Klein: elections 'allow the community through candidacies and investigations, to bring areas for improvement to light. 

By Daintry Klein

October 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

First, Congratulations to the entire Council for achieving re-election. Their work on the challenges of the pandemic and their extensive initiatives and policies which set a framework for our great City should be commended. The continuation of this Council allows them to own their plans and initiatives.

The benefits of an election, whether it is status quo or not, allows the community through candidacies and investigations, to bring areas for improvement to light.

Perhaps the seclusion of the pandemic contributed to the issues surrounding transparency, but we have heard the Mayor commit to improvements highlighted in the Aird & Berlis report.

The Millcroft residents want to keep the community that was created and not change the layout of the golf course and tamper with the storm water management system that is in place.

The return to in-person meetings will also facilitate more genuine discussion.

The benefits of an election, whether it is status quo or not, allows the community through candidacies and investigations, to bring areas for improvement to light.  Perhaps the seclusion of the pandemic contributed to the issues surrounding transparency, but we have heard the Mayor commit to improvements highlighted in the Aird & Berlis report.  The return to in-person meetings will also facilitate more genuine discussion.  Millcroft Greenspace Alliance looks forward to collaborating with the Council to contribute ideas and possible solutions to keep Burlington as the best City in Canada.

In the Municipal government, there is no “opposition party” which highlights the importance of engaged taxpayer Citizens and independent press to provide the forum for accountability.

The Gazette asked a number of people to comment on the 2022 election. Daintry Klein is part of the Millcroft Greenspace Alliance that wants to ensure that the Millcroft community does not have to experience changes that will alter the original design or tamper with the storm water management system in place. 

 

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Seniors turn our to vote at the Advance Polls - respectable numbers

By Katelyn Goodwin

October 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday I concentrated my Man on the Street interviewing outside two of the Advance polls: Tansley Wood and the Appleby Ice Centre

I then covered the plaza a short block away from Tansley Woods Centre.

There was a short line up at Tansley, at Appleby people were able to just walk in.

My count at both locations was something more than 200 people.

I noted the ward the person lived in, an approximation of their age and what there issues were.

Except for one young couple the people I interviewed were all 60 and over.

Their comments went like this:

Ward #6
Female
80s
This lady’s main ward concern is the Millcroft and golf course development. She and other residents in the area are against it, but it continues to be built.
Her main city concern is housing and the price of it

Ward #6
Male, Female
70s-80s
This couple’s main ward concern is the Milcroft development. The man says they have neighbours that will be affected by the golf course being developed. He also noted there were elderly people in the neighbourhood that will be affected by the golf course development in general.
Their city concern is overdevelopment of buildings

Ward #5
Male, Female
70s
Their main concern in their ward is the safety of residents, and the number of wild animals such as foxes or coyotes they have seen around

Ward #5
Male
20s
This young man didn’t have too many city or ward concerns other than transportation and getting around in general

Ward #5
Male, Female
60s
This couple’s main ward concern was the condo development; they feel the amount of them being built is getting to be a bit much
Their main city concern is overdevelopment of buildings and how they are taking away from the environment. The man noted he liked how the city used to have a good amount of space between houses with a lot of grass/fields before high rises and condos began going up in those spaces.

Ward #6
Male, Female
70s
This couple’s ward concern is the development of the golf course
Their main city concern is overdevelopment. Especially the overdevelopment that doesn’t ‘jive’ with the green or environmental spaces in the city. The woman noted the less amount of green in the city compared to what it once was.

Ward #5
Female
70s
This lady’s ward concern is the high-rise they are trying to put up on the corner of Appleby where seniors who are already paying a lot for housing are. It will cause a gas station there to be taken down and it is a station a lot of seniors in the area use, including a couple of her neighbours.
Her city concern is the overdevelopment of buildings and the condos going up everywhere.

Ward #6
Female, Male
70s
This couple’s ward concern is the Milcroft development. They are against it as are other residents in the area as it will affect many people living there.
Their city concern is the slowness of delivery at city hall when applying for city related services as well as the money being paid for said services

Ward #5
Male
60s
This man’s city concern was the number of tall buildings going up everywhere and overdevelopment in general

Ward #5
Female, Male
60s
This couple shared a one-time event that happened in their neighbourhood. Someone was illegally owning a breed of Pit bull dog while possibly being involved in other illegal activity involving the breeding of dogs which caused a commotion involving assault weapons when word got out though thankfully nobody was killed or injured. They wished people in the neighbourhood had been notified sooner rather than later by authorities for safety reasons. Especially when taking in the children who live in the neighbourhood.

Other than that incident they have issues with coyote sightings and people letting their dogs off leashes in places where they shouldn’t such as sidewalks or streets. Anywhere besides parks.
For their city concern, while they were pleased with what happened with the waterfront, they don’t want too much overdevelopment not unlike many other city residents.

Ward #6
Female
70s
Her main ward concern is healthcare and affordable housing for the elderly
Her city concern is that she believes more roads need to be paved, especially with the development of buildings with the lack of streets to support them

Ward #6
Male, Female
70s/80s
This couple’s ward concern was the reliability of the services in the ward such as stores, gas stations, etc. and that the area is getting busier.
Their city concern is density, construction, and traffic

Ward #6
Male
80s
This man’s ward concern was the housing for seniors-he says there isn’t enough, and it isn’t affordable for everyone
His city concern is density and the number of high-rises going up

Ward #2
Female, Male
70s/80s
This couple just moved into the city and doesn’t have any immediate concerns thus far, though they did do enough research to vote in the municipal election

Ward #6
Male, Female
80s
This couple’s ward concern was the amount of busy traffic
Their city concern was how busy it is on both Appleby and Guelph line. The lady believed they weren’t the best streets for pedestrians in terms of crosswalks either because of that business.

What was clear was that people were getting out to vote.  Seniors have always been voters in Burlington.  Where those votes go will be evident Monday night.

Katelyn Goodwin is a graduating student at Sheridan College.

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'Just the Facts' during Fire Prevention Week, October 8 to 15, 2022

By Staff

October 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Fire Prevention Week is October 8th to 15th, 2022

The Burlington Fire Department is going to be

One big fact for the fire department is the importance of working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms at Canadian Tire, 2070 Appleby Line

The Fire Department will be at Canadian Tire (Millcroft Plaza, 2070 Appleby Line) throughout the week to help provide education and awareness about smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Members of the Fire Department will be in the store to answer questions and help shoppers pick the alarm that is best suited to their home.

The Fire department does a superb job of getting out to the community and telling their story.

A fire truck will also be outside of the store for photos and tours (unless called for duty).

  • Saturday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m. to noon

Burlington Public Library Firefighter Story Time

The Fire Department will be doing a story time at select Burlington Public Library branches. Members will be reading “No Dragons for Tea” to kids and available to answer any questions about fire safety or about being a Firefighter.

New Appleby Branch, 676 Appleby Line at 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by truck tour from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

3040, Alton Village Branch, Tim Dobbie Dr. at 10:30 till 11:30 a.m. followed by truck tour 11:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m.

While the Alton Branch has lots of seating space, New Appleby is smaller, so please arrive early if you’d like to ensure a spot.

“Just the Facts”

  • Carbon monoxide alarms in every bedroom

    Essential in every home – you are required to have one.

    The largest percentage of fire deaths in the home occurs at night while people are sleeping. Working smoke alarms provide early warning and time to escape.

  • Every home must have working smoke alarms on every level and outside all sleeping areas. It’s the law.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the number one cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America. CO alarms must be installed outside each sleeping area in all homes with fuel-burning appliances or heating systems, fireplaces, or attached garages.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms expire after 10 years.
  • Fires can double in size every minute. Having a home fire escape plan is one of the most important things you can do for your family.
  • The Fire Department is here to help. Call us at 905-637-8207 or email firedepartment@burlington.ca your questions.

 

Fire Chief Karen Roche accepting cookies.

Karen Roche, Burlington Fire Chief

“I can’t stress enough the importance of having working alarms and checking them regularly and replacing their batteries twice a year. Fires grow quickly so you need all the time you can get, to get out of the house before your escape routes become blocked. Check your alarms and practice your escape plans. Please, call the non-emergency line if you have questions; we’re more than happy to help.”

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Nominees for Wards 4, 5 and 6 City Council seats

By Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This review of the candidates who filed nomination papers is being done in three parts.  Those running in wards 1, 2 and 3 have been published.  This article covers wards 4, 5 and 6.  The third will cover the candidate running for Mayor.

Ward 4

Tony Brecknock candidate for the ward 3 council seat. OUNCIL SEAT

Tony Brecknock
Phone: 905-334-8118
Email: tony@brecknock.com
Website: brecknock.com

The Gazette has yet to interview Tony Brecknock.  Basically due to scheduling issues.   He was active in the decision the Halton District School Board made to close two of the city’s seven high schools.

Olivia Duke candidate for the ward 4 Council seat.

Olivia Duke
Phone: 416-320-8843
Email: olivia@oliviaduke.ca
Website: oliviaduke.ca

Our attempts at meeting with Olivia Duke have not gotten us very far.  She has been actively campaigning.

Shawna Stolte, ward 4 incumbent

Shawna Stolte
Email: stolte4ward4@gmail.com
Website: https://stolte4ward4.ca

Shawna is the ward 4 incumbent.  She has had her issues with the Integrity Commissioner and had her run ins with the Mayor as well. During what can only be called a ‘sparring’ match during a Council meeting Stolte made it very clear she knew how to stick to a principled position while the Mayor made it equally clear that she could use and abuse the power the Mayor has to amend an agenda to suit her personal agenda.  That sorry spectacle is HERE for viewing, if you haven’t already seen it.

Stolte has served the interests of her constituents very well and brought about changes in the way council processes and proceeds with its business.  Some were small, other quite significant.

Eden Wood
Phone: 905-630-4949
Email: vote.edenwood@gmail.com
Website: https://edenwoodward4.ca/

We have yet to meet Ms Wood.  Most of the first time candidates needed additional time to get their web sites operational.

Ward 5

The number of candidates that came out of the blue on the second to last day that nominations were open flooded ward 5  And probably stunned the incumbent who most people thought was going to be acclaimed.  Paul Sharman is now in a race.

