image sent to the delegator.

Was it a satisfying experience? It certainly wasn’t the kind of experience that one had when they stood at the podium before council.

The request to send in the paper I was going to read from was offensive – the Council members were not going to reads my document; many of them have problems getting through the staff reports.

Is this the best the city can do in terms of giving the citizens a way to say their piece?

Could the technology not allow for something better.

To the person at home watching the event – there is something unreal; almost plastic. The public never gets to see the person delegating – which is possible with the technology being used. The city has chosen not to do that.

It is also possible to see the embers of Council when they are speaking. The image is not always that good – but at least it is an image.

Regional Council shows everyone taking part in a meeting.

It seems to be the best that can be done at this point.

The tradition of citizens delegating will be lost if the current Zoom process is all that is going to be available.

People don’t like the current process and are not comfortable with it.

We consistently get comments from readers saying they do not feel respected by members of Council. This was certainly the case with the 2014-18 council. Does it apply to the current council? Too early to make that call – but we are seeing dis-satisfaction galore with the on-line learning students who went the virtual route are getting and have every reason to believe that the same concern exists with the Council delegations.

We will look for some time to see what other municipal council’s are doing and report back.

A member of this council is going to have to take a stand and insist that something better be put in place.

Right now this council is fixated on telling each other how well everything is going.

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Citizen group disagrees with Council decision.

October 4th, 2020
Last week Council endorsed the recommendations from the Planning department on the Scoped Review of the Downtown Core portion of the adopted but not approved Official Plan.
The endorsement goes to Council this week and, if approved, will be come part of the Official Plan that is currently in the process of being revised. It will be sent to the Regional government where it has to be approved.
Citizens created an organization they called We Love Burlington, (WLB).  That group released the following statement related to an article the Gazette wrote on the decision of Council to endorse what the planners had brought forward.
The WLB statement should be part of the public record.
  Taking a closer look graphic
Last December and January, WLB delegated before City Council opposing the direction proposed in the returned Official Plan for downtown development and the public waterfront. We were joined in our opposition by our colleague, Gary Scobie, long time civic activist and critic. Today we post a submission by two members of WLB and Gary on the virtually unchanged but ‘final’ direction for downtown and the waterfront. We continue to advocate for local voice and respectfully request that it be heard. If you agree, contact your Councillor and make your voice count. We strongly suggest looking carefully at the morass of documents and not simply the consultant’s Guidelines nor the summaries provided by the City or council members.
September 21, 2020
The following is the joint submission of Lynn Crosby and Blair Smith, two founding members of WeLoveBurlington, and Gary Scobie, long-time civic activist and advocate. We share a common passion for the City of Burlington and a common purpose in protecting its downtown and waterfront from inappropriate development and excessive intensification. We also have a compelling interest in preserving the integrity of local government – that level of governance closest to the citizen and most sensitive to local needs and voice. Indeed, WLB actually was created by the need to counter the provincial direction for amalgamation at the regional government level. The campaign, waged in concert by a number of ad hoc organizations, was ultimately successful and the threat of amalgamation in Halton removed.
Ironically, the government that WLB fought to preserve because of its perceived sympathy to the people’s will, then turned a virtual deaf ear to many of those citizens when it developed its revised plans for Burlington’s downtown. It would appear that proximity to the people is no guarantee of either the ability to hear their voice or follow their wishes.
On December 5th, 2019 and January 12th, 2020, we delegated before Council. On those occasions we questioned the timing and basic process of the course that brought forward the 243-page Integrated Control By-Law Land Use report and the highly interdependent 319-page Preliminary Preferred Concept Report. We challenged the timing, the conclusions and the basic sequencing of events. At that time, we urged Council to address the relocation of the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and the mis-designation of the John Street bus station and the downtown as a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA). We argued that these actions must be a priority before any acceptable redesign of the downtown was possible. We asked for ‘no more tall buildings’. And we were not heard. Indeed, with our final delegations there was not one question posed. We raised inconvenient truths and there was no will to exchange ideas, no appetite to debate. We were politely but conclusively dismissed. We determined at that time that further delegation was pointless and the course for downtown irrevocably charted.
Today, however, we are making another statement in response to the latest documents, the Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines and the Downtown Burlington Fiscal Impact Analysis and the latest, and apparently final, version of Report PL-16-20, Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown Recommended Modifications to the OP. We do this to bring orderly closure to our advocacy and, once again, echo the voice of Burlington citizens who deserve to be but have not been heard. Sadly, the situation remains almost exactly the same as it was nine months ago – all this time spent tinkering with the documents, but not substantially changing the position or the “vision.”
On page 8 of the Guidelines, for example, the two designations that enable both the Province and the development community to force high intensity massing of people and/or jobs in Burlington’s downtown remain unchanged and in force. We refer, of course, to the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA). COB recently announced that Council voted unanimously on August 24, 2020 to request removal of these designations, yet they remain the key component of the downtown OP, the Guidelines, all Schedules and the Fiscal Impact Analysis. Coupled with this is the fact that LPAT, the ‘new’ dispute forum, is a high-rise developer’s dream tribunal where height and massing in designated growth areas are not just supported but are actively encouraged.
The Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designation was first applied to our Downtown through the Places to Grow provincial legislation in 2005 and ratified by Burlington Council in fall 2006, just weeks before the City Election. It demanded a minimum 200 people/jobs per hectare over the area bounded by the Growth Centre and remains in place today.
The Major Transit Station Area designation arrived much later in the second decade of this century through the provincial agency, Metrolinx, based on the unsubstantiated claim that our Downtown Bus Terminal qualified as a Mobility Hub. The MTSA covers roughly the same area as the UGC and requires the same intensification minimums. Both designations support high intensity massing of people/jobs (and buildings) in the Downtown area and reinforce each other as provincial intensification tools. Moreover, both designations share three critical aspects detrimental to the popular “vision” of what constitutes “good planning” for Burlington’s downtown:

The intensification applies over an area, not a building.

There is no maximum stated. Only a minimum is demanded, and municipalities are “encouraged” to go above the minimum.

There is no mention in the legislation of maximum building height – the sky is quite literally the limit.

So, the two most damaging factors remain unchanged and will be ‘in force’ and operative for the foreseeable future – at minimum, until the Regional Official Plan is revised and approved. This factor alone undermines the comforting assurances and lofty principles of the Guidelines. Indeed, the latter are almost a misdirection, intended to appease a skeptical and fatigued citizenry; false guarantees that intensification can be controlled and made amenable to the public will. But, as Guidelines, they exist simply to articulate what “should be” not what “must be” and they can be contravened by any number of higher policies and direction statements. For example, the “Core Commitment: Downtown Vision and Action Plan” (as amended) goes beyond and takes precedence over the “Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines”.
In essence, the Guidelines are unenforceable, part of an array of reports and documentation that requires a very informed and patient reader to do all the necessary cross-referencing to determine the complete context. As with the past process of last December and January, the documents are too numerous, too dense, too intricate and too complex. They are not intended to easily inform.
Truly, the devil can be in the details. There are instances in which the Guidelines don’t match or conform to the main OP report. One of the best examples is Village Square. The Guidelines talk about 4 storeys “abutting Martha Street” but Village Square, as popularly known, does not extend to Martha Street.
The Guidelines state:
“1. The maximum height of developments abutting Martha Street shall be 4 storeys and/or shall provide a built form transition to Martha Street and north of Pine Street to maintain the existing low-rise character.”
2. Retail frontages should be designed to complement and reinforce the unique human scaled and historic character of the Village Square Precinct.
3. Retail provided at-grade along Pine Street will act as a transaction to the Village Square development and emphasize an intimate relationship with the public realm by providing a minimum setback of 4 metres from the curb.
4. Development should maintain and enhance views of the Village Square.”
The language is intended to give the impression that the low-rise nature of the area is being protected and preserved. However, when the map (notably, only included in the revised schedules and omitted from the Guidelines) is referenced, it is clear that the north portion of Village Square allows 11 storeys. Moreover, both the Report and the Guidelines are silent on the treatment of the Square’s interior. At best this is misleading; at worst, a deliberate omission. And this is characteristic of the Guidelines as a whole. They contain a treasure trove of vague, ambiguous, qualitative language that provides a sense of affirmation but does not allow for measurement or objective validation.
The Guidelines perpetuate a number of known problems and deficiencies already cited with the planning process and the downtown modifications made to the Official Plan. Most glaring, perhaps, is the fact that the Old Lakeshore Road precinct continues to be ignored. Why is this most critical of precincts, the gateway to the downtown, continually out of scope?
Why are the serious issues, constraints and challenges posed not openly addressed? Why reference it as one of the 10 precincts and note that the downtown is “on a beautiful waterfront setting”, then completely ignore what is required to protect the waterfront, enhance its accessibility to the public and maintain the existing views? Indeed, Burlington has had a very uneven record over the last 20 years in terms of preserving and protecting the natural asset of the waterfront. It sold valuable waterfront property to private owners, failed to extend the waterfront trail and allowed development interests to prevail over those of public access. These Guidelines and this Official Plan do little to reverse the mistakes of the past. World class cities provide strict and enforceable measures to ensure that their waterfronts are valued as irreplaceable jewels and true public assets. Burlington, by contrast, posits a “feel good” set of principles (pp 44/45) factored around the discretionary preservation of “views” and “access”.
The same principles with the same poor expectation of effective implementation are used to preserve sight lines to landmark buildings such as City Hall, Knox Presbyterian Church and Village Square. One can reasonably argue that the view of City Hall will be obstructed by the Twin Towers approved for the northeast and southeast corners of Brant and James. Knox is located in the Downtown East Precinct that allows tall buildings and is vulnerable to demolition. Village Square presents a series of already identified issues. In fact, we take serious issue with the whole Downtown East Precinct in which the “precedent” of existing tall buildings is used to justify an ongoing ‘tall building’ development pattern. Why is the “precedent” not anchored in the many one or two storey houses in the area? How does the allowance for 17 storeys on Elizabeth Street and 17 at the Lions Club Park conform to the existing adjacent neighbourhoods? How does it conform to that which the people have been asking and how is it feasible that that small area around tiny Martha Street and Lakeshore/James could possibly accommodate this many tall buildings and additional congestion? Where is the requirement that Carriage Gate finally, after more than a decade, build their promised parking garage and medical centre at the site of their 17-storey condo building atop a three storey “podium” (the much-touted retail portion on ground level still completely vacant) located in the East Precinct? Why is the consultant/staff recommending 22 storeys at the Carriage Gate property at Pearl and Lakeshore, beside the uniformly unwanted ADI property next door?
