The energy debate we never had and the bill we will be paying for at least a decade.

December 14, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.   It may have seemed like common sense to him.  Premier Mike Harris, looking for his second mandate, decided to deregulate and privatize Ontarios energy system.  He was convinced electricity was not a natural monopoly and wed be best served without an Ontario Hydro.  But he couldnt sell the public utility because it was carrying more debt on its books than it had assets.  Cheap energy rates had been a key component of Ontarios industrial strategy for decades.  To keep the rates low Ontario Hydro financed its aggressive growth, including the costly nuclear plants, by running a tab with the province and letting the debt accumulate.

Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris made radical changes to the way the public pays for hydro.  Were the changes good for the public interest?  It has certainly been good for the people who run those companies.

By 1999, the utility was $38 billion in debt, over $3000 for every man, woman and child in the province.  And about half of that was stranded, unsupported by assets.  So, instead of privatizing Hydro, Harris broke up the utility into its components, leased out Bruce nuclear, and placed the debt into a separate account to be paid back via our energy bills.  That debt has been costing us a billion dollars a year and we will be paying for at least another decade.

Harris didnt really deregulate the energy sector either – he just broke the stranglehold which Ontario Hydro had held over electricity policy, leaving a vacuum in its wake.  Economics 101 tells us that nothing is more efficient than a benevolent, well-regulated and well run monopoly, especially when there are economies of scale, as there are with electricity production.  But Harris was attracted to the benefits inherent in the competitive model and was going to implement Adam Smiths invisible hand, regardless of the cost.  And, sure enough, costs rose dramatically as Harris and Ernie Eves, a Minister in the Harris government,  experimented with a totally deregulated market, before finally settling on the hybrid energy supply system we have today.  In fact cost increases were becoming so severe that Eves was forced to freeze rates in the run-up to the 2003 election.

Ontario has made heavy use of nuclear energy. Where we bury the waste from those plants has yet to be resolved.

Dalton McGuinty inherited this mixed bag.  Like Harris before him, he was convinced that electricity wasnt a natural monopoly.  So rather than try to unscramble Harris energy egg, he resolved to make the private/public mix work.  His first commitment, though, was to close down the dirty coal plants, which numerous studies had shown were a health risk.  The coal plants were also Canadas largest source of greenhouse gases – greater than the oil sands at that time. To replace them he contracted a combination of renewable and natural-gas energy sources.  Renewable energy, which comprises about 2% of your energy bill, has taken a huge beating and bad rap by the anti-McGuinty chattering classes. 

Moving energy from where it is created to where it is used is an expensive business.

So if its not the green energy then why are we paying so much more for our energy than we used to?  Well there is that debt repayment charge which adds a little less than a cent per kWh.  There is the ongoing reorganization of Ontarios energy system, with too many agencies, too much duplication and probably too many consultants. Then there are the contracts to purchase power, which are essential in a partially deregulated market.  Nobody is going to build a half-billion dollar energy plant without guaranteed market access.  And if you want the private sector involved you have to make it attractive for them to participate – but maybe theyre too attractive. 

Energy is different from other commodities.  Demand for energy varies all the time, depending on weather, time of day, along with a number of other factors.  Significant investment is required to meet peak demand and prevent system blackouts.  That will involve significant downtime for some facilities in non-peak times.  Private investment prefers as much certainty and constancy as they can get or they will need additional compensation to protect their shareholders from financial risk.  For that reason the hybrid energy supply model, we have today, will always be more costly than a well run monopoly with the same capacity.

Well never know for sure if Harris was wrong to exercise his common sense and scramble the provincial energy giant, one of the largest utilities in the world, since it was a mess at the time.  But we did learn one thing last week.  As Ontarios energy minister, Bob Chiarelli, unveiled his long term energy plan, it became painfully clear that the days of cheap energy are long gone in Ontario.  It almost makes you wish we still had the old Ontario Hydro back again, at least until you consider the recent spate of monetary excesses by the management of Ontario Power Generation – oh, and that huge debt.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


Rivers article August 29, 2013

Coal shut down

 Ontario Power Generation

 Ontario Hydro Debt

 Competitive vs Hybrid Discussion

The Invisible Hand

Coal Plant Closure

Ontario Power Generation  Excesses

 Ontarios Energy Plan  

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Liberals get ready to convene in Montreal – should be looking for credible candidates.

December 12, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The Liberal Party of Canada will be holding its Biennial Convention in Montréal in February of 2014 – the Burlington federal Liberals are asking their members to sign on for a weekend trip to Montreal.

While a federal election is not on the calendar until 2015 – the Liberals in this town need all the name recognition a candidate can get – and with the federal Conservatives in the mess of their lives – it would make some sense to find the candidate that can win in Burlington.

Its going to take more than a high-profile name to make Justin Prime Minister.

If the Liberals can get their BOY to be seen in the House of Commons a little more often and begin making comments that make sense rather than make him look a little foolish – there could be a different political party running the country.  But – it is going to take more than just the Trudeau name to form a government.

Provincially – with the chances of an election in the Spring better than even – the Liberals are still scurrying about to find a candidate to run against Jane McKenna who has done little if anything for Burlington, but she has managed to become a close to rabid partisan.  Should McKenna survive the next provincial election she will become close to impossible to remove.

Tim Hudak is not likely to survive the next provincial election – which will raise the star of our Lady Jane.

Burlington seems to vote solid Tory blue unless there is a really strong name candidate – then they go with the national flow.  Should Justin Trudeau up his game and begin to be seen as seriously credible a decent candidate will come forward and Mike Wallace would be in for the fight of his life.

But candidates are not like mushrooms – they don`t grow in the dark; they need sunshine and exposure; they need the interaction of vigorous debate so that voters can see the differences in character and ability and not find themselves having to rely on the political party label to make their decisions for them.

Burlington doesn`t have much in the way of a tradition to be proud of in picking candidates that are superior and able to really represent the city.  For a community that is made up of people who are for the most part well-educated and in the top half of the income charts – we can and should be able to do much better than we have done in the past in terms of our political representation.

It`s not the political labels that are the problem – it’s the people wearing the labels.

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Fixing our electoral system; does what we have in place now reflect the wishes of the people who get out and vote?

December 4, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  Well there you have it.  Four by-elections last Monday, Nov 25,  and nothing changed.  The polling advantage is always with the opposition in a by-election, so while the Liberal numbers were up, they only managed to keep the seats they had – which means the Conservatives won.

We live in a polarized nation with strong party loyalties in some key geographic regions of the country, so that should not have been an unexpected outcome. But even so, in that close Brandan-Souris by-election, more people voted against, than for, the candidate who won. This is because our political system hands victory to the one with the most votes, regardless how small a percentage of all the votes that might be.  Its called first-past-the-post(FPP) – something designed for a two-party system, which we dont have.

Jean Chretien won a majority by splitting the right-wing vote and coming up the middle.

Jean Chretien snatched his first parliamentary majority between the jaws of the split right-wing vote, the PCs and Reform, allowing him to come up through the middle and win with the support of less than half the electorate.  Stephen Harper is a keen observer of history and a quick-study, so he followed Chretiens lead.  He began by uniting the two parties on the right.  Then he focused on eroding the Liberals strengths and boosting the NDP in their stead. His strategy worked thanks to the Sponsorship scandal, unfortunate Liberals leadership choices, and an ever-opportunistic Jack Layton, pandering to the separatists.  Though Harpers win was even more skewed than Chretiens – at less than 40% of the vote – win he did.

But isnt there something wrong with this picture?  Over 85 democratic nations around the world have adopted alternate electoral systems which better represent the public will.  And, in my book that makes those nations better democracies.  I am most familiar with New Zealands proportional electoral system, first introduced following a referendum in the early 1990s and supported by 85% of the voters.  It is a mixed-member system where half the electoral seats are selected via the traditional FPP, as we have here.  And then the balance are awarded to each political party based on their share of the popular vote. 

Since it is rare that one political party wins an absolute majority in a multi-party system, cooperation and coalitions among parties are the norm.  And multiple parties means greater policy choices for the voters.  If minority government gives you unease, recall that that we experienced some of Canadas best government when the parties worked together in a minority situation, with Pearson in 60s and Trudeau in the 70s. Still, referenda on moving to some form of proportional electoral system were recently held in B.C. and Ontario, and both failed.  In the case of Ontario, the result was unsurprising given the McGuinty governments almost stealth-like lead-up to the vote. 

Stephen Harper realized he had to unite the right – he did and he has been winning ever since.

Federal elections in Australia are conducted using a preferential ballot, another option.  Voters prioritize candidates on their ballot.  If no one wins a simple majority on the first ballot, second and third choices are counted, as needed, until a candidate meets the 50% threshold.  Under this system Jean Chretien would not likely have had three majority terms of office, nor would Harper today.  The federal Liberal party adopted a resolution, at their last policy conference, to move to a preferential ballot when they next come to power, but once in power governments often lose heart to change the system that got them there.

Amid Senate-gate and so much attention focused on what to do with the largely symbolic Senate, there has been little discussion about the lower house, the Commons.  Ontario MP Michael Chong has been working on a private members bill intended to add accountability to the role of the MP and to rein in dictatorial PMs.  Chong had been a minister in the early Harper government but resigned over the problematic Quebec is a nation resolution, which his boss rammed through Parliament.  Given his background and the potential threat his initiative poses for prime ministerial control, it is unlikely his bill will see the light of day.

The objective of any election is for the voters to win.  do Canadians feel they have won today?

And even if the Liberals get into government and implement their preferential ballot, what is the chance that a subsequent government would not simply quash that system, the way Harper killed Chretiens progressive electoral funding program?  We might just have to content ourselves with being stuck with an inferior electoral system.  And continue to see elections like the one in Brandon-Souris, last Monday, where the Conservative candidate won with a respectable 44% of the vote.  Respectable, that is, until we realize that over half of all the voters opposed him. 

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


Michael Chong: Caucus should get to call the shots.

2011 Federal election results:

Brandon-Souris election results 

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Understanding the school board: an agenda would have helped. Intern leaves feeling she really wasn’t there.

Milla Pickfield is a Nelson High School graduate who decided to spend a year working in the community, helping her Mother with her business and doing volunteer work before she headed to university.  She volunteered to try writing and did two piece for us; one with the Chief of Police and an interview with the new Hayden High school principal.

Milla’s most recent piece for us is on the school board, that organization that directed much of what she has done for the past ten years.  Her attendance at a Board of Education meeting was a bit of an eye opener for Ms Pickfield.

November 26, 2013

By Milla Pickfield.

BURLINGTON, ON.  I got to my meeting of the Board of Education an hour early; when you have to use public transit or rely on your parents for transportation – your time is not your own

I wasn’t at all sure where I was supposed to go and asked the woman at the reception desk where the meeting was being held – school board meetings are open to the public.

Milla Pickfield is a Nelson High graduate – understanding the proceedings of the school board was not something high school prepared her for.

I was half hoping she could point me in the right direction and expected someone would supply me with an agenda. I was pointed in the right direction – without an agenda.   And I had not brought anything else to read.

Half an hour after I arrived, Dr. Frank J. Hayden and his wife also showed up with Jacqueline Newton from the new high school.  I had already interviewed Ms Newton and was delighted to meet Dr. Hayden and his wife.

When I was doing some research on what school boards do, I came across a quote that put everything in perspective for me. Sir Ken Robinson once said: “Everybody has an interest in Education.”

Those words resonated with me. I know that I am very interested in education which is why I was very excited to go to a Board of Education meeting. I didn’t know what it would be like, I didn’t know what the people would be like, and I didn’t know what they would talk about.  After the meeting, I was left with more questions than answers.

Dr Frank Hayden – spoke to Board of Trustees who had named the new Alton Community High school after him.

It wasn’t a very satisfying experience for me.  I don’t usually need help nor do I willingly accept it most of the time, however I did expect someone to greet me upon arrival at the large room in which the meeting took place. That was not the case. No one greeted me or any of the other three students in attendance.  Everyone was crowded around Dr. Hayden, which was certainly understandable.

No one approached me and asked if they could help and without an agenda I found myself spending most of my time hurriedly trying to write down all I could and hoping to understand a little later from the notes I was taking.   Working without an understanding of what was going on I was forced to pay extra attention to everything they were saying which still did not help. Most of the language used was part of my vocabulary however the fashion in which they used it was not.

I believe myself to be an educated person. I have done everything expected of me; I went to elementary school and high school and graduated from both with relatively high grades, what I lacked in book smarts I made up in common sense, and I can follow many conversations with adults and form and deliver an opinion.   I could not follow the meeting of the Board of Education.

I wondered: if I could not follow the meeting how would other people in Burlington understand the proceedings.  What about someone who just moved here from a different country; someone who just decided (like me) to drop into one of those meetings; someone with very little knowledge of the education system but with a hunger to learn; ever keep up with the meeting?  

The impression I left with was that the meeting was separated into four parts:

First were the speeches which were delivered by Dr. Hayden and a student attending Hayden High.

Second part was passing a whole lot of bills and not talking about any of them.

The third part was mainly focused on speaking about some bills that were to pass and problems they’ve encountered.

Finally there was the freelance period of time, or at least that’s how I understood it. In this time anyone was allowed to bring forward an issue they though important and speak about it to the council.

Milla Pickfield started an internship as a journalist interviewing the Chief of Police. She ‘aced’  it – wasn’t able to do as well at understanding what gets done at Board of Education meetings.

I found the second and third parts of the meeting the most confusing. Perhaps it was the fact that I didn’t have an agenda, so the bills were hard to follow, or maybe it was just the extremely fast pace of the meeting but I have to wonder how someone from the public, like me, would ever follow a similar meeting to that one.

The Board of Education controls a large chunk of our lives, along with a lot of our tax dollars, and we should be able to be a part of the process and understand what’s going on. What I experienced was personally disappointing. I went in with a desire to learn all I could, perhaps understand how our education system works, and see important decisions being made.

I left the meeting feeling as if there was something wrong with me; I should have been able to understand what was going on.  I read, I am informed and I understand the English language.  When I think about the several hours I spent in the Board of Education meeting, I feel like I wasn’t really there. 

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Moral chains and civic leadership; do they matter and do they exist?

November 22, 2013


By Pepper Parr


BURLINGTON, ON.  There is on the wall of my office a quote from Edmund Burke that goes:

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion

to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites.

Those words stuck with me – for we read again and again of the nationally and internationally prominent men who live lives that are public, who seem to feel that the way they treat the women in their lives is of no concern to the rest of us.

I take the view that the way men treat the woman in their lives is probably the most critical indicator of their personality and character – and it is character that matters most in the men that lead us.  Think of a major political leader and it is easy to find one that has some salacious gossip attached to their relationships with women they are not married to.  Call me old-fashioned, a prude if you like – but the way you treat the people nearest to you is an indication of how you will treat those not as near.