We have no detail on any of the candidates listed below.  We will reach out to each of them and learn what wee can.  The first question that pops into our minds is this:  Was it pure coincidence that three people with very little in the way of a public profile all filed their papers on the same day?  Journalists don’t believe in coincidences

Guy D’Alesio
Phone: 905-483-5093
Email: guydalesio@gmail.com

Andrew Hall
Phone: 289-962-2862
Email: hello@andrewhallburlington.com

Denny Pirzas
Phone: 905-484-0105
Email: pirzasdenny@gmail.com

Paul Sharman, ward 5 incumbent

Paul Sharman
Phone: 905-320-7467
Email: paul@paulsharman.ca
Website: paulsharman.ca

Paul Sharman burst on the political scene in the 2010 election when he filed nomination papers for the Office of Mayor.  Shortly after that Rick Goldring, who was the Council member for ward 5 also filed papers to run for the Office of Mayor.

Sharman almost immediately withdrew his nomination for Mayor and filed to run as the ward Councillor.

Both Sharman and Goldring won the race they ran in.

Sharman was a member of the Group that put together the Shape Burlington report that set out what people were unhappy about with city hall. One might ask Sharman if what he was a part in 2020 has had an impact on the way city hall works with its citizens.

Sharman went on to become a very different member of Council.  He brought significant private sector experience to the job and a mind that could never get enough data.

He was described by Goldring as one of the best strategic minds that Gold rind had seen.

Many thought Sharman would run for Mayor this time.  It was never really something he wanted to be.   He chose not to and while he didn’t assume he was going to be acclaimed we don’t think he expected three people the public knew very little about to run against him.

He has been a useful member of Council forcing his colleagues to look at significant financial issues in a different light.

.Ward 6

Angelo Bentivegna, ward 6 incumbent

Angelo Bentivegna
Phone: 905-973-6923
Email: angelo.bentivegna@gmail.com

Angelo Bentivegna is the incumbent.  He defeated Councillor Blair Lancaster by less the 50 votes in 2018 and has worked hard to gain a stronger foothold in the ward.  His command and grasp of many of the issues that come before council is at times limited.  He has positioned himself as the Councillor who cares about what taxpayers have to deal with.

He is very strong when working a room – a lot of bonhomie to the man.

Rick Greenspoon
Phone: 905-466-4449
Email: greenspoonrick@gmail.com
Website: https://www.rickgreenspoon.com

Rick Greenspoon has up until this point in his working life been the man behind the scenes making things work better and getting the job done.

He has a clear idea of what he thinks can be done and is out on the streets doing the door to door work that is essential

Many ward 6 residents in the Millcroft area have a significant issue with the plans Argo Developments have for the  the changes it would make with the golf course the community was built around.

Greenspoon appears to have made some deep inroads and been able to capitalize on the disappointment those people have with the incumbent.

Renato Velocci
Phone: 905-802-8808
Email: rvelocci01@gmail.com

We do know that Renato Velocci once ran against Linda Pugley for a council seat many years ago.

List of candidates for wards 1,2 and 3

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Is this what the next city council will look like ?

By Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

In ten days we will know who the candidates for city council are going to be and have a pretty good idea what the next council is going to look like as well.

Kelvin Galbraith: Could be in trouble

Ward 1 was a given.  Kelvin Galbraith has a high school teacher campaigning against him thinking that he can continue as a high school teacher and serve as a council member at the same time.

There appears to be a change. Robert Radway now realizes that he can get a leave of absence from the Board of Education but that will not apply to his first year as a Councillor. Radway said he has a plan in place that will allow him to perhaps do some teaching and still serve as a member of Council.

Lisa Kearns: Probably has the finest mind on this council – needs to work on some issues.

Lisa Kearns should prevail in ward 2 – candidates do keep coming out of the wood work but Kearns has earned the right to a second term.  A real race for the seat will test Kearns in a way that will make her very uncomfortable but she will be better for it.

Rory Nisan has proven to be a disappointment for many – apparently not those working with him for re-election and certainly not for the Mayor.  She now has a new lap dog.

Rory Nisan: biggest disappointment

Jennifer Hounslow has a chance but she is pushing a rock up a hill – but Councillors that disappoint consistently do lose.   and on that level Rory Nisan has proven to be a disappointment.  The Gazette supported Nisan in 2018 – mentored him a little, urged him to get a copy of the Procedural bylaw and know it well.  He certainly did that – took a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner that found Stolte had broken a rule.

Shawna Stolte should retain her seat.  There are those who have issues with the Integrity Commissioners reports and the sanctions they handed out – the Gazette will comment on just what that is all about in the near future.

Paul Sharman will be acclaimed in ward 5.

Angelo Bentivegna faces a stiff contender.  His less than 50 seat plurality in 2018 and the serious dissatisfaction on the part of a lot of people in Millcroft over the attempts to build on golf course land have not helped.

Rick Greenspoon has his work cut out for him but he seems more than able to take the seat.

While there are many that don’t like what Mayor Meed Ward has delivered – Anne Marsden just does not have what it takes to be a Mayor.

What she might manage to do is significantly reduce the Meed Ward vote enough to smarten up Marianne.

These are the people you elected in 2018. Time to think about how many you want to serve you again.

So what will that deliver?

Meed Ward as Mayor

Galbraith in ward 1

Kearns in ward 2

Ward 3 could be a surprise

Stolte in Ward 4

Sharman in ward 5

Greenspoon in ward 6

We might want to revise these suggestions after nominations close.

In the weeks ahead we will interview and spend time with each of the candidates.

The options will be clearer on the 19th which is when nominations close.

There is a hope out there that Kimberly Calderbank will take a run at the Office of Mayor.  Calderbank  is a strong strategist and there are some very respectable people who will support her.

The process of filing a nomination is cluttered – you have to make an appointment with the city Clerk.  Should Calderbank file papers the news will have been flashed to the Mayor before the ink is dry on her papers.

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

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St. Christopher's kicks off drive for back pack donations

By Staff

August 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Open Doors at St. Christopher’s is kicking off their yearly backpack program in partnership with Food4Kids Halton, Compassion Society and Burlington Together.

What in heavens name do they put in those back packs? Do they carry that many books?

The backpack program provides new backpacks and supplies to students from JK to grade 12 to help Burlington families reduce the financial strain of back-to-school season.

Beth Martin, Resource and Communications Coordinator at Open Doors.

“This year, we are aiming to be able to support 300 students with new backpacks that include hygiene products and high-quality supplies,” said Beth Martin, Resource and Communications Coordinator at Open Doors.

“Because our focus is on the more expensive – but necessary – items like reusable lunch bags, metal water bottles and scientific calculators, we are asking the community to support if they can by donating to the program.

We would be thrilled to receive a fully-packed backpack, but are also very happy to receive donations of individual supplies.

Every little bit helps set students up for success.”

Open Doors is most in need of new, high-quality backpacks for JK – grade 12 students, hygiene products and high-quality reusable water and lunch containers. Grade-level shopping lists, posters and up-to-date info can be found on the Open Doors website at opendoorscommunity.ca/backpacks.

Donations can be dropped off throughout Burlington at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, Sims Square, Rocca Sisters Team offices, Chickadee Kids Company and Happy Beginnings Daycare.

Drop off locations are constantly being added, so please check the interactive map on the website for a location near you.

Additionally, Open Doors is partnered with Rocca Sisters to ensure donations can be made on Saturday, August 13th at any of the three Kids’ Fest locations – Brant Hills Park, Cumberland Park and Millcroft Park.

The last day for donations is Sunday, August 14th. Find up-to-date information on the program at www.opendoorscommunity.ca/backpacks

 

 

 

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Kid's Mini Fest - August 13th at three different city parks

By Staff

July 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There a number of commercial organizations in Burlington that go out of their way to give back to the city in which they do business.  Of course the events they sponsor keep their name in the public eye with a favourable view.

Nothing wrong with that and we congratulate those that see their role as working with the public to make Burlington a better place.

A fun example of this Giving Back is:

THE ROCCA SISTERS PRESENT – KIDS MINI FEST!

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At three locations:
Brant Hills Park (2255 Brant St.)
Cumberland Park (562 Cumberland Ave.)
Millcroft Park (4520 Millcroft Park Dr.)

 

Great picture!

 

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Ward six now has a race: Bentivegna, who won by less than 50 votes in 2018 will face Rick Greenspoon

By Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Rick Greenspoon’s trip to city hall to file his nomination papers took a circuitous route.

Rick Greenspoon: “It was Shawna Stolte who got me involved in the politics of the city”

When he learned that ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stole had said she was thinking hard about not running again, (she quickly recanted that comment – gave some thought to running for Mayor and decided that she would run for re-election after all) Greenspoon met with Stolte and let her know that was interested in running in ward 4.

When he learned that Stolte was in the race to retain her Council Greenspoon decided he would run in ward six. His residence in one block away from the ward 6 border.

“It was Shawna Stolte who got me involved in the politics of the city” said Greenspoon.

Stolte was working with Millcroft residents who were battling an attempt by a developer to turn some of the golf links into housing – there are two groups: one, Millcroft Greenspace Alliance, is fighting the Argo plans to develop some of the land that was part of the golf course the community was built around.  The other group, MAD – Millcroft Against Development will be meeting with Greenspoon later this week.

The Alliance was not happy with what the current Council member, Angelo Bentivegna, was doing for them, and by extension the Mayor who had aligned herself with Bentivegna, and were looking around for someone who might do a better job for them.

Stolte mentioned Greenspoon to them – and thus a candidate was born. The connector in this was Dainty Klein – she and Greenspoon spent two and a half hours in conversation – Rick left that meeting knowing he was going to be running in ward 6

Rick Greenspoon: had a retail operation in what was then the Burlington Mall.

So who is this guy?

Originally a Montrealer, fluently bilingual, Graduated with a degree from what was then Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) from the Health Sciences faculty.

Rick moved to Burlington when his employer transferred him to the city. A transfer returning him to Montreal didn’t come about – which worked for Greenspoon – he came to love the city.