There is almost a complete lack of green space and amenities. The map in Schedule 3, Appendix D shows three green circles denoting “public parks” (viz. Ghent/Brant, No Frills parking lot and Martha near New Street). They are small, located in insignificant areas and appear as afterthoughts – not integral components of the plan. The City claims to want to create complete communities with all of the amenities, but this worthy goal appears to have been abandoned in the downtown. Indeed, there is no section in the Guidelines dealing with green spaces and parks. Instead of needed amenities, community hubs and actual parkland, we are presented with the concept of POPS (Privately Owned Publicly Accessible Spaces) as leisure and recreational areas for the thousands of people who will populate the new buildings. The POPS were featured in the Fall 2019/Winter 2020 presentations of the preferred concepts for downtown. They were not critically acclaimed then and deserve no better treatment now. In fact, little has changed with either the concepts or the consultant’s treatment of the design for downtown. So, for example, where is the recognition that the pandemic has dramatically changed our reality? In the Fiscal Impact Analysis:
Table 3-1 summarizes the residential growth projections for Downtown Burlington to 2031. It is anticipated that the within Downtown Burlington, the City’s population will grow by 2,787 population over the 2020-2031 forecast period. The population growth will be facilitated by the development of 1,720 additional high-density residential dwelling units. Consistent with the assumptions of the 2016 FIS, it is assumed that 75% of high-density residential development will be in the form of condominium development, with the remaining 25% comprising apartment developments.”
Remarkably, there is no updated view of the changes that COVID has made to our lives and the nature of our future living. Today, and for the foreseeable future, there is far less desire for condominium living and cloistered spaces. People want to distance and separate, want more open spaces and houses with traditional features and backyards. Accordingly, there should be fewer allowances for tall buildings and much better-defined planning for open spaces. Why is the consultant’s vision unchanged?
This speaks to our final major issue – the implicit cynicism of the consultation process and the lack of meaningful public engagement. Much has been made by the City and Council in ward newsletters and social media posts of the extensive outreach that has been undertaken. Citizens have been thanked for their time and effort reviewing an endless array of documents, helping to make the Official Plan and its policies a better, more inclusive work. However, nothing has materially changed. The preferred concepts, the vision and principles, the Official Plan itself with its myriad ancillary reports and the strategic documents ‘ad infinitum’ have not been varied or amended. The direction has not been moderated by either public comment and feedback or influenced by a differing public perception. The development scenario was essentially set during last Summer and Fall, when SGL Consulting was engaged under a directed tender to validate staff-defined outcomes. The necessary substantiating reports and studies were then concluded with predictable findings and the path forward unaltered from that framed and established at the very beginning.
Neither Council nor Planning staff should believe that a lack of new comments opposing much of these final documents means that the public now finds them acceptable. In the midst of a pandemic and at the end of a very long, quite protracted and overly tiresome process with too many documents, too many cross-references and too many versions, people are fatigued with the need for repetition; for saying repeatedly what they want and never being heard. We know that the council members are there to speak up on our behalf, convey our long-standing and unchanged positions, and to direct staff as they see fit. This is what the public expects and is counting on.
In summary, we’ve been here before – several times actually and nothing substantive has changed. It’s not that we expect that Council is under any obligation to passively comply simply because we attended and delegated. However, we did expect to be respected and to be heard. We represent a popular voice to which you have turned a deaf ear; worse, to which you have claimed an avid attention, then done nothing. We respectfully request that you provide for substantive amendments to the Official Plan, addressing the deficiencies noted in this submission and reflecting what the people of Burlington want for their downtown.
We understand that Council has worked with staff on modifications to produce a revised Official Plan for endorsement but we believe that it is seriously flawed. It leaves the waterfront vulnerable to development and permits a downtown in which tall buildings will dominate, with no real green space or public amenities. As we have said from the beginning, there is only one waterfront and one downtown – once gone there will be no bringing anything back and we urge the current Council, elected with such high popular expectation two years ago, to do everything needed to clearly ensure their permanent protection. Your legacy depends on it.