I think Edmund Burke had it right.  I remember the images of that young American President standing before the Brandenburg  Gates in Berlin and declaring:  Ich bin ein Berliner”, while a massive crowd roared their approval and we saw how he identified with their hopes and their longings.

Marilyn Monro singing Happy Birthday to President John Kennedy in 1962

And then there is that image of that same President sitting in a ballroom looking smug while the sex queen of the time sang Happy Birthday, while his wife must have been at home cringing with shame.

The current American President doesn’t have so much as a whiff of the philanderer about him; Canada’s Lester Pearson slept in his own bed with his wife every night.

To have the charisma that the public loves to see, to be dashing and  glamorous certainly does things for the ego – but if the ego needs that level of massaging,  then politics and public service should perhaps not be your first choice.

Have we grown as a society in North America where the morals of the men who lead us are part of the equation we use to evaluate their worth to society?

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We all lost something that November afternoon in Dallas; a President, a promise and hope.

November 21, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  Where were you when JFK was shot?  Kennedy was young, handsome, rich and the closest thing the Americans ever had that could be called royalty.  With that perfectly groomed Boston accent, his speeches were poetry.  They went straight to the heart and made you want to cry and/or cheer…  “ask not what your country can do for you…” 

President Kennedy speaking the masses of people in Berlin where he made the now famous  statement: Ich Bin Ein Berliner.

Jack Kennedy was a progressive democrat, who, despite his family’s wealth, promoted America’s post-war movement for income equity through progressive taxation, a pillar of his party and its previous two president before him. 

Ich Bin Ein BerlinerHe believed in other kinds of equality as well.  He began the emerging battle for the civil rights of Afro-Americans and started the fight for medicare to protect senior Americans.  Kennedy drove the initiative to land a man on the moon; got drawn into that sad conflict in Vietnam; and nearly started WWIII.  His marital infidelity is well known and his obsession with communism blinded him from rational policy in Cuba and Vietnam, battles America would never win.   Khrushchev treated him like a kid because of his age and lack of experience, but JFK came of age in the Cuban missile crisis. 

Presidential limousine racing the hospital with a mortally wounded President.

Barely a thousand days in office, Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullet, or several assassin’s, or whatever the latest conspiracy theory suggests took his life and zapped the optimism of an entire generation of Americans.   He has been called the greatest President by people of both parties, even in that partisan and divided place called America.  His call to youth was answered in the Peace Corps, and by young Americans everywhere inspired by this fresh new leader – one they could call their own.  Leadership is about vision and nobody made Americans dream bigger than Kennedy.

When Pierre Elliot Trudeau came on the scene some three and a half years after the tragedy in Dallas, we Canadians embraced our own Kennedy-like PM.  He too was a visionary, if nothing else.  Calling it the ‘Just Society’ he brought our criminal code into the modern age; enacted the Canada Health Act to secure universal care; brought the Canadian constitution home; raised our standard of living with regional economic development; protected national interests from foreign takeover; and kept Quebec in Canada by introducing bilingualism, multiculturalism, and eliminating the FLQ.

Trudeau, unlike Kennedy, lived to implement his vision.  After serving the equivalent of four US presidential terms in office Canadians had developed a pretty good impression of the man and his evolution through the Trudeau-mania and fuddle-duddle moments.

We knew him as John John, the President’s son playing in the Oval Office of the White House.

Yes there were large deficits, a contentious energy program, a partially implemented metric system and some other grievances.   But like many, I came to appreciate him even more after he had left office.  I often think about where we would be today, as a nation and a society, without his thumb print on our political history.  I wrote a book to that effect.

One day Trudeau took a walk in the snow, reflected on his record and retired.  He had accomplished much of what he had come to office to achieve.  And to his credit he continued fighting the separatists until the end.  

JFK never got the chance to implement his dreams and was unable to go peacefully into the sunset.  And whether it truly was the family curse or just coincidence and bad luck, neither did the other Kennedy’s.  In the end, Trudeau will be remembered for the things he did, Kennedy celebrated for the things he might have done.  It was fifty years ago, but sometimes it seems like only yesterday.

Ray’s column will not appear next week.  Besides being an author Rivers takes to the stage as well and will be performing in Modern Times – Almost a musical  which will be presented at The Pearl, 16 Stevens Street in Hamilton.  Thursday to Saturday: 28, 29, 30.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


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With a round 1 win, city has to think about what should be done with airpark. Rossi now has to listen – city has to have something to say.

November 15, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  So – what’s next with the air park?  The city won – the airpark people can appeal – they’ve got 30 days plus a couple of jiggle days to decide what they want to do.  The final date for an appeal is December 18.   The two lawyers representing the Airpark will be going over the decision with a fine tooth comb looking for grounds to appeal – assuming their client can come up with what it is going to cost to file an appeal.

Meanwhile the city will pull together its team – that will include Ian Blue, the lawyer the city hired to argue the case, and the internal staff that have worked this file.

The city bylaw is pretty specific –

An applicant for a Permit must submit a Control Plan as part of its application which must contain, inter alia, a map showing the location of the site, the site boundaries and the number of factors, the current and proposed use of the site, location of lakes, streams, wetlands, channels, ditches and other watercourses and other bodies of water on the site, the location of the predominant soil types, the existing site topography at a contour level not to exceed 0.5 m, the proposed final elevations of the site, the location and dimensions of temporary soil, or silt stockpiles and provisions maintaining site control measures during construction.

And if the decision stands this is what the Air Park is going to have to comply with.

This Regional government map shows they knew what the plans were – but they didn’t do anything – instead bought the Vince Rossi argument that the airpark was federally regulated.

The challenge is going to be for the city to find a way for the Airpark to comply.  City General Manager Scott Stewart explains the Airpark will have to hire a consultant and put forward a proposal on how they think they can comply with the bylaw.  Expect to see a lot of back and forth on this one.  Vince Rossi has never given an inch in his previous dealings with the city.

The relationship Rossi established with the Ward Councillor Blair Lancaster, which bothered the people whose property was being harmed environmentally and de-valued financially, is not going to get Rossi out of this one.  There is one resident who has probably lost 50% of the value of her property now that there are 30 foot hills either side of her lot.

Many felt that Lancaster, was far too close to Vince Rossi.  They felt her sitting beside him at a community meeting was a dumb decision and when she was spotted walking out of the court house with Rossi some wondered if any of the confidential information Lancaster is given as a Council member was working its way to Rossi.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster held some of her ward meetings at the Airpark. Area residents didn’t fully appreciate in 2011 and 2012 how tight she was with Vince Rossi.

Lancaster had spent a few minutes with Ian Blue, the city’s lawyer and Scott Stewart, general manager for Development and Infrastructure and the point man on this file, after the Judge completed the hearing.  Lancaster then walked from the Court house to her car with Rossi.  The political optics were terrible – one would expect the Council member to be mindful of her position.

The north Burlington residents have been meeting with senior city staff at regular Saturday morning get togethers at a coffee shop and have been kept in the loop.  One hopes that the city will have at least some of that Saturday morning group at the table as they work out how to get the Air Park to comply with the bylaw.

The city expects Rossi to comply with the bylaw using some of the money he made from landfill dumping fees – problem is much of that money doesn’t show up on the Airpark’s financial statements.  So where is that money – and we are not talking chump change here.

During the hearing before Justice Murray,  Ian Blue managed to slip in the fact that the $2 million plus per year, earned by the Air Park in 2011 and 2012 and a smaller sum in 2013 did not appear on the company’s financial statements.  Many want to know where that money went.

The public does know that there is something in the order of $4 million in mortgages on the Airpark property – hard to understand how that debt is going to be serviced with no more dumping fees coming in.  Might the TD Bank end up foreclosing on the property and offering t sell it to the city who might operate the place as a municipal airport?

Stranger things have happened.  Jeff Fielding, city manager, has council convinced to let him come up with business cases for what he calls Enterprise Corporations.  A municipal; airport could be just another enterprise.

Assuming the court case is not appealed the city has some major thinking to do.  First how to fix the damage that was done and then to decide just what it wants to do in terms of how it grows north Burlington.  It is a development no go zone, designated as agricultural but doesn’t really support an agricultural industry.  There are a number equine operations up there, places where you can pick your own berries and pumpkins and quite a bit of hay and soy bean farming.

The mess the city got itself in with the Airpark development was because there was no one paying any attention.  The residents were telling anyone who would listen that there was a massive landfill operation going on up there and when people at the Region, city hall and the Conservation Authority made telephone calls they were told that the Airpark came under federal jurisdiction and for a time everyone let it go at that.

Will this mountain of landfill ever get taken out?

It wasn’t until Vanessa Warren formed an organization and went public at both the Regional and city levels that we saw some action on the part of the city.  They sent people up and took a look around; the Mayor visited several of the properties and left stunned by what he saw and is reported to have been on the phone to the city manager as he drove out of one property saying he was appalled at what was being done.

The city, to its credit, grabbed this one by the horns and moved quickly and with more certainty and confidence than was ever seen under the term of the previous city manager.  When Glenn Grenier, a lawyer representing the Air Park, delegated to city council the city manager advised the Mayor on three occasions during the meeting to send the man packing.  Fielding, who is a man you do not want to cross, exchanged words with Grenier in the Council Chamber foyer later.  That should have been signal enough for the thickest of mindsets to figure out they had a fight on their hands.  But Vince Rossi has never indicated that he took listening very seriously.

Right now he is reading and re-reading Justice Murray’s decision and telling his lawyers to find a hole in the document; give him something to crawl through.

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It was about the men and women who signed up, particularly those that did not return. Lest We Forget

November 3, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  At the end of WWII Canada had the third largest navy in the world, the fourth largest air force and the largest volunteer army ever fielded.  Since that time we have participated in over 200 international military operations though, with the exception of Korea and Afghanistan, these were largely peacekeeping or international policing exercises.

The only nation which has ever invaded Canada was the USA and they are unlikely to ever do that again since we beat them in 1814.  Besides, if they did invade what would we do?  Even during the 50‘s cold war Canada was never threatened, except perhaps in our minds. 

National War Memorial – Ottawa

So in the late sixties, the Canadian government swallowed a reality pill and changed the role of our military from fighting to peacekeeping.  We downsized our war machine, unified the three branches of the armed services and focused on what was most important – finding the path to peace.  Hey, and even with a smaller and presumably less effective fighting machine nobody invaded us.

However our current PM is a big promoter of the military, in fact, the biggest we’ve had since the second world war.  He has plowed a tonne of money into military hardware such that Canada is now the 13th or 14th biggest arms spender in the world and the 6th among NATO members.  Our military budget rose 42% over the ten years ending 2008, he’s changed the names of the air and naval forces as if to restore the good old glory days, and he has his eye on some fancy fighter jets and other toys.

This past week we celebrated Remembrance Day.  Always a solemn day, this year our veterans had another reason to be sad.  You see the Conservatives introduced the Veterans Charter in 2006, under which a lump sum cash payment has replaced life-long after-service care for disabled vets.  It may have sounded like a good idea at the time but the reality has bitten hard.  Since the Charter was enacted our vets have been increasingly concerned that the lump sum will be inadequate to cover all the costs relating to their conditions as they age.  This is especially true for the younger returned soldiers. 

Nobody makes a greater sacrifice for the nation than our men and women who put their lives in harm’s way for us – principally our soldiers, police and firefighters.  When they are injured in the line of duty we owe them.  It is something to dedicate a day of remembrance with music, wreaths and parades.  But it is something else to do the right thing by these heroes and make sure we have got their backs covered, now when they need us most.   Canada has been spending a lot of money on military hardware lately, let us not forget our obligations to those who have put their lives ahead of ours. 

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


Canada’s armed forces

13th biggest military spender

Veteran’s Charter    Does the Veteran’s charter need a change?


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Toronto Mayor does his video debut; Prime Minister bids adieu to Senators he appointed – is this what they call responsible government?

November 8, 2013

 By Ray Rivers.

BURLINGTON, ON.  Aren’t you glad you don’t live in Toronto and have to admit that Rob Ford is your mayor?  Did he really say he was ‘hammered’ on the Danforth and smoked crack in one of his drunken stupors?  And was that the mayor in that police video urinating on a street, behind a school?  He was just marking his turf, Toronto.  And he’s not quitting the mayor’s office because, in his words, the people elected him to do a job.  I guess they deserve the government they elected. 

Ford passes screen test for his first video – drunk on the Danforth.

David Simon is a former police reporter and novelist who wrote the television series “The Wire”, describing various facets of criminal life in the City of Baltimore.  Chief Blair appears to have followed that script, using telephone records, and then wiretapping to get the real dope on Ford and his gangland-drug buddies. 

Not enough to charge him yet but we know where this is going – we’ve seen the Wire. 

Ford makes great comedy for the international media but this is really not a laughing matter.  The Globe and Mail is taking this seriously.  They have called him out as a liar and demanded his resignation.  The Star has released another video of Ford going manic, threatening to kill someone in no uncertain terms.  The man is out of control but the rest of City Council is powerless, or gutless, to stop him. 

And the Wynne government can’t intervene since Ford’s allies would label that political interference faster than you can fill a crack pipe. 

At the most senior government level both Ford’s fishing buddy, Harper, and his family friend, Flaherty, are keeping their heads down.  I wonder what our law and order PM really thinks of his crack-smoking friend now.  Of course, Toronto’s drama has been a great distraction to the other conservative theatre in Calgary, last weekend and in Ottawa, seemingly forever. 

Senate-gate overshadowed the Conservative convention in Calgary and the PM, now off-script and acting like a deer caught in the headlights, went with his gut – and let his right-wing base take over the agenda. There was a resolution to restrict abortions and another to declare war on public servants and their pensions.  But this is just the  appetizer.  Canada’s most ideologically positioned right-wing PM in living history, is bent on even more social transformation between now and the next election in 2015.  

Senator Wallin and Prime Minister Harper during better times.

Harper is at his best when he feigns the underdog and goes on the defensive against the so-called establishment and the elites.  And he did that well – divorcing himself from the senators he handpicked for the Red Chamber and blaming the judges he appointed to the Supreme Court for blocking his will to reform the Senate. 

The irony is that Harper is the establishment now.  He has been PM for the last seven years.  And if he doesn’t like how his program is going, he could always try to change the channel.

Stephen Harper is also Canada’s Teflon man.  Like his buddy Ford nothing seems to stick to him, and there are no consequences, at least not yet.  The RCMP have apparently just taken possession of Duffy’s emails so that may shed more light on the PMO’s involvement.   The expelled senators are threatening to take legal recourse against the government, and no doubt against what they must now consider to be the duplicitous PM, calling the shots that got them expelled.  As they say, hell hath no fury like a senator scorned.