Back in the 80’s when he had a retail operation in what was then the Burlington Mall he and some of the other retailers in the city petitioned council for changes in the hours retailers could operate.

In those days stores were open Monday to Thursday and Saturday until 6:00 pm. Open until 9:00 pm on Friday.

Chance came his way and Greenspoon left retail and has spent the last 34 years in the automotive field where he operates an automotive brokerage business in Burlington.

He also served as a vice president with The Magic of Metals Children’s Foundation and worked with others to channel the foundations charitable donations into the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Before the group closed things – they were getting older and the charitable sector was undergoing a change they raised over $2,900,000.00. Most of the donations came from the servicing sector of the steel industry.

Greenspoon spent over 20 years in minor hockey with both the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario as a referee, a supervisor and instructor.

The campaign literature – side 1

Played hockey with the Old Timers, realized his physical limitations and now referees some of their games.

He has been an active participant in the Sound of Music.

The first thing Greenspoon made clear to me during a lengthy interview is that he was seldom the #1 person in the many organizations he has been involved in. “I am very comfortable and prefer to work in the background to bring about changes.”

He and his wife Louise raised two daughters who got into soccer and when they completed their educations they moved into the  medical services sector; they are not campaigning  – yet.

One of his daughters posted on her Facebook page: Mt Dad does more that talk the talk – he walks the walk.

Greenspoon has learned that there is a lot more to municipal politics than he at first realized. There are many issues he has yet to decide just where he stands – he has a lot of reading to do in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to hear how he worked his way through some of the 1000 page plus consultant reports.

Greenspoon is not yet doing the door to door thing and his web site is a work in progress. He does have a single piece of literature that he hands out.

Rick Greenspoon: approach to a problem is to find a way towards a solution.

He is bothered by the sense of apathy he is experiencing and has yet to find a campaign manager.

Is he up to speed on the major issues? Not quite – he has yet to look at a budget document – that will be a bit of a shock once he starts going through the pages.

Parkland dedication issues – not read that document yet either.

But there is a deliberateness to Rick Greenspoon. He listens, gives you a pretty straight from the shoulder answer – if he doesn’t know he will tell you he doesn’t know.

His approach to a problem is to find a way towards a solution. The answer is not always obvious but Greenspoon believes there is always a way.

“When people say you can’t do that” Greenspoon first asks – “Why?”

On the affordable housing issue Greenspoon can only say “we have to do something.”

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Sports Field Closures for May 16

By Staff

May 16th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following sports fields are closed today (May 16) due to wet and unplayable conditions:

  • Nelson D1 – Casey Cosgrove
  • Millcroft – D1, D2 and D3
  • Ireland – D1, D2, D3 and D4
  • Maple D1 and D2
  • Central D1 and D2

All other fields are open.

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Ukrainian Community Celebrates the Easter Service in Burlington with an adopted parish in Bakhmut

By Denis Gibbons

April 26th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A strong connection already established between parishioners of Holy Protection Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church and their brothers and sisters in Ukraine has enhanced the transfer of aid to refugees and victims of war.

The Burlington church adopted another parish in the city of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, as a sister city shortly after Russian troops crossed the border there in the summer of 2014 and eventually annexed Donetsk.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the area recently.

Since the war started on February 24, slightly used and new clothing has been packaged along with dry food, toiletries, first aid items etc. to make life a little easier for them.

Father Zenon Walnycky leads in prayer, along with Deacon Danylo Dudar and altar servers attired in blue.   Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Volunteers gathered in the parish hall on Pine Street on Easter Weekend and another drive was held in Millcroft Park on Sunday, which was Easter for those of the Ukrainian right. As a result, dry goods, sleeping bags, medical supplies etc. will be shipped to the front lines in Ukraine.

“I’ve been doing fundraising ever since I moved to Aldershot in 2007 and I’m overwhelmed with the generosity of Burlingtonians,” said Lida Pichocki, one of the volunteers. “It’s amazing to see that people are standing with Ukraine and that they care.”

Pichocki’s brother Stephen, who is in charge of the local Tyrsa Ukrainian Dance Troupe, said his dancers will perform at a special Concert for Ukraine at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church Saturday, May 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Tenor Jeff Madden is also on the card, accompanied by pianist Andrea Battista, as well as bandura players and a special Ukrainian song performed by three Ukrainian refugee children, who recently arrived in Burlington.

Iryna Demchuk, who fled Ukraine after the war started, accepts some Easter eggs from an altar server.   Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Iryna Demchuk, another refugee, left her hometown of Zbarazh in Western Ukraine in March and eventually made her way to Burlington at the invitation of her cousin Stefanie MacArthur and her husband John.

It took her more than 10 hours to travel by bus past the large Ukrainian city of Lviv to Warsaw, the capital of Poland, where she stayed for three weeks with the help of friends before obtaining a visa to come to Canada.

“I want the war to stop as soon as possible,” Demchuk said. “I want our family to be together.

“I saw the eyes of a man who took his wife and children to the Polish border and then had to come back. It was very painful.”

Naturally, Demchuk misses her husband and would like to go back home when it is safe. But for now she will volunteer with the church to help Ukrainian refugees and those still back in the country in any way she can.

Late in the evening on April 5, the noisy sounds of four Russian winged missiles were heard flying over the region near Zbarazh.

Luckily three were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence equipment and the fourth was damaged, preventing it from reaching its target, believed to be civil infrastructure in the western part of the country.

Demchuk, who works as a foreign economic activity specialist for the town council of Zbarazh, left at the urging of her husband Volodymyr, an architect who must stay to provide support to Ukrainian military forces because he is 41 and they have no children.

Lviv, located only two hours from the Polish border, has mostly been spared from damage, although 35 people were killed on March 13 when Russian missiles targeted a Ukrainian military base about 40 miles to the northwest.

Father Zenon Walnycky blesses an Easter food basket with the assistance of Deacon Danylo Dudar.      Photo by DENIS GIBBONS

Later five Russian rocket attacks hit the city’s civilian infrastructure.

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State of the City: Mayor Meed Ward sets out what she and her council did and where the growth will take place in 2022

2022 Mayor’s State of the City:

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
State of the City 2022
January 27, 2022
Full Speech Transcript

Welcome everyone and thank you for joining us today for the 2022 State of the City address.

While I was genuinely looking forward to being together in person this year, I am grateful we could come together virtually and safely as we deal with the constant shift and flexibility required in these unique times we live in.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce has once again found a way to carry on this local tradition and allowed me the opportunity to share important information with our community about where we are at and where we are going here in the great City of Burlington.

I want to thank the Chamber and today’s sponsors for bringing this event to life and for making it free to everyone this year. It takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes and I know our entire community appreciates it. Thank you.

I also want to note that today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and in honour of that, our Burlington Pier will be lit yellow to make this important day one of reflection and remembrance.

THE YEAR 2022

Focusing for a moment on the year that just passed and the many challenges we have collectively faced both here in Burlington and around the world, it is tremendously important to take the time to appreciate those who kept us safe, healthy and supported.

Our essential workers in healthcare, police, fire and emergency services, long-term care, education and front-line retail who we could not have survived without.

Our generous and compassionate community support groups, such as food banks and mental health resources, and the volunteers and donors who keep them going.

The public servants and city staff who not only kept plowing snowy roads and maintaining busy parks but also launched and ran extremely successful vaccination clinics.

Business owners across the city who demonstrated remarkable resilience and flexibility in the face of a constantly shifting landscape and all the residents who did everything they could to shop local and help keep them going.

And our city partners who never rested in finding ways to support our business community with advocacy, funding, personal protection equipment (PPE) and rapid tests, such as the Chamber, Burlington Economic Development and our local BIAs.

I often say one of the silver linings of the past two years has been seeing the way people and organizations have come together and collaborated like never before with the shared goal of supporting our community. The strength of these relationships will carry forward for many years and we are absolutely a better city for it.

One of the most important things we can do right now is focus on the good – and gratitude is a big part of that. Never underestimate how much a simple text or email with a few kind words could mean right now. It makes all the difference and I speak from a lot of personal experience here.

So, as we embark further into 2022, I encourage everyone to take the time each day to recognize the people who are filling our buckets with positive energy and good ideas, with notes of kindness and support, and with the hard work and flexibility that continue to help get us through difficult times.

AGENDA FOR SOTC ADDRESS

Burlington City Council – including myself as Mayor – had an ambitious to-do list when we took office more than three years ago. Working closely with city leadership and staff, we hit the ground running in 2019 and — despite a global pandemic — the business of the city has forged ahead.

I want to give you an update on where we are at in delivering on those commitments. I want to note that as I speak to that and share some photos of what we have done throughout this term so far, if you see any photos where we are close together and unmasked, be assured that those were taken early in the term as council and I have been very cognizant of all the pandemic protocols that have evolved since March 2020.

As is often the case, many new priorities also came to light since we took office, and I will fill you in on how those that have been incorporated into our mandate.

And as we approach the fourth year of this term, I want to share where we are headed looking forward. Brighter days and exciting projects are ahead as we support the continued evolution of this amazing city.

GROWTH IN BURLINGTON

In 2018, our community made it clear that their No. 1 concern was ensuring growth was better managed in Burlington. People wanted us to put a stop to the excessive heights and density of new buildings that were being approved — especially in our downtown core — and preserve the history, character and small-town feel that makes our city so wonderful. People told us they wanted greenspaces protected – and more of them created with new builds – that transit needed to be prioritized to help mitigate growing traffic congestion, and that neighborhood amenities and community centres had to be a priority.

Council and I heard these voices loud and clear and committed to better manage the trend we were seeing in overdevelopment going forward. And I want to very clearly say that mitigating overdevelopment and working towards responsible development are not the same thing as being “anti-development”.

I know there are some folks who wish we didn’t have to grow much at all and I want to talk a little bit about that.

In the past few years, I find more and more people I talk aren’t fully aware that Burlington and Halton do need to keep growing for the benefit of our city and region.

The Province of Ontario sets growth targets for each municipality – these are mandatory growth targets – and we will be expected to accommodate more than 70,000 new people in the next 30 years. That’s a lot of people. Our neighbours in Oakville and Milton are expected to take even more than that.

