Communications department: a filter that controls media access to senior staff

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2022



Part 2 of a series

In the news game reporters have what they call sources.

They are frequently people working in a city hall department or someone in the private sector who can explain a complex document, process or procedure.

Mutual in trust is usually in place.

Each year during budget time calls would get made to the people working on different parts of a budget – a list of the reserves was always an issue.

The amount of money that was budgeted in a year but didn’t get spent often got placed in reserve budget which was often referred to the piggy bank and used by council members for favourite projects.

More often than not there were follow up questions to the experts; with both people on the line a clearer understanding of what are often complex issues is gained.

One of the more challenging was Development Charges – a contentious category for everyone.

Up until very recently Burlington was recovering less than 70% of what they spent handling development application work. It took a couple of expensive reports from consultants, and in the most recent set of discussion, long meetings with BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association) and the West End Home Builders Association before a final figure was arrived at.

Development charges are very difficult to explain and at the same time a very significant part of the cost of buying a house that is under construction. Those development charges are all added to the cost of the residence.

Not something the average person fully understands.

Reporters have to wade through thick documents, try to understand the contents and the follow up with staff members.

That kind of thing is done at every newspaper, on line or print, in the country.

But that is not the way it works in Burlington.

Former City Manager James Ridge – fairly described as media adverse

The change began during the last years of the former City Manager James Ridge administration.  What started in about 2016 is maintained by the current City Manager Tim Commisso.

Donna Kell was the communications coordinator at the time. Kwab Ako-Adjei was hired by Ridge and the game slowly changed.

Ako-AdjeiKwab gave Kell the chance to develop her career somewhere else

In a mature, professional organization Ako-Adjei would have reached out to the media and made a point of meeting the player’s and talked about how the two (media and administration) could best do their jobs. Access is the most important thing for media.

I first met Ako-Adjei at an event at the Waterfront Hotel – chatted for less than a minute; I was able to have a longer conversation several months later.

What we began to experience with Ako-Adjei and his staff was when we made a call to a staff member they would either tell us we had to call the communications department or if we reached out by email we would get a reply from one of the communications people who would ask what our questions was – they go away and come back with an answer.

None of the people who serve as communications staff have formal training in journalism or any work experience in journalism.

Most of them have a designation as a public relations specialist.

Public relations is in place to do everything possible to get out the story a corporation wants to get out and where there is a kaflooey, limit the damage and say as little as possible.

I want to share our most recent experience with access. It goes like this.

Sue Connor is the Director of Transit. She came to Burlington with an incredible reputation. The city was lucky to get her.  She is seen and respected as a strong voice on the conversion of transit out of diesel into batteries or H20.

She takes part in the proceedings of CUTRIC (Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium) a solution based consulting company; leaders in the field.

We reached out to Sue asking if we could talk about the views she would be taking to the CUTRIC (Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium) conference which was taking place about a week or so later.

Sue Connor – An Executive Director and Director of Transit for Burlington.

Our interest was in Sue Connor as a respected leader in the move from diesel to a less climate damaging source of energy.  She is a solid manager who runs one of the happiest, nicest places in the city to work

We got a call from the city communications people who asked what we wanted to ask Conner.

We explained that the event was not a city event and that Connor was attending the conference as an individual and not someone representing Burlington Transit.

Conner had advised the City Manager earlier in the month that she would retire at the end of the year. Shortly after that announcement Connor was elevated to the position of Executive Director filling the gap that was created when Heather MacDonald retired.

The end result was there was no interview with Sue Connor – which is unfortunate – she is one of the best on the ground thinkers in the transit business in the country and also ran one of the best operated departments in the city.

Policy and practice related to media come straight from the City Manager. While Ako-Adjei, has his finger prints all over every bit of information that comes out of city hall; he reports directly to Commisso.

Kwab Ako-Adjei

Kwab Ako-Adjei is leading an initiative known as One Burlington – it is there to polish the brand.

This is not a healthy situation and has to a considerable degree lessened the amount of information that gets through to the public

We are not the only people struggling with the communications department – several members of the very divided city Council have similar issues.

There is a link, not too difficult to find, between the messy Integrity Commissioners report that was really all about citizen access to information and the control everything communications department.

The root of all this is the office of the City Manager.

The City Manager gets his marching orders from City Council and this council is not going to lift a finger to bring about a change in the way city hall works with media

There are options that I will talk about in the future.

Part 1 of the series

The above are the opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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The Public now knows what the city's legal department wanted kept within a CLOSED session of Council

By Staff

March 28th, 2022


A number of Council members have been unhappy and somewhat disturbed over the way information was kept from the public by having the debate take place in a CLOSED session of Council.

When a CLOSED session of Council was about to take place – a notice would be read out saying what they (Council) needed to go into CLOSED for and then the web cast went dark displaying just GET THE VISUAL. When Council came out of a CLOSED session they would report that Council has agreed to do what was agreed upon in the CLOSED meeting.

Once council member complained publicly that “we can’t even tell the public the address of the property that was being discussed.  The struggle to determine what could and should be released was between Council and Nancy Shea Nicol, the City Solicitor.

Last week for the first time we saw a situation where Council talked about going into CLOSED but decided not to.  The City Solicitor said she would provide a report on what the issue was with all the details.


Some context:

The site was zoned MXT and as such the development application being made complied with the zoning by law and would go directly to site plan approval, Development Application proceeds straight to site plan.

In contrast when a zoning bylaw amendment is requested the proponent will go through community meetings, a Statutory Public meeting and receive a planning recommendation  report for council to  vote on.

None of these steps are required for applications that are in compliance with the regulations of the bylaw, as is the case with these lands.

What Councillor Kearns was able to do was undelegate the application which meant site plan approval would be determined by Council and not staff.

The developer chose to take their application to the Ontario Land Tribunal.  While waiting for a hearing date the city and the developer were able to come to terms on the differences and entered into a Settlement Agreement which will now be heard by the Ontario Land Tribunal on GET THE DATE.

There is a bigger question: When the city learned that intensification was going to be focused on what were originally called mobility hubs – later changed to MTSA Major Transit Service Areas  – why didn’t the Planning department look at the zoning status of all the lands around the MTSA and do what needed to be done to change the zoning.

The following is what the City Solicitor released.

On April 4, 2020 the Community Planning Department acknowledged that a site plan application had been received by Brookfield Properties, Inter Rent REIT and CLV Group Inc. (the “Applicant”) for Site Plan Approval for 2269, 2243 Fairview Street & 864 Drury Lane (the “Site”) to support the development of the Site with seven (7) residential towers on top of four (4) mixed-use podiums, with overall tower heights ranging between 29 and 37 storeys. However, the Site was located within an area that was the subject of an Interim Control By-law and related study, resulting in a development ‘freeze’ on lands within the study area.

The Official Plan Amendment (“OPA 119”) and Zoning By-law Amendment (“ZBA 2020.418”) that resulted from the recommendations of the ICBL study were appealed, including by the Applicant, in February 2020. These appeals to ZBA 2020.418 had the effect of continuing the development ‘freeze’ on the Site, and resulted in no decision being made on the site plan.

On August 11, 2021, the Applicant appealed the site plan application to the Ontario Lands Tribunal based upon non-decision of the City within the required time period set out by the Planning Act.

On December 17, 2021 the Applicant submitted a Settlement Offer to the City for consideration. The Applicant is seeking a settlement of its appeals of OPA 119, ZBA 2020.418 and its site plan application. The Settlement Offer proposes a resolution of the appeals in which the Applicant would withdraw its appeal of OPA 119 and the City and the Applicant would seek approval from the Ontario Land Tribunal (“OLT”) for site-specific amendments to ZBA 2020.418 to permit the development contemplated in phase 1 of a phased site plan. These site-specific amendments would add to the regulations contained within ZBA 2020.418 to regulate the development proposed in phase 1 of the site plan, as described below. The City and Applicant would also seek an Order from the OLT removing the Site from the ongoing development ‘freeze’ that applies to this area. The Settlement Offer proposes to resolve the site plan appeal by the City and the Applicant seeking approval from the OLT for site plan contemplating development of phase 1 of a multi-tower residential development on the Site. Future phases of the development of the Site would require Site Plan Approval from the City. Additionally, the Settlement Offer contemplates the City and the Applicant agreeing to certain parameters that would not only apply to Phase 1 of the development set out in detail in the Settlement Offer, but also to the future development of phase 2 that would be subject to a future site plan approval process by the City. Key parameters of the proposed site plan appeal settlement include:

Phases 1 and 2 will each contain two towers of 33 and 37 stories (Phase 1) and 33 and 35 stories (Phase 2) in height;

The four towers proposed in Phases 1 and 2 will all be purpose-built rental buildings, with 100% of units in the buildings being in rental tenure;

Phase 1 will provide a total of 38 three (3) bedroom residential rental units, including 25 three (3) bedroom rental units contained within the two towers;

When the Applicant seeks site plan approval for Phase 2, the towers will include at least 25 three (3) bedroom residential rental units;

Provide a minimum 30m separation between proposed towers;

The tower floor plates of the four towers in Phases 1 and 2 will have tower floor plates of up to 890 square metres;

The Applicant will dedicate 1.71ha of parkland, in addition to providing cash-in-lieu of parkland in the amount of approximately $13 million. Additionally, the Applicant will provide a privately-owned publicly accessible space (‘POPS’), maintained in perpetuity at its expense, of 0.25ha located immediately adjacent to the dedicated parkland located along Fairview Street to function as one cohesive park that may be further expanded should lands to the west of the Site re-develop in the future.

Phases 1 and 2 of the Site Plan (containing two levels of underground parking will address groundwater through a private permanent pumping stormwater management system discharged into the City’s storm sewer system at regulated volumes and quality, with ongoing stormwater management system maintenance requirements registered on the title of the rental buildings. Future phase(s) of development on the Site will have separate underground facilities and stormwater management for those phases will be reviewed by the City in future applications for site plan approval.

The Applicant will make a Municipal Consent application to bring permanent buried hydro to the entire site (Phases 1, 2 and 3). Should the applicant wish to install additional temporary overhead hydro, those drawings and details will be included with the Municipal Consent application, along with required fees and securities.

Height of the site relative to other major developments in the city

Site Description and Surrounding Land Uses

 The subject site has an area of 3.4 ha, and approximately 224 m of frontage along Fairview, and 143 m of frontage along Drury Lane. Access to the site is currently provided via both Drury Lane and Fairview Street. A vacant garden centre, brewery, auto repair shop, dance studio and furniture store are currently located on the Subject Lands. It is the intent that the existing buildings and structures be demolished prior to the site being redeveloped.

Surrounding the subject site are the following uses:

North: The Lakeshore West GO rail line is located adjacent to the Subject Lands directly to the north. A low-rise residential neighbourhood occupies the lands north of the rail line. An overpass pedestrian bridge at the north terminus of Drury Lane provides access over the rail line to the residential community to the north.

South: Fairview Street, low rise institutional and medical building consisting of the Halton Catholic District School Board and a medical clinic.