Can the time in the penalty box count as time earned for their pensions?

In the meantime, I am getting sick of it all.  What was once amusing political theatre is rapidly becoming a boring sad tragedy – enough already!  The creative TV series “The Wire“ focused on character development and thus was a refreshing change from most stereotypical good/bad-guy American police shows.  But even in this series the bad guys got their just rewards.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Background links:

Globe & Mail calls for Ford resignation

 Federal Tories eager to edge away from Rob Ford

 Star points to details of Ford behaviour.

 Government party makes policy decisions.

Drunk Mayor makes video debut.




Return to the Front page

Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council decision to sell waterfront land- but majority do. Was Council wrong?

November 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   Making a democracy work is not easy.  Politicians have that difficult task of listening and then finding a common ground that meets the needs and aspirations of as many people as possible.  There are very few great politicians – the man that got people to see things the same way more than 150 years ago and crated this Canada we have today was one of the very best.  It can be done.

Last month your city council was given a Staff Report  with three options on what to do with some land that it owned next the edge of Lake Ontario between Market and St. Paul Streets.  The land has all kinds of history and a lot of legal stuff attached to it.  Whenever there is something of value – know that there are people who want that value for themselves.  That is part of human nature – it’s not good, it’s not bad – it just is.

This view is available to anyone who wants to wander down St. Paul Street.  If the land is sold to private interests – it will become private.

One option was to keep the land and develop it into a small parkette, a second was to perhaps lease the land and a third was to sell it.

What the public didn’t know before the Staff Report was released was that there were people very interested in buying the land for their exclusive use and they apparently lobbied city council extensively.

They apparently had the land assessed to give the city some sense as to what the land was worth.  All this was done without any public awareness.

During the city council meeting at which your city council voted to sell the property, city general manager Kim Phillips agreed that the city had not done the job it is paid to do when it failed miserably to fully inform the citizens.  Her self-serving comment that the city failed to live up to its normal high standard surprised many.

The city’s decision to sell is a matter of record now.  During the next six months city staff will do the paper work that has to be done to first buy the land that belongs to the province and assemble that into a package that includes the land the city owns, agree on a price and then close the deal.

It of course is not going to be quite that simple.  Deeds in that part of town are filled will easements given, conditions – almost anything a lawyer can think of.  All those have yet to come to light.

Add to that a group of citizens who are meeting to look at some way to put a stop to the sale.  What was a local issue has taken on a broader meaning for many.

So what did this mean to the average citizen?  It’s never easy to tell.  When it looked like the province was making real plans to ram a highway though the Escarpment close to 400 people filled the Mainway Arena.

How many care about that small bit of land on the waterfront between Market and st. Paul Street.  We are not sure but we do know that more than 100 took the time to send the ward Councillor Marianne Meed Ward an email setting out their views.  Not all were against the sale.  We have published them so that they are part of the public record.

The number of the emails required us to break this into several parts.

October 14, 2013 1:42 AM To: Meed Ward, MarianneCc:

Subject: Re: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

To:Marianne Meed Ward and Mayor Rick Goldring

In response to the issue of the parcel of land on the waterfront between Market St and St. Paul St., I am in favour of keeping it as public land. As a resident of Burlington for twenty plus years, the more of the lakefront open to the public the more we are seen as a city that cares for it’s people. As to concerns about vandalism and drunkenness, there are trails along the waterfront in some of the nicest areas of Oakville, behind some very nice homes. And the people that stroll along those trails are those that appreciate opportunity of gazing out over the water, enjoying the view. I am sure those of us that live north of Lakeshore Road in Burlington, would appreciate the chance to sit at the water’s edge in this area and enjoy the view, perhaps take a picnic lunch. To be honest, I never realized that this was public land, and so have not ventured down either Market St nor St Paul St. How wonderful to open that parcel of land up as a parkette for others to enjoy.

I agree that it would be hard to get any of the land back if sold to the property owners.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 3:04 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: keep shoreline

your thoughts mirror mine. Conflicts with what is being said about Beachway. Keep the land.

Just because some one comes wanting to buy, doesn´t mean this is a reason to sell.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 7:23 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] public lands

Marianne, I don’t think those public lands should be sold.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:15 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: City….

I think the City should keep the land Market/StPaul

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:00 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick Subject: waterfront land

I think we should retain these lands in public ownership for all the reasons given by others, which I will not repeat.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:01 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Parkland acquisition at Market / St.Paul st.

In view of the money the City has already squandered on the pier, I think the cost of acquiring this valuable parkland pales by comparison. As a resident of this area I have always enjoyed spending time looking out over the lake. Judging from the activity I see at other similar parkettes along the lakeshore I am not alone. I have lived in Burlington since 1954 and in that time I have seen a steady increase in high rise development along the lakeshore mostly due to private landowners being bought out by developers. It is necessary for the city to acquire this property if only to have control over future development. Thank you

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:10 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront

Hi Marianne,

Excellent newsletter as always. Thank you for the extensive work that goes into producing this.

With regards to the St. Paul/Market Street waterfront properties, I support retaining the municipally owned parcel. Waterfront property is scarce enough as it is and the city should keep what it has. Moreover, I am extremely doubtful that the city would get anywhere near the market value of the land.

If it were to be sold, the city should get the difference between what each of the properties is

worth with and without waterfront. This is unlikely because an appraiser will give you a number based on a landlocked piece of property which is absurd in this case.

I would be interested in buying the property at the ‘landlocked’ price.

Perhaps it should be auctioned off so that community groups or someone other than the homeowners would have the opportunity to buy it. Selling at at the landlocked price will be a tremendous windfall for the residents at the expense of the city and municipal taxpayers.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:19 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Property


I completely understand why the three property owners would want the land – to increase the capital value whenever sold and to put their control over the land. These are the two natural and classic drivers of people – greed and fear ( I do not use these two words with their negative connotations ).

I strongly believe that the property needs to remain as a public entity – the value accrues to all in Burlington if you look at this in a more holistic view as opposed to a locally optimized view. The concerns you have listed can be rectified and should be rectified. If the three owners decide to go to court then fight the legal action fully & vigourously. If they win the case, then there will be others in Burlington and all across Ontario that will use this as a precedent for their own acquisitions.

As a principle, in the Big Island of Hawaii, all waterfront properties are “owned” by all people. Individuals and the resort hotel developers had access to and maintained the beachfront property but they were open to all. It was refreshing and enjoyable. Once in private hands, our waterfront lands would never come back, and the residents of Burlington would be denied access to a unique piece of Lake Ontario.

Burlington has been a great example of keeping waterfront open with significant benefits accruing to the city and to the people – most of whom cannot afford waterfront property ( in my mind , this is what a portion of my property taxes are for ). It needs to continue that way.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:44 AM To: Sharman, Paul; Goldring, Rick Subject: Sale of waterfront land


I do not support the sale of waterfront land at Market St & St. Paul. I my opinion the city should be doing everything it can to preserve waterfront access for its community not rewarding the few wealthy who resort to legal threats to get what they want.

If you look at Oakville’s most recent waterfront endeavour, South Shell Park, it is a perfect example of how public park trails can co-exist with residential properties. Sheldon Creek Trail in Oakville is another good example of a public pathway along the waterfront behind houses. They have managed to provide waterfront access without incidents of violence and vandalism, why do you think Burlington couldn’t achieve the same?

The sale of this land is simply moving backwards towards goals which the residents of Burlington would like to achieve. I doubt anyone you ask would say they want to reduce waterfront access, except of course those who live on the waterfront who have a definite conflict of interest.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:59 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Park Land Purchase

Hello Marianne,

We have lived downtown Burlington and previously Oakville for the past 20 years.

One of the things we have so enjoyed about Burlington vs. Oakville is the waterfront park access for walking, biking, kayaking on the lake etc. It is one of the major draws for us to Burlington.

I believe that this type of short sited thinking will not auger well for future home investment for the area and future stakeholders. It is not upholding the original intent for the waterfront.

I believe the statistics for dead end parkette’s for vandalism is higher than a continuous waterfront. This does not seem like a valid concern. Perhaps all of the money to develop these dead ends could better be used for current park development and maintenance.

This would be the thin edge of the wedge. What next……..squatter’s rights’. So in summary we do not support this land transaction.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:09 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Bulletin

Dear Ms. Ward:

Thank you for sending out the News Bulletin. It is really appreciated being kept up to date at what is happening at City Hall.

I agree with you totally on keeping the waterfront every last inch of it that now belong to the City or even if some of it belongs to the Province. Once sold and built on you have lost control of it and eventually they would most probably become highrises. People need to have places to walk and enjoy nature, be it sea, lake woods ot mountains. Cities are becoming overcrowded, which is really laughable in a country that is so large as Canada. We fail badly when we overcrowd the southern part of our country and neglect the northern. Also we use our best farmland for buildings. Never thinking of the future. It seems that most of our politicians of every party and all level of Government lack foresight, and their eyes seem to be blinkered like horses that they only see dollar bills or grandiose surroundings.

 Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:19 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more


Thank you for the update.

No to the sale of the Parkette Land. I expect the owners knew the land belonged to the city when they bought their property. It was their choice & money to fix the shoreline (aka future planning?). Shoreline property always has & always will be a prized ownership right & more power to someone who can own it outright but when you have an issue like this the city must retain ownership.

 Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:29 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Park land

I do not use this property and I don’t know who does but is it going to be bid on? What if someone else wants this property? Legally can this just be sold to the homeowners without others having a right to buy? I for one do not think any parkland should be sold.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:31 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Dennison, Jack Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne Subject: Water Front Property

Rick and Jack

Re The city’s Community Services Committee (which includes all members of City Council) voted 6-1 to sell the property to the three homeowners, and only retain the street ends at Market St. and St. Paul St. as “Windows to the Lake” for public use. This recommendation heads to council for final approval.

We should not be selling our public waterfront property to private interests, ever. I am quite surprised by this as we have limited public access and parks on Lake Ontario

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:55 AM

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: sale of public land on the lake


Please do NOT go ahead with this plan. To sell off public land instead of maintaining it as park is truly shameful behaviour. Surely the home owners were aware that this was public land when they purchased their lots. Sadly, this latest in a series of questionable decisions has just ensured that neither of you will receive my endorsement next time we go to the polls.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:57 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Feed Back on Market/St Paul Land


I really appreciate the newsletter updates you send out. You have to be the most organized and informed Councillor.

I normally agree with you but your take on the retaining these lands I think is flawed. Why ?

My take:

• That area is relatively unknown for the majority of Burlington.

Agree – the area is known to the locals, and would be of the scale of a “local” parkette.

• There are other waterfront “windows” that are already available.

Agree – the goal here though is to facilitate a path. When land along the shoreline is subdivided, severed or otherwise redeveloped, the city can take 5% along the shore for a path (in both Planning Act and Official Plan). It may take a long time, but worth the effort.

• Why get into a protracted legal dispute with people who have already sunk money into protecting those lands, and who likely have the financial means to extend the battle?

I am very disappointed about talk of suing the city, however the legal case clearly stated that the homeowners built the seawall on public land, at their own risk. Further, there is some doubt whether any action could be taken 20 years after the fact. Sometimes this is what it takes to protect public lands.

• It’s unrealistic to anticipate a connected string of parks running along the lakeshore, behind the most desirable properties in Burlington.

See my note above, re “windows”

• I think the resources can be better spent improving the Beachway Park.

I see it as a both/and not an either/or – we have $9.8million in a dedicated fund for park development – more than enough for the $102,000 it would cost for the parkette. This is what the fund is there for! And lots left over for other parks, too.

Which btw I do agree … we should leave the few private dwelling alone there. I’d rather the city spent $10 M improving infrastructure in Burlington.

There are a lot of roads in Burlington in terrible shape.

Agree. We are working on improving the infrastructure funding.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:57 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land

Dear Marianne,

I agree with you; the land should NOT be sold. If the City has no immediate plans for it, at the most it could be leased for some reasonable period, say 10 or 15 years. Much can change in that time.

It appears that the adjacent land owners would benefit through a sale by increasing their property values, but that is not the City’s concern.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:08 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront land

I for one do not think the city should be selling any property that is on the water. There will never be more waterfront made and the cost to keep it is very little.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:20 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront land sale Hi Marianne,

I agree with your view that the waterfront land between Market St. And St. Paul St. should be retained by the city, and NOT sold to private homeowners. I think your vision of securing a continuous waterfront with/for public access is the best use for this prime property. I strongly believe that the waterfront is one of Burlington’s greatest treasures, and should be safeguarded, not only for our generation, but for future ones as well.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Dennison, Jack; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne; Craven, Rick

Subject: Consider Oakville

Please reconsider the issue of selling public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St., running behind three private homes.

As public land it will be available to local residence to visit the waterfront in a very different type of park than the beach, the pier and promenade and the existing windows on the lake. As a park, this will make a quiet area suitable for private reflection and quiet conversations, something well needed in our hectic world.

My husband and I moved to Burlington in 2002 and we love it. Prior to our move we lived in a freehold townhouse that was situated on the lake with the Waterfront Trail (unpaved) between our home and the water. The trail cuts to the lake just west of 3rd Line, and follows the waterfront to Bronte. The residence often cut the crass in front of their homes and planted flower gardens outside their fences to make a very pleasant environment for those using that section of the trail. There are also benches positioned along that section. In the 7 years I lived there there were only two problems with people using the trail. One was dealing with people who let their dogs off leash to run free. The other was when it was proposed that memorial trees would be planted on the trail that would block residents views. Memorial benches were allowed instead of the trees. You can easily see this section of the trail on Google Maps.

If you look on Google Maps at the waterfront from the most easterly street in Oakville, (Arkendo) you can see a park that runs between the lakeside homes and the lake. I have visited this park on an beautiful summer morning and enjoyed the serenity. I know many local residents who do not front on the lake walk to this park. Having known people who live on this street and speaking about it, I believe parking has not been a problem as few people know it is there. I also understand that the residents who back on the park take pride and ownership to keep the area safe, as it is their best interest to report any rowdy behavior to the police.

If you follow the shoreline a short distance west you will see Carrington Promenade. The street view easily shows the access. You can also see swimming pools and gardens on the private properties.

Chancery Promenade is next west, then a short promenade off Bel Air Drive, then Esplanade Park, Raymar Park, First Street Park, (from Allen Street west) Dingle Park, then George Street Park. This gets you to Lakeside Park at the harbour. These parks have homes backing onto them.

Why are you looking at selling the land on the lake east of downtown and trying to buy land on the beach strip? In my opinion you should not sell the land under consideration and follow Oakville’s example of creating as much public access to the lake as possible.

We live on the lake. I know the joy we have, (as well as our neighbours, visitors and people we chat with on bike rides along the lakefront), watching people enjoying personal watercraft, from simple kayak’s to power boats. Sitting watching a sunrise, swans gliding by and the ship traffic that visits Hamilton are all pleasures that small parkets offer Burlington residents.