 

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Premier Doug Ford: A Man Without a Plan

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Haven’t we seen this movie before? The eagerness to open up the economy before the virus was properly contained has returned us to where we were back half a year ago. In fact worse. We have already exceeded the record of infections we saw last spring. Does that mean the long months of lock down were all in vain?

Who is running this ship anyway ? Dare I say… this was, of course, entirely predictable. And now we’re expected to top 1000 cases in a of couple weeks. But we really have no idea, since the virus is exponential and there are lags between exposure and symptoms… and well… who knows?

body bag +

Infections have reached 1000 a day in Quebec. Deaths have also increased.

Quebec has already beat us to the 1000 cases a day, by the way. Yet it was barely three months ago that Premier Legault was so convinced he’d beat the virus to the ground that he opened up provincial restaurants and bars and invited customers in – Bon Appétit. And now he has had to shut them all down.

Earlier this week on the very day that Ontario hit its highest level of infections ever, 700 cases, casinos in the province were allowed to reopen. And still the Premier thinks he is smarter than the virus – that he can outmaneuver it, surgically control it, micro-mange and fine tune how we live our lives to constrain it – rather than doing what his neighbouring province has had to do.

We are all waiting for a vaccine to save us – something we expect to have by early next year. So one has to ask – why not sit tight and wait? Oh sure we need money to live by – but the feds have the printing presses primed – and most of us are doing better than ever if we consider the amazing growth we’ve seen in personal savings.

COVID is the viral disease making all this fuss, but this is also an economic and social crisis of historical importance.

Provincial gross domestic product (GDP) suffered its greatest loss ever. This is entirely attributable to measures we’ve taken to flatten the curve (of infections). And were it not for the federal government doling out cash we’d be in big trouble. Ontario lost over a million jobs during the June to August period.

restaurant indoor

Restaurants are taking the biggest hit – and there doesn’t appear to b a solution for them in the near term.

While just about every sector had been affected by the epidemic, entertainment, travel and hospitality were the hardest hit. These are the business activities where viral spread is hardest to control. Hospitality and tourism make up about 4% of provincial GDP generating over $22 billion in sales in a normal year. Together with restaurants there are over 11,000 establishments across the province.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

If the virus gets even worse, the Premier knows he’ll have no choice but to lock them down again.

And that is the dilemma facing the Premier. If the virus gets even worse, he knows he’ll have no choice but to lock them down again – when hospitals get overloaded and more seniors start dying he won’t be able to pretend that his surgical blade can do the impossible. He’s already getting flack from health experts demanding more lockdown and that he fire his chief medical officer.

It’s not easy being a man without a plan. And it’s clear the Premier is making it up as he goes along. Every new daily briefing brings some new direction, which may conflict with the one from the previous day. And while he can predict we’ll have a thousand new cases a day by mid-October, he can’t tell you what we’ll be doing about it.

And the mixed messaging is not only causing confusion but also social unrest. There have already been some protests over masking. And we see normal law abiding folks, who mostly observed the earlier restrictions on public and private gatherings choosing to ignore them now. Indeed when Ford himself ignores his own rules as he has done on occasion – why not? He is supposed to set an example, after all.

public interest - enough

The public reaches a point where they don’t want to co-operate.

Civil rights organizations have also taken up the question of the constitutionality of lockdowns, restrictions and bubbles – though the courts so far have weighed on the side of public interest over individual rights. But if protesters can demonstrate that government is not doing a good job at protecting them anyway – that may all change.