And why wouldn’t people want to live here? Burlington is an amazing place to work and play, and it is no surprise people continue to want to come here and raise a family. I know many of us also want our grown children to be able to afford to stay here and build their own families here too.

So we will grow – but the bottom line is as our city continues to evolve, future growth and development in the City of Burlington will happen in the right places and at the right scales to better reflect the vision of the community — and this change is the success I am most proud of in this term of council.

RIGHT PLACE. RIGHT SCALE. RIGHT VISION.

The way we are achieving this is two-fold.

One way has been to update our Official Plan to better reflect the ways we want to grow, and that includes heights and densities, and amenities and greenspace — and the other has been to remove a key obstacle that was consistently allowing overdevelopment to continue unabated by provincial land tribunal decisions and that was to adjust our Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) and Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designations and put them where they truly belong: near mass transit.

Council and I wasted no time after taking office and enacted an Interim Control Bylaw in early 2019 to pause development while the appropriate work could be done to assess the role and function of the downtown John Street bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as Major Transit Station Areas, examine the planning structure, land-use mix and intensity for the lands identified in the study area, and update the Official Plan and Zoning bylaw regulations as needed for the lands identified in the study area.

After this work was dutifully completed by staff and in concert with external consultants, and with many opportunities for public input and feedback, we proposed and were successful in obtaining approval by the Province to adjust the boundaries of the MTSA and UGC away from the downtown and focus on the Burlington GO station. This change was solidified in writing by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in November of 2021. That was something that had never been done before by any municipality.

While a handful of developments already in the appeal process will still require us to fight for the community’s vision at the Ontario Lands Tribunal (OLT), going forward we will be able to avoid the tribunal’s pattern in past decisions of using the MTSA and UGC to further justify excessive height and density in our downtown core.

We have many thoughtful and innovative developers who want to help us in these goals and I have spoken with many of them throughout this term of council, such as at monthly meetings with the BILD leadership team, through speaking engagements, such as the Urban Land Institute, and through 1:1 meetings with developers. We are finding ways to work together to help our community grow while still respecting the community’s vision and we will continue to do so.

City Council this term also supported establishing the Burlington Lands Partnership (BLP) as a new organizational structure with key priorities to:

  • maximize business development opportunities and advance future economic growth and job creation;
  • implement major city building projects that enhance the quality of life for all citizens; and
  • deliver an increased supply of affordable housing through proactive long-term strategies and innovative partnerships.

The BLP has already advanced the due diligence to inform the offer to purchase Robert Bateman High School and created a strategic partnership opportunity filter to be used as an analytical tool focused on due diligence to ensure consistency and rigor in evaluating opportunities for land development and partnerships in the future.

STRATEGIC GROWTH

In the past three years, we have remained a growing city, we have just been getting more strategic about it:

  • We currently have 68 active major development applications at different stages of review in our system as you can see on this development tracking map that is available on the City’s website;
  • To keep up with demand, we have already added 15+ staff to our planning and building teams to help manage that growth and help applicants get to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ much faster;
  • In 2021, we saw 1,539 building permits issued, including 69 industrial, 155 commercial, 68 single-detached dwellings, 41 townhouses and 23 apartments and condo projects; and
  • 543 new dwelling units were created here in Burlington and all this development is a staggering $468 million in construction value here in our city.

Our new Official Plan for Burlington – and our Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA 48) with fellow Halton partners (Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills), who have been amazing collaborators — will work to help us build complete communities and neighborhoods that accommodate growth in ways that protect established neighborhoods, create parks and greenspace to engage and thrive in, and reduce the need for cars through proximity to transit, bike and walking paths, and new community amenities.

I’m so incredibly proud of the work all our staff and council have done to get us to this point and I’m excited to see Burlington’s growth and evolution continue in ways that honour our history, preserve what we hold dear, and accommodate innovative and well-suited development for generations to come.

BUSINESS GROWTH

Despite an incredibly challenging landscape since March 2020, due to the pandemic, especially in our restaurant and service sectors, we have also seen many local businesses continue to grow and thrive — and new ones locate their businesses here in Burlington.

More than 3,000 new jobs have been created in our city so far this term (1,573 in 2019; 843 in 2020; and 849 in 2021 = 3,265 total).

When it comes to new businesses and company expansions, 220 have happened this term (100 in 2019; 55 in 2020; and 65 in 2021 = 220 total), including Tandia Financial Credit Union’s global head office; Endress & Hauser began building their new $28 million, 47,000 sq. ft. customer experience centre; Deloitte’s 36,000 sq. ft. expansion, and MNP and Aslan Technologies’ each moving forward with 20,000 sq. ft. expansions.

Brock University will be moving a campus here to our city and finally bringing our first undergraduate post-secondary education campus to Burlington (Note: DeGroote is a graduate level program – MBA and Executive Level programs only – part of McMaster) – I am excited to see how this unfolds and creates opportunities for students as well as local businesses. My work continues with this sector to attract additional post-secondary institutions.

For our rural residents and businesses, I am happy to say we are supporting (through a third-party provider) essential high-speed Internet network installation in 2022 with some funding support secured from the federal government, as well.

The Red Tape Red Carpet initiative of 2019 partnering with local business owners to identify obstacles to relocation and growth here and creating 22 actionables to implement to make things easier, including the ability to submit development applications in digital format and the creation of a new business development liaison position at City Hall to help shepherd applicants through complex projects, and the in-progress creation of a one-window service centre on the main floor of City Hall and construction for that is getting ready to start next week!

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

Constituents and businesses repeatedly expressed concern they wanted a Mayor and Council who would be fiscally-responsible, keep taxes low, and ensure every dollar was spent wisely at the City.

Cities that are experiencing growth like Burlington and much of the GTA suffer increased tax pressures, as we saw in Milton, who is growing even faster than we are, with their 9% tax increase in 2019. Growth does not pay for itself, especially in the short-term. Before new taxpayers can start contributing, we have to build roads, sewers, sidewalks, parks and infrastructure.

Our community has high expectations for the levels of service we provide, as they should. This is one of the best cities in Canada to live in and our ability to deliver on essential services for our residents and businesses has to remain high.

It is important to mention the pandemic has considerably hurt the revenues of all municipalities as revenue-generating areas, such as transit and recreation programs, all saw huge declines through repeated lockdowns. Even with additional support from other levels of government, the losses were substantial.

Despite these pressures, we have continued to invest in our city and infrastructure and there have been many improvements that benefit every corner of Burlington thanks to council and staff:

BUDGET & TAXES

When comparing ourselves to other Halton municipalities, such as Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills, along with other nearby cities, like Mississauga and Hamilton, Burlington’s tax increases are reasonable and on par. They were slightly higher than the average in 2021, but in 2020 and 2019, they were slightly lower.

When looking around the province, it is useful to consider how much a homeowner pays in taxes as a percent of their home value. Here in Burlington, we have one of the lowest rates in the entire province, coming in at just 0.779% and now at 0.008% for 2022.

Our present council has maintained similarly low tax increases in our term than the previous mayor and council, who did not have a pandemic to content with nor the associated lost revenues. The two terms preceding us saw average increases in the city portion each year of 3.84%, including three years with increases over 4% and as high as 4.5%. This term of council has so far seen an average of 3.90%, including a 2.99% increase in 2019 that was the lowest increase residents had seen in 9 years.

Looking back as far as 2011, there has not been a year where the city portion of the tax increase has been lower than inflation. It is always higher. Except for this year – 2022. Inflation is well above 4% (according to the Bank of Canada) and our tax increase is 3.90%.

When combined with Region/Education, the number gets even lower. The previous mayor and council only achieved a combined tax increase lower than inflation once in two terms. We have already achieved this three times in just one term.

The 2022 budget is focused on maintaining and enhancing city services, ensuring the city’s assets are in a state of good repair, and addressing the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burlington has established our own self-imposed debt policy limit that is half the provincial limit, at 12.5%. The city’s current limit is as at 9.3%. The Region of Halton issues debt on behalf of the local municipalities, and we continue to enjoy the Region’s AAA credit rating.

CITY’S 2021 COMMUNITY SURVEY RESULTS

Moving on to high-service levels — since 1998, the City of Burlington has regularly conducted a community survey to uncover resident satisfaction. The surveys typically happen every 2-4 years, with the most recent surveys being in 2015, 2019 and 2021. The statically-valid survey provides an important opportunity for benchmarking and to monitor progress of community measures over time. This time, for the 2021 Community Survey, 755 Burlington residents were randomly selected and interviewed using either a residential landline or cell phone number.

Overall, I’m thrilled to report the results of the survey were highly positive.

There was a rating of 95% satisfaction with the overall quality of services in the City of Burlington. This rating was an increase from 2019 and is equal to the highest satisfaction rate compared to any of the previous measurements of resident satisfaction in the last 13 years. And to get that result during the pandemic is all the more remarkable.

Services that were identified as strengths included: Fire Services, parks, sports fields, trails, festivals and events.

Of the surveyed respondents, 71% said they would support a tax increase to maintain current service levels.

Gains were made in all areas of community engagement, including having enough opportunities to provide input, the City’s ability to engage with residents, being welcoming to public opinion in decision-making, using public input in decision making and decisions made reflect the voice of the majority of residents. There were sharp increases in these areas in 2019, compared to 2015, and 2021 continues to see positive growth.

There was substantial growth of 34% of those indicating they now currently find out about city programs, services and initiatives from their ward councillor or mayor and I’m really proud that our communications have added value to our community.

When asked the open-ended question, “What is the one issue you feel should receive the greatest attention from your Mayor and members of Council?”, the most frequent responses were around growth, especially in the downtown, related to high-rises, and the implications it might have on traffic congestion/traffic lights and transportation. This was followed by affordable housing, economic development and infrastructure.

Other common issues included parks/nature/paths, public transportation, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, as well as parking management, bylaw enforcement and transit service.

THE ENVIRONMENT

During the last campaign and throughout this term, residents consistently and emphatically asked us to address the global climate crisis at a local level by protecting greenspace, trees and rural farmland, mitigating flood risk, and reducing our carbon footprint.