Please vote to keep and develop for public use, the publicly owned property between Market St. and St. Paul St., running behind three private homes as Oakville has done successfully.

Thank you for your attention and consideration

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:45 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

Thanks for the map of the parcel of public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St.; I never knew it even existed. Sell it, take the money and run.

Please cancel all the neighbour studies; if the beach community (and it is more of a true community than many of the other so-called communities in Burlington) does not have its own “character” than I don’t what does.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:04 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: City shoud keep and develop the Waterfront Land Marianne,

I support keeping and developing the waterfront land and turning it into a park. Private residents have enough of the land already. Selling it means that very few will enjoy it. Keeping it means many can explore it for a very long time.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:15 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: lake front property


We live on Green St Burlington, would like to inform you that we do not want the city to sell  the water front property. It is public land and belongs the people of Burlington. We all deserve to view the beauty of the lake, we should be adding walk ways not taking them away.

Thanking you for your time.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:34 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Proposed sale of public waterfront land

Hi Marianne,

I am a new resident having just purchased and moved to Burlington from Oakville. I reside in your ward on First Street.

The reason I am sending this note is to pledge my full support for your stand against selling waterfront property. I am horrified that the mayor and other councillors have indicated support for this, which as your note suggests, it simply does not make sense to let go of waterfront lands.

One of the very reasons I moved to lovely Burlington was the better waterfront access than Oakville and I am horrified that a sale is even being considered in this instance. I wish you the best in your quest and look forward to meeting you sometime soon.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 4:08 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Dennison, Jack;; Taylor, John; Lancaster, Blair; Goldring, Rick


Importance: High


I live at on Lakeshore Road, across from the lakeside property being discussed. I urge you all to vote to maintain the shoreline property under city ownership. The city has no business even contemplating selling any lakefront property. The public should have maximum access to the waterfront. The city through its council should be looking to increase this access, not reduce or further limit it.

The property owners purchased their properties in the knowledge that there existed a ribbon of publicly owned land between theirs and the lake.

I agree with the view of Councilor Marianne Meed-Ward, who in my view is very much in touch with the views of Burlington residents.

The cost of maintaining the property is small and there appear to be funds set aside for such maintenance. So why sell? What is the benefit to the City? And by the City I mean the population of Burlington. If the land was to be sold, which it shouldn’t, what would be done with the funds realized? Probably they  would be lost in the general mix, i.e. no meaningful gain.

Please do not sell this parcel of valuable lakeside land at any price

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:26 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne


Re proposed sale of City Land between Market and St. Paul. Yes, sell it to the homeowners at fair market value for “prime” waterfront properties. The “window” on St. Paul has been used by our family for the past 46 years without any need for benches, parking, etc. Use any surplus funds available to enhance Pt. Nelson park (eg: a bench by the play structure would be nice, maybe some improvement in the landscaping).

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 1:39 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

As always, thanks for giving us the updates and for identifying issues. Having read your summary, here are my thoughts.

Sale of Waterfront land

I really struggle with the value of retaining this relatively small parcel of land. It is not connected in any way to any other parkland and I don’t see the location catering to desirable use relative to the cost associated with developing it. I don’t reside close to it so I don’t have an emotional or vested interest, so can’t take a stand on not selling it. That said, fair market value needs to be secured on any sale.

Beachway property

I continue to support leaving the property in the hands of the current owners on Beachway.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 1:47 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Comment on your newsletter Marianne,

As always your newsletter is very informative. This one in particular touches on several issues on which I would like to offer my feedback

First of all the sale of a parcel of public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St. Having reviewed the material from the waterfront committee I can see no advantage to the city to divest itself perminently from any waterfront land. Even if the parkette is not created immediately it seems prudent to keep the option open, possibly with a short to mid term lease to the effected property owners. There is no more waterfront land being created and my crystal ball is unclear on the future possibilities.

The second concern is the removal of the community on the Beachway. The cost of removing there residents seem excessive to add public park space that isn’t directly on the waterfront. I am not aware of any proposals for new beach facilities for this relatively small area that would enhance the public waterfront experience. We use the beachway regularly and find the residents in no way detract from the experience. We do however feel that the fact there are always people there provides a deterent to bad behavour especially at night or off peak times.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:21 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

Happy Thanksgiving Marianne, hope you have a great day.

I am with you as far as not selling this small but important piece of land

First of all, when someone threatens legal action if they don’t get their way, my back goes up immediately as that means they feel they can bully the city into doing what they desire.

When these homes were built and sold and resold, the owner knew where the property lines lay. I can see why they would love to purchase this waterfront area as the value of their homes would rise immensely, certainly a lot more than they are probably willing to pay.

You can never have enough waterfront parkland. As the saying goes, They aren’t making any more of it. The population of Burlington is growing and we need every square foot we can keep. The notion that this area will be a haven for vandals and drug users and so on is a problem that our police can handle and if those homeowners are vigilant than they should call the police if they notice any wrong doing.

I am tired of the city giving in to a small number of should I say, well to do citizens. This issue is not of a resident wishing to purchase an empty lot next door as was the case I believe in Toronto with Mayor Ford, but we a looking at public property on the Lakefront which is how it should stay.

If there is a concern as to damage from the lake, then this concern should have arisen when these people either built or purchased their property as the lake has been there a lot longer than their homes.

I don’t feel that the demands of three residence should outweigh the rights of the public to continue to enjoy this park and the maintenance cost is minimal to what the city is spending on other projects.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:33 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Dennison, Jack

Subject: Burlington Council poised to sell prime waterfront land

Hi Marianne

I  support retaining the land under public ownership and making it a parkette.

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Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:46:54 AM

Subject: Lake front properties


I think on balance that I agree with your view that any lake front property that is currently available or becomes available should be retained by the city although I can see the potential problems of the particular property at St. Pauls being used by vandals etc. Would it not be possible to reach a compromise with the home owners that would allow a footpath wide strip along the area in question

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:56 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling of waterfront land

Hello Marianne.

Once again thank you for taking the time to send out your Ward 2 newsletter. After reading about the city wanting to sell the waterfront property I must say I am in agreement with you. Do not sell the land, develop it into a parkette for all to enjoy.

Thank you,

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 4:25 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Lakefront

I am totally opposed to the sale of any waterfront land, especially to private interests which will bar citizens from enjoying access to the lake. The part now being considered between Market and St. Paul Sts. is one of very few waterfront areas available to citizens

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:42 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Craven, Rick; Lancaster, Blair; Taylor, John

Subject: Parkette Decision

As the population of Burlington increases, due to intensification, more citizens will be seeking the use and enjoyment of public waterfront areas, once sold we will ”never“ get them back. As I understand the situation, Burlington council recently voted 6 to 1 to sell off a piece of waterfront parkland known as the “parkette”. As a taxpayer I expect council to do many things, but especially taking a strategic view of valuable public resources and assets. As Councillors you are our elected stewards, are responsible for the planning and management of such properties and your transient legacy should not be to dispose of rare assets. Yes, there are costs to keeping and maintaining the “parkette”, but not all parklands have the same intrinsic value, and the cost in this case may be well justified,given the nature of the property in question. The “parkette” has ethical and philosophical value and selling it off may be short sighted.

If vandalism and drunken behaviour is the only justification for selling the land, we should dismantle the pier. During my first visit to the pier, shortly after it was opened, the number of discarded liquor, beer bottles and vomit present on the walkway took me aback.

As to the costs of developing the waterfront areas known as the “windows/parkette”, and not knowing the details of the financial deliberations, my questions is, is full funding of the area, a nice to have or a must have?

Dear Mayor and Councilors

I have received a color brochure produced by Marianne Ward regarding her desire to connect the two underdeveloped road accesses between St. Paul and Market St. I lived at Lakeshore and Guelph Line and suggest that it would be more beneficial to spend tax money upgrading the existing Park which has parking available, street sightlines and is much larger than a walkway between the two streets. This park could be improved with proper grading and improved equipment and seating etc without incurring expensive legal issues.

Agree Port Nelson needs upgrading. We can do both. The city has $9.8m in park development fund – money set aside specifically to preserve parkland. It is more than enough to cover the additional $102000 cost of the parkette.

It is my understanding that the proposed walkway would divide the existing seawall constructed by the 3 homeowners at their expense and contain the property that was back filled by them. It would appear to me that any effort to construct a pathway on this property would result in expensive legal case. The city probably doesn’t need the distraction and cost of another legal problem/action such as the one with the construction of the pier. The 3 property owner will no doubt want significant compensations for their seawall and property devaluation as well as ongoing property tax reduction.

It would be very disappointing if there was a law suit because the city chose to retain in public hands land that is and has always been public, and homeowners were aware of that when purchasing their homes. A court case dating back some 20 years determined that the seawall was built at the homeowners risk on public property, and no compensation is owed by the previous seller of the home involved in the case, or the city. If compensation is owed, the judge ruled, it would be from the Ministry of Natural Resources, which owns the shoreline. It is also unclear whether any action could be taken against the city 20 years after the seawall was built, given there are statues of limitations on certain filings.

Neither St Paul St. or Market St. have suitable parking or turn around room at the lake potentially resulting in extra traffic and driveway access problems for the nearby residents. Additionally the police supervision of the area and maintenance will be expensive and potentially ineffective. The immediate area would have 3 parks including the 2 parketts within 2 blocks which should be ample to service existing residents natural desire to have a view of the lake. The downtown waterfront park should remain the focus of development

Not all parks in Burlington require or provide parking – small neighbourhood parks are intended for residents within walking distance. The windows and parkette here are of that type, and will encourage walk up visitors.

Regarding policing: There is occasional vandalism/parties in other parks in the city (Central/Beachway/Kerncliffe etc), but we don’t eliminate parks to solve this issue but rather take a variety of measures to combat the bevahiour and encourage respect for the parks.

I urge you to stand your ethical position of selling the property to the home owners and vote against the misleading attempt of Ms..Ward’s to make a fish bowl of the lakefront residences.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 5:35 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Burlington Council poised to sell prime waterfront land


We live on Lakeshore Rd. and have been following the debate on the new parkette planned for the waterfront east of Market street. We support the new Windows To The Lake as this will provide amazing access to the beautiful views of Lake Ontario.

However, we have some significant concerns regarding the new parkette.

1. This parkette is hidden from the main roads, offering a secluded place for parties, vandalism and noise. Can you imagine having this park directly behind your home, being subject to the noise and disruption? On the north side of Lakeshore we get our fair share of empty beer bottles on our lawn, so I can’t imagine what a mess this park will become.

There is occasional vandalism/parties in other parks in the city (Central/Beachway/Kerncliffe etc), but we don’t eliminate parks to solve this issue but rather take a variety of measures to combat the behavior and encourage respect for the parks.

2. Based on the state of Port Nelson park, at the end of Guelph Line, it appears that the city has insufficient resources to maintain a new park. Port Nelson is in serious need of repair, including better seating, regular clean-up, and the removal and pruning of existing trees and bushes.

Why don’t we clean this park up before we build a new one? After all it is only two blocks away and has parking.

Agree Port Nelson needs upgrading. We can do both. The city has $9.8m in park development fund – money set aside specifically to preserve parkland. It is more than enough to cover the additional $102000 cost of the parkette.

3. This summer we have gone through water main construction. Many times we had to park on side streets over night, causing inconvenience to local residences. Have vehicle traffic and parking limitations been considered for the new parkette?

Not all parks in Burlington require or provide parking – small neighbourhood parks are intended for residents within walking distance. The windows and parkette here are of that type, and will encourage walk up visitors.

4. The seawall at the proposed parkette poses both a danger and a liability. The probability of an accident seems very high.

Staff have recommended a fence along the seawall. That said, there are other areas of public waterfront that are not fenced (eg. Burloak), and other parks with high drops (eg Kerncliffe). There is no extra liability in this case from what we have at our other parks.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

The full collection of the email sent Councillor Meed Ward was too long for just one article.  The balance of those email is HERE.

Previous articles published:

Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront property.

Selling price fr waterfront property not announced.

Committee decision to sell waterfront property now goes to Council. 

Staff report advises city to keep waterfront property; leasing is an option


Return to the Front page

Part 2: Citizens speak out on sale of waterfront property.

November 2, 2013

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward asked citizens to email her with their views on a motion the city was about to approve that would result in the sale of a strip of waterfront land on the edge of the lake between St. Paul and Market Streets.  Council voted to authorize staff to begin negotiations with those who wished to buy the property.


A view that may become private – owned by a few.

It was not a popular decision and it appeared to go against the grain of several city policies. Meed Ward gave the city Clerk copies of the 32 pages of email she received.  We re-printing those emails and leave them here for the record.

The names of the senders were removed by the City Clerk – something to do with privacy.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 5:49 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront land

I suspect most Burlington residents think as you do. Cities around the world have learned not to sell waterfront land. Why are we selling what we have – and cheap?

To: Meed Ward, Marianne Subject: Sale of city property

As usual, this situation gives good reason for concern. Pressure will always be applied by avaricious people to exclude everyone but themselves from access to desirable amenities like the lake. Oakville is a typical example of the application of this type of shady policy, where lake access almost completely private. Please stand your ground in opposing the sale. It cannot be said that your policy is inconsistent. What applies on the beach strip must also be applicable in this case.

For once in my life I feel I can read the opinions you express on local policy without wondering what personal motive is behind the stance you take. What a refreshing change. A politician apparently motivated by logic and concern for the populous, not personal gain.

More strength to your arm.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:11 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul;

Subject: Waterfront land

Dear Marianne

Thank you so much for making us aware that the city of Burlington is considering selling the waterfront land between Market St. And St. Paul St. That would truly be a loss for Burlington. There is little enough waterfront land still available for public use and once it is sold it is gone for good.

We agree with you that the city should develop the area as part of a waterfront trail. Lake Ontario is one of the most important reasons why our city is special and to keep the vast majority of citizens away from the water is wrong. We deserve to have more than a few “Windows to the Lake” in the residential areas.

Any family or any business looking to settle in Burlington will appreciate the access to the lake for the residents.

The citizens own the land now …treasure it and keep it safe for the present and future generations of Burlington residents!

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:33 PM

To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack;; Lancaster, Blair; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Sale of Public Waterfront

Dear Sir,

As a resident of Burlington I am absolutely disappointed to learn that council is considering selling the the parcel of public waterfront between Market Street & St. Paul Street.