And there is a lot of evidence. Accountability for failure to protect the lives of long term care residents, by actions before and after the lockdowns is still on the back burner. Failure to prepare for the safe re-opening of schools. The inconsistency of restrictions. Inability to successfully execute a test and trace program. And of course the decision to re-open the economy when the Premier anticipated increased case loads as a result.

But the premier has to weigh the economic benefits of allowing these sectors to remain open against the potential economic consequences of another major lock down. He has to worry about employment and GDP and the provincial budget deficit which is forecast to hit some $40 billion, but likely will be much higher.

And of course there is scheduled to be a provincial election at the beginning of June 2022.  After all, for a man claiming to be a deficit killer and opposed to tax increases and raising more debt, he is faced with tumbling provincial revenues and hugely increased provincial expenditures. And then there is the matter of the health of the all the people.

vaccine - waiting

The vaccine may not turn out to be the solution – despite the amount being spent.

As we wait for a solution to the epidemic, either a viable vaccine or for the virus to miraculously die off on its own, as SARS did, the Premier has to balance the health and lives of Ontario folks against the economic costs of coping with the economic fallout from the virus.

So the question is whether his surgical talents will successfully constrain the contagion – or whether we are headed for a deja vu.

Rivers in maskRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial matters as well as environmental issues. He has degrees in economics and was the founder of the Sustainability Advisory Committee in Burlington. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

Background links:

Mixed Messages –    Ontario Peaks –    Testing

Australia vs Sweden –   Long Term Care –  

More Long Term Care –   Savings Rate –    Ontario Job Loss –   

Confusion –    Ontario Deficit

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How to Make Money On Gambling: No Deposit Bonuses

News 100 blueBy George Wolfson

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games. However, the winnings can be obtained only when playing for real money (with the possibility of their further withdrawal to a card or online wallet).

dice 2

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games.

To increase your chances of receiving such a prize, it is worth listening to helpful advice from experienced professionals. If you are just starting your way in gambling, then you should pay attention to the no deposit bonus and the conditions to win without investing your money.

What Is No Deposit Bonus?
This reward is one of the casino promos that provides players with cash when they open an account or try a new game without replenishing it. In fact, there are not too many places where you can get real money with no deposit   So, these bonuses offer a great opportunity to try a new casino or new game with minimal risk.

Gambling platforms may offer two types of such rewards:

1. Cashable: they allow the player to withdraw both the bonus money provided and the winnings;

2. Non-cashable: they cannot be withdrawn, because the casino deducts it from the total winnings.

The main purpose of such gifts is to advertise the brand, as well as quickly increase a client base. Usually, gambling platforms use no deposit bonuses in order to attract new customers or reward regular players.

Dice 1

Understand the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus gambling – then have fun.

Thanks to this offer, players can try something new without risking their own money. Online casinos can also provide free rewards on any new game so that visitors can play it and only then replenish the account.

Pros and Cons of Using No Deposit Bonuses
It should be noted that everything has its positive and negative sides, and all types of free rewards as well. So let’s pay attention to the pros and cons of using no deposit bonuses:
Advantages:

1. Having used these rewards, you will be able to study the whole functionality of the site and make sure that it is worth your trust;

2. You will be able to test the game in the real money mode and understand the principle of its work;

3. The player does not spend his own money and, as a result, he does not have to invest his own funds, if something is wrong with a casino.

Disadvantages:
● Small size. If you think that casinos are giving hundreds of dollars, then you are wrong. Usually, the reward starts from $10-20 free dollars to several dozens of free spins;

● The original bonus will not be allowed to withdraw immediately after the receipt. The withdrawal option appears only after playing a wager;

● These rewards are issued for a small number of games. As a rule, the use of free spins is limited to one or a few video slots.

Having considered the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus, you are ready to start. Good luck!

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Protestors are going to face new 'tools' to keep them away from demonstrating

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Last June Regan Russell was walking in front of a transport truck that was loaded with hogs that were being taken into the Fearmans slaughter house.  The truck had stopped until protesters finished walking front of it; Regan Russell wasn’t able to get out of the way in time and was run over by the truck.  She died at the scene.

Pig protester killed

Regan Russell

The slaughter house is part of a group of slaughter houses across the country that are owned by Sofina Foods.

Regan was one of a number of demonstrators who gather regularly at the Harvester Road/Appleby Line intersection to, as they put it, “bear witness to what is taking place” and to attempt to water the hogs.