East: Drury Lane, and a number of low-rise service commercial and retail uses are located east of the Subject Lands, including an automotive repair and home store.

West: A car dealership is located adjacent to the Subject Lands directly west, followed by a creek and the Burlington GO Station. The Paradigm Condominium development, (5 tower and 24 storey residential condominium development) is located immediately west of the Burlington GO Station.


The Site Plan Application:

The Site Plan application that is the subject of the appeal includes 4 buildings with a total of 7 towers ranging in height from 29 to 37 storeys. The comprehensive development plan will provide 2,515 residential units of mixed type and tenure; 3,703 square metres of retail/ commercial space; there will be shared amenity space between all buildings in a variety of forms, including indoor, rooftop and outdoor elevated amenity area; all proposed parking to be located within a combination of a 4-storey above-ground parking structure abutting the northern lot line or within 5 levels of underground parking abutting the southern property line. Each building is proposed as follows:

Building A will consist of a six storey podium and a 33 storey tower with 338 residential units.

Building B will consist of a five storey podium and two towers with 651 residential units. Tower B1 will be 29 storeys and tower B2 will be 34 storeys. Ten (10) Townhouse style units are incorporated into the podium fronting onto Fairview Street.

Building C will consist of a four storey podium and two towers with 774 residential rental units. Tower C1 will be 33 storeys and tower C2 will be 37 storeys.

Building D will consist of a four storey podium and two towers with 752 residential rental units. Tower D1 will be 33 storeys and tower C2 will be 35 storeys.

Vehicular access to the proposed development will be provided primarily through an internal driveway through the site from Fairview Street to Drury Lane, similar to the driveway that presently exists on the Subject Lands. The parking structure will be accessed via Drury Lane and the internal east-west driveway, which will function as a private street. Access to the underground parking will also be provided through the internal driveway. A minimal amount of layby parking is proposed at grade. Parking is proposed as 1-5 levels of underground parking and 4 levels of parking in a structure at the rear of the site. In terms of parking rates, there are 2761 spaces for 2515 units (including visitor), 154 spaces for commercial and 34 spaces for maintenance. The total parking rate is 1.16 spaces per unit.

The Site Plan in the Proposed Settlement

The Proposed Settlement contemplates a phased approach to the development of the Site, with site plan approval for phase 1 by the OLT, and subsequent phases of the development of the site to occur through future applications for site plan approval by the City. Phase 1 will consist of a four-storey podium and two towers with 774 residential rental units. Tower C1 will be 33 storeys and tower C2 will be 37 storeys. Phase 1 also includes the internal (private) east-west road and a public park. The OLT’s approval of the Site Plan for phase 1 of the development would include conditions of Site Plan Approval that would apply to Phase 1, which consists of buildings C1 and C2 on the Site Plan. As noted above, the parameters of the settlement (such as height and floor plate size) would apply to Phase 2 (Buildings D1 and D2 on the proposed plan); however, a new Site Plan Application to the City would be required to be approved by the City, subject to conditions. Phase 3 on the Site Plan, which includes Buildings A and B to the south fronting onto Fairview Street remains independent from the settlement and will require separate review and subject to that review, may or may not be approved by the City in its current form.



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Creating an Electric Mobility Strategy - your part is to let the city know what you think

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022



BurlingtonGreen is working with the City of Burlington to complete an Electric Mobility Strategy to develop a ‘made in Burlington’ pathway to increase the local adoption of electric cars, bikes and scooters and their associated infrastructure.

“Low carbon transportation is key to achieving Burlington’s net carbon neutral target by 2050. Electric mobility is an opportunity for the community to address climate change through personal choices.

All season cycling – a bit of a stretch for a Canadian city.

Understanding the barriers and opportunities to higher EV uptake in the community is the first step to developing the strategy”, says Program Manager Marwa Selim.

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Burlington and thus prioritising walking, cycling, transit and e-mobility as the preferred modes of travel for residents will be essential in helping to advance the objectives and goals of Burlington’s Climate Action Plan.

The City’s Get Involved Burlington online engagement portal is currently hosting 3 surveys inviting community input on electric vehicles, e-scooters, and e-bikes, remaining open until March 30th, 2022. You can find and complete the surveys here.

Some E-mobility Did you Know? Facts:

Lynn Robichaud, Manager of Environmental Sustainability, City of Burlington

● The City has installed 27 electric vehicle ports on city property with more in the planning stage.
● Charging is free at the publicly available stations, however, a parking fee may apply depending on the lot and time of day.
● The City is planning for the installation of a level 3 or fast charger in the downtown core later this year.
● Research has shown that people who ride e-bikes tend to ride further and more frequently.

Lynn Robichaud, Manager of Environmental Sustainability, City of Burlington said: I’m excited to see the results of the surveys to hear from residents and understand the opportunities and barriers as we develop the Electric Mobility Strategy and work towards
being a net carbon neutral community.


Established in 2007, BurlingtonGreen is a community-based, non-partisan environmental charity. Through awareness, advocacy, and action we collaborate with all sectors of the community to protect the natural environment, mitigate climate change and to help make Burlington a cleaner, greener, more environmentally responsible city.

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Real Estate: Inventory still low; standout sales coming in at 49% + over asking

By Staff

March 16th, 2022



During the month of February, the average price for a freehold property in Burlington was $1,626,700, 34.4% higher than February 2021 when we saw the average price at $1,210,336 and 62% higher than the average price of $999,453 during the month of February 2020.

This is what building out did for communities.

During the month of February, properties sold for just over 120% of the listed price and in 7 days, on average.

Sales were down 24% as compared to February 2021.

YTD, prices were up 31.8%, sales were down 18.8% and Days on Market were down almost 50% as compared to the same period in 2021.

Inventory levels remained very low with only 86 properties listed at the end of February as compared to the 5 year average of 196 or 56% less active listings.

During the month of February, just 10 properties sold for under the listed price. The balance sold for well over the listed price with 76 properties selling for in excess of 20% over the asking price.

A couple of standouts – a recently updated backsplit on Ardleigh Cres. was listed for $1,090,000 sold for $1,630,00; 49.5% more than the asking price.

A 1950’s sidesplit on Clarendon Park in original condition was listed at $999,000 and sold with 11 offers for $1,600,000 – 50% over the asking price.

Finally, a good example of the trajectory values have taken was demonstrated with a property that was listed on Catalina in Brant HIlls. This property was listed in 2018 for $784,000 for a couple of months and didn’t sell. With no changes to the condition of the house or property, it was listed in February for $999,000 and sold in 9 days for $1,442,000.

Burlington Condos

During the month of February, the average price for a condo apartment in Burlington was $775,000, 36.7% higher than February 2021 when we saw the average price at $567,000 and 51% higher than the average price of $513,000 during the month of February 2020.

This is what building up is doing for Burlington

During the month of February, properties sold for just over 114% of the listed price and in 12 days, on average. Sales were down 8.2% as compared to February 2021.

Inventory levels were extremely low with just 17 active listings, 63% lower than the 5 year average.

A couple of noteworthy sales. A 1020 sq. ft. 2 bdrm unit at 1451 Walker’s Line in the Tansley neighborhood was listed at $500,000 and sold for $763,000. These units were selling in the high $500’s just 2 years ago. The Chelsea building in Headon Forest saw two remarkable sales.

A 1295 sq. ft. unit, in original condition (circa 2000) was listed at $649,000 and sold for $815,000 and another unit at 1295 sq. ft. slightly more updated, was listed at $599,900 and sold for $829,900. Finally, an 870 sq. ft. unit in the brand new buildings near the Go Station on Fairvew St was listed at $699,000 and sold for $870,000.

What Does All of This Mean

The market continues to be strong, however we are seeing a transition from an overheated market to a sellers market, and expect this will continue to transition over the next 60-90 days, landing us in a balanced market by summer. Apparently world disasters are not causing weakening of prices. It’s hard to imagine what exactly might cause our trading areas to see a major correction.

What we are seeing is expected, the current market is not sustainable, however prices should still hold and if anything just increase on a lesser scale than they have. While we believe we will see some levelling off as inventory levels rise, we don’t anticipate an erosion of values in the foreseeable future.

Obviously, it is a great time to sell still and we believe buyers will see more inventory, and less competition making it a little less stressful when making an offer on a property.

The commentary on the Burlington housing market was provided by the Rocca Sisters Team

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Burlington Transit partners with GO Transit to offer free co-fares

By Staff

March 11th, 2022



The free co-fare program begins Monday, March 14, 2022 and promotes using local transit, like Burlington Transit, as part of users’ GO Transit journey.

How to get the free/discounted co-fare

Tap on Burlington Transit and GO Transit using a PRESTO card and riders will automatically get the free co-fare.

When taking Burlington Transit first:

  1. Ride Burlington Transit and pay the fare.
  2. Get on GO Transit and your GO Transit fare will be discounted by the value of the Burlington Transit fare.

Will parking in the parking lots we leave our cars in remain free while we ride these trains?

When taking GO Transit first:

  1. Travel on GO Transit and pay the fare.
  2. Get on a Burlington Transit bus and it’s the same as a transfer—there are no extra fees

This program allows customers to ride Burlington Transit for free combining Burlington Transit with GO Transit.

For a Burlington adult that commutes every weekday using Burlington Transit and GO Transit, this could add up to savings of more than $200 a year. There are four GO Transit options in Burlington: Aldershot GO, Appleby GO, Burlington GO and the 407 Carpool lot (buses only).


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Well - there goes the neighbourhood! Draft housing report suggests not protecting 'character' of neighbourhoods and permit 4 storey apartments anywhere

By Staff

January 26th, 2022



Marcello Alaimo, operator of Exquisite Living released some comment on the draft of the Housing Task Force that is expected to release the report and its 58 recommendation at the end of the month.

The task force that was asked to find ways to make Ontario housing more affordable wants to do away with rules that entrench single-family homes as the main option in many residential neighbourhoods, according to a draft report.

The nine-member Housing Affordability Task Force, chaired by Scotiabank CEO Jake Lawrence, wants to “create a more permissive land use, planning, and approvals systems” and throw out rules that stifle change or growth — including ones that protect the “character” of neighbourhoods across the province.

The wide-ranging 31-page draft report, which is making the rounds in municipal planning circles and could look much different when it’s officially released Jan. 31, makes 58 recommendations.

Zoned commercial, spitting distance to the QEW, minutes from downtown – owner wants to rezone and make it residential.

It includes discussions on speeding up approval processes, waiving development charges for infill projects, allowing vacant commercial property owners to transition to residential units, and letting urban boundaries expand “efficiently and effectively.”

It also calls for all municipalities — and building code regulations — not to make it just easier for homeowners to add secondary suites, garden homes, and laneway houses to their properties, but also to increase height, size and density along “all major and minor arterials and transit corridors” in the form of condo and apartment towers.

© Kate Porter/CBC One of the task force’s recommendations is to create rules that would bypass community opposition to adding density in existing neighbourhoods. 4-storey complexes in all neighbourhoods.

But perhaps the most controversial recommendation is the one to virtually do away with so-called exclusionary zoning, which allows only a single-family detached home to be built on a property.