I moved to Burlington several years ago as I fell in love with the waterfront here. The great cycling & walking trails won me over,

I feel this land should stay in public hands for everyone to enjoy & not just a select few. This land clearly interrupts the possibility of having a continuous waterfront trail something that could be enjoyed by all.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:43 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] Retain

Thank you for the newsletter,we agree with you.Retain the land in Public hand’s.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:56 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: land market to st paul

Please keep all public lakefront lands in the hands of the city for generations to come. Views of the lake are being increasingly lost to the average citizen of Burlington. This is a million dollar view which once sold will never be come back to us.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 6:58 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront land, Dear Marianne,

We support your efforts to keep the small piece of land between St Paul and Market Streets city property.

We agree with all of the reasons that you have laid out. Also, symbolically, everyone has access to the lake.

We sure hope that a waterfront trail becomes a reality someday!

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:59 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront land

I agree that waterfront lands are part of the official plan, vandalism can be dealt with, 182,000 dollars is affordable, and the homeowners improved the shoreline at their own risk. The councilors in Oakville are acquiring lots of waterfront property for their public use.

Selling property to the shoreline is too loose. The shoreline changes. There is an act that has been read called the Great Lakes Right of Shoreline Passage Act in Ontario (re Rob Milligan, MPP). It will grant the public access along the Great Lakes as far as the high watermark. Where is the high watermark in this case? Several years ago the supreme court in Michigan ruled that the public has access to the high watermark. This has resolved skirmishes.

I’m not sure where the high water mark is in this case. The shoreline is somewhat elevated from water by a high bank.

How much frontage (in feet) do the homeowners want to buy? What is the city wanting to sell it for? What is the equivalent frontage price that the city wants to pay for the frontage on the beachway area? (This may not compare because the beachway is not on the waterfront.)

The land was appraised by an independent land appraiser. Those details are confidential.

Is there an error (typo) when you say “If any compensation is owed, the judge said it would be from the MNR.” I don’t understand this statement.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) owns the land along the shoreline, the city owns the land between the MNR properties and the back yards of the private homes. The seawall was built on MNR land, thus if any compensation is owed for building the seawall MNR would owe it.

I hope more thought will be put into this process. Ward 1,2,4 and 5 all border the lakefront. I would hope they are interested in expanding public waterfront trails in their wards.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:37 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St.






Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:51 PM To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling waterfront lands

Your Worship, I am writing to express my opposition to the City’s plan to sell the land between Market and St Paul’s Street to the adjacent home owners.

I feel this would be in error and in haste. My understanding is that the city is attempting to open up the waterfront and make it accessible to the public. I’m not sure how a sale would aid in moving forward on this objective.

By having this parkette, it would provide a U shaped park available for walkers, cyclist, and those just enjoying the natural environment. It becomes destination with access and egress, rather than a dead end. Anyone following the Waterfront Trail would turn down to this U rather than continue along Lakeshore Road. It would bring more use of the two Windows to the Lake.

It is located nearby to the parkette at the end of Guelph Line that has some playground facilities. Therefore, all that is needed in the new one is a pathway and some benches.

While at the moment it is landlocked, it sends the message that Burlington is serious about its waterfront commitment. Who knows how or when other waterfront lands may also become available. But to eliminate our ownership now, would be foolhardy.

It is better to enter into a lease with adjacent landowners while we see what opportunities may be encouraged than to end opportunities with its sale.

I implore you to reconsider your decision to sell this land and act on behalf of all Burlington residents and retain our ownership of this land.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:53 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Market St/ St Paul

Hello Marianne,

Thought I would remind council of the wonderful park in Bayfield which came about because a few determined and visionary folk decided to purchase lake front land so that generations of people who live in,or visit Bayfield ,regardless of wealth,could continue to enjoy the sunsets.

Please remind council that preserving access to the lake and its views for all the citizens of Burlington will benefit the entire city and not just a select few.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 09:12 PM To: Taylor, John

Subject: public waterfront land between Market and St Paul Streets

I would like to express my views regarding the upcoming council vote on the sale of the public waterfront land between Market and St Paul Streets which run behind three private properties. I would like to see Burlington honour the spirit of its ‘Waterfront Vision’ and vote in the best interests of the citizens by retaining this valuable land for our use. It has brought many hours of pleasure to me and my family as part of our natural waterfront, which is increasingly encroached and obstructed by development (for example the planned replacement of the old 3 storey Riviera hotel with a multi storied condo). One of the key attractions of this city is the waterfront, and we can only continue to benefit by maintaining this resource which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Vandalism etc is no more of an issue along this beachfront area than in other public places (it is more so, in fact, on the treed beach area which is hidden from street view opposite the hospital, in Central Park and now, at the far end of the pier in the late evening/early morning). The City can certainly afford to keep this area using some of the funds from the 9.8m park development fund. And I understand that the legal challenges regarding the seawall are not founded on any legal grounds. I look forward to an enlightened vote which will guard against the slow erosion of our public places by individual and corporate interests.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:48 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Market str./St.-Paul str.

In reference to the waterfront land between Market and St.-Paul street I urge council to reflect on their decision taken at the council meeting and preserve the Waterfront strip between the two windows to the lake for future generations and our children. Once sold, it cannot be reversed and will only benefit three home owners rather than the 175.000 Burlington residents and their descendants. My request and that of my neighbours DO NOT SELL THE WATERFRONT!! and make it accessible to the public!!

I trust you will do the right thing.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 6:18 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: St. Paul and Market Streets Parkette

Dear Marianne,


I’ve lived in the Port Nelson area for over 6 years now. I often walk and wish I had a better view of the lake on my walks.

Although I’m close to Lakeshore Rd. I cannot see the lake at all at the bottom of Beaver Street. I use to be able to see blue water from the street, until the home owner along the lake shore built a garden shed in the only spot that you could see through. Oh well – it’s their property to do with what they like – they bought the right to do that and paid for it.

The lake view from the Port Nelson Park is not the best as it is recessed in, but there are usually people enjoying the benches and the view. I often take my grandson there. I go to the end of Green St. and fight through rocks, bushes and lawn debris. It appears the property owners at the end of Green just use this as their disposal site. I often wish it was cleaned up so I could take a book down to the lake and sit on some rocks and enjoy some lake breeze.

When I walk to the end of St. Paul and Market Street I feel like I’m trespassing on private property. At the end of Market Street on the east side a fence goes right to the edge. I had no idea that there was a ‘parkette’ between these two streets. I had no idea the end of these streets were considered ‘Windows to the Lake’! Why has there never been any signage? It should have been marked as a public path. It seems this has been a well kept secret. The land concerned does not even show up on the maps that the city distributes to home owners when road work is being done. I see from the overhead picture of the area, that there appears to be a circular drive partially on the city ‘street land’ near the end of St Paul. At the end of Market St. there is a fence right to the edge totally blocking access. Whose chairs are sitting on the PUBLIC LAND? Who should have their

If the homeowners in question want property with lake frontage then they should sell their properties and go buy some. They knew when they purchased their properties that they did not own lake frontage nor did the price they had to pay reflect that of lake frontage costs. Does council realize what the addition of lake frontage would do to the value of these 3 properties? Everyone would love to have some lake frontage in Burlington. But those who have it are those who buy it – not those that demand and threaten to take over city land to get some! What about tax assessment? Since they have been treating this land as if they own it maybe they should have their property taxes reassessed to reflect that.

As you say in your Ward 2 Alert – why would city hall want to demolish private homes that aren’t even on the waterfront and then turn around and sell land that can only be sold to 3 homeowners – not even to a  highest bidder. If they did sell it – bidding should be open and fair and the city should get the best deal for tax payers as it can – however this land should never be allowed to slip from city ownership! Port Nelson is one of the original settlements that ended up becoming the City of Burlington. This ‘city owned property’ should have historical significance! Someday down the road Nelson Park could possibly be amalgamated with this parkette – who knows – some civic minded person could decide to leave some or all of their land to the city – there are only 2 properties separating the two areas now!

I cannot believe this property has always been available for public use!

I am totally against losing this parkette! This land should be accessible to all the tax payers of Burlington. It should not in any way become private property to the extremely high benefit of only 3 property owners! They did not buy lake front properties and have no right to them.

If the city is worried about vandalism and drunkenness then I guess they should close all parks and bike & walking trails. What a weak argument!

Thanks for looking out for the people of Ward 2 and the people of Burlington! I plan to send a similar letter to the mayor and all other councillors.

I can’t wait to be able to stroll along the lake in my neighbourhood.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 2:11 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick

Cc: Taylor, John; Craven, Rick;; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Objection to Proposed Sale of Waterfront Land

The purpose of this email is to voice our strong objections to the proposed sale of the waterfront land between Market and St Paul Streets.

If the City ever wishes to have a waterfront trail, now is the time to keep this property for our future enjoyment and not have to attempt to repurchase it when the price will be enormous.

Right now, this land is worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The neighbours are unlikely to compensate the City for anything near its true value. Surely, City Council has observed the asking price of lots even near Lake Ontario?

How can the City agree to sell property that is at least partially owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources?

The one advantage (to lawyers) to not selling is that countless lawyers could be employed dragging the case through the courts for years.

What happened to the street that ran along the north shore of Lake Ontario many years ago and was destroyed in a storm? Doesn’t that property still belong to Port Nelson or the City?

Do your duty to the residents now and in the future and vote against the sale. Waterfront land is priceless and should not be sold!

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:17 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: public waterfront land


Our grandchildren live in the Lakeshore area of Burlington.

We like to walk the beach areas and explore the waterfront with them. Please do not let a few people restrict public access to this wonderful waterfront area.

Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:00 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Ward2 Alert

Hi Marianne:

Thanks you so much for the information in the Ward 2Alert flyer. I would agree to retain the land in public hands if it facilitates a continuous waterfront trail for the future.


Subject: RE: Selling a rough cut diamond rather that adding it to Burlington’s crown jewels – unimaginatively myopic

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 10:16:57 -0400

Thanks Rick for your quick response to my missive.

In your note, item 2. I’d suggest the following. As their is no present connectivity between Port Nelson Park that in its-self, should not be an argument for disposing of this space.

As more and more people are being encouraged to to use the bike path and experience the extraordinary pleasure of walking that stretch of Lakeshore is an overwhelming reason to add more “Windows to the Lake” as the serenity that such a spaces provide are immeasurable for the well being of all.

For some to argue or propose that such space could be considered and lumped in the phase as stated “no potential anywhere else is not practical and feasible” Is unimaginative and myopic to restate my opinion. If the city own all the end parcel’s of land pointing at the lake – then they should signed and all be groomed for access.

All Burlington residents deserve and demand more access to the lake – not everybody is fortunate to live atop of such a magnificent vista – yet the move to close off such access is something nobody desires!

Once its gone – its gone forever. Developing the Parkette to be of more value to the residents is the raison d’être of those proclamations in the official plan.

Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:57 PM To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Retain the waterfront land in public hand we have been in Burlington for the last 10 years, owning a home close to the lake.

The lake and its public access to the lake is one of the most important features of Burlington. Hence I would encourage council to regain the lakefront parcel at every sale of a home located at the waterfront.

Therefore it is absolutely mandatory to keep already gained waterfront parcels and not to let them fall back into private ownership. We have watched the tireless but ultimately successful effort of communities in Germany to regain lakefront access for the public. It took them some decades but finally they succeeded.

Therefore we would like to encourage you not to let go and to keep the parcels in public hands.

Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:14 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Sale of public waterfront land in the city of Burlington


As a follow-up to your recent Ward 2 Alert flyer.

I am opposed to the sale of public waterfront land in the city of Burlington.

As a resident of Burlington (forget the fact that I live in Ward 2), I implore you not to sell this public access to the waterfront.

For as many years as my husband & I have lived here, I have lamented the fact that the city did not have the foresight to preserve the waterfront for everyone to see, access and just generally appreciate. The fact that we continue to develop property south of Lakeshore – thereby obliterating it from the view of everyone driving, walking or riding by – will always leave me feeling depressed. If development had always been restricted to the north side of Lakeshore Rd., not only would those people still have their ‘waterfront’ property, they would not have limited the spectacular view of our magnificent Lake Ontario to only themselves. Hindsight is often painful but surely it can teach us to do better in the future?

The fact that you have the opportunity to keep this access to public property suggests to me that you owe all of us citizens of Burlington to do precisely that – keep it.

The fact that it is already ours should make this decision a ‘no-brainer’.

The fact that your decision to not sell would both honour our City and Regional Official Plans underscores to me that you ought to be shamed into doing just that. Indeed, shame on you if you disregard both plans, begging the question “why bother having plans if they are constantly being over- ruled, ignored, or worse yet ‘bought’ by those who can well afford to get what they want”.

May I suggest you all give your heads a shake and wake up to the reality that having direct access to nature keeps us healthy in mind, body and soul. Since when did we ever come up with the idea that any one person owns the land we live on, the water we drink, the air we breathe? Wouldn’t we all be better served by focusing on being good stewards of all we’ve been given – to care for, to share, to enjoy and respect – and each other

Please make this time of thanksgiving a time I can celebrate my city’s leadership.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 9:02 PM

To: Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Sharman, Paul; Goldring, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Waterfront Properties


We regularly walk our dog in the neighbourhood, as do many of the people we meet on our walks.

We find Lakeshore Rd. quite busy, and would greatly appreciate a waterfront access to the park at the foot of Guelph Line.

It would be a crime if this publicly owned land falls into private hands, you could never get it back!

I am very sorry to be out of town this weekend, as we will be unable to attend the meeting on Tuesday.

Please save this small piece of lakefront for us!

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 7:25 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Ward 2Alert:sale of public waterfront land Hello Marianne,

Thank you for your update on the progress of the waterfront parcel at Market/St Paul streets.

I walked the property today and observed the following:

There is no safe, functional public pathway along the waterfront.

RESPONSE: There is a wide strip of grass for walking. The area is no less safe than Kerncliffe park (path along a cliff edge, no fencing) or Burloak Park (waterfront park, no fencing).

There is access to the property from the St Paul side.

There is no access on the Market side, as access is fully blocked by a fence running the whole length of the public land to the edge of the seawall, presumably installed by the homeowner there.

RESPONSE: that has been blocked by a resident. The city can reclaim access and require its removal at any time.

There is no evidence of lot lines separating public and private properties (fences, markers). Lawns and sitting areas are neatly maintained right up to the seawall over public land, presumably by the property owners for their personal enjoyment of the public property.

RESPONSE: This would have to be delineated. Some of the homes have fences along their back, some don’t.

There is no signage indicating the existence of public pathway or park anywhere. RESPONSE: This is part of the challenge. Many of our public parks aren’t well signed. We can improve this.

It would appear it has been this way for a very long time, at least back to 1990 when the homeowners built the seawall, or possibly before that. There is no evidence of public development of the waterfront in front of the private homes here.

Marianne, has there ever been a plan to develop this waterfront property for public use?