One of the first things this council did upon taking office was declare a Climate Emergency. What that means is that all the decisions we make are done through a climate impact lens. Whether it’s how we allocate our annual budget or the types of infrastructure we choose to build, the protection and preservation of our environment is always a driving force.

What that looks like in practice are things like the community-based Climate Action Plan that was approved at Council in April of 2020. The plan includes seven key program areas to help the community transition away from the use of fossil fuels, particularly for buildings and transportation.

Council’s workplan From Vision to Focus supports the Strategic Plan targets for city operations to be net carbon neutral by 2040 and to work towards being a net carbon neutral community.

Staff are actively involved in partnerships with the Bay Area Climate Change Office and Council, and the Halton Climate Collective.

We have partnered with the Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College to develop a home energy efficiency retrofit (HERO) program that will work to reduce household carbon emissions.

We have committed to reducing the GHG emissions from City operations overall by 21% by 2024 and 100% by 2040.

We’re using renewable energy at City facilities, including solar, such as a solar wall at Fire Station No. 8, and leasing roof space for solar generation at Mainway Arena, Transit and Roads, Parks and Forestry buildings.

Work on Burlington’s Integrated Mobility Plan is now underway. The plan will be built around eight pillars that, when implemented, will result in a new era of transportation that:

  • Provides a wide range of options for getting around regardless of age, means or ability, including walking, cycling, public transit and automobiles; and
  • Uses compact modes of travel like buses, bicycles and walking to efficiently move larger number of people.

We invested an additional $100,000 in annual tree planting and protection in/since our 2019 budget to contribute to the health of our tree canopy and help mitigate the loss of trees we have seen due to the Emerald Ash Borer

We launched and are continuing to evolve the private tree bylaw to protect against unnecessary removal of large older trees or requiring fees to replace them – will be reviewing the fee structure in March, as well as the process to make it more streamlined and ensure it is not unreasonably punitive.

We established the Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee to create an ongoing dialogue with transparency and environmental accountability between one of our local quarries and the city and nearby residents.

We approved a resolution that we will not open the Greenbelt for development or compromise public safety protections by setting aside the Clean Water Act, as permitted in the Province’s proposed Bill 66 Open for Business legislation. After hearing voices from across Ontario, the Province eliminated the ability to bypass legislation from the bill.

Just last month, we were notified the City of Burlington has been approved for $200,000 we applied for from the Green Municipal Fund for the initiative: City of Burlington Zero Carbon Feasibility Studies for Four City Buildings.

As a member of the Conservation Halton board, we successfully pushed back on egregious changes the Province wanted to make to strip Conservation Authorities of their power and compromise some of their revenue generating services.

Prior to COP26 in Glasgow, the City also signed on to participate in the Race to Reduce campaign recognizing the City’s target to become a net carbon zero community by 2050.

And the City is working in collaboration with a number of staff and community stakeholders to develop Climate Resilient Burlington: A Plan for Adapting to Warmer, Wetter and Wilder Weather, expected to be completed and presented to City Council later this year.

MITIGATING TRAFFIC ISSUES

With a growing city that attracts new residents and businesses, traffic congestion is an issue that council consistently hears about from our residents. We know traffic flow on major streets is a concern, as is parking and noise from loud vehicles all across the city.

Burlington City Council approved a refreshed version of the 2016 Strategic Plan in May 2021. This version keeps the strategic directions consistent. They are A City that Grows, A City that Moves, A Healthy and Greener City and An Engaging City.

To support a city that moves, we know new development needs to be focused close to major transit, that is something our successful work to move our MTSA and UGC near the GO Stations has supported.

We also know new developments, particularly high-rises, require planning that builds complete communities around them, and that means parks, community spaces, shops and amenities that don’t require getting in your car. All our work on our Official Plan and Regional Official Plan recognizes this goal and supports these types of builds going forward.

We approved free transit for children under 12 and seniors at off-peak hours Monday to Friday (Council recently made the pilot seniors’ program permanent), and free transit for low income residents who qualify for the Region’s SPLIT subsidized transit pass. Free student transit is also on the table for next term of council. We also added more buses and drivers for conventional transit, and an additional bus and driver for Handivan service to increase frequency on main routes to better align with 15-minute GO service and respond to increased demand.

Parking concerns evolved after the pandemic began with extended residential street parking becoming more essential as people worked from home, and different needs surfacing downtown where shoppers needed to do quick curbside pickups from their favourite stores. The city responded effectively by flexing the rules around both in order to better support residents and businesses across the city, and offering periods of free parking at the pandemic’s onset as well.

Traffic noise is an ongoing issue we are tackling with our partners at the Halton Regional Police Service. Their aptly named “Project Noisemaker” has used proactive enforcement and in 2020 alone the campaign saw more than 1,420 charges laid for things like having no muffler or making unnecessary noise.

We are looking at adding two Level 2 chargers and one Level 3 charger to downtown municipal lots. These are the two highest level chargers in terms of speed and will complement the existing 12 chargers we already have in the downtown which accommodate up to 24 electric vehicles. One is included in the Elgin promenade project in Lot 1 with the other two locations planned for Lot 8 and Lot 5.

Our parking sensor project is ongoing with plans to complete installations in all downtown lots by the end of 2022. The sensors will be integrated with existing lot signage to accurately display and update parking lot numbers and the amount of available spaces. More importantly, the data collected from the sensors can be utilized to inform strategy on parking requirements for new and pending construction projects. The information provided by this system will enable us to work more strategically with developers and advocate for better parking planning when new construction developments are proposed in the downtown.

Last year, Council approved 40 km/h speed limits in 13 neighbourhoods throughout the city with a focus on improving road safety in residential areas, where our most vulnerable road users are.

The city also implemented technology to better monitor traffic flow and travel times along its major corridors allowing for improved identification and response to unexpected traffic congestion.

And finally, the City is nearing completion of the development of the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP), our 30-year transportation plan, that looks to how people will move now and into the future. The plan is heavily rooted in public consultation and we have relied on the vision and values of the community to shape an integrated mobility network that focuses on sustainability and equity, placing greater reliance on enhanced levels of transit and active transportation. This is the first-ever transportation plan for the City, and we are one of the first Ontario municipalities to apply an integrated lens to our mobility planning approach.  The IMP will be complete this summer.

So, a lot of great work being done by teams here at the City to get us moving more smoothly and keep us moving.

RESPECT AT CITY HALL

Residents throughout Burlington raised concerns for many years of not feeling heard, respected or welcome at city hall. They identified a combative, unprofessional atmosphere where they didn’t feel comfortable coming forward with concerns and ideas. They told us on the campaign trail that they expected better and this Council promised to deliver that.

We know politics means debate. It means fighting for the wants and needs of constituents. And throughout our community, not all constituents agree – so not all councillors will agree either. And that’s ok. Respectful debate is the cornerstone of democracy. We bring forth motions, we listen to the facts, we debate their merit and then we vote. We don’t need to agree, but at the end of the day, we do need to work together for the best interests of our community, and we need each person who interacts with council or city staff to feel valued, included and heard.

Since we took office in December 2018, this council has been busy. We have collectively seen more than 1,000 motions brought before us at council through the past three years — 1,022 to be exact —  and we have passed 1,006 of them – that’s 98%! Of those that passed, 91% were passed unanimously. That is proof positive that we have a council that is consistently aligned and works together to make things happen in our community.

I was also thrilled to see in the Community Survey that I mentioned a few slides back that we got an 84% performance rating for council decision-making in an open, accountable, transparent local government!

One of the best emails I got back in early 2019 was from a constituent who commented:

“The difference in how council, committees and staff work together is palpable at city hall and throughout the city. Citizens at city hall and council meetings are not only respected but are heeded. Thank you to council and staff for listening and adapting to a whole new mindset so quickly and graciously.”

One of the things I wanted to introduce when I became Mayor was to offer something new in the form of monthly 1:1’s with myself and each councillor to ensure we could connect on issues big and small, discuss ward-specific challenges and ideas, and learn what one another were working on to identify places we could work better together.

That is how projects have come about where we worked together towards shared goals or leveraged each other’s expertise, such as Councillor Kelvin Galbraith co-chairing the Red Tape Red Carpet initiative and joining the Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee, Councillor Rory Nisan joining the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee meetings, or Councillors Lisa Kearns and Angelo Bentivegna joining the Burlington COVID-19 Task Force – just to name a few.

Many joint meetings with constituents and community groups have happened with myself and councillors, we have done many joint newsletters regarding the proposed Millcroft development (with Councillor Bentivegna) and the Nelson Quarry (with Councillor Nisan), had a drop-in booth at the Burlington Farmer’s Market with Councillor Shawna Stolte, and put forward many joint motions at council including:

  • The 2020 COVID-19 Mask Mandate with Councillor Stolte and myself;
  • The $900K decrease to the Dec 9 budget with Councillor Stolte;
  • 2 motions related to the Official Plan with Councillor Kearns and myself;
  • Councillor Paul Sharman’s initiative to improve the budget process; and
  • Councillor Sharman’s initiative to revise the private tree bylaw that I have been happy to collaborate on.

I also revised the process for appointing annual Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs to ensure that all councillors have an equal opportunity to be chairs and take on leadership roles throughout the term.

I am proud of how this council has evolved in its first term together, many of whom were new to the role and certainly rose to the occasion during a challenging global pandemic. I see how they each share their unique strengths, experience and knowledge with one another, and how they listen to and engage with their wards. Politics in a pandemic has not been easy, and I am impressed by each of them for the resolve and resilience they have shown.

All six councillors have joined me this past year on the Burlington Matters show on YourTV Halton to highlight amazing community organizations in their wards, and I appreciate the many, many events we have all come together to attend this term, from key to the city ceremonies to flag raisings to tours of rural Burlington to indigenous community celebrations. They consistently show up for our community and I know we are united in our goal to make every person feel welcome and appreciated here.

FROM YOUR COUNCILLORS

This is a great time to share a bit of insight from each councillor with you as we look at successes and learnings so far in this term.