Built by the ADI Group – this four storey could be placed anywhere in the city if the Housing Task Force makes it through the legislature.

Instead, the task force recommends that in municipalities with a population of more than 100,000, the province should “allow any type of residential housing up to four storeys and four units on a single residential lot,” subject to urban design guidance that’s yet to be defined.

According to the report, Ontario lags behind many other G7 countries when it comes to the number of dwellings per capita. And housing advocates have long argued that more modest-projects — duplexes, triplexes, tiny homes and townhouses — are needed in established neighbourhoods, especially if the environmental and infrastructure costs of sprawl are to be avoided.

But neighbourhood infill and intensification is often a hard political sell.
“While everyone might agree that we have a housing crisis, that we have a climate emergency, nobody wants to see their neighbourhoods change,” said Coun. Glen Gower, who co-chairs Ottawa’s planning committee. “So that’s really the challenge that we’re dealing with in Ottawa and in Ontario.”

After last week’s housing summit with Ontario’s big city mayors, reporters repeatedly asked Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark if he supported doing away with zoning for single-detached homes, as other jurisdictions like Edmonton and major New Zealand cities have done.

Clark said he’d heard the idea but did not give a direct answer one way or the other.
© CBC Coun. Glen Gower is the co-chair of Ottawa council’s planning committee. He welcomes the discussion about housing affordability in the task force report, but concedes that allowing four-storey, four-unit dwellings in every neighbourhood could be a hard sell.

Reduce construction barriers, approval requirements
Many of the recommendations revolve around making it easier and faster for builders to construct homes.

According to the draft report, not only would a streamlined process allow dwellings to get on the market faster, but reducing approval times would also save developers money which, in theory, could be passed onto residents.

The report cites an Ontario Association of Architects study from 2018 showing that costs for a 100-unit condo building increase by $193,000 for every month the project is delayed.
That’s why, for example, the task force is recommending that any “underutilized or redundant commercial properties” be allowed to be converted to residential units without municipal approvals.

The draft report also calls for quasi-automatic approval for projects up to 10 units that conform to existing official plans and zoning, and goes so far to recommend that municipalities “disallow public consultations” for these applications.

The report speaks to reducing what the task force characterizes as “NIMBY” factors in planning decisions, recommending the province set Ontario-wide standards for specifics like setbacks, shadow rules and front doors, while excluding details like exterior colour and building materials from the approval process.

The task force would even eliminate minimum parking requirements for new projects.
Politicians say more than just supply needed

The report touches on a number of subjects it believes unnecessarily delay the building of new homes, including how plans approved by city councils can be appealed.

It recommends the province restore the right of developers to appeal official plans — a power that was removed by the previous Liberal government.

And in an effort to eliminate what it calls “nuisance” appeals, the task force recommends that the fee a third party — such as a community group — pays to appeal projects to the Ontario Land Tribunal should be increased from the current $400 to $10,000.

© CBC NDP housing critic Jessica Bell supports doing away with exclusionary zoning, but says many more measures, including building more affordable homes, are needed.

That doesn’t sit well with NDP MPP Jessica Bell, the party’s housing critic. who said “My initial take is that any attempt to make the land tribunal even more difficult for residents to access is concerning,” said Bell, adding the NDP is asking stakeholders and community members for feedback.

The tribunal can overturn a municipal council’s “democratically decided law,” she said, “and I would be pretty concerned if it costs $10,000 for a third party to go to the land tribunal and bring up some valid evidence.”

While she was pleased to see the task force address zoning reform to encourage the construction of town homes, duplexes and triplexes in existing neighbourhoods — the so-called “missing middle” between single-family homes and condo towers — Bell said increasing supply is not enough to improve housing for all Ontarians.

“We need government investment in affordable housing,” she said. “We need better protections for renters, and we need measures to clamp down on speculation in the housing market … We need a more holistic and comprehensive approach than what we are seeing in this draft report right now.”

(While the task force was directed by the province to focus on increasing the housing supply through private builders, it acknowledges in the report that “Ontario’s affordable housing shortfall was raised in almost every conversation” with stakeholders.)

© CBCGreen Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says he’s opposed to the task force’s recommendation to allow urban boundaries to expand.

Expanding urban boundaries another concern
From his first reading of the report, Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner agreed with the zoning recommendations but said streamlined processes need to be balanced with maintaining public consultations and heritage designations.  “One of my concerns with my very quick read of the draft report is that it talks about expanding urban boundaries … and I’m opposed to that,” he told CBC.

Everything to the left of the red line along Hwy 407 and Dundas are part of the rural boundary.

“We simply can’t keep paving over the farmland that feeds us, the wetlands that clean our drinking water [and] protect us from flooding, especially when we already have about 88,000 acres within existing urban boundaries in southern Ontario available for development,” he said.

Schreiner said he’s also “deeply concerned” that the report discusses aligning housing development with the province’s plan for Highway 413 in the GTA.   “I simply don’t think we can spend over $10 billion to build a highway that will supercharge climate pollution, supercharge sprawl, making life less affordable for people and paving over 2,000 acres of farmland


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Sharman wants to defer a $3 million transit item to take some weight off tax payers shoulders

By Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2021



Each member of Council has the opportunity to put forward a motion that sets out the changes they want to see to the budget staff has put forward.

Keep in mind that taxpayers are looking at a pretty stiff budget increase and that Staff don’t see tax increases falling below 4% a year for the next five years.

Also, keep in mind that 2022 will be an election year.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman looks to transit deferrals to skim more than $3 million from the budget Staff has put before Council.

Keeps a community project in – voters like that kind of thing.

Gone are the days when Councillor Sharman would push hard enough to get a 0% budget increase.

1) Defer by one year the proposed 2022 conventional transit vehicle replacement in the amount of $3,382,000 and retain gas tax funds to partially offset $30m shortfall in annual capital funding.

2) Add funds to tree planting to achieve desired urban forest renewal $100,000

3) Add funds to pave gravel path in Mohawk Park $60,000

4) Remove all 2022 operating budget gapping from new staff positions such as was the case in 2021 along with any other expected un-utilized expenses $190,000 for personnel plus any other expense items.

1) recent review of infrastructure identified that infrastructure renewal funding gap is much larger than the $126m determined in 2016 and is in fact $512m. It is estimated that annual shortfall since 2016 has been about $30m, or about $150m in the 5 years leading up to 2022.

Meanwhile, transit ridership is well below planned/hoped for levels due to Covid and perhaps over optimistic projections to meet long term modal split goals. Keeping buses an additional year over assumed 12-year life span is a viable modest extension given the relatively light ridership utilization generally made more so during Covid years in Burlington.

2) To better support objectives of private tree by-law in increasing urban tree canopy by providing $100,000 to be funded by reducing overhead in item 2 above.

A $60,000 goody for the community

3) The path is used by many parents of young children attending both Mohawk Gardens Public School and St Patrick Catholic Elementary School. During inclement weather the path becomes impassible due to flooding and ice.

4) Partially offset 2022 prior and pending impacts of council decisions $885,666

Outcome Sought:

2022 Budget adjustment

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GO Lakeshore West Line - construction issues: Going to Leafs or Argos Friday night, additional westbound trip making all stops to West Harbour GO that will depart Union Station at 10:30 p.m. and Exhibition GO at 10:37 p.m.

By Staff

November 12th, 2021



Important construction work is happening this weekend (Nov. 12-14) on the Lakeshore West Line. The work means there will be no Lakeshore West train service for the majority of the weekend. Metrolinx News is giving GO customers a heads up about the temporary schedule changes and explaining why this work is needed.

Important construction work is happening this weekend that will significantly impact travel on the Lakeshore West GO Line.

Beginning in the late evening of Friday, Nov. 12, until the end of service on Sunday, Nov. 14, all Lakeshore West GO train service will be suspended so construction crews can safely work to replace older sections of track. These upgrades will improve train speeds, service life, and reliability.

By shutting down the corridor, construction crews can safely and efficiently get a lot of work done over the course of the weekend.

In particular, work continues on the Canpa switch plant, an important section of track and switches for GO trains on the Lakeshore West Line. The Canpa switch is particularly vital as it keeps GO trains running smoothly on the busiest line in the network. It also helps route trains into GO’s Willowbrook rail maintenance facility, the VIA maintenance facility, the Canpa spur, and more.

Additional track culvert replacements are also taking place near Oakville and Burlington GO. This work is vital to ensuring service reliability.

Photo from recent construction work on the section of tracks between Long Branch and Mimico, known as the Canpa subdivision

Recent construction work on the section of tracks between Long Branch and Mimico, known as the Canpa subdivision. (Metrolinx photo)

For customers going to the Leafs or Argos games on Friday night, GO has added an additional westbound trip making all stops to West Harbour GO that will depart Union Station at 10:30 p.m. and Exhibition GO at 10:37 p.m.

The last westbound train trip will depart Union Station at 10:40 p.m. and Exhibition GO at 10:52 p.m., making all stops to West Harbour GO.

The last two eastbound trips from Exhibition GO to Union Station will depart at 10:50 and 11:20 p.m., then will continue on the Lakeshore East Line, making all stops to Oshawa GO. Customers will also have the option to take westbound replacement buses from Union Station Bus Terminal, beginning at 9:34 p.m.

A heads up to Lakeshore West customers that use Long Branch, Mimico, or Exhibition GO Stations, there will be no GO service at these stations during this weekend’s service disruption. Customers looking to connect to Union Station can take the TTC (streetcar and buses). Use Triplinx to plan your route.

There will also be no Niagara train service during this time. Customers travelling between Niagara Falls and Burlington can connect with GO bus route 12 service. Customers who have purchased a WEGO ticket for this weekend can still board replacement buses with their ticket. If customers wish to be issued a refund, please contact GO Transit’s customer service team to assist.

Crews work on replacing large sections of track as part of major upgrade work on the Lakeshore West Line

Crews work on replacing large sections of track as part of major upgrade work on the Lakeshore West Line. (Metrolinx photo)

Crews work on replacing large sections of track as part of major upgrade work on the Lakeshore West Line. (Metrolinx photo)

Here are the details on everything GO customers need to know.

Friday, Nov. 12:

Eastbound to Union Station

  • The 8:58 p.m. West Harbour GO – 10:15 p.m. Union Station trip will be the last train to make all stops to Union Station
  • The 9:58 p.m. West Harbour GO – 11:15 p.m. Union Station trip will be cancelled
  • Bus replacements will start running at 9:10 p.m. from West Harbour GO:
    • West Harbour GO bus replacement departing at 9:10 p.m. will make all station stops to Port Credit GO and then run express to Union Station
    • Aldershot GO bus replacement departing at 10:00 p.m. will make all station stops to Oakville GO and then run express to Union Station
    • Clarkson GO bus replacement departing at 10:40 p.m., will stop at Port Credit GO and then run express to Union Station
  • Replacement buses will not service Long Branch GO, Mimico GO, or Exhibition GO
  • The Route 16 express service from Hamilton GO to Union Station Bus Terminal will run hourly
  • For customers attending the Toronto Argonauts game, trains will depart Exhibition GO at 10:05, 10:50 and 11:20 p.m.