RESPONSE: The public have used it – the locals who know about it, a small group granted. This is the time to discuss a plan to ensure the proper signage – that the public knows this is their land and they are invited to use it.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 6:36 PM

To: Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Craven, Rick; Sharman, Paul; Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Responding to the Gazette

To our Mayor and Counselors,

I have great respect for our Mayor and City Counselors, and do not envy their position. Having attended the meeting, and listened to all of the thoughtful commentary (other than the legal closed-door information) we have to put our trust in the people that we elect. The vote was 6 to 1 because the majority of the counsellors and our Mayor believed, given all the facts presented to them, that this was in the best interests of the City. There was short script given to my presentation, but for clarity, we live near Nelson park. Our property has been vandalized twice, one reported to police, we are constantly picking up alcohol bottles off our property, including broken glass on the break wall, and we catch people trespassing almost every week during the summer. We have cameras now because a lady was badly assaulted near our property a couple of years ago by a gang 14 teens who apparently congregated at Nelson Park. Our police are busy, we can’t possibly expect them to walk down the hillside every Friday and Saturday night and round-up the teenagers, but we don’t need to add to the problem. If you count the Windows to the Lake, there are 3 parks within 6 homes. The comment about expanding the pathway east is a nonstarter and disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Owners have riparian rights which were paid for. Thank you for this opportunity to share my comments.

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 2:00 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Public Waterfront Land

We live on Lakeshore Road and have greatly enjoyed the Window on the lake.

We are now retired, and often walk down St. Paul to enjoy the view, but are hesitant to continue along the lake towards Market Street, as the present lake front owners are somewhat possessive. This summer, accompanied with some out-of-town guests, we did venture along towards Market Street.

Upon reaching the middle home, we were met by the owner, first wanting to know who we were, and then explaining that they built /owned the Sea wall. (having lived here before they moved in, I knew they hadn`t build it )

I understand their position, but don`t believe other taxpayers in the area should be denied the pleasure of enjoying this beautiful view, and a lakefront walk that would benefit everyone in the area.

We have not experienced any vandalism, drunkenness, or excess noise along the sea wall since we have lived here. If your numbers are correct,( $182,000 plus $7500 annually), the only reasonable decision, would be to proceed with the park development. ( Small price for such a large benefit)

Denying the public access to one of life`s rightful pleasures just seems wrong and un Canadian

Please accept this as our vote for Council to keep this land and continue to beautify Burlington for all its residents

Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 12:41 AM

To: Craven, Rick

Cc:; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Waterfront Parkette Nonsense

Dear Mr.Craven.

Thank you for your sensible vote re not wasting 9.8 million dollars on an illogical parkette. If the recent voting was 6 to 1 in favour of no parkette, why is counsel wasting more time on this?

The rational thought flows from the following points:

– Within blocks there are two public green spaces visible from the street, (Sioux Lookout,Port Nelson) which utilize land in a more logical design than a hidden six-foot strip behind 3 lots.

– The two above have accessible and suitable parking spaces without risk of street parking blocking other residential driveways. How would people turn around on Market & St .Paul streets without using private driveways, if cars are lining the roads?

– As a prior Roseland resident I never saw over crowding in either of the before mentioned locations.

– News reports indicate the following problems; difficulties in providing a clean environment for the enjoyment for those who choose to use these sites now and the neighborhood disruption caused by teenage late night partying.

– It is obvious from the photo(on Marianne Ward Meed’s website) that the height of the break wall would create a serious safety issue to anyone who took the time to hunt down the new parkette behind the 3 lots. This implies the lion’s share of the 9 million dollars would be spent on elaborate structure to provide a valid measure of safety. How would this provide enjoyment of the waterfront?

The potential problems resulting from the creation of an off street hidden location which will be virtually impossible to police could have a serious impact on the city’s liability insurance. One lawsuit from a late night assault or drowning will be enough to eliminate any reserves and increase future premiums dramatically. In this case the city would be spending money to create a liability.

Are the current adjacent green spaces so crammed that we need to spend 9.8 million dollars to add this many potential problems? The money should be spent on issues where problems are eliminated by the expenditure.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:14 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] council should keep the water front land

Dear Marianne

Thank you for your stand on the water front land between Market st. and St Paul street. I agree whole heartedly with you

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:59 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Shoreline Property

Ironically my husband & I stood at the end of the pier tonight contemplating our beautiful shoreline. We believe, as do you, this shoreline should be for the enjoyment of all residents. Please encourage council to not sell out. Once gone, we will never get it back. Our green space is precious. We are thankful for your long term awareness and commitment to our community & our families.

Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 4:16 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Sale of Public Waterfront Land

Thank you for the informative information. I was not aware of this issue. I am a resident on East Side Crescent and take my granddaughter to the parkette at the end of Guelph Line often. I walk and she rides her bike. We love looking out over the lake and watching the boats, ducks and geese.

I would appreciate your vote as “NO”. So much of our public lands are being destroyed by new development. Once sold it would be impossible to ever get this parcel back. Let’s be realistic. A Public waterfront trail would be an excellent idea. This would, promote family night or weekend outings (both walking and biking) and encourage more valuable family time and healthy living.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 3:34 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE Proposed land sale ..Market & St Paul Sts.

We disagree with the proposed sale.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 12:52 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Park land

Marianne, I vote to keep the Market/ St Paul St. Park in the hands of the city because once lost, it can never be regained and with the growth of the cities population in the coming years and the increasing number of seniors the city needs all the park it can afford to maintain. It’s too valuable to sell!

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:50 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Market/St Paul lakefront public land Hi Marianne,

I highly support retaining the lakefront public land between Market and St Paul. I am shocked that

City council would even consider selling it. Burlington is the city that exemplifies preserving and developing waterfront land for the use and visual enjoyment of the residents. It has been a model for other communities. Council has lost sight of their own vision! This space is needed for the continuous waterfront trail. What are they thinking!!!! It does look like one of the residents at the bottom of Market on the east side is already using the land. They are landscaped to the lake and their fence goes right to the lake with no access. How wide is the strip of land in question? I do know the access at the bottom of St Paul (in the picture on your newsletter) however I did not know that strip was owned by the city. Does the city own the strip of lakefront from St Paul to the park at the bottom of Guelph Line? Just thought I’d pass along my thoughts … I certainly hope enough people speak up and support keeping the land.

Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 11:56 PM

To: Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Jack.Dennison@burlington.caE-mail; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Meeting of October 15, 2013

I live in Burlington. I am very proud of the wonderful job the city has done when creating the beautiful waterfront park, Spencer Smith Park. However, it is too small. The greatest cities have wide open spaces along the water’s edge. “I Imagine Burlington” is an initiative. We need to imagine Burlington with as many pubic open spaces as possible. It is worth keeping them and spending money on them.

A parkette on the Waterfront between Market St. and St. Paul St. Burlington should not be lost. Private landowners want to sue the city or obtain ownership. It is reported that council seems to be voting to give up the property.

I do not want this property to go to private hands. It should be kept for the people of Burlington. It could be used as an open space, a quiet place for the public. We shouldn’t lose any public property on the lake. It will be harder to open up public areas on the lake in the future. Many of us can imagine our children wanting public spaces in the future.

If you have ever seen beautiful cities like Sydney, Australia you would understand what cities can be.

Please do not vote to sell the property.

This is an aside, that no one in Canada can produce a deed that says they own land up to the water. There is a bill called Great Lakes Shoreline Right of Passage Act. I hope it will be presented soon by MPP Kim Craitor. I hope it passes.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 6:04 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: Market St., St. Paul St waterfront

It would be a very poor action to sell any city owned water front. The current windows are used as a yard waste dumping ground and people are discouraged from using them. If the city did develop the land it would become an important part of the waterfront and be used by my family and may others who use all of the waterfront trails. A diversity of trails are needed and this would be unique in the area.

I am sure the current land owners want the land for themselves. But it is public land on the waterfront and should remain as such. Oakville has done a very good job of getting ownership of the waterfront. While it will take decades to accomplish taking a step back like this would be a huge disservice to the current and future residence of Burlington.

Date: October 9, 2013 4:08:59 PM EDT


Subject: To sell or not to sell

It is fundamentally wrong to let individuals own land that extends to the water. No matter how wealthy one might be, shorelines should be public property, not private property.

My wife and I once lived in a house in downtown Oakville (rented a flat in it). The property was beautiful and was owned by very wealthy people. In fact, we had our wedding reception in the backyard. We also enjoyed taking our canoe through the back gate, crossing the public pathway and putting it in the water to paddle along the shoreline and around the pier and up the 16. There is no way in the world the end of that gorgeous property should ever belong to anyone other than the Town of Oakville or the provincial government. The same holds true in Burlington where we have lived on Seneca since 1984.

Shorelines should not be allowed to fall into the hands of the wealthy because they already have plenty, and those of us who haven’t a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever owning lakefront property, count on people like you to keep that land in the public domain. I don’t expect to ever set foot on it, but I should be able to do so if I want. The owners could easily build a fence or plant a hedge. They really don’t need to have it all. They should have learned how to share when they were kids.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for the update Marianne,

Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 6:21 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: waterfront property

In the future, what do we wish for our city of Burlington with respect to walk able areas, parks and green space? I was very disappointed to read last week that our council voted against keeping a piece of city owned property that fronts onto Lake Ontario. If the city sells this land, it will become exclusive to three households. If the city is forward thinking and keeps this property, it can be a beginning of safeguarding water front that can be enjoyed by all residents of Burlington.

Have any of our councillors ever travelled to cities (to name only a few) such as Edmonton, Calgary, Hamilton, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Vancouver? And then walked along the waterfronts that these cities have created for all of their citizens?

For example, in the upscale neighbourhood of West Vancouver, the Centennial seawall stretches for 1.7km with a width of about 4 metres that borders the bay and on the other side, is separated from the residential area by a fence and hedges. It even includes a separate dog run for some of the way.

It is very simple. Where would you prefer to walk? Along a busy, car dominant street or beside a beautiful body of water and green space

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 6:53 AM

To: Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne; Office of Mayor Rick Goldring

Subject: Water St Parcel

Dear Councillor Lancaster,

I am aware of the recent committee motion to dispose of the Water St Parcel to the abutting property owners.

Thank you for voting in favour of the motion!!!

I am in total support of this motion as it would generate money for the City to use in other wards and for the benefit of all taxpayers rather than a few local residents. We do not need a 4th park within 6 houses that only a few residents can use.

Burlington has many waterfront parks and we need to look after the ones we have!

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Please do not sell waterfront land between Market and St. Paul

Dear Mayor and Councilors

Please do not sell the parcel of waterfront land between Market and St. Paul streets. I am a resident of this area at 345 Delaware and had no idea that this was public land. The neighbouring residents have encroached on this parcel with landscaping, furniture and a fence that blocks access. Please do not reward this encroachment and assumed privilege by these residents.

This parcel would make a welcome addition to this neighbourhood as it affords a lovely unobstructed view of the lake. I am certain that many residents would love to walk this loop between the 2 streets were it not for the fence. I support the development of this parcel for public use. Once a sale of waterfront is made, it is difficult if not impossible to get it back.

I am thankful to Ms. Meed Ward for bringing it to the attention of residents.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:43 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: I am opposed to the sale of waterfront between Market & St. Paul

I am opposed to the sale of waterfront between Market & St. Paul.

The benefits of the sale for the property owners are obvious and significant.

The benefits of the sale to the city are minimal. And the cost – loss of waterfront – is incalculable. Voting to sell this land is selling our public legacy

Stop doing this.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:03 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: Ward 2Alert:sale of public waterfront land Marianne,


This is a very valuable, rare piece of real estate. I believe it should not be sold , and should be developed for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors and with a clear plan of action to achieve that.

If it is to be sold, the Council needs to ensure that the taxpayers gets full value for this world-class recreational public property. It is a Gem!

I appreciate your standing up for this opportunity.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:14 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE Sale of lake front

Hello Marianne. I do not want the waterfront property sold to the three house owners OR ANYONE. Retain the land and expand the water front park(s). Thanks for the opportunity of this input

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:56 AM

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling Land on the lake

Hi Jack, have just read Marianne Meeds newletter and the piece about selling waterfront land I

STRONGLY believe that once the city owns the land it should NEVER be let go of….a continuous lakefront pathway along the lake always makes a city more attractive. In fact I feel that as homeowners do not own the land directly on the lakeshore (as far as I have always heard and believed) that a continuous path should be made on the lake without “buying” land. As for the owner that built the seawall. He broke the law by doing so and is now trying to hold the city hostage….great plan if he can get away with it. Allowing him to do this will only encourage others to look for ways around our laws….this would be a definite NO vote from me.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:45 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam]

Marianne, Thanks for your efforts. Of course we need to save our waterfront

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Waterfront/Parkette

Developing a Parkette behind these 3 waterfront properties is just as crazy as when a few months ago Council wanted to take away the turning lane on Lakeshore Road to make way for bike lanes.

Why not improve Port Nelson Park, remove the trees from the end of Market Street and Green Street. This will provide access to the waterfront for many . I’ve lived on St. Paul Street for

18 years and nothing like this has ever happened. The waterfront property has been looked after by all three residents including the gentleman who lives at 221 St. Paul and ourselves. If the city

takes over this Parkette – it will look terrible – will not be maintained as it is now. Please do not make any changes to this area – leave it as is – and don’t sell the land.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:13 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Market and St Paul waterfront property

Good morning Marianne

I am glad to hear the windows will be retained, but feel the parkette between them should not be sold. It’s a shame the owners have landscaped their properties in such a way as to mask the public path…in fact, you feel as though you’re trespassing on private property. I’d leave it as is…don’t sell it. This will set a precedent for other owners of “lake front” property.

Many thanks for the informative brochure.

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling Land on the lake

Hi Jack, have just read Marianne Meeds newsletter and the piece about selling waterfront land I

STRONGLY believe that once the city owns the land it should NEVER be let go of….a continuous lakefront pathway along the lake always makes a city more attractive. In fact I feel that as homeowners do not own the land directly on the lakeshore (as far as I have always heard and believed) that a continuous path should be made on the lake without “buying” land. As for the owner that built the seawall. He broke the law by doing so and is now trying to hold the city hostage….great plan if he can get away with it. Allowing him to do this will only encourage others to look for ways around our laws….this would be a definite NO vote from me.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:03 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: Ward 2Alert:sale of public waterfront land Marianne,


This is a very valuable, rare piece of real estate. I believe it should not be sold , and should be developed for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors and with a clear plan of action to achieve that.

If it is to be sold, the Council needs to ensure that the taxpayers gets full value for this world-class recreational public property. It is a Gem!