When I asked Councillor Kelvin Galbraith about successes that have happened in Ward 1, there were a lot that came to mind. He said that his advocacy work for the business community would be his first choice and I have to agree there.  From the Red Tape Red Carpet experience to the Burlington Economic Recovery Network advocacy work to upper levels of government, he has really etched out his place on this council as a voice for the business community. He conveyed that he is very comfortable in this role and loves everything small business as his entire career has been in self-employment and entrepreneurship. His biggest learning from our community has been how caring and giving our local Ward 1 residents can be. The St. Matthew on the Plains church group that formed organically to collect food and other donations on a regular basis when the pandemic started to help those in need is a great example of a community that cares. In addition, Partnering Aldershot is a community liaison group the has many partners, with most of them being volunteers that have formed groups to assist people with anything they need.  There is need everywhere, but from what he has seen, the Ward 1 community has responded and he is very proud to be a part of it. Looking forward he told me he is focused on completion of the MTSA work with staff as this is one of the main drivers of economic and residential growth in Ward 1.  It is very important that we get this work completed prior to many more applications being submitted.  We want these communities to be complete communities with Residential, Retail and employment all within the MTSAs. West Aldershot is in need of more retail, and food operations so we need to complete the work that requires this type of mixed use in all new applications and developments.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is most proud of continuing an engaged community voice that is at the forefront of decision-making. Together she and the Ward 2 community has made many improvements that have improved the quality of life here, including large infrastructure investments, funding for businesses, traffic safety, the Urban Farm, and many local events. Her biggest learning thus far has been that Ward 2 is compassionate and resilient, and truly a community that cares for each other. Looking ahead she is focused on recovery and rebuilding of our local business community and improving control over growth management.

Councillor Rory Nisan is deservedly proud to have brought an engaging new splash pad into Ward 3 – the first one in the area. While the pandemic delayed its implementation until last year, when it was ready last summer, he expected to see kids having fun on hot days as you’d imagine – but what he didn’t expect was that the area would become a highly used social space where families would spend the whole day under a tree, bring their lunch and meet up with friends. The splash pad has become a beloved community hub that was not there before and filled a well-timed need as we all seek to come together more often outdoors. Councillor Nisan told me his biggest learning this term has been how important communication is to the community. He noted, they raise their concerns and they will listen to your response and it has been a pleasure for him to problem-solve with constituents. The year ahead for Ward 3 will see some long-awaited playground renovations and progress on the quarry application: the most important issue for many of his constituents.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte has found her role as Chair of the Housing Strategy Working Group to be the most challenging and rewarding work undertaken thus far this term of Council.  The financial security of property values in Burlington is a comfort for many, but for our community to remain stable and healthy it is critical for us to continue to create opportunities for reasonably attainable housing for the youth, families and seniors of our community and Councillor Stolte is tremendously proud of the continued hard work being done by the Housing Strategy Working Group to this end. In addition, Councillor Stolte said she would like to take the opportunity to highlight the incredible learning she has gained from her work with newly developed neighbourhood groups such as the Shoreacres ACT Group.  The support from this group of engaged citizens for their fellow neighbours, as well as their incredible advocacy for issues in their community has been truly inspiring and Councillor Stolte looks forward in 2022 to encouraging and supporting even more neighbourhood groups around Ward 4.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is rightfully proud of his work with PACE – the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly –and their efforts to keep older adults out of hospital and long-term care homes for as long as possible at the same time as improving their quality of life. His work was recently spotlighted on CBC’s The National, showcasing this program and the Burlington pilot site at the Halton Community Housing 410 John Street community.  PACE provides 360 degree wrap-around integrated services and social programing where people live. It includes re-configured community spaces, for social engagement as well as service and primary care providers, all to keeps older adults healthier, improve their quality of life and welfare. With our growing population of older adults and the pandemic impact we know our healthcare system and LTC capacity are becoming overloaded, which will only get worse as the number of community members aged 75-yrs and older doubles in the next 20 years. This work has never been timelier and more important as it enters the critical scaling up stage so that all of us can hope for a brighter future. Amazing work by Councillor Sharman.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna has worked diligently through no less than 36 meetings so far with stakeholders to help keep things moving and secure the Federal funding needed to provide long-awaited rural broadband, a journey that began in 2019 and only became more urgent due to the pandemic – and we anticipate that installation to be complete this summer. He is proud to have witnessed countless acts of kindness throughout his ward in recent years from Friday porch pick-up food drives to coat donations from local restaurants to the Salvation Army to the Music in the Streets concerts in ward 6 neighbourhoods and how neighbours have truly gotten to know each other better in these challenging times. Going forward he is focused on working with city staff to support more of these local events and small street festivals and continue supporting positive community engagement.

Our city is very fortunate to have these six committed council members on their side, working hard to ensure Burlington is strong, healthy and vibrant for everyone who lives, works and plays here.

FROM YOUR CITY MANAGER

We continue to have an experienced City Manager at the City of Burlington who is committed to collaboration and truly exemplifies integrity in Tim Commisso.

Tim and his leadership team have led city staff through this challenging pandemic and done an amazing job in keeping essential services like transit, roads and park work going while adapting to evolving pandemic guidelines and handling exponential growth in areas like building permits.

I asked Tim what the biggest accomplishment he is most proud of since stepping into this role in 2019 and he said that in his three years since returning to Burlington as City Manager and his 10th year as a City Manager overall, he is most proud of the meaningful and measurable work completed collectively by City Council and staff.  He feels very privileged to serve such a passionate and dedicated City Council whose No. 1 focus is protecting and enhancing what we most enjoy about our wonderful community.

The recent 2021 Community Survey results that I mentioned earlier says a lot for Tim. He was most impressed that: 89% rated Burlington as the Best Place to Live Overall and we had a 94% satisfaction rating with the COVID 19 City Emergency Response Overall. Across the board, Tim noted the results overall are the best since the City started conducting the community attitudes survey approximately 25 years ago and he is particularly proud of the satisfaction rating related to our COVID emergency response that is now approaching 2 years of sustained effort and commitment by both Council and staff… he calls it “living over the department store.”

He continues to be inspired by the passion of community members to see Burlington prosper and advance while preserving what is special and unique about the City – its PEOPLE (that was the No. 1 reference in the community survey Word Cloud). One focus area in particular that he is excited about is the important role the City needs to play in advancing our collective understanding and actions towards achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Looking forward in 2022, across many strategic and operational priority areas, Tim pointed out that Council and staff has another extremely “full plate” of workload items. His No. 1 priority as City Manager will remain the same…to ensure every day that City staff provide the best possible advice, including report options and recommendations, to allow Council to make the best possible decisions in the interest of the community.

EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

Back to our deliverables and moving along in our agenda to issues that rose up and became essential to address as we moved through our term.

Equity, diversity and inclusion became an issue that needed ongoing attention and care. We saw the Black Lives Matter movement accelerate after the devastating death of George Floyd in the U.S and troubling deaths of minorities here in Canada involving police as well. We saw innocent Muslim lives taken in a senseless attack in London, Ontario. We saw the discoveries of thousands of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at residential schools across Canada. We saw a lot of pain and division. And we did what we could to help.

We continued our work to expand our rainbow crosswalk initiative and selected 3 new locations for the next ones to come.

We supported an art installation in support of Black Lives Matter outside of City Hall shortly after the local protest walk here in Burlington in spring of 2020. I hosted two of the organizers on my Burlington Matters show shortly after to talk more deeply about the issues they faced growing up black in our city.

Our art fund supported the Promenade of Pain REDress project to highlight missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

We supported a public prayer event to support our Muslim community after the London attacks and saw hundreds of people come together in unity at Spencer Smith Park.

We lowered our flags after the unmarked graves were found at residential schools and supported the Hope for Healing art installation at civic square and Spencer Smith Park to express our shared grief, and we saw thousands turn out for the first Day of Truth and Reconciliation event this past September, including staff who are now given that day off work to spend time remembering and reflecting. We worked with the community to change the name of Ryerson Park to Sweetgrass Park.

Council unanimously signed the Halton Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Charter, committing to understanding diversity through the lens of allyship and embracing inclusion through acceptance of all residents in Halton and subsequently updated our sponsorship and naming policies to ensure they reflect that commitment.

PANDEMIC RESPONSE & RECOVERY

And how can I not mention the biggest initiative at all that we didn’t see coming – a global pandemic.

Our city – our staff – our council – our healthcare and essential workers – our teachers – our community support organizations – our government partners – and every resident and business here – all came together in this extraordinary and challenging time.

Burlington was the first municipality in Halton to declare a State of Emergency and start the work that needed to be done. We met daily for months to address urgent and evolving communication needs for our community, make timely decisions to keep people safe, and partner with people and organizations all over the city to get help to those in need.

The Burlington COVID-19 task force met regularly – 24 times now and counting – and brought together political leaders, city leadership, councillors, our hospital, food banks, business supports, hydro, library, and so many more to identify needs and come together to meet them.

All Halton Mayors and our Regional Chair began meeting biweekly to share information and coordinate our response.

The city waived fees for restaurant patios and worked to accelerate the sidewalk patio approval process.

We delayed property tax payments without penalty for our residents during the initial lockdown which cost the city $625K in revenue that stayed in people’s pockets.

The City and TEAM Burlington joined Burlington Economic Development, our Chamber of Commerce, and by forming the Burlington Economic Recovery Network to support the unique challenges our local businesses faced.

The Digital Main Street Program launched and supported hundreds of businesses pivot to online sales.

With $240,000 in support approved by city council, the Burlington Safe Restart Grant program – the first of its kind at the municipal level – helped more than 150 local businesses purchase PPE and make renovations to make their spaces safer to reopen.

TEAM Burlington also provides free rapid antigen screening tests for workplaces to help them keep their staff and customers safe and healthy.

And most importantly we partnered with our healthcare agencies across Halton Region to roll out a hugely successful vaccination program that is ongoing and evolving weekly.

We are now working towards a world where we are living with covid rather than living in lockdown.

RAISING BURLINGTON’S PROFILE

Many initiatives and relationships have taken shape and been strengthened this term that has elevated our profile locally as well as internationally.

Canadian and International journalists and fellow governments from as far away as Ghana and Korea have reached out to ask about how we do things well here in Burlington and learn from our best practices, from our COVID-19 task force to the Red Tape Red Carpet initiative to our festivals and events and our parking management programs.