They see what they are doing as a peaceful demonstration. They are indeed slowing down the entry of the truck into the meat processing plant.

Regan was run over by the truck that apparently didn’t see her. She was slight in stature and the front of the truck was very high.

The Regional Police investigated and came to the conclusion that a 28-year-old male from the Municipality of North Perth was to be charged with Careless Driving Causing Death under the Highway Traffic Act. The police reported that ‘there were no grounds to indicate this was an intentional act, or that a criminal offence had been committed.”

pigs - watered - girls

The protesters usually arrive as a group waiting for the transport truck to enter the slaughterhouse.

Animal Rights protesters have been demonstrating at that location for a number of years.

The meat processing plant, in operation since the 1960’s, has no intention of moving and currently employs 1000 people.

The provincial government recently passed legislation that would give the municipalities that have demonstrator problems “tools” to handle these situations.

The argument is that the issue is really one of public safety – they want the demonstrators out of the way.

Strong legislation certainly helps do that.

pigs being watered

Protestors water hogs when the transport has to stop for a traffic light at the entrance to the slaughterhouse.

At the Monday City Council meeting a resolution was put forward and passed unanimously.

The Resolution reads:

Whereas the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 recognizes the unique risks that can result from interfering with livestock transport including creating unsafe work conditions as well as causing stress to animals and introducing diseases or contaminating our food supply; and

Whereas Sections 6(1), 7, 14(1) 3 and 15(1) of the Act came into effect on September 2, 2020 and prohibit the stopping, hindering, obstructing or otherwise interfering with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals; and

Whereas protest groups, including minor children, present outside the Sofina pork plant in Burlington continue to reach inside livestock trailers to touch, film and give water to the pigs creating an unsafe situation where they may be injured by the animals or trailer; and

Whereas the recent tragic loss of the life of a protester in Burlington underscores the urgent need to ensure the safety of all involved; and

Whereas Section 6(2) of the Act states that no person shall interfere or interact with a farm animal being transported by a motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver of the motor vehicle;

Therefore be it resolved that the City of Burlington pass a resolution urging the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to immediately proclaim Section 6(2) of the Act in order to provide a legal basis to prevent the unsafe practice of protestors having contact with livestock trailers and animals; and

That this resolution be forwarded to Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Region of Halton.

Those in favour of the motion didn’t have a word to say about the right of people to protest.

pigs - single

Hog suffering from heat while being transported.

Councillor Sharman sounded more like a shill for Sofina Foods (they are in his ward) rather than a person responsible for the wider community. The puffball questions he asked the three delegations were embarrassing.

Which begs the question: Why not find a way to allow the Animal Rights people to demonstrate, maybe even water the hogs while the trucks wait at the gate for 10 minutes.

After which the demonstrators would be required to move on.

The Conservation Authority closes off a portion of Kind Road for weeks in the spring so that the Jefferson Salamander can cross the road and mate in the wetlands.

He isn't exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment.

In 2008 a provincial tribunal found that the loss of a habitat for the Jefferson Salamander in north Burlington was reason enough not to give the Nelson Aggregate an extension to their license.

We have a proud history of protecting endangered species.  Admittedly hogs are not endangered but the right of people to voice their views in a public place is as important as making huge allowances for an endangered species.

That history was sullied this morning by city council.

Related news story:

Protester run over by truck transporting pigs to slaughter.

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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Climate Change - Part II: Responding to the Problem - 2020 Speech From the Throne

 

 

background graphic greenBy Ray Rivers

September 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Part 2 of a 3 part series:

In 1976 the World Meteorological Organization warned of a very significant warming of global climate. In 1992 the UN held an Earth Summit in Rio in which climate change became the major topic. In 1997 the world agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, under which wealthier nations would commit to measured reductions and poorer nations would receive help to reduce theirs.

So what happened? Well, Bush and Harper pulled out of Kyoto and Trump is pulling out of the Paris agreement, the latest effort at global action. The oil industry, which had been studying and must have known the effects of their products on the earth’s climate since the 50’s, engaged in a massive dis-information campaign to challenge the science around global warming.

GHG emmissions chart

This was the target – how are we doing so far?

And the oil and gas sector, and their ideological entourage of right wing politicians, were successful. As late as 2015 less that half of all Americans believed that climate change was a serious problem and a year later they elected a bon fide climate change denier as president. The industry pulled a page out of the tobacco companies playbook for deception, denial and mis-information. Unlike the tobacco giants, however, they have yet to face their day in court.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the most part are either carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (natural gas). Methane is a very powerful GHG, upwards of 30 times more effective than CO2, but it is relatively short lived compared to CO2, which can last for hundreds of years.