I appreciate your standing up for this opportunity. Let me know if I can provide any further support.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Please do not sell waterfront land between Market and St. Paul

Dear Mayor and Councilors,

Please do not sell the parcel of waterfront land between Market and St. Paul streets. I am a resident of this area on Delaware and had no idea that this was public land. The neighbouring residents have encroached on this parcel with landscaping, furniture and a fence that blocks access. Please do not reward this encroachment and assumed privilege by these residents

This parcel would make a welcome addition to this neighbourhood as it affords a lovely unobstructed view of the lake. I am certain that many residents would love to walk this loop between the 2 streets were it not for the fence. I support the development of this parcel for public use. Once a sale of waterfront is made, it is difficult if not impossible to get it back.

I am thankful to Ms. Meed Ward for bringing it to the attention of residents.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:56 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne


Subject: Newsletter feedback

Hi Marianne:

Here is some feedback on your newsletter. Waterfront land – don’t sell – keep it for public use

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:25 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Lands

Hello Ms. MeedWard – I am definitely in favour of having all waterfront lands kept in public hands. We are most fortunate to have our beautiful waterfront and it should be preserved for all citizens of Burlington to enjoy and not just a privileged few.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:14 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Council poised to sell public waterfront land Hello Marianne

Hopefully this is not to let, I but feel the Waterford should be for the public to enjoy now and for future generations.

I think Burlington council should vote to not sell the land.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 1:41 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Public Waterfront Land

I would like it noted that I do NOT wish to sell the public waterfront land to three private homeowners. I feel that this is Burlington Land for the use of almost 200,000 persons, not the private domain of 3 person who happen to live beside it. I have no idea why you would think it is important to sell – you cannot get the land back. Keep it, maintain it with access from the two street ends – and have another reason to live in Burlington. You are taking away our waterfront, piece by piece. PLEASE maintain this as a small Burlington gem. This is my vote to keep the property in the hands of the ‘people’ not a few persons.

To:; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: In support of selling parcel of land between Market Street & St. Paul

Dear Councillors,

I am in favour of selling the parcel of land between Market Street & St. Paul Street. It is secluded and would only benefit a small percentage of Burlington residence.

I am strongly in favour of investing in Port Nelson Park to make it more attractive and improve the usability of the parkette. This space has great potential and the base infrastructure already exists.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:55 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Meed Ward, Marianne; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Cc: gordon fraser

Subject: Please do NOT sell waterfront property

Good Morning Mayor and Councillors;

Please do not sell the waterfront lot. It should remain public property.

Have you been to the waterfront properties lately? Have you seen how incredibly popular they are, 7 days a week? What a shame to throw away this opportunity to further add to our open space along the lake.

However,  If you do go ahead and vote to sell it, as a taxpayer I would expect you would have 3 independent real estate agents appraise this prime waterfront property for current maximum market value and would have it sold at NO discount, to maximize city profit. I would expect this process would be fully public and should not be an ‘in camera’ decision.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:51 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Dennison, Jack; Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Sharman, Paul

Subject: Water Street Parcel

City of Burlington – Office of the Mayor <> Jack Dennison <>

Blair Lancaster <> Paul Sharman <> Rick Craven <> John Taylor <>

Marianne Meed Ward <>

Dear Councillor Meed Ward,

I have been a Burlington resident for over 50 years (and until just recently) always within walking distance of the Water St Parcel and Port Nelson Park.

My parents have also lived in the same area for 85 years.

I am very familiar with this area and am very disappointed with your recent vote at Committee.

Why would you ever consider spending taxpayer money to develop yet another waterfront park in that area when within a 3 km area we have Sioux Lookout Park ,Port Nelson Park and Spencers Park?

With the 2 new Windows on the Lake parks there will be 3 waterfront parks within a couple hundred feet. Since there is no parking in the Market St and St Paul St area, this can only be used by residents who live very close by. I think 3 parks is more than enough for local residents. Also, in my daily walk/drive by, Port Nelson Park appears hardly used by locals or folks who can park there. However I do see plenty of empty alcohol and beer bottles. The issue of safety and vandalism in your proposed hidden park would be a nightmare for the whole neighbourhood.

The money you talk about in Burlington’s “park fund” should be used to upgrade existing parks that can benefit all of Burlington residents, ie more handicapped parking, shelter for seniors etc.

We seldom see this level of response to an issue and it is rare indeed for one Council member to be the focal point for an issue, which is admittedly in her ward, but is a city-wide matter.  Burlington continually talks of its Escarpment and waterfront as being what makes it hugely different from any other city in the province.  Meed Ward appears to be the only member of this Council who has chosen to be firm on a matter of principle.

There are those who do not feel this matter is over yet.  The price that is to be paid for the land is not yet known and the matter of easements and other issues on title do not appear to be fully resolved.  Will the public find that Staff have not done their homework and that there are issues that might prevent this sale?  And – is it an election issue?

Previously published stories:

Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront property.

Selling price fr waterfront property not announced.

Committee decision to sell waterfront property now goes to Council. 

Staff report advises city to keep waterfront property; leasing is an option




Return to the Front page

The Senate mess: what can we expect next?

October 31, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  This has been a crazy week in Canadian politics.  it wouldn’t surprise me if Joe Oliver, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, who returned from a trade mission to China last week, pulled another free-trade deal out of his hip pocket.  This one, to be signed in time for the ‘Year of the Horse‘ (Jan 31, 2014), would allow China unlimited access to the oil sands, including permission to build whatever pipelines they need to move the bitumen.  In exchange, China will have to assume responsibility for the management of the Canadian Senate and its senators.

The Senate, an appointed body that can revise any government bill except a money bill. It was intended to be a chamber that took a longer second look at government legislation. In the past few years it has become a place where appointed men and women abuse rules designed to manage their spending.

And who doesn’t sympathize with the PM?  How frustrating it must be when you stuff the Senate with handpicked disciples only to find they have turned on you; just like what happened to Julius Caesar on the Ides of March.  I know these senators are just having sober second-thoughts about being party to their own expulsions from the Senate but still – what a lack of gratitude.  Anyway, it makes for great drama and the PM and his crowd have given the Canadian TV networks a flood of new viewers feeding on the daily revelations of Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau and the ever-creative denials and contradictions by the PM.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave…”  Did Harper dismiss Nigel Wright or had he resigned as was the first story?  Were Wallin’s expenses in order as the PM originally said or were they false claims as he now maintains?  How many people in the PMO knew about the $90,000 cheque to Duffy?  My rule of thumb is that if you have to keep changing your story, you weren’t being fully truthful in the first place. 

Stephen Harper is a meddler – not the kind to leave well enough alone, which makes him his own worst enemy.  And when a meddler is consumed with trying to get things perfect – they rarely turn out that way.  Think back to the G-8 meetings in 2010 where despite the government’s infatuation with making Canada look good, spending a tonne of money in the process, the nasty riots and disturbing violations of human rights are the only things we remember. 

Harper is well-known to be a micro-manager, which is why nobody believes that he wasn’t involved in the $90,000 cheque to Duffy.  More than that he is a control freak going so far as to treat the Senate as an extension of his Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).      But try as his loyal subjects, in the Senate, are trying, they will not likely be able to suspend the senators in question until Monday, which means that his appearance at the Conservative convention this weekend will be overshadowed by this issue.

And that means that the PM will come back next week with the Senate debacle still ongoing, and him having to find more answers to questions he wishes would just go away – questions like did you orchestrate that big cheque for Duffy, and why?  Or why would the PM compensate Duffy for repayment of wrongfully claimed expenses?  The answer may well have to wait until the RCMP complete their investigation, or until Nigel Wright finally has had enough and comes out of the closet, singing like a canary.

Stephen Harper in Calgary earlier in his career.

What a mess, and one that could most likely have been avoided.  Some have compared this affair to Watergate, though that is way over-the-top. This little tempest is unlikely to break the tea pot where our PM has been living – he’ll survive.  The latest polls show almost no effect among the Tory faithful.

Still this kind of political drama isn’t good for the PM or his party as they pass the midway point in their term in office, and it has given Mulcair an opportunity to finally show his stuff.  As for China taking over the Senate, rest assured that is not one of the options the PM put to the Supreme Court.  Besides, the Chinese would not be that foolish, even though it is called the Red Chamber.

 Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:  Joe Oliver in China  Polls



Return to the Front page

Electronic polling by the city: a good opportunity for citizen over site and engagement.

October 27, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  City Hall is getting into electronic public opinion polling.  They are going to create a panel of 5,000 citizens who will be asked a series of questions from time to time.  Citizens will be able to respond from their cell phone, tablets, lap tops and desk tops.  The only media you won’t be able to use is Morse code.  This service, expected to roll out before the end of the year is going to be called Insight Burlington.

It’s an approach that is certainly worth looking at – what are the possible downsides to this?

At the public meeting where the plans were passed along to the public 50+ people made it clear they didn’t want this service run by the politicians.

They wanted to know who would decide what the questions should be?  How much of the data would the public actually get to see and who would be accountable for what gets done with both the inputs and the outputs.  Mark Twain often used a phrase thought to have been coined by former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

That pretty well sums up the public perception of survey information which is something city hall is going to have to deal with.

Are surveys an example of a city council governing by polls?  Do surveys become mini-referendums that result in policy?  Where does political leadership come into play?  If one went by the letters to the editor in a local newspaper when the pier was going through a very difficult patch (mostly the result of terrible project management on the part of the city – but that’s another story) the structure would have been torn down.  Go out on the pier at almost any time of day and ask people if they think the project should have been scrapped?

A collection of opinions is a snapshot of where thinking is at a particular moment and depends heavily on a public being fully informed.  Hard to call Burlington a fully informed city – the Shape Burlington report that came out just over three years ago identified a significant “information deficit” that no one would claim has been anywhere near resolved.

Julian Marquis was heavily involved in the development of the Citizen Engagement Charter and registered to be on of the 5,000 people who will be part of the Insight Burlington initiative.

When the public gets told that the city did not live up to its usual high standard of communications during the debate on the sale of the Water Street properties one is tempted to ask – and why was that?  The question was not asked.

The flow of information and the balance that flow is given is critical.  The city spends close to $1 million on communications when you include their advertising, salaries and printing costs.  That allows the city to tell its story in the way it chooses to tell the story.

Will City Hall have the same tight grip on this electronic medium?  Is there room here for some civilian oversight?  Could well be.

About a year ago the city could not handle the flak that was coming out of the very differing opinions on historical homes and the way they were being put on registries with some property owners thinking their homes would be designated as historical and see a diminished value placed on them.  The city failed miserably to educate the public but did have the foresight to re-organize the Heritage Advisory Committee and tasked it with cleaning up the mess.

And clean it up they did.  That Advisory Committee did such a tremendous job that the members of city council actually gave them a standing ovation and a significant budget to complete the job which is going to include creating a web site that will tell Burlington’s stories and how they relate to historical properties.

It is clear that wisely constituted advisory committee can work.

Because there is some well-founded concern over who is going to determine what questions get asked with the electronic polling panel does it not makes solid sense for there to be some citizen oversight right from the beginning?

The city has an Engagement Charter that is marooned somewhere in city hall where it is now just a document gathering dust.  It needs to be brought out and given a little exercise and made live and relevant.

So why not create an Advisory Committee that would be responsible for the intelligent use of the Engagement Charter and for citizen over site of the Insight Burlington operation.  You can bet that the council members will look for ways to ask questions in such a way that they get the answers they want to approve the actions they want to take.  They do it now during citizen delegations where there is just the one citizen standing before Council.  Imagine what they will do when they say there are 5,000 people who see it their way?

We can think of at least one person on Council who would jump at this idea and two of the potential candidates in the municipal election who would see merit in this.  They might even make it part of their platform.

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The New Battle in the Online Payment Sphere: Amazon vs PayPal

October 26, 2013

By James Burchill

BURLINGTON, ON.  Amazon has launched a service called Login and Pay with Amazon which allows partner sites to enable a Pay with Amazon payment button that can process purchases through the Amazon system. This competes directly with PayPal and merchant services and could become a serious competitor for eBay’s payment processing giant. It’s also something that could give Amazon a third income arm to augment the warehousing sales and cloud services it has built its business on.

Amazon moves into yet another sphere of the online commerce world: payment services.

The new Login and Pay with Amazon combines the current Amazon payments services with a new login service similar to Google or Twitter login systems for websites. Together, the combined services offer a one-stop integration for Web payments in a way similar to how PayPal’s payments button works.

This will allow Amazon’s business partners to tap into the 215 million active customer accounts that the company has on tap. According to Tom Taylor, Vice President, Amazon Payments, ‘Login and Pay with Amazon enables companies to make millions of our customers their customers by inviting online shoppers with Amazon credentials to access their account information safely and securely with a single login.’

Until now, Amazon payments services have directed users to Amazon’s website to authorize the purchase – if you’ve invested in Kickstarter projects, you’ve no doubt seen this in action. This new setup works the same way, but doesn’t require the site redirect and can work in a window or directly on the merchant’s site.

On top of the payments option, this new login service also means that websites can accept Amazon credentials as a login, in the same way they use Facebook, Twitter or Google login authentication. This opens up possibilities for a whole cottage industry of services working in and around Amazon’s consumer offerings like streaming video, audio, etc. Since it works through a simple oAuth implementation, developers will have no difficulty adding it to a site. Amazon’s inclusion of their A to Z Guarantee for this authentication service will only bolster consumer confidence.

For those who travel, you’ll see the new Login and Pay with Amazon in action when you use Gogo WiFi in flight on an air flight later this year – the company plans to have it implemented before the big holiday season of flying begins next month.

For its part, PayPal is not sitting on its laurels waiting to be ousted from the market. The company recently acquired BrainTree, a cross-site payments solution, and has unveiled a physical payment option that can be used in brick-and-mortar retail establishments to pay for goods and services. This would allow small businesses to accept payments via PayPal by having their phone or register bill the client or the client can pay and their phone will produce a QR code that the clerk at the register can scan to complete the transaction. A random four-number code can also be produced which can then be entered into the keypad of the credit card reader at the register to complete the sale.

Still, with Amazon now horning in on their core business, PayPal must be worried. Amazon, meanwhile, is poised to take yet another big chunk of the web’s profit potential and add it to their portfolio.

James Burchill creates communities and helps businesses convert conversations into cash.  He’s also an author, speaker, trainer and creator of the Social Fusion Network™ an evolutionary free b2b networking group with chapters across southern Ontario.  He blogs at and can be found at the or behind the wheel of his recently acquired SMART car.

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Horse racing in Ontario: They’ve been at the post for years – then the starting gates were almost closed.

October 26, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  There was time when the only way you could place a bet was to go a horse race.  That was before Trudeau liberalized the criminal code, in 1969, bringing us into the modern age and decriminalizing abortion, homosexuality and lotteries all in one fell swoop.  Prior to that it was strictly illegal to place a bet on anything.  

I recall watching my parents stash away tickets they held for the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes, a complicated lottery based on horse races, illegal pretty well everywhere but Ireland, but which earned its big money overseas.