I have had the privilege of speaking to audiences at the Urban Land Institute here in the GTA, at the Smart Cities Connect conference in Colorado, the Toronto Chamber of Commerce and countless local groups like our Rotary and PROBUS Clubs as well as school groups, model UN challenges and girl guides.

I am honoured to sit on the boards of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Large Urban Caucus, the rural mayors of the Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario (TAPMO), the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, and contribute to the great work being done from the Ontario Big City Mayors (OBCM) caucus including hosting our in-person fall meeting last October. Councillor Nisan sits on the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) as well. Sitting at these tables ensures Burlington has a strong voice in the decisions being made that affect our community.

Advocacy work we have done through these groups has focused on topics from COVID-19 recovery funding to opposing Bill 21 in Quebec to securing more support for mental health and addictions, affordable childcare and successfully avoiding provincial budget cuts. We are most effective when we all work together and our relationships with our municipal peers have never been stronger.

Each member of council and many staff and members of the city’s leadership team also sit on countless boards and provide support and volunteer work at many charities throughout our city and this work has only intensified throughout the pandemic. It is so inspiring to be surrounded by people who are so giving of their time and energy, and committed to bettering our community and our reputation.

COMMUNITY AMENITIES

On to the last part of our agenda: Looking forward. We have exciting priorities ahead for 2022 and beyond.

One of the best things about Burlington is how active and engaged our residents are. Our sports teams are competitive and plentiful across every age group. Our arts and culture groups create music, ceramics, paintings and sculptures across the city and in classes and workshops. Our seniors gather throughout community centers and public spaces to connect, exercise and volunteer. Our libraries are brimming with avid readers and curious learners. Rotary and Probus clubs meet regularly to share ideas and intellect. Religious groups hold services and celebrations that inspire and illuminate. Our parks are full of picnics and public events through every season.

With this passion and participation comes a constant need for the spaces and places we can come together. And after the challenges of the past two years, we all know how vital this is to our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

That’s why one of my main priorities looking ahead will be to focus on creating more community spaces and amenities to bring us together. And we’ve already gotten started.

By entering a process to purchase Robert Bateman High School, we have started a journey to repurpose 212,000 square feet of space in the east end of our city, near established neighborhoods, schools and transit. We have seen how amazing this type of project can be with the QEPCCC in Oakville having been created out of a prior high school and now seeing hundreds of thousands of users per year in their woodshops, ceramics studios, performance and recording centers and public pool. With plans to potentially have Brock University expand part of their campus there, along with our TechPlace innovation hub and expand and relocate the Appleby branch of our public library network, this will be an exciting and engaging place for our entire community.

Our No. 1 priority for funding from upper-level government partners is the Skyway Community Centre and Park Reconstruction Project to expand the ice pad using more environmentally friendly materials, have warm and cold spectator seating with accessibility, create multi-use program space, add change rooms with showers/washrooms, install a walking track, and utilize a low carbon design.

We know we need to build more complete communities with engaging city amenities around all our Go Stations and we are prioritizing that while also creating a policy through the Burlington Lands Partnership to buy and repurpose all closed school sites for future community uses.

There is a lot ahead for our city and the people who live, work and play here – so please keep watching my news feeds and the city channels as well because there are exciting announcements happening often and lots of good news to share.

AFFORDABLE, ATTAINABLE HOUSING

We know that housing affordability is one of the biggest issues facing urban communities across Canada and especially in the GTA. The Canadian Real Estate Association says 2021 was the busiest year ever for Canada’s housing market, with average selling prices climbing 18% across the country.

In Burlington, the average price for a single family dwelling went from $892K in January of 2020 to over $1.3M by the end of 2021.

It is clear that prices are out of reach for many families, not to mention the next generation of home buyers – our children. The creation of attainable housing is a goal that we work toward with our partners at Halton Region – who oversee assisted and attainable housing in Burlington, Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton – as well as with our provincial and federal governments, who provide needed funding and related legislation to help make housing more affordable across the board.

We have taken the following steps to address this issue at the municipal level:

  • Burlington finally got its first homeless shelter for women and families;
  • Halton Region has created 1,005 new assisted housing opportunities since 2014 and progress continues. 92 new assisted housing opportunities were delivered in 2021 with a total investment of $15.0 million – $7.1 million funded by the Region and $7.9 million funded by the Provincial and Federal governments;
  • Halton Region is well positioned to deliver a mix of up to 600 units of purpose built rental and assisted rental housing opportunities through both capital and operational programs between 2021 and 2031, if support from senior levels of government is made available;
  • Burlington supported the Habitat for Humanity build on Queensway Drive in support of helping families ladder up into private home ownership;
  • In November of 2021, Regional Council approved a Portfolio Approach to Achieving Comprehensive Housing Strategy Objectives + the Regional Chair wrote to the Federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing requesting federal funding for Halton Region’s housing portfolio in order to deliver new assisted housing projects in Halton Region;
  • The City of Burlington is creating a Housing Strategy to give current and future residents more housing options across our city. In January 2021, City Council endorsed the Burlington Housing Strategy Terms of Reference, directing staff to start work on the Housing Strategy – an opportunity to develop creative and innovative solutions for housing issues in Burlington that will build on and support the Region’s Housing Strategy;
  • Council approved the Housing Needs & Opportunities Report last month which acknowledges that we consider housing a basic human right and that there is a collective responsibility to ensure that the supply of housing in a community can accommodate the varying needs of residents throughout their lifetime, including financial needs. The report also outlines policies, tools, identifies partnerships, and actions to address residents’ current and future housing needs such as authorizing inclusionary zoning or expanding permissions for where shared housing can be located;
  • And just last week I joined the Premier, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and fellow mayors from across Ontario at the Provincial Housing Summit where we agreed that for significant progress to be made, federal, provincial and municipal governments must thoroughly explore all options and use economic levers, like tax, spending and regulatory powers we well as work together to review parts of the process that could be improved such as approval timelines, streamlining processes and data collection. We plan to take full advantage of the recently announced Streamline Development Approval Fund to help us modernize, streamline and accelerate processes for managing and approving housing applications and providing status updates including getting more of those processes online and digitally-friendly.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

With Superbowl LVI just a few short weeks away, I am reminded of this quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi:

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

The past few years have been a group effort beyond what we ever could have imagined and we are fortunate to have so many superstars on the field playing for our team as you’ve heard here today.

I’ll leave you today with my heartfelt gratitude for all the ways each of you have contributed to making our city the resilient, healthy place we know and love.

Your engagement with the issues that matter, your involvement in volunteering and donating your time and money to local charities, your flexibility and resilience as healthcare workers, teachers, front line staff and business owners – all of it has added up to keeping Burlington going strong.

We will continue to recover, grow and thrive together in Burlington by staying true to the values of hard work, collaboration and kindness in the year ahead.

Thank you.

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Those who chose to drive while impaired

By Staff

December 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How do you go home and tell the family that you were arrested for driving while you were impaired?

On December 17, 2021, just after 11:30 pm, Halton Police officers conducted a traffic stop in the area of Plains Road and Sanford Drive in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Gordon Winslow (29) of Dundalk was charged with operation while impaired.

On December 20, 2021, just before 4:30 pm, Halton Police officers were conducting a R.I.D.E. initiative in the area of Walkers Line and Dundas Street in Burlington. As a result of this initiative, Alexander Speers (36) of Waterdown was charged with blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On December 20, 2021, just before 10:00 pm, Halton Police officers conducted a traffic stop in the area of Davidson Court and North Service Road in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Joseph-Sylvi Cormier (50) of Toronto was charged with failure or refusal to comply with demand.

On December 22, 2021, just after 1:30 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Trafalgar Road and Hornby Road in Halton Hills. As a result of an investigation, Joshua Gillam (26) of Kincardine was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On December 22, 2021, just before 4:30 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Highway 401 and James Snow Parkway in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Justin Espinosa (30) of Cambridge was charged with failure or refusal to comply with demand.

On December 22, 2021, just before 5:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Millcroft Park Drive and Dundas Street in Burlington. As a result of an investigation, Josue Hernandez-Camacho (30) of Burlington was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.

Here are some signs of an impaired driver:

  • Driving unreasonably fast, slow or at an inconsistent speed
  • Drifting in and out of lanes
  • Tailgating and changing lanes frequently
  • Making exceptionally wide turns
  • Changing lanes or passing without sufficient clearance
  • Overshooting or stopping well before stop signs or stop lights
  • Disregarding signals and lights
  • Approaching signals or leaving intersections too quickly or slowly
  • Driving without headlights, failing to lower high beams or leaving turn signals on
  • Driving with windows open in cold or inclement weather

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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City launches free Wi-Fi in Spencer Smith Park

By Staff

September 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City in partnership with Cogeco, has launched free, public-facing Wi-Fi in Spencer Smith Park

The Wi-Fi network is open to all park visitors daily and is available throughout most of the park.

The Mayor calls this the

Park visitors can access the internet using a Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a laptop computer, tablet PC, or smart phone. The City’s Wi-Fi signal will display as “City of Burlington_Guest”. When accessing the Wi-Fi at this location, users will be presented with, and required to accept, the “Terms of Use of the Wireless Network and Disclaimer.”

Chad MacDonald, the newly appointed Chief Information Officer said: “This project is just one of the ways we are modernizing the delivery of the City’s services to help everyone stay connected, access public services and enjoy a better park experience.”

Quick Facts
• In 2015, free Wi-Fi was installed at Millcroft Park (4250 Millcroft Park Dr.) as part of a pilot program with Cogeco, to provide internet access within certain areas of the park.

• Currently, there is free Wi-Fi access in over 15 city facilities, including City Hall, arenas and recreation and community centres.

 

 

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City hall has gotten stingier about what it wants the media to know

By Pepper Parr

July 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tom Muir was bothered about the run around Spectator columnist Joan Little was getting from the city.

“Her narrative on a problem she had in getting information through appropriate senior planning channels is one I am familiar with” said Muir.

Little had said she “… got a rude awakening about how some things are done today in Burlington. I had questions about a city report on the Regional Official plan, so e-mailed a senior planning person to check that my understanding was accurate. The reply came from a name I didn’t recognize. Too late I realized it had been filtered through the communications department – read PR people!”