Westbound to West Harbour

  • The last westbound train to West Harbour will depart from Union Station at 10:40 p.m. and from Exhibition GO at 10:52 p.m.
  • Customers travelling westbound will also have the option to take replacement buses  from Union Station Bus Terminal, starting at 9:34 p.m.:
    • Buses will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal and terminate at Port Credit, Clarkson, Oakville, Bronte, Appleby, Burlington, Aldershot, or West Harbour GO throughout the evening
    • 9:34/10:34/11:34 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Oakville GO and make all stops to Aldershot GO
    • 9:44/10:50/11:44 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Port Credit GO and terminate at Clarkson GO
    • 9:55/10:55/11:55 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Port Credit GO and make all stops to West Harbour GO
    • 10:32/11:32 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Port Credit GO
    • 10:37/11:37 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Clarkson GO
    • 10:42/11:42 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Oakville GO
    • 10:47/11:47 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Bronte GO
    • 10:52/11:52 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Appleby GO
    • 10:57/11:57 p.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Burlington GO
    • 11:02/00:02 a.m. bus trips will run express from Union Station Bus Terminal to Aldershot GO
    • Please check schedules ahead of time in order to find the correct route for your destination
  • Replacement buses will not service Exhibition GO, Mimico GO, or Long Branch GO
  • Route 16 express service from Union Station Bus Terminal to Hamilton GO will run hourly

Image of a GO train running along tracks.

Lakeshore West GO train service will be replaced by buses starting late in the evening on Friday until the start of service on Monday. (Metrolinx photo)

Saturday, Nov. 13 – Sunday, Nov. 14:

There will be no Lakeshore West train service on Saturday or Sunday.

Eastbound to Union Station

  • Replacement bus service will run between West Harbour GO and Union Station Bus Terminal:
  • Buses will depart West Harbour GO every hour (leaving 5 minutes past the top of the hour), 8 minutes earlier than regular train schedule times
    • These bus replacements will run from West Harbour GO to Aldershot GO, Burlington GO, Oakville GO, Clarkson GO and then run express to Union Station Bus Terminal
  • Additional buses will depart Aldershot GO every half hour or more to Union Station Bus Terminal
    • These bus replacements will service Aldershot GO, Burlington GO, Oakville GO, Clarkson GO and then run express to Union Station Bus Terminal
  • For service from St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, customers can use Route 12 and connect with replacement buses at Burlington GO
  • Route 16 express service from Hamilton GO to Union Station Bus Terminal will run hourly

Westbound to Aldershot/West Harbour

  • Replacement bus service will run between Union Station Bus Terminal and West Harbour GO:
    • Buses will depart Union Station Bus Terminal for West Harbour GO every hour (at 47 minutes or 52 minutes past the hour), running 2-7 minutes later than regular train schedule time
    • These bus replacements will run from Union Station Bus Terminal to Clarkson GO, Oakville GO, Burlington GO, Aldershot GO, and West Harbour GO
  • Additional buses will depart Union Station Bus Terminal every half hour or more to Aldershot GO.
    • These bus replacements will service Clarkson GO, Oakville GO, Burlington GO, and Aldershot GO
  • For service to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, customers can transfer at Burlington GO to Route 12
  • Route 16 express service from Union Station Bus Terminal to Hamilton GO will run hourly

A bus moves along a side road.

Make sure to check the GO schedules before heading out this weekend. (Metrolinx photo)

Information for Long Branch, Mimico, and Exhibition GO customers

On November 12 to 14, there is no train or bus service at Exhibition, Mimico, and Long Branch GO stations during service disruptions. If you require service from these GO stations, you have the following options:

  • From Long Branch GO: Take TTC bus route 501 Queen streetcar to Osgoode Station and transfer to TTC Line 1 to Union Station. Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • From Mimico GO: Take TTC bus route 76 Royal York to Royal York Station and transfer to TTC Line 2 to St. George and TTC Line 1 to Union Station. Total time: 1 hour
  • From Exhibition GO: Take TTC bus route 509 streetcar to Union Station. Total time: 26 minutes

Information for Appleby, Bronte, and Port Credit GO customers

On November 13 and 14, there is no train or bus service at Appleby, Bronte and Port Credit GO stations during service disruptions. If you require service from these GO stations, you have the following options:

  • From Appleby GO: Take the Burlington Transit bus route 1 (Plains-Fairview) to Burlington GO. At Burlington GO take the replacement bus to Union Station. Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • From Bronte GO: Take Oakville Transit bus route 18 (Glen Abbey South) to Oakville GO. At Oakville GO take the replacement bus to Union Station. Total time: 57 minutes
  • From Port Credit GO: Take MiWay bus route 23 (Lakeshore) to Clarkson GO. At Clarkson GO take the replacement bus to Union Station. Total time: 46 minutes

Bus replacement details

To ensure GO bus drivers can be assigned to regularly scheduled GO bus trips, Metrolinx is working with Coach Canada to help get customers where they need to go.

Coach Canada and GO buses will be available at West Harbour, Aldershot, Burlington, Oakville, and Clarkson GO Station bus loops to get customers where they need to go on the Lakeshore West line.

GO staff will be on site to help guide customers and answer questions.

The Where’s My Bus service will not be available for replacement buses.

For customers not familiar with taking the GO bus, the bus terminal at Union Station is located at 81 Bay Street in Toronto at the north-east corner of Bay and Lake Shore Boulevard.

  • To access the terminal from outside – enter via the main entrance on Lake Shore Boulevard, just east of Bay Street or the entrance on the east side of Bay Street, across from Scotiabank Arena
  • If you’re coming from Union Station, you can take the indoor pedestrian bridge over Bay Street that connects to the bus terminal from Scotiabank Arena
  • Learn more about boarding at the new Union Station Bus Terminal
  • Please check departure boards before proceeding to your boarding zone and gate

A selection of PRESTO machines on a GO platform. (Mike Winterburn photo)

Pay before you board with these easy options

  • Buy your GO Transit tickets online to enjoy the ease and convenience of a GO Transit e-ticket or take advantage of one of the GO Transit Weekend Pass options
  • Ticket vending machines are available at stations to purchase a paper ticket
  • Mobile users – either using Android or an iPhone – can instantly load funds and passes onto your PRESTO card
  • PRESTO machines will be available for you to use at West Harbour, Aldershot, Burlington, Oakville and Clarkson GO bus loops
    • Eastbound: Tap on the PRESTO device at you originating station and tap off on devices located in Union Station Bus Terminal
    • Westbound: Tap on the PRESTO device at Union Station Bus Terminal or your originating station and tap off on the station PRESTO machines at your destination
    • Customers with default trips on their PRESTO Card will need to override their default by pressing the “Override” button on the PRESTO device, then tap your card as you normally would

GO Transit officials recommend Lakeshore West customers plan ahead before leaving the house as trips could take longer than usual.


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The all virtual council meetings will shift to a hybrid approach that will see public participation in March of 2022

By Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2021



Assuming the Standing Committee recommendation is approved and that City Council puts their stamp of approval on it – there will be a hybrid approach to attendance at council meetings.

While each member of Council can make their own decision there is said to be enough room for all seven members of Council to sit side by side separated by plexi-glass dividers.

The Clerk and the City Manager could also attend and there is provision for up to eight members of the public to attend.

Advisory meetings will continue to be virtual until there is a clear sense as to how much Delta version of the Covid19 virus increases the number of new infections.

Internal staff meetings will be dependent on the internal health and safety guidelines. Advisory committee meetings will be reviewed at a later date, and their meeting rules will build upon learnings gained from City Council and standing committee meetings and internal guidelines and policies.

The City Manager will be joined by some staff once the Council Chamber is opened up to public meetings.

If there are any changes made by Public Health Ontario, hybrid meetings will be adjusted accordingly to ensure participant safety, therefore the plan will be flexible and responsive. Modifications to the way meetings occur will be determined by the City Clerk and City Manager, in accordance with public health regulations, in consultation and with advice from the internal Health and Safety group through Human Resources.

Physical in-person participation of members of Council is optional. Staff are configuring the Council Chambers to be hybrid, to accommodate in-person and remote participation. Members of Council will have a choice as to whether to participate in person or remote (for each meeting). Work will be completed to ensure that all participants have an equitable and seamless meeting experience.

The assumption is that elements of hybrid meetings will continue after the pandemic.

Will days like this return?

There is no update on proxy voting provisions, or recommendations at this time. Staff will monitor other jurisdictions and keep Council apprised.

Last July Council passed the following staff direction, for a report back in September 2021 regarding in person hybrid Council meetings.

Direct the City Clerk to initiate the planning and implementation of a gradual transition of City Committee/Council meetings (as well as public access) to a hybrid model of Committee/Council that accommodates both in-person as well as continued virtual options and report back on a plan at the September CSSRA Committee meeting with a projected transition/implementation goal of Q4 2021.

As the pandemic progresses some of this information may become out of date and guidelines may be required to change. Staff will work with the necessary groups to periodically review and ensure the health and safety of those physically participating in Council Chambers meetings. Any changes will be effectively communicated to all participants.

From a public health perspective there is no guidance or regulation limiting the duration of an event or gathering. Exposures less than 15 minutes are considered low risk (in most cases), exposures over 15 minutes would need to consider other factors to determine risk. Mitigation may help reduce risk, such as masks, distance, ventilation, and plexiglass barriers.

The City of Burlington has a relatively small Council, with only seven members. A review of the Council table yields that there is enough room to distance participants around the Council table to allow for 10 participants. It is recommended that the 10 participants include, all members of Council, the Clerk, the City Manager, and members of senior staff speaking to reports. Total capacity in the chamber has increased to 20 persons, 10 around the Council desk, 8 in the gallery, and two AV Techs.

Public delegations will be permitted if the initial phases of the plan are successful, and this item will be fully discussed in a subsequent report in February 2022. For health and safety measures, members of the public will not be allowed within the dais, the metal partition within the Chambers.

Masks in the Council Chambers
Those who are intending to participate at an in-person hybrid meeting will be required to wear a mask when they are not speaking. Only one person will be permitted to take their mask off in the Chambers at a time. After a participant speaks and they have yielded the floor to the Chair, or to another speaker, then the mask must be put back on.

Council Chambers equipment will be wiped down by facilities staff (current practice). At present, small internal meetings are permitted, through the City of Burlington Safety Plan, however all participants must be adequately distanced and must remained masked at all times.

Cleaning will increase when members of the public are permitted into the Council Chambers. In addition, masking requirements may also change when members of the public are permitted. Currently the City of Burlington’s Mask By-law, 62-2020 as amended, indicates once a space is open to the public, masking requirements as per the By-law are in effect.

Setting up a hybrid approach still leaves that sticky question of: Do people taking part in a meeting at city have to be vaccinated. Apparently not.

Mandatory vaccination is only required to access certain listed spaces considered as high risk. In contrast, meeting and event spaces that are used for the purpose of delivering or supporting government services and court services are specifically excluded from the mandatory vaccination provision. Therefore, vaccination to enter City hall and more specifically the City Hall Council Chambers is not required provincially.