Slot machine revenue subsidizes race track operations.

Gambling is now very big business. In 2011 Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) turned in $6.7 billion.  Another quarter of a billion came from horse racing.  Horse racing is mostly located in rural areas and so less accessible to the average urbanite.  The forms and betting are complicated, the seasons periodic and the industry heavily regulated.  So, it was inevitable that horse racing would get dwarfed by the dollars rolling in from slot machines and the lotteries, especially when they co-located. 

But horse racing is more than just gambling, it is part of our culture.  If slots and lotteries didn’t exist, it is a safe bet that racing would be far more popular.  When slot machines were introduced at race tracks a portion of the money they brought in was used to help finance the racing business.   However, when former Premier McGuinty set up the Drummond Commission to help him cut the deficit, the subsidies for horse racing were high on the list of things to eliminate.

Despite the need for subsidies, horse racing is an important agricultural industry which generates significant employment underpinning the existence of many of Ontario’s rural communities.  It is estimated that over 30,000 jobs are associated with the horse racing industry which expends over $1.2 billion a year, making this Ontario’s third largest agricultural industry.  Ontario claims to have more race events than any other jurisdiction in North America.  So when the axe fell and the cuts were announced, horse farmers and the agricultural community mounted a public relations campaign to save their industry. 

The horse racing community mounted a strong protest and the government took a second look – out came a compromise which the racing community calls a partnership.

A little over a week ago Ontario Premier Wynne responded to that campaign by bringing forward a plan to restructure Ontario’s horse racing industry to make it more sustainable  and economically viable.  The settlement is not everything the industry wanted, these things never are, and some people had already exited the industry.  Still a subsidy was re-instated and funding was guaranteed for a five-year period, giving stability to the industry. 

Gambling is a big revenue earner, which is why even the Bob Rae New Democrats embraced it back when Ontario was suffering its worst recession since the dirty thirties. Annually about $2 billion of the money that comes in goes back out to help fund our health care system and other government priorities.  Another $2 billion supports local economic development where Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) facilities are located and about $65 million is spent on gambler education, research and treatment.

One could argue that gambling is a natural process.  Every time we get behind the wheel or into an airplane we are gambling with our lives.  And what is the stock market or any investment but a gamble by another name.  Placing a bet is a voluntary action by individuals supposedly responsible enough to manage their affairs.  And if not, there are programs to help the chronic, problem gamblers get their lives straight again. 

There are trotter training operations dotted throughout rural Ontario.

Over two-thirds of Ontario residents gamble at least once a year, although that might involve no more than purchasing a lottery ticket.  And the poor are believed to gamble more than the wealthy thus leading to the label, gambling is a tax on the poor.  Interestingly enough the rise in gambling activity over the years has been associated with the increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor in our North American society.  But it would be a huge overstatement to blame gambling for that sad consequence.  Clearly erosion of the progressive tax system and the introduction of regressive consumer taxes in Canada have weighed-in heavily on that phenomena.

Horse racing is an ancient sport. Its origins date back to about 4500 BC among the nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia, who first domesticated the horse. Since then, horse racing has flourished as the sport of kings. In the USA horse racing is one of the most widely attended spectator sports; over 50 million people attend racing events and wager billions.

That we came close to losing our horse racing industry here in Ontario is frightening.  Hopefully the new plan will allow the industry to focus on attracting more participants to watch the magnificent horses and, if so inclined, to bet on the races. I enjoy doing both, the latter in moderation.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Addtional information

Horse racing subsidies

Guaranteed funding for a five-year period.

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Has the city had a problem with their Windows on the Lake signage – couldn’t find any to use?

October 21, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Burlington has a signage policy and a design standard that is applied to all the signs that get put up throughout the city directing people to different places.

The city has modern looking, informative signage throughout the city.

The design is neat, modern looking and conveys the information more than adequately.

Where those signs get put up and where they don’t get put up is something that has confused many people.

No city signage on this piece of city owned property. Plans are in place to make a proper Window on the Lake at this location.

The two road allowances, one on Market Street and one on St. Paul south of Lakeshore Road have been in place for more than 50 years but there has never been a sign indicating that the property is public.

On the contrary people have gotten away with putting up boulders and driveways on what is city land without city hall doing anything.

There is excellent signage on Northshore Blvd where there is a Window on the Lake.

The city has known about the road allowances for years.  The former Waterfront Access Protection Advisory Committee (WAPAC) was the group that in recent times took action to get something done about the way public property was almost being denied to the public – most people who walked in the area did not know the land was owned by the city.

It almost appears as if the city actually wanted it that way.

Good signage at Sioux Lookout on LAkeshore Road – a short distance from the Market Street and St. Paul Street road allowances that should have been marked as public property.

While the sale of the city owned land behind the three homes that front onto the lake is not yet a done deal, the Windows on the Lake are a done deal and the public can expect to see signage and benches in place.  Councillor Dennison wanted the benches to be minimalist – like one bench – let’s not encourage people to actually use the space.

The deliberate decision to do nothing to make those road allowances open to the public should shame all members of Council.  The Mayor, Councillor Meed Ward and Councillor Craven sat on WAPAC and they were certainly aware of the issue.

It was the hard work of Les Armstrong and his colleagues that got the hard data in place and a document with recommendations in front of city hall.  It took more than a year for the WAPAC recommendation to turn into a Staff Report that Council debated last week – but at least a wrong has been righted

The sale of the city owned land has been a very recent issue – one that sort of snuck up on the public.  Was it planned that way?  If the residents who are looking for a way to get this issue before a tribunal for a fairer loo succeed the citizens of Burlington might win on all levels.

When the city wants you to go somewhere they put up excellent signage. When there is no signage – could that be because the city doesn’t want you on the property – or could it be because the adjacent property owners don’t want you there?

The upside of this mess is that the Windows on the Lake can be created any time now.  They don’t have to wait until the land sale gets settled.

Might we see those two Windows on the Lake in place for the spring of 2014?

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A ‘flu shot’ is not the only way to beat the bug. Naturopaths recommend herbal medicines to combat flu.

October 18, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayden.

BURLINGTON, ON   In light of the looming cold and flu season, I am interjecting with a brief mention of a promising, true and tested approach to improve one’s health (and I’m talking about thousands of years here folks, not a time frame to take lightly). Granted traveling south for the winter may be the most attractive option, running from those pesky winter viruses and bugs won’t ultimately fix what may already be broken. We all should know that a whole person approach to a healthier more robust system should be first and foremost, yet it’s often quite evident that what we know is best for one self, due to lack of time, motivation, commitment and effort, is, for some, sometimes a lot easier said than done…


Reference to fighting a cold or flu is often a primary focus for many. The immune compromising winter season is one which too often places unnecessary and  undue stress on our bodies. One may argue that getting sick or catching colds build the immune system and is beneficial, which to an extent may be true. However wouldn’t you prefer to reap the same benefits by doing so without ever needing to get sick? Within the Naturopathic Medical (and Natural living) realm, the realization of this can be achieved, and often with simple ease; strengthening our innate and adaptive immunity whist keeping happy and healthy throuOne may argue that getting sick or catching colds build the immune system and is beneficial, which to an extent may be it all. Why position ourselves to have to fight these bugs, when we can utilize and take advantage of their unwanted effects to better our overall health?


Herbal medicine is a practice that will help achieve this common goal


Herbalism is utilized to incorporate the vaccination stimulating effects of cold and flu viruses in order to ramp the immune system while simultaneously building immunity to those pesky cold and flu season bugs. Think of it similar (relative perspective here) to getting a vaccination shot; the bug or virus enters the body, provides a stimulus to our immune system, enough to create a resistance to its current and future presence, yet without the effects of making us sick. Enter the herbal medicine perspective; Cold and flu bugs are inhaled and enter the body day-to-day from those around us who may be infected by a cold or are sick. Specific herbs taken prophylactically allow the body’s immune defenses to become stimulated and build immunity to various cold and flu strains, yet due to the stimulation and balancing effects of concentrated herbals, the immune system is strong enough not to allow these ‘bugs’ to take over and make us sick.


Herbal medicines are not injected – they are swallowed.

Basic facts about herbal medicine for a better immune

Most immune herbals are safe when used as outlined on the bottle.

Little to no contraindications exist when using these herbs (contact a licensed natural health care practitioner if and when in doubt or if complicated health issues may exist)

·        Herbal tinctures (liquid herbal form) are often the best option for many people as they concentrate the active constituents of a herb and allow for better therapeutic effect.

·        Immune herbals often have long-lasting therapeutic immune effect.

·        Liquid herbals are considered food type medicine; they are in whole form, grow naturally, and are unadulterated, but concentrated naturally, so our bodies recognize and utilize them best

·        Herbals work well as individual (single herb) extracts, however will work to a greater synergistic effect when combined together

·        Look for Canadian companies that represent true certified organic, pure herbal tinctures (all are not created equal!)


        Top immune prophylactic herbals are:

Astragalus root, Siberian ginseng,codonopsis, schisandra, reishi and licorice root.

 Look for herbal liquid tinctures that contain some or all of the above immune herbals. Effective herbals exist for acute immune compromise as well (existing cold), so don’t hesitate to use an Andrographis, Baptisia, Echinacea, Thuja herbal combination to ‘beat the current bug’ (discontinue other immune herbals until the acute virus has been eradicated). A minimum of three-month prophylactic treatment is always best, however supporting your immune system at any point will help your body remain healthy, build immunity and prevent that nasty cold or flu.

Finding a supplier that is reliable is not always easy in a market that is not that tightly regulated.  People in the naturopathic field are always very comfortable recommending products from St Francis Herb Farm

What is a naturopathic doctor?  Where an MD focuses more time on pharmaceutical medicine, NDs also study pharmacology and its drugs, however extensive training in natural medicine (such as botanical, Oriental, nutritional, physical, and homeopathic medicine as well as lifestyle, counseling and herb-drug interactions) is adjunctively studied as well. In Ontario, a naturopathic doctors is considered a primary care physicians. NDs cannot prescribe pharmaceutical medications in Ontario as MDs are able to, and are only covered under extended health plans and not OHIP billing, however they are able to employ conventional laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging as necessary.

Jeremy Hayden, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND).    ND is a professional medical designation earned following an undergraduate pre-medical degree and four years of post-graduate medical training at a fully accredited (CNME) naturopathic medical college. All licensed Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Ontario have been fully regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act.

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A Throne Speech that offers little might well be termed “Much Ado About Nothing”.

October 18, 2013

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  If you have nothing new to say, then don’t say anything at all.  The only new idea in this week’s much ballyhooed ‘Speech From the Throne’ is the proposed ‘balanced budget’ legislation – a perfectly idiotic notion.  Talk about dumb laws!  Is Mr. Flaherty incapable of balancing the budget without a law?  Jean Chretien and Paul Martin ran surplus budgets so the Liberals hardly need this.  Or, does Mr. Harper really expect Thomas Mulcair to win the next election?   I recall how Stephen Harper enacted a four-year fixed-term election law in 2007, then proceeded to break it by calling an election the following year.  What a waste of breath!

And it is not good politics to promise something you know you won’t be able to deliver - something for which you might be held accountable at the next election.As for the promise of matching US prices on goods sold here.  Didn’t we learn about meddling in markets from Trudeau’s problematic mid-seventies Anti-Inflation Board?   And it is not good politics to promise something you know you won’t be able to deliver – something for which you might be held accountable at the next election.  But even if the government managed to match prices, we’d still need to add the dreaded HST onto the Canadian prices – and Harper would need an army of bureaucrats to make it work.  And how will Mr. Harper deliver this new initiative when he is freezing budgets and slashing the public service at the same time?  Doing even more with even less? 

And speaking of frozen budgets, where will the money come to compensate Ontario and Quebec farmers and cheese makers as they become a casualty of the new trade agreement with the EU, which Mr. Harper has just initialed.  Sure, the western beef producers are licking their chops in anticipation of all the extra meat they can sell in Europe, but only if it isn’t contaminated with e-coli from Alberta’s  XL Foods. 

And where will the money to properly fund the clean-up and restoration at Lac-Magantic come from?  While the Throne Speech noted that the federal government is reviewing rail transport policies for hazardous goods, it neglected to mention the federal complicity in that disastrous railway accident (see my July 15, 2003 column).  And Lac-Magantic, like just about everything else in the Speech, is really yesterday’s news.

The cost of the clean up of the railway tragedy in Lac-Magantic is going to have to come out of the budget this government is going to have to bring in soon.

It’s not that there isn’t an abundance of worthwhile ideas, any one of which would have brought new life to this government at its mid-term.  What about a new industrial strategy to rebuild the manufacturing sector in Canada, given the ravages of the last recession, the challenges of uncompetitive exchange rates, and trade policies which too often favour our trading partners?  What about action on the environment, which has never been a priority for this government?  The couple of lines promising some illusory ‘absolute reductions in greenhouse gases’ is hardly going to convince Mr. Obama that Canada has an environmental plan worthy of him approving the Keystone pipeline. 

Conservatives might have tried to address the growing inequality in incomes and wealth for Canadians and Canadian families.   It would have been re-assuring for the federal government to commit to ensuring sufficient inspections to finally eliminate the periodic contamination of our meat at processing plants like XL Foods in Alberta, which handles a third of Canada’s processed beef.  And if this government wanted to win back the hearts of the middle class, instead of tinkering with cell phone charges and cable TV, the Conservatives might have tried to address the growing inequality in incomes and wealth for Canadians and Canadian families.  

Speaking of incomes, what about helping to ensure income security for the growing number of young people passing through their productive years without any provision for their retirement.  Despite repeated calls from the provinces, this federal government has refused to modify the CPP, to make it do what it was originally designed to do – provide adequate pensions for the millions of Canadians who will approach retirement without an adequate nest egg.  Ontario is mulling the idea of establishing its own pension plan to complement, or perhaps replace, the national CPP.  Quebec has been operating its own plan since 1966.

Stephen Harper beetled out of the Senate Chambers on Wednesday and flew to Europe to finalize the EU trade deal the very next day, and so missed the first question period of the new legislative session.  The opposition parties wasted no time on the Speech.  They were only interested in the juicy details about Senate-gate and the PM’s role.  Did he really not know about that whopping cheque his chief of staff, Nigel Wright, had given to Mike Duffy?  Proroguing Parliament, the long summer break and a new speech from the throne were meant to help reset the direction of this government as it heads towards the 2015 federal election.  And it might have worked if only Mr. Harper had something worthwhile to say, and perhaps if the talented Mr. Wright were still there to help write the speech.

Ray 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; has run for municipal and provincial office and held executive positions with Liberal Party riding associations.  He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


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“Cool” – school announcements not broadcast – tweeted to students instead. Hayden High is different.