Methane emissions can be natural as from wetlands, landfill and sewage facilities, melting permafrost, or released as a byproduct of farming from fertilizer or meat production

Methane emissions also come from the extraction, production and transportation of fossil fuels, primarily natural gas. And, along with coal and oil, total fossil fuels make up as much as three quarters of all greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted to the atmosphere. And since the industrial revolution we have increased the carbon in the atmosphere by 30% – an amount which has been increasing just about every year.

GG throne spech Sept2020

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette delivers the throne speech in the Senate chamber in Ottawa.

So what are we doing about this now? On Wednesday the Governor General read a speech from the throne outlining the federal government’s aspirations and plans for legislation they will be introducing. The throne speech is directional, devoid of specific and detailed plans. And this speech for the most part was just a reiteration of last fall’s Liberal election campaign promises, but it made the point that attention to climate change will be one of the four cornerstones of Liberal policy going into the future.

The government promised to create thousands of jobs by retrofitting homes and buildings. It promised to make zero-emissions vehicles and public transit more affordable. It will maintain its carbon pricing policy, subject to a favourable Supreme Court ruling on it’s constitutionality. It will move to exceed its 2030 Paris emission goals. It will make meeting the goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 the law of the land.

There was a promise to make Canada a world leader in clean technology by launching a fund to attract new investments in zero-emissions products and cutting corporate taxes in half for those companies. The speech noted that Canada already has the natural resources needed for zero-emissions vehicles and batteries, such as nickel and copper.

A Clean Power Fund will connect surplus clean energy to regions that are transitioning away from coal. And the government will uphold campaign promises to ban single-use plastics by 2021, protect a quarter of Canada’s land and oceans in five years and plant two billion trees by 2029.

Energy was only mentioned twice and the government was almost silent on any goodies for the fossil fuel industry, a marked change from previous years. There was no mention however, that the feds will finally end the subsidies that flow to that sector – something they have been under pressure to do for at least a decade.

Will this be enough when it come to combating Canada’s contribution to climate change? Probably not, but it is the most forward looking set of environmental commitments since former PM Brian Mulroney championed sustainable development back in the late eighties. And unless the NDP or Bloc decide to support the government on the upcoming non-confidence vote we will all be in an election, just as we move into Canada’s second COVID wave.

Erin Otoole

Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons Erin O’Toole

Currently COVID quarantined Conservative Leader O’Toole didn’t spell out his objections, other than mentioning his concern with the prospective price tag. And there is no way he can politically support a program which doesn’t promise more oil extraction and pipelines for the west. Much like former PM Harper and leader Scheer, he is captive to the fossil fuel barons and their supporters in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Trudeau noted that electric vehicles and their batteries will soon be manufactured in Canada, primarily at Ford in Oakville and Windsor, to get drivers out of the gas burners. But the UK is going further, moving to ban the sale of all petroleum powered personal vehicles by 2030. And Norway will be doing that by 2025. Banning the sale of new carbon powered vehicles would be a far more effective policy than even the federally mandated carbon tax.

Absent from Trudeau’s speech was something about the residential and commercial use of fossil fuels in heating and cooking. A ban on sales of gas appliances for new homes and business would have been a measured step to reduce our carbon footprint. And one only hopes that somebody will ban those – so popular they’re out of stock – backyard propane heaters which mostly just heat the outdoors.

It would be fair to say that this throne speech really only addresses the proverbial tip of the fossil fuel iceberg (apologies for that oxymoronic metaphor). But it is a good start and reinforces the results of the last election. Canadians everywhere except the prairies want Canada to move into the post fossil fuel era.

And that is the achilles heel for Mr. O’Toole, the new leader of Conservative party. Despite moving with great speed to modernize existing Tory policy positions, he can’t help but try to keep the separatist Wexit movement from eating up his petro-country base. That political entity has recently rebranded as the Buffalo party, and O’Toole must be praying that like the four legged buffalo they too will almost disappear.

Background links:

How Much Warming –    Global Warming –    EV’s –

Oil knew about Climate Change –      Cows

Ray Rivers writes frequently on environmental matters

 

Part 1.

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The provincial government is going to have to take very strong measures to lower the rate of new infection. Another lock-down will be very painful

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

‘Did someone at Queen’s Park teach the Premier and his colleagues that song about “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”?

Money is flying out of the government coffers.

A million here; ten million there – yesterday it was $1 billion.