Muir said: “I sympathize with this reaction as I recently had a similar experience writing a comment to City and the Mayor about the Millcroft development proposal and the Mayor justifying not making a decision and therefore allowing the application go the LPAT (OLT). I pointed out that the Mayor is on the record from taking office as saying she would never approve of such a non-decision ever again.

“But instead of a response from the Mayor, or a senior planning official, I got the same communications department, Mayor, PR response and they didn’t really know what they were talking about except excuses. I never got answers to my concerns and the Mayor remained silent my question on her pledge to never doing non-decision to LPAT again.

“What I also see, that I don’t like, is the communications PR folks put in charge of answering important questions of City business that are not their purview or competency. What I got from them was just usual PR crap, that didn’t address my questions or concerns, and my second reply on this was ignored.

“Typical PR non-response to the central issue.”

Part 1 of a series.

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People were out on the sports fields, tennis courts, golf links and the skate board park

sportsgold 100x100By Denis Gibbons

May 23rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A sprinkle of rain failed to prevent Burlingtonians from accessing outdoor sports facilities on Saturday, the first day the provincial government opened them up following the most recent lockdown.

baseball

Batter can see the ball – did he hit it?

bike number 2 22

Watching the angle carefully.

The surprising thing is that the artificial turf football field and soccer field at Norton Park on Dundas Street was padlocked, forcing teen soccer players to hop over the fence to practice.

soccer 22

A light warn up – before a game?

The splash pad at LaSalle Park also was not operating for some reason.

The starter at Millcroft Golf Club reported he had 300 tee times available and 248 of them were booked.

Recreational tennis and lessons took place at the Burlington Tennis Club on Drury Lane and there is still space available in summer camps.

tennis 22

The tennis courts were kept busy -opening up the sports facilities was a smart move.

President John Kemp said the club took advantage of the lockdown to install new lights on three of its courts and erect a new practice wall with a new ground surface.

The club’s first pickleball court should be ready by July 1 and all tennis courts are due to be resurfaced either in the fall or spring.

golf 22

Golf courses were busy as well

At the elite Burlington Golf and Country Club, the Gazette’s roving photographer was asked to avoid taking a shot of a golfer teeing off because of a dress code violation.

It was not that the golfer was wearing shorts, rather his golf shirt was not tucked in.

What makes warm weather work for those who aren’t playing a sport?  The ice cream truck.

ice cream 22

When the music plays every child knows what’s coming.

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Conservation Halton wants a tighter communications link with citizens.

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Conservation Halton had an item in a recent newsletter that included the following notice:

Conservation Halton sign - angle

Administrative offices on Britannia Road

“Conservation Halton is looking for a better way to engage with residents about flood risks on their property and within their community and we’re hoping you can help. If you live in Burlington, Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills, please click here to complete a short survey. (It should only take five minutes of your time!):

A Gazette reader said: “Residents of south Burlington have been trying to impress upon the City the myriad water issues experienced in our community, and they’ve just heard numerous Millcroft residents express concerns about what will happen if the Argo development gets the green light. This is something that all Burlingtonians should be concerned about.”

CH Rivers and streamsEver since the 2014 flood Conservation Halton has upgraded the data gathering equipment they now – they are able to spot problems as they are developing and take appropriate action.

Their colour coded notices appear in the Gazette regularly.

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Does Burlington have 'Friends with Benefits' ?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is there a relationship between this front page story in the weekend Toronto Star and the city of Burlington?

Star front page

Is one of those friends with benefits active in Burlington?

Could be – a little more digging around to be done.

The link we think is there will interest the Millcroft community.

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City provides detail on the status of the Official Plan and the outstanding appeals.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

OP cover NEWBurlington has what they call an interim working version of its Official Plan that is being appealed by a number of people. A list of the appeals is part of what can be found at:

The City’s new Official Plan was approved by Halton Region on Nov. 30, 2020. This was followed by a 20-day appeal period, during which 48 appeals were filed.

The appeals have been made available online, along with an interim working version of the new Burlington Official Plan. More information is available under “Latest News” at burlington.ca/newop.

1. OSSGA – Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
2. United Burlington Retail Portfolio Inc.
3. Crystal Homes
4. Landform Development Group Inc. and 2413350 Ontario Inc.
5. 1085 Clearview Limited Partnership
6. WE HBA – West End Home Builders Association
7. 440 Elizabeth Street Holdings Ltd
8. 2084 Lakeshore Holdings Ltd
9. Emshih (800 Burloak Drive)
10. Emshih 895-901 Brant and 2250 Fairview Street
11. Emshih 372-380 and 433-439 Brant Street
12. Carriage Gate Homes Inc., Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc. and Old Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc.
13. Molinaro Group of Companies and 1820473 Ontario Inc.
14. Victoria-Brant
15. Renimmob Properties Ltd.
16. Penta Properties Inc., Paletta International Corporation and P&L Livestock Ltd.
17. Fairview Limited Partnership
18. Ann Marsden
19. New Horizon Development Group
20. Brad Wilson
21. Wal-Mart Canada Corp.
22. Millcroft Greens
23. RK Burlington Mall
24. FEHD Holdings Inc., Hodero Holdings Ltd., Branthaven Development Corp., M. DeLuca, W. DeLuca, Burlington Tree Farms, and The Central Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada.
25. Pine Street Burlington Corp.
26. Adi Developments – Masonry
27. 1246235 Ontario Inc. (789 Brant Street)
28. Khai Tuyen Ly and Donna Yuk Lee (795 Brant Street)
29. RioCan Holdings Inc.
30. 335 Plains Holdings and 355 Plains Holdings
31. Camarro Developments 789-795 Brant Street
32. Camarro Developments 519-527 Brant Street
33. Camarro Developments 1062 and 1074 Cooke Blvd
34. Infinity Developments
35. Spruce Partners and Amico Properties
36. Branthaven Developments
37. S&G Consulting
38. 735 Oval Inc
39. William R Love
40. Nelson Aggregate
41. Mac’s Convenience
42. Core FSC Lakeshore GP
43. Vrancor Group
44. Reserve Properties
45. 2584979 Ontario Inc
46. Medica
47. Emshih 901 Guelph Line
48. Mattamy James Street Limited Partnership

# 44, Reserve Properties is believed to have abandoned their appeal.

 

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Santa back on his Magical Tour this weekend follow hashtag #SpotSantaBurlON to see where he is.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

December 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

UPDATE: Due to heavy rain forecasted and exposure to the elements for Santa and his volunteer firefighter driver, Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail for Saturday, Dec. 12, has been rescheduled to Sunday, Dec. 20, weather permitting.

Affected neighbourhoods are Alton Village, the Orchard, Corporate, Pinedale and Elizabeth Gardens. Santa will be back on the trail on Sunday, Dec. 13.

When Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail resumes, follow along or post his whereabouts using the hashtag #SpotSantaBurlON.

The Parks and Recreation people pulled a chestnut out of the fire and came up with a way to get Santa in front of the people.

The traditional annual Santa parade became a COVID victim.

Pumper 4 a

Santa stepping into his “Sleigh” for his Magical Tour of Burlington.

The brain trust at Parks and Recreation sat around a table and looked for a way to provide a way for Santa to get to the children.
Pumper #4 got a mention – that was all it took.

The antique Studebaker Fire truck was hauled out of storage in Kilbride and became the “sleigh” that Santa would use to tour the city.

He has already waved at the children in Rural Burlington, Tyandaga, Brant Hills and Mountainside as well as Headon Forest, Palmer, Tansley and Millcroft

Famil watching santa c

Families gathered on street corners waiting for the fire truck with Santa waving.

On Saturday he is scheduled to be in Alton Village, the Orchard, Corporate, Pinedale and Elizabeth Gardens. The weather people are talking about rain much of Saturday – not to worry – there is a rain day in the schedule.

On Sunday, the 13th the fire truck will tour Longmoor, Shoreacres, Roseland and Dynes.

When you spot Santa use the hash tag: #SpotSantaBurlON to tell your friends and neighbours where he is.

The city is not releasing the route the fire truck will be taking – they don’t want to encourage crowds of people lining the street and spreading that nasty little virus that has really spooked Christmas for so many.

December 19th, Santa and the fire truck will be touring Aldershot, Central and Plains.

December 20th has been set aside as a Make-up inclement weather date, if needed.

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Santa seen in town - in a Fire Truck - no reindeer

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was no new snow on the ground but there was a Santa sitting as a passenger in a Fire Truck as it rolled through the streets of xxx Saturday afternoon.

fire truck front b

Pumper #4, part of the Burlington Fire department fleet on duty – carrying Santa Claus through different neighbourhoods.

The Fire Truck, Pumper # 4, was being used to let children know that Santa Claus was still around but he, his sleigh and those reindeer would not be in a parade this year.

A pandemic kept him away from the parade. However the |Parks and recreation department got creative and came up with a way for Santa to have a parade of hi won with a police escort.

The afternoon, Saturday Santa was in Tyandaga, Brant Hills and Mountainside

On Sunday he will be in Headon Forest, Palmer, Tansley and Millcroft

Pumper 4 a

Santa getting ready to head out to the Tyandaga community to say Hello to the children and assure them that he will be visiting Christmas Eve.

Every weekend between now and Christmas Santa will be in different parts of the city.

Famil watching santa c

Families gathered on street corners as Santa toured part of the city. Photos by Denis Gibbons

The Parks and Recreation people didn’t want the Fire Truck to stop and have people gathered around – tough to maintain social distancing under those conditions.

The Fire Truck drives slowly and Santa flashes his smile to everyone.

Here is the schedule.

Dec. 5: Rural Burlington, Tyandaga, Brant Hills and Mountainside

Dec. 6: Headon Forest, Palmer, Tansley and Millcroft

Dec. 12: Alton Village, the Orchard, Corporate, Pinedale and Elizabeth Gardens

Dec. 13: Longmoor, Shoreacres, Roseland and Dynes

Dec. 19: Aldershot, Central and Plains

Dec. 20: Make-up inclement weather date, if needed.

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