The City has an option of imposing stricter requirements for either City Hall or Council Chambers, such as mandatory vaccination, on the basis of public health considerations. However, the regulation is quite clear that delivering or supporting government services is excluded from the vaccination provision, and restrictions may invite future challenges, including potential Charter challenges.

Air Filtration and Fresh Air into the Building
During the pandemic, the City’s air handling unit filters have been upgraded to a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value of 13, MERV 13 as recommended by the City’s Health and Safety Team, in consultation with Facility Assets/Operations staff.
The air handler has also had an adjustment made to increase the fresh air intake and is equipped to monitor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations; the unit will automatically increase fresh air further, when needed. The system will be monitored regularly to ensure adequate fresh air is brought into the building.

Proposed Timeline
The following timeline is built on a best-case scenario. The timeline is iterative and deliberate to allow for staff to review how meetings occur, learn from experience, and adjust. We are constantly learning about the virus and prevention, therefore practices or procedures may be amended throughout the timeline. Should there be a spike in cases or another lockdown the timeline may be paused or rolled back to the previous stage.

Full Slate of standing committee meetings (Not Audit), staff making presentations will be permitted as a pilot.

Council meetings are relatively short, on average about one hour. In contrast, the standing committee meetings have extended throughout the workday into the evening. Council was selected as the pilot as it is customarily the shortest in the meeting cycle. In January, the hybrid pilot may include the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee (EICS) which is customarily the shortest standing committee meeting at this time.

Each member of Council will be separated by a sheet of plexiglass and there will be additional cameras installed.

Should Council endorse the plan, staff will include in the December 6 report, how the technology will be mapped out, as to how the technology will affect the remote meeting mechanics and the guide. Further instruction will be provided in advance of the hybrid pilot, to all participants.

This picture was taken in March of 2019 – while many didn’t know it but we were headed into a pandemic – this group didn’t seem to know or care.

Procedural Changes
Currently, City of Burlington remote meetings operate in the authority of the Remote Meeting Guide, working in concert with the Procedure By-law. If Council chooses to pursue hybrid meetings, the Guide will be reviewed in terms of the new technology and hybrid processes that may be introduced. Staff will return to the December 6, 2021 CSSRA meeting with a path forward. It is anticipated that the Remote Meeting guide will be refreshed and formally adopted as a schedule to the Procedure By-law.

In order to conduct the December 14, 2021 Council meeting, a special Council meeting on December 6, 2021 will be required, to ratify any procedural changes before the hybrid meeting occurs.

Advisory Committees
At present, Room 247 in City Hall has been outfitted for in-person staff meetings. A potential venue for hybrid meetings, the room has the capability to incorporate use of a meeting room computer, and a mounted camera. If the strategy is approved, throughout Q1 2022 Office of the City Clerk staff will work with their respective committees to determine whether their committees wish to pursue a hybrid model.

A decision to pursue a hybrid model will require a majority vote of the committee. If they are to resume, only six members will be able to participate in person (with one Clerk to make seven total), and masks must be worn at all times when in the building and throughout their committee meetings.

Committee must determine whether the risk of adding more participants to a meeting in the Council Chambers outweighs potential benefits. As the virus continues, with each infection, the chances of the virus mutating as it replicates increases.

Mutations may lead to dominant variants, which may be stronger than the previous. With the Delta variant in Ontario, cases are beginning to increase, and there may be a fourth wave of infection. This variant is strong and contagious. The Delta variant has changed the approach to gathering controls, which has challenged previous thinking on public health protection.

Options Considered
An alternate is to defer this report until the pandemic has subsided to allow for hybrid meetings to be piloted in safer conditions. This would allow for the hybrid pilot to take place without having to factor in as many public health restrictions. The elimination of in- person delegations, and by only having Council and staff who are subject to the Vaccination Policy in the Council Chambers may reduce some of the risk. This will also reduce reporting, and the background research required.

That line above about: The assumption is that elements of hybrid meetings will continue after the pandemic.  Is there any need for that other than some members deciding they don’t want to leave the house and drive to city hall?



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Reshaping Aldershot: A Preliminary Vision for the Aldershot GO Major Transit Station Area

By Staff

October 18th, 2021



We start with the city of Burlington within which there is the village of Aldershot, within which there is now Aldershot Corners.  The Corners has five precincts.

There is a Preliminary Vision for the Aldershot GO Major Transit Station Area, and Aldershot Corners – a community within a village.

Located minutes from Hamilton at the western edge of Burlington, Aldershot Corners is a visitor’s first impression of Burlington when travelling east from Hamilton and Niagara on the Lakeshore West GO line.

The area is nestled within the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area and focused at the corners of Plains Road, Waterdown Road and Cooke Boulevard. Part of the Treaty 3 lands, Indigenous People were stewards of the land for thousands of years before settlers arrived. Post-Colonially, this area was a major hub for brick manufacturing, and also has a rich agricultural past rooted in fruit production.

Aldershot Corners will continue to evolve as an urban area with a distinct sense of neighbourhood character, supported by a mix of residential, commercial and employment uses.

The colour coding sets out the precincts – detail elsewhere in this article explains what is planned for each of the precincts.

Taller buildings will be concentrated along the rail line and will decrease in height and intensity closer to Plains Road and the existing residential neighborhoods.

Aldershot Corners will be a vibrant, livable community with urban shopping and dining opportunities serving those living and working close by.

New multi-modal urban streets and active transportation facilities will better connect the existing community, providing enhanced mobility and improved access to the GO Station, leisure and recreation opportunities in urban parks and open spaces, as well the many other amenities Aldershot already offers.

The planners created a number of precincts, which are boundaries within which specified levels of development are permitted.

There are five within the Aldershot Corners part of the Aldershot part of the city.

Mid Rise Residential.

Compact residential communities, with a variety of low-rise and mid-rise building forms up to 11 storeys closer to main streets. This Precinct will provide housing forms at a lower scale and intensity including family oriented and ground oriented housing to support the creation of a wide range of housing options, including affordable housing.

Opportunities for commercial activities at street level on strategic streets may be permitted.  Policies will guide appropriate transitions from low rise residential development to more intensive mixed uses. Policies will guide appropriate transitions from the maximum height (11 storeys) to adjacent low-rise neighbourhood, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks.


Aldershot Main Street

This Precinct will advance the Plains Road Village Vision and establish a unique community destination with a focus on a continuous retail frontage and main-street pedestrian experience along the frequent transit corridors (Waterdown Road and Plains Road E.) Policies will introduce a requirement for buildings to have a “lower building” design to create a pedestrian scaled environment at the street level.  Policies will guide appropriate transition from the 11 storey maximum height to existing low-rise neighbourhoods, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks.  Precinct lands that are adjacent to existing low rise neighbourhoods, will have a maximum height of 6 storeys. To ensure functional retail and commercial spaces are created, a wide range of approaches will be considered, including but not limited to establishing minimum floor height for the ground floor of buildings, and considering a minimum retail unit size.  Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Aldershot Main Precinct.

Cooke Commons

Serves as a unique retail and dining destination creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian environment with active uses at the street level and increased emphasis on pedestrian and multi-modal movement.  A flexible street is being considered to provide opportunity for a community gathering space and potential to close for special events.

Mixed-use buildings throughout the Precinct contribute towards the creation of lively, vibrant and people-oriented places.  Along the west side of the street, heights range up to 19 storeys maximum adjacent to the GO Central Precinct and up to 11 storeys maximum generally along Cooke Boulevard. On the east side, there will be up to 11 storeys maximum generally along Cooke Boulevard which gradually steps down to 6 storeys with appropriate transitions, which may include angular planes, setbacks and/or stepbacks, to the adjacent low-rise residential  neighbourhood.  Policies will introduce a requirement for buildings to include a “lower building” design to create a pedestrian scaled environment at the street level.  Direction to support the function of these areas to accommodate  loading and services and support a wide range of retail use will be investigated and imbedded in policy.

Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Cooke Commons Precinct.


Emery Commons

This precinct will accommodate a concentration of residential, retail, employment and commercial uses.

Opportunity exists for a higher concentration of high density residential due to its proximity to an existing public park, a potential new major public park and the GO Central precinct.  Mixed-use buildings, of varying heights to a maximum of 19 storeys, contribute towards the creation of lively, vibrant and people-oriented places.  Opportunities for affordable housing will be considered in the Emery Commons Precinct.


Aldershot GO Central

The preeminent destination for Major Office, affordable housing and urban format retail in this MTSA focusing the tallest buildings (maximum 30 stories) close to the GO station.  Where Aldershot GO Central abuts Waterdown Road and Masonry Court policies will require pedestrian orientation development, including an emphasis enhanced public realm and enhanced spaces for waiting for transit. There is particular emphasis on the need to design a functional, safe and accessible transit plaza.  Polices will ensure that the MTSA will accommodate a proportional mix of residential and employment opportunities and ensure that the Aldershot GO Central precinct will be planned to accommodate major office employment.

This map provides additional detail on what is planned for the different parts of what is being called Aldershot Corners.

What is it that is driving these changes?

KEY CHANGES – A number of things have changed since the Draft Precinct Plans were presented to the public and Burlington City Council in 2018.   The following highlights the key changes that have been made or are being considered and the drivers for these changes.

Aldershot GO MTSA –

MTSA Designation and Boundary – Identified in Provincial Policy, the Regional Official Plan must first delineate and assign density targets to Major Transit Station Areas.  Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 48 delineated the boundary for the Aldershot GO MTSA which identified the removal of existing parks (Hidden Valley Park, Grove Park and Aldershot Park), areas north of the rail line, and established neighbourhoods from the 2018 Aldershot GO Mobility Hub boundary.

Employment – Regional direction through Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 is to include employment within MTSAs.  While Aldershot GO MTSA does not have an employment only precinct, Major Office employment type uses will be required in the Aldershot GO Precinct and it will be outlined through policy.  Other employment types, such as retail, institutional and personal services is broadly encouraged throughout a number of the mixed-use precincts. Specific targets for Major Office will be established.

Comments made by the developer suggested there would be some retail – a Starbucks Coffee shop – but no mention of a supermarket – something the ward Councillor is anxious to see.

Retail – The Aldershot MTSA will provide two unique pedestrian focused retail experiences.  The Aldershot Main Street Precinct provides ground floor retail with a main-street pedestrian experience.  Policies will be considered for ground floor heights and minimum retail unit sizes to ensure functional spaces are provided. The Cooke Commons Precinct will serve as a unique retail and dining destination leading to the GO Station, with a focus on creating a comfortable and vibrant pedestrian environment with active uses at the street level and increased emphasis on pedestrian and multi-modal movement.  In addition to those unique areas the opportunity to require, or in some cases encourage retail in every other precinct to support the day to day needs of existing and future residents.

The only decent park is LaSalle Park; a 15 minute hike that will be stressed once all the residential development is completed. Great park with splash pads and a wading pool. Upgrades will be needed at some point.

Public Parks and Linear Parks – As noted in the Provincial Policy Statement publicly accessible built and natural settings including parklands are important ways to promote healthy, active communities.  Potential locations for parks are identified with a green tree symbol.  The City is considering other opportunities for wider corridors along streets to act as linear parks to provide valuable open space/park space and facilitate connections.  A linear park along Masonry Court connecting Hidden Valley Park with Grove Park will connect residents, employees and visitors to existing green spaces. A new linear park extending along Cooke Boulevard from Plains Road East to new development north of Masonry Court will focus on providing opportunities to linger and to support safe, comfortable pedestrian access to the station.  Enhanced connections, linear parks, new parks and other connections are required throughout the MTSA in order to facilitate safe and more direct pedestrian and active transportation routes to and from the GO station.

Public Service – As noted in the Provincial Policy Statement, public services such as healthcare, education, emergency and protective services, cultural activities and civic administration are necessary to sustain healthy, liveable and safe communities.  Key precincts will provide community spaces, alongside new residential and retail development in key locations. In addition to that new focus in key precincts the “PS” icon remains in key locations where the consideration of the incorporation of public service facilities is critical.  Public services will be located strategically throughout the MTSA and policies will be developed to ensure that these services are located strategically to support population and employment growth in coordination will be coordinated with future development.

Integrated Mobility – In 2019, the City launched its Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP). This plan establishes a vision of safe, accessible, sustainable, balanced and livable mobility for the City of Burlington.  The goals of this plan represent a shift from a focus on cars to more choice in transportation options; with a target of 20+% of trips in urban areas to shift towards transportation choices other than personal vehicles. A Transportation Assessment is being undertaken to identify the local street network for each MTSA (see technical studies below) which will integrate the vision and goals of the city-wide IMP.

Newly built part of Station West – not much in the way of a complete street or parkland for that matter.

Complete Streets (formerly referred to as Green Streets in the 2018 Draft Precinct Plans) – The City’s new Official Plan identifies the need for complete streets strategy for all future street and road projects (new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and rehabilitation). The OP also states that MTSA primary and secondary connectors (Plains Road East and Waterdown Road) shall be complete streets.  With a long-term view, the City is proposing that all existing and proposed streets in the MTSA allow for inclusion of some complete street elements over time which could include space for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and streetscaping in addition to travel lanes for cars.

Active Transportation – The City is committed to implementing active transportation corridors to improve connections and transportation choice.  Planned active transportation corridors have been updated to be consistent with the 2021 Cycling Master Plan and the 2015 Community Trails Strategy.  Active transportation corridors and connections proposed through consultation are also shown in the MTSA.

Climate Change & Sustainability – The City’s Climate Action Plan establishes a net carbon neutral goal by 2050 for community emissions.  Work continues to identify ways for the City of Burlington to address the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition to the transit and active transportation focus of the Aldershot GO MTSA consideration will be given to other ways future development of this MTSA could address climate change including encourage building energy efficiency, urban design policies to address heat and tree cover, and opportunities to consider district energy.

Public Art at the intersection of Waterdown and Plains Road

Frequent Transit Corridors – Plains Road E. and Waterdown Road are identified as Frequent Transit Corridors in the City’s new Official Plan.  Pedestrian-oriented development is desired along these corridors to support the frequent transit service.  Policies will be identified to encourage pedestrian-oriented development along these corridors including consideration of lower heights at street level, urban design and public realm requirements.  Urban design and public realm can also improve the experience for those waiting for transit along these corridors.

Technical Studies Underway – The following technical studies are currently being undertaken and may result in the need for further revision of the Precincts.

  • Land Use Compatibility – There are some major facilities in and around the Aldershot MTSA which may require separation from sensitive land uses like residences, day care centres and education and health facilities. Work is being completed to confirm the potential for land use compatibility issues within the MTSA and to develop a framework for technical assessments to be completed as part of future development proposals.  This work may result in changes to the precincts or area specific policies in the Plan to guide land use change and minimize the potential for land use compatibility issues over time.
  • Transportation Assessment – The current Aldershot GO MTSA shows the planned South Service Road and Masonry Court as shown in the new Official Plan as well as the proposed new streets included in the 2018 Mobility Hub. Traffic congestion has been regularly raised as a concern by the public and a transportation assessment is being undertaken to determine the potential impact of adding the new people and jobs to this area.  In keeping with the vision of the IMP, it is anticipated that the Transportation Assessment results will focus on non-auto infrastructure and ways to shift people to other transportation choices. One of the key outcomes of the Transportation Assessment will be to confirm the need and location for any new local streets to support safe, efficient movement throughout the area.
  • Inclusionary Zoning – As part of the City’s Housing Strategy, an assessment of options to implement Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is being undertaken. IZ is a tool to integrate affordable housing into future development.  IZ can only be applied to MTSAs identified as protected by the Province and Regional Official Plan Amendment 48 which requires the City to establish affordable housing targets for its Major Transit Station Areas. Should IZ be recommended for Aldershot GO, there will be a need for the appropriate guidance on how the tool will be applied.
  • Environmental & Hazard Lands –Studies are underway to identify areas that may be prone to flooding. Completed Flood studies for Aldershot are currently being reviewed by Conservation Halton. Identified areas may need to be protected through policies within some of the Aldershot GO MTSA Precincts.  A Provincially Significant Wetland has been identified to the northeast of the MTSA and any potential policy requirements are being assessed through updates to an Environmental Impact Study being undertaken as part of the background technical work.

Heights and Transition – The maximum heights in the Aldershot GO Precincts generally remain as presented in 2018.  There have been some minor changes including changing lands just east of Cooke Boulevard from Emery/Cooke Commons Precinct with a maximum height of 19 storeys to a new Cooke Common Precinct with a maximum height of 11 storeys.  Policies will be included to guide transition from the maximum height, typically closer to the main streets, to lower rise buildings adjacent to existing low-rise neighbourhoods.

There will be an in depth look at the Plans for the Burlington GO station area on October 19th and a similar event for the area around the Appleby GO station on October 26th.  On November 4th there will be a review of the plans for all three MTSA’s.

All will be virtual events.

There is a WORKBOOK for those who want to pass their views and opinions along to the planners.  The link to the WORKBOOK is HERE

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Akbar toes the party line in a drive to win back the Milton riding

By Ryan O’Dowd:  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 31st, 2021



Milton Conservative candidate, Nadeem Akbar, has been an ardent supporter of party leader Erin O’Toole since the leadership race and stands with him on most issues.

Milton covers parts of rural Burlington. In Akbar’s interview with the Gazette he discusses why the Conservatives are the best party to tackle cost of living concerns and he rebukes opposition claims O’Toole can’t unite the party, while praising his leadership on addressing Islamophobia.

The candidate speaks about squaring O’Toole’s anti-conversion therapy and pro-choice stances with potential dissenters in the party. Akbar is also asked about COVID-19 conspiracy theorists that fueled disruptive protests at a Trudeau event in Bolton.

Lisa Raitt, the Milton PC candidate who lost to Liberal Adam van Koeverden in the 2019 election was thought to be a natural as the candidate for the 2021 election.

She was on the Constituency Board and at one point was the Deputy Prime Minister for the Conservative Party and and on her feet frequently in the House of Commons.

Still, that wasn’t enough to save her from being booted off the executive board of her local riding association – an act that Toronto Sun columnist Mark Bonokoski described as a “coup.”

But Canadians should really see the events that took place as a sign of hope for renewed health in the grassroots, where new blood – here, in the form of Nadeem Akbar, who the riding membership nominated in December to carry the Conservative banner in the  federal election – outmaneuvered the old guard. What happened was the complete opposite of a coup: It was Canadian democracy in action.

Akbar signed up more than 200 new riding members and organized the membership to elect his chosen slate of candidates at the recent annual general meeting; Ms. Raitt was among the 10 directors replaced.

No slouch politically.

Akbar said the Conservatives are the only party who have put forward a comprehensive plan for Canadians going forward. Among the criticisms leveled at the lagging Liberal party is that they have failed to release a full platform, now over two weeks into a brief campaign.

“From day one, we’re the only party who put a plan forward. Right after this pandemic, we are going to secure the country by securing jobs, securing accountability, securing mental health, and securing the economy.

“There is a whole plan that we are going to be working with for Canadians. We have touched on almost everything which is needed, to emerge from the pandemic. And the message I’ve been getting from people is that our message, being communicated clearly from the leader, is resonating so well. They are looking at us and they can see we are here to help them, their response at the door has been tremendous. People see that going forward we are going to secure their future. The whole plan held together addresses every single aspect of life,” said Akbar.

O’Toole has said Canada is facing a housing crisis. The cost of living is at the forefront of voter concerns, Akbar is hearing these concerns at the thousands of doors he’s knocked on. Akbar outlined why the Conservative party is the best choice to provide more affordable housing for Canadians in terms of building homes, and a foreign buyers ban(a firmer stance on foreign buyers contrasted to the Liberal platform which proposes a foreign buyers tax). He touched on other areas where the Conservatives aim to alleviate the cost of living such as public transit and mortgage affordability.

“People are saying the same things at the door, it will be difficult for the coming generation and currently, any new person entering the market, it is so hard for them to buy a house. We have a plan, we’re going to build millions of houses, we want to build 1 million houses in the next three years. We will keep foreign investors from buying homes who are not planning to move to Canada,” said Akbar.

In a recent interview with the Gazette Milton Liberal incumbent, Adam van Koeverden, relayed concerns that O’Toole’s moderate sensibilities were out of step with his party. Akbar, who has supported O’Toole as the Conservative’s best choice since the leadership race, begs to differ pointing to O’Toole’s strengths as a leader both as he knows the leader personally, and the Conservatives ballooning support in national polls.

“I can tell you one thing, I met Erin many times, from day one what I see from Erin is that he is a man of his words, he is a family man who is very committed to serving Canadians. We need a leader like Erin O’Toole, especially after this big pandemic, we need a leader who will take this country forward, to help Canadians secure the future. And I have confidence in Erin. I can tell you I’ve knocked on thousands of doors and I haven’t heard any of (van Koeverden’s) concerns. The message we are delivering to Canadians is being received so well, that’s why more and more support is coming towards Erin to be the next Prime Minister of Canada,” said Akbar.

Liberal candidate Van Koeverden specifically said O’Toole’s record on voting pro-choice wasn’t indicative of the party’s stance due to dissent among his MPs, and he said Conservatives who speak about mental health that don’t vote for banning conversion therapy are “hypocrites.” Akbar was asked several times where he as a candidate stood on abortion and on conversion therapy, the candidate reiterated that O’Toole is the right leader for the party and that he is not here to impose his views on the party but declined to provide his position on either issue.

“I can tell you one thing that you know, Erin is the kind of leader who always talks to his party, he talks about all these issues with the party and does not have any kind of restriction on any of those issues so that people can talk about it openly. We can see the support coming forward. He is the leader that is going to unite this party, we are going in that direction, people are coming and joining us. Within our party, we have people from all walks of life who have their own ideologies. But at the end of the day they are together for one thing, that in this very situation, Erin O’Toole is going to be the leader who secures the future of this country, said Akbar.

Nadeen Akbar speaking to the Muslim community.

Akbar was asked where he specifically stood on abortion and conversion therapy and said:

“As I said this is exactly the leader we’re all looking forward to working with. He is so open and such a leader that he does not impose his thoughts onto anyone else. I am very comfortable being behind this leader, and I will work 100 percent with the leader,” said Akbar.

When asked if being 100 percent behind the leader meant he was pro-choice and was in favour of banning conversion therapy Akbar said:

“Again as I said, I agree 200% with the leader he is the only leader who can take us forward to help every single Canadian. I am also willing to serve people, I am willing to serve anybody regardless of their colour, regardless of their background. We are here to help, we are not here to divide people,” said Akbar.

O’Toole recently condemned any Conservatives who may have taken part in harassing Justin Trudeau in Bolton and said they were not welcome back on his team. Akbar was asked if he was prepared to say there is no place in the Conservative Party for disinformation coming from ani-vax, anti-mask, and, COVID conspiracy theorists, Akbar said he has been vaccinated and he personally supports vaccinations but will not force anyone to make a decision.

“What I can tell you is my wife is a doctor and obviously, she’s helping many families and many kids. I’ve got my vaccination. And we are more of a people who need to make sure that we help each other to tackle the situation, especially the pandemic, we have to work together, help each other and if anybody needs help we guide them. But I’m not here to force someone into getting something or not getting something. I’m here to help. And all my family and everybody around me, they’re all fully vaccinated, as is our campaign. We had a very clear instruction we should make sure we’re all vaccinated,” said Akbar.

In June Akbar vocalized support for O’Toole to call for an emergency National Action summit on Islamophobia. The motion received unanimous support and occurred in late July.

“When Erin O’Toole became a leader, on his very first day he said this is bigger than party. Everybody should support this whether you’re praying on Friday or on Saturday or praying on Sunday, whether you’re not praying. Every community, everybody especially, as you know I’m Muslim, especially the Muslim community should be together in this. Erin was the leader who called for the summit.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz stands wit Nadeen Akbar just the way he stood with the Liberal candidate

“Unfortunately, the Liberals in the past haven’t given an opportunity to the opposition party, especially so we can talk more about this but definitely a very good call,” said Akbar.

Nadeem Akbar celebrated his office opening on Saturday days after the 26th anniversary of his immigration to Canada. Akbar said his immigration was full of hardships as all are but that Canada is the land of opportunity and the best country in the world. Akbar has been involved in community politics and prides himself on being a community leader. Professionally, he has worked as a corporate IT consultant for over 17 years. Akbar has given back to his community through donations to the local hospital and volunteering with the Conservative party he now represents.


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Sharman wants to shake up the way the city budget is prepared - wants a tighter - 'unvarnished' - look at just what the departments are doing

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May3rd, 2021



A very solid look at what the citizens of Burlington get for the money they pay Councillor Paul Sharman to serve as a city councilor is on the Council agenda this week.

Paul is a bean counter – an accountant with years of experience managing some tricky corporate budget issues. He was once on the payroll at Nortel,  a once thriving Canadian corporation in the communications equipment sector.

When it comes to numbers and process he knows whereof he speaks – and this week he is going to speak quite bluntly to his colleagues about some serious problems related to the way budgets are prepared by staff and handled by council members when they are submitted for debate and discussion.

Joan Ford, the city's Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

Joan Ford, the city’s Treasurer knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

Finance is and has been for some time the best run department in the city. This past 15 months have pushed them beyond the limit –  but they never faltered. Joan Ford, the treasurer, has been with the city for more than 30 years (33 I think) and has a cottage that she is said to want to spend more time. She has a fine staff – but it will be very hard to replace Joan Ford. That is not to suggest that she is leaving – we have no idea what her personal plans are.

Councilor Sharman has put forward a Staff Direction to:

Direct the Chief Financial Officer to report back in July 2021 as part of the budget framework report on process changes reflecting a coordinated corporate integrated business planning, measurement, budget and performance management process.

“Based on my experience and observations, as a Councillor,” said Sharman, “I believe we are experiencing increasingly difficult challenges with the alignment of the City’s annual budget process with strategic decision making.

Sharman has spent a lot of time explaining the finer points of budget matters to Councillor Bentivegna.

“In addition, Council has very limited routine knowledge about how well City operations are performing other than when we receive complaints from citizens. Key performance measurement indicators are not routinely provided to Council. Overall, I very much appreciate and value the efforts of staff, including the Finance Budget team, however a discussion on this matter by Council, is both timely and critically important to reduce performance risks of the type Burlington has experienced in recent years.

Dennison, Craven, Taylor with leashes

One year the finance staff gave members of Council the complete budget on a memory stick with a feature that allowed them to make changes in the budget and see instantly the impact on the tax rate. That memory stick was never made available to the public.

“While we have enhanced our efforts related to multi-year strategic planning, service planning/resource needs and operational risk management, the unrealistic expectations placed on the budget process is increasingly apparent. A few key considerations:

the culture of requiring Council to provide budget directions in July, inclusive of a staff recommended city tax rate change target, without in depth and disciplined understanding of the business performance issues contribute to our service and operating risks.

“After the “budget direction report” is approved, staff undertakes significant work to prepare a budget in which the majority of the Council discussion revolves around department cost centers and services where all recommendations are developed relative to the prior year’s budget (or base case), which is adjusted for inflation, employee compensation increases and other known increases.

“Following the Chief Financial Officer’s line by line review where base case adjustments are completed, staff assess what other additions might be acceptable based on Council sensitivity to a perceived tax increase target rather than a complete understanding of the business needs of the City. All of this leads to the completion of a proposed budget prepared by staff and presented to Council for review, modification, and approval in the absence of adequate understanding of current operational performance measures, issues, and risk.

“Formal Council Budget review and approval is accomplished through a “horse trading” process that revolves around a form called “Budget Action Request” (BAR), which is a list of items to be amended and tabled by each member of Council based on their review of the draft budget. Each item is discussed by Councilors and then voted on. Items that are approved have the effect of modifying the budget and lead to budget approval. The BAR form process is essentially short term focused and not suitable for dealing with longer term operational or strategic goals of the organization. Meanwhile, history tells us that departments are often struggling because there has been no continuous dialogue with Council about the extent to which operational needs exist in the City.

‘Some recent examples where Council had inadequate or no prior awareness of critical incidents that might have been avoided had what is being proposed been in effect, include:

Laura Boyd 2a

Laura Boyd once produced a report that set out all to clearly where the problems were in making the best use of the staff compliment.

• Transit staff working extended hours beyond legislative limits and service goals not being met due to inadequate budget.
• Incidents in Recreation Community and Culture related to facility preventative maintenance standards.
• Community Planning department seriously under-resourced to address existing and forecasted workload i.e., development applications.
• Roads Parks and Forestry seriously under-resourced to meet Council approved service standards and community expectations.
• By-Law Enforcement/Animal Control under resourced
• Human resources stretched particularly given the unprecedented impact on staff workload.

“Strategy formulation is the most important mechanism for prioritizing resource allocation for the long term, sustainable, benefit of the community we serve. That allows us to consider critical long term funding requirements, as was accomplished in previous terms of Council for a) JB Hospital expansion, b) Infrastructure renewal including new annual dedicated levy.

“With regard to strategy alignment with the budget process, the following should be in place recognizing it will not all happen in one year. There should be distinct business plans for each key strategic direction embedded in our 25 yr Strategic Plan and V2F 4yr Action Plan, even if only rudimentary, initially.

Sharman hand up

Councillor Sharman has always been very direct with his comments – he can be withering at times.

“These plans should be reviewed in depth every 5 years and consulted every year as part of a rolling 5-year Operating Plan. The first year of the Operating Plan would be approved as the budget for the subsequent year. The operating plan/1st year budget should be based on real, unvarnished, in depth reviews of a 5-year business plan for each service. The service business plans should be brought to Council for review before “budget directions” are provided.

“Council’s Strategic Plan and approved Operating Plan/Budget need to transcend elections and provide useful guidance to future Councils as part of the preparation of both documents (not a commitment). These plans will be subject to change, as all plans are. The premise of this suggested model is to place a focus on long term planning with short term adjustments. The approach is designed to shift the organization focus to the future rather than on the past, and to the business of the organization rather than vague and poorly informed assessments of community sentiment.

“Here is what I propose, recognizing that staff will need to report back:

1) Staff report back in July 2021 with a framework and proposed timing for the budget process enhancements related to alignment with strategic planning and ongoing service planning. Please note staff were already planning to come to Council in July, comments/guidance from council today will be helpful.

Sharman hand to head

Sharman: Waiting for the wisdom he has just sprinkled on council to settle in?

2) In September, real, unvarnished, in depth reviews of 5-year business plans for each service be held with Council in preparation for budget with short, midterm key metrics. Integrated into this reporting, the City Manager should include an update on multi-year resource needs in keeping with the recent Designing and Evolving the Organization (DEOO) initiative.

3) Staff to prepare summary report of service reviews to identify issues raised, risks, opportunities, priorities and recommendations. Service priority directions to be sought from Council.

4) A distinct business plan be prepared for each strategic direction for the full planning horizon that estimates key activity milestones and resource requirements complete with short-, mid- and long-term key metrics.

5) A 5-year business plan be brought to council that reflects the combination of items 2,3&4 above. This represents the basis for budget decision making.

6) The consequent 1st year of the budget is to be presented in both perspectives of
a) Service budget, operational measures, and performance targets b) Department budgets reflecting the service budgets, multi-year resource needs, KPI measures, and targets.

7) Covid-19 verbal updates to be replaced in future by a City Service Operations Review Update “Ops Review.”

“What is proposed represents a huge change culturally and work wise. It is possible that all aspects mentioned exist already to some degree, but refinement is required. They require time to be accomplished. Burlington staff and Council have worked to implement all of the pieces over the last ten years. Now it is time to integrate and align them…it is now time to complete the work.

Sharman - hand raised

Ever the advocate – Sharman during the 2018 election – there was a period of time when his seat was at risk

“Doing so should simplify and massively improve Council knowledge, planning, budget preparation and approval. That said, I recognize that to introduce it all in one year is not feasible. Aspects can be implemented for the 2022 budget process, and that we consider doing what is possible, without creating massive disruption. The rest can be phased over the next year and perhaps beyond.”

Council is going to spend a lot of time on this one.  The subject is as dry as toast and as important as whatever you have in your wallet.

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Joseph Brant Hospital at 94% capacity - CEO asks for public support in staying safe

News 100 redBy Eric Vandewall, President and CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

April 15th, 2021



A short walk from Joseph Brant Hospital is Spencer Smith Park, a beautiful green space by the waterfront where, in past years, friends and families would gather in large numbers to enjoy the warm weather, music and food festivals and open-air movie nights.

We know how difficult this year has been for everyone – we feel it too. We all want to return to a time when we could enjoy the simple pleasures of pre-pandemic life. But we urge you to be patient, stay home and follow all public health measures. We need your help to avert a crisis.

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall

Across Ontario, we are seeing enormous strain on our hospitals, and JBH is no exception. The new Variants of Concern have quickly taken hold and are fueling this third wave, causing a rapid surge in cases and hospitalization of patients with more severe symptoms.

At JBH, we are currently at 94% capacity and reached full capacity this past weekend. In just two weeks, the number of COVID-19 patients in our care has more than doubled and continues to increase daily.

We are doing everything we can to make beds available to the rising number of patients – both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 – who require urgent, life-saving care. We have put all non- urgent surgeries and procedures on hold. We have added four intensive care beds and will be adding three more by the end of this week – 31 beds in total. But resources are limited, and may not be enough if the demand continues.

Hospital modular

Pandemic Response Unit

We have been working with our regional and provincial partners in managing COVID-19 care, so that no one hospital is overwhelmed. We have the capability to transition our Pandemic Response Unit – which is currently serving as a Halton Region Vaccination Clinic – back to providing COVID-19 care within 24 hours. We would continue to run the clinic, which has already administered more than 10,000 vaccinations, in another part of the hospital.

Like many of you, our JBH staff and physicians have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic, and your unwavering support has meant so much. You helped us get through it, and we need your support once again.

Please follow public health guidance. Stay home unless it’s essential, such as buying food or picking up medication. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, physically distance from others and do not gather with anyone outside of your household.

There are skeptics who will try to convince you that this is all unnecessary. I can assure you, they are wrong. If this upward trend continues hospitals will be overwhelmed.

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Transit is asking its customers to use the buses only if necessary

News 100 redBy Staff

April 13th, 2021



Burlington Transit is asking its customer to use transit for essential travel.  If you are not well, stay home and stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires – those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

A very strict bus cleaning protocol is in place.

Burlington Transit buses have been sprayed with the AEGIS Microbe Shield.  Staff completed the most recent application on April 11, 2021 as part of our enhanced bus cleaning protocols.  We also clean each vehicle daily.

Our buses have been sprayed which includes

  • Arm rests
  • Grips and grab bars
  • Head rests
  • Seat back and bottom cushions
  • Stanchions
  • Stop pull cords and buttons
  • Windowsills and window panels

Services available

  • Regular bus service – visit our MyRide Real-time website for schedules
  • Specialized Dispatch is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for bookings
  • Downtown Terminal is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Boarding Buses and Fares

Don’t leave home without it – and don’t lose it.

Don’t leave home without it – and don’t lose it.

Board buses from the front doors and, if you can, exit by the rear doors. We are collecting fares and recommend touchless fare payment using a PRESTO card.

Wearing a Mask is Mandatory

Non-medical masks or face coverings are mandatory.

Mandatory masks and face coverings help to keep customers and staff safe.

For more information on non-medical masks and face coverings, visit the Government of Canada Non-medical masks and face coverings page.


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Federal government prepared to hand out $400 million to the municipal sector for networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges

News 100 redBy Staff

March 12th, 2021



That $400 million the federal government is handing out over a five year period  – was given to every municipality in the country.

Each of those now has to put together their proposals and basically compete for the dollars.

It’s a good move – getting people outside never hurts.

The media release explained it this way:

Mountsberg - winter trails

Given the opportunity the people of Burlington get out every chance they get.

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore announced $400 million over five years to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges, as well as support for repairs and planning studies. This is the first federal fund dedicated to building active transportation through Canada – powered by people – and part of the Government of Canada’s plan to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and build a more sustainable and resilient economy.

The new $400-million fund is part of an eight-year, $14.9-billion public transit investment outlined by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister McKenna on February 10, 2021. It will support communities as they build vibrant neighborhoods where people can safely live, work and play. The fund will also help Canadians living in rural communities and places without active transportation options to unlock the potential in their communities.

This is the rural Burlington residents want to keep - walking trails and quiet countryside.

Walking trails and quiet countryside.

In concert with this new fund, Minister McKenna and Parliamentary Secretary Fillmore also launched stakeholder engagement for Canada’s first Active Transportation Strategy. The strategy will be informed by input from the public and key stakeholders including provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations and businesses and will help the federal government make smarter investment decisions to:

• Support the active transportation networks of the future;
• Promote healthier, walkable communities that are environmentally sustainable and affordable; and
• Support better data collection to ensure measurable outcomes.

Watch carefully for how you community responds to this opportunity.  Burlington is currently working on a Cycling Master Plan that is going to need to need millions to be completed – this fund appears to be tailor made for the Transportation people.

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A Burlington Lands Partnership: Has a budget of $250,000 - now settles down to thinking what to do first

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

February 9th, 2021


The following is lengthy.  It sets out what the city has decided it wants to do on development projects that will put tax money at risk.  None of what is now known as the Burlington Lands Project was discussed, nor even mentioned, during the last municipal election.

Part 2 of a four part series

What is the Burlington Lands Partnership?

The Burlington Lands Partnership (“BLP”) is a flexible, multi-dimensional and integrated approach that seeks to address multiple areas of municipal strategic land management including acquisition and development. This strategic forward-looking approach will encompass the leveraging of future municipal land investments to maximize the potential benefits for the City and related partners.

For the City, the BLP will initially focus on achieving tangible and measurable community benefits and returns in three areas: supporting economic growth and direct job creation, completing “city building” projects and delivering much needed affordable housing.

Oversight and strategic direction will be provided by a new steering committee that is ultimately accountable to Burlington City Council. The committee is proposed to consist of the Mayor, the City Manager, the Council member serving as current Chair of the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee, key senior municipal staff, and representation from Burlington Economic Development (both the Board and staff).

Additional partner-based stakeholders such as community leaders, the heads of community organizations, and representatives of private corporations are proposed to be part of smaller project specific task forces that are accountable and report to the BLP Steering Committee.

Why is the Burlington Lands Partnership Needed?

Burlington wants a Stage 2 designation.

There are parts of this fair city that could use some development – or to use the language planners use – put the land to better use.

• There are several strategically positioned and emerging municipal land development opportunities within Burlington, but there is no single entity that has the mandate and resources to realize the opportunities for the long-term benefit of the City.

• The establishment of a full-scale municipal development corporation (MDC), under the Municipal Act, would involve an onerous amount of capital investment and resources, which would challenge the City’s current strategic priorities, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported to CPRM Committee (CM-29-20, Oct. 6,20), a different approach is needed at this time.

• There is widespread support for the City to take a greater strategic role in targeting municipal land development in Burlington.

• Burlington has many active community organizations and not-for-profits which could engage in mutually beneficial partnerships to aid in developing communities within Burlington.

• A partnership in this form allows for the City, Burlington Economic Development (Burlington EcDev), and a coalition of public and private sector partners to pursue additional funding and strategic partnerships including but not limited to the Halton Region, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada.

Mandate of BLP
Throughout 2020, urbanMetrics was engaged by the City of Burlington to assess the viability, function and structure of a municipal development corporation or other strategic land entity to facilitate the development of City owned lands with a focus on economic development and city building initiatives.

The study was undertaken in conjunction with a governance study conducted by MDB Insight to examine the role of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation.

In addition to a case study review of the land development entities in other municipalities and an assessment of development opportunities within the City, the urbanMetrics study included an extensive consultation program with the Burlington business community, Council and City staff and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation. The recommended approach to a strategic land development entity, which was subsequently brought forward and recommended by the City Manager as the Burlington Land Partnership (BLP), involved the following:

• The internal strategic real estate structure would involve Burlington EcDev, as well as other, potential partners, such as Halton Region, other public agencies, private industry and private and public institutions including not-for-profit community groups, as required.

• Oversite and strategic direction would be provided by a steering committee that would ultimately be accountable to Council. The City Manager, as staff lead, would be responsible for strategic managerial leadership and would serve as chair of the steering committee. Outside consulting expertise would be engaged as needed.

• The mandate of the organization or partnership would be on leveraging real estate to:

o Maximize opportunities for economic growth and job creation;
o Develop and implement city building projects; and
o Create opportunities for the development of affordable housing.

• Ultimately the BLP should have access to City staff and other resources to seek, identify and develop strategic land opportunities into viable projects; to direct the acquisition and disposition of related City lands; to undertake land and facility development visioning and design; to obtain necessary planning approvals; and to fully engage with outside partners.

• Initially, the BLP should be tasked with seeking, identifying and developing opportunities into viable strategic land projects. A number of opportunities have been presented through the urbanMetrics and Cresa studies. These, as well as others that may be identified in the future, need to be more formally prioritized and envisioned complete with detailed project plans, recommended by the BLP Steering Committee and approved by City Council.

• The BLP would be the first step towards the creation of a municipal development corporation, however this would not occur until 2023 (at the earliest) following a reporting to Council on the activities and accomplishments of the BLP in 2021/22.

• Establishing the BLP as a first step, achieves a good balance among the opportunities, the desire for augmented internal strategic land capabilities, the current resource capacity limitations and the need for due diligence and caution.

• The BLP will:

o Place a priority corporate focus on realizing strategic land opportunities.

o Build on and leverage existing skills, relationships and expertise within the City and Burlington EcDev.

o Enable an interim integrating structure to build organization capacity and expertise and deliver key outcomes related to strategic land management.

o Provide increased organizational capacity through the development and approval of ongoing due diligence contracts with external services firm(s) that have expertise across all facets of strategic land management.

o Provide an integrated and accountable organizational structure including a steering committee, designated staff leads and enhanced business processes including Council oversight (both open and closed session reporting in keeping with the City’s existing procedural by-law).

After an initial start-up period of two years, the organization should be evaluated on an annual basis, with respect to achieving measurable results related to:

o Supporting job creation, business creation and economic expansion;

o Developing an implementation of community-wide “City building” projects;

o Realizing tangible affordable housing opportunities and increased housing supply;

o Fiscal impact (increased assessment base/taxes, development charges, other fees);

o Enhancing the profile of the City and contributing to the public identity of Best City to Live in Canada;

o Supporting the City’s 25-year Strategic Plan, Council’s Vision to Focus 4-year work plan and community planning and other land related policies; and

o Delivering value for money and cost effectiveness to Burlington taxpayers.

Burlington remains a prosperous, vibrant and affordable community that continues to be one of Canada’s best places to live and do business, with a remarkable quality of life strengthened through partnerships, economic development and city building initiatives.

Through innovation, strategy and partnerships, the Burlington Lands Partnership, will pursue and unlock the potential of strategic land opportunities that enhance the quality of life and growth of Burlington residents and businesses.

The Burlington Lands Partnership will:

• Place a priority corporate focus on realizing strategic land opportunities.

• Build on and leverage existing skills, relationships, and expertise within the City and Burlington EcDev.

• Facilitate coordination and cooperation between community organizations, not-for- profits, private corporations, and the City and Burlington EcDev.

• Enable an interim structure to build organization capacity and deliver key outcomes related to strategic land management.

• Provide an integrated and accountable organizational structure including a steering committee, designated staff leads and enhanced business processes including Council oversight (both