All for good reasons – this time it was to Expand COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing.

That we have to test so much is really the problem. We now know what we have to do to keep COVID-19 under control – create a safe bubble and stay in it.

The Prime Minister put it in language we could all understand. “There will be no Thanksgiving Dinners with extended family – but if we do the right things we have a shot at Christmas”.

No mask 2

A Canadian city with a diverse population.

The Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management.

The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province’s long-term care homes, retirement homes, and schools. These investments are part of the province’s comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19.

To date, Ontario has maintained adherence to public health measures and established a strong foundation for testing and case and contact management by:

covid virus

Smaller than microscopic – this virus needs you to become its home so that it can replicate itself.

• Establishing a provincial COVID-19 lab network with capacity for more than 40,000 daily tests;
• Establishing over 150 assessment centres;
• Testing long-term care home residents and staff in addition to the ongoing testing of staff and homes in outbreak;
• Providing up to 1,700 more contact tracers to support public health units in contact follow-ups through an agreement with the federal government;
• Launching a new, custom-built case and contact management digital system to improve data quality and timeliness and eliminate the use of the multiple tools being used across the province and the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) for COVID-19;
• Launching COVID Alert, the country’s made-in-Ontario exposure notification app; and
• Launching a robust public awareness campaign to educate the public on how to keep them and their families safe, including targeted campaigns to young Ontarians.

Many people have heard all this before – it is the ones who haven’t heard, or don’t want to hear, that are the problem.

No masks - less than 8 days ago.

Less than 8 days ago in a Canadian city – near a university campus

Massive minimum fines is a start – something to catch their attention.

The rest of us can remind those who choose not to wear masks to start now.

The Regional Police have a program that allows the driver of a car who spots someone driving erratically to dial 911.

Amazing how many of these dangerous drivers get pulled over very quickly and charged with a Highway Traffic Offence.

The Provincial Medical Officer of Health has the power to take action along those lines.

Do it – use the billion dollars to swear in constables with the power to take people into custody if they are not wearing a mask.

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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Did the federal and provincial funding kill the hope for an electric transit fleet ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 10th 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When funding is given to a municipality it rarely comes as a surprise.

More often than not the city and the funding body work with the municipality work out what is available and what it can be used on.

The Member or in Burlington’s case the Members of Parliament are heavily involved.

MMW at transit funding Sept 8

Mayor Meed Ward leading the announcement of new transit equipment. She had them dancing about the funding before they all went home.

Thus the decision to lay millions of dollars on the city is something that was worked out between the federal government, the province and the city. The Region had nothing to do with this one.

The question that popped into my mind was: What does this mean to any electrification of the Burlington Transit fleet.

Every bit of professional advice Director of Transit Sue Connor got was that it was not possible to operate a fleet that was electric AND diesel. Not with the money that is available to Burlington transit. Everything about electric is different.

You have to go all in if you are going electric.

The charging stations needed to ensure that the bus batteries don’t fail are a million dollars each. It looked as if Burlington was going to need two of them.

Also on the table was the use of nitrogen as the propellant. There is a very strong argument for nitrogen over electricity.

Sue Connor at mike

Director of Transit Sue Connor

Sue Connor brought in a speaker who took council through the nitrogen argument explaining that Canada was at that time a bit of a leader in applying the use of nitrogen to transit.

Adding 12 diesel buses to the fleet does help Connor in meeting the demand that she hopes will come back.

Just before the covid shutdown took place transit was reporting double digit rider increases.

How quickly that ridership returns is an unknown at this point.

The 12 new 40 foot buses and the five conventional buses to replace vehicles in the fleet now are to be acquired over a three year period.

Perhaps Connors can hold getting those buses and make them electric when she does purchase.

Connor, AVK and Gould - bus money

Director of Transit Sue Connor looks on while the political set announce that she is going to get 17 new buses over a three year time frame. None were to be electric – does this kill her dream of an all electric transit fleet?

When Sue Connor was brought on board she made big changes at transit. There are people on staff there now who moved from other city departments to work at transit.

Connors has made the necessary changes; prior to her arrival there was some pretty incompetent leadership.

At one point a former Director of Transit had suggested that the terminal on John Street be closed and that bus tickets be bought at city hall (which closed at 4:30) or at local convenience stores around the city.

Problem was none of the convenience stores wanted to be bothered.

A lot of really stupid decisions were made before Connors took the wheel. Let’s hope that the senior levels of government that made the funds available have not killed the idea of an electric fleet for Burlington Transit.

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.

What makes politicians dance: a funding announcement.  Watch them do it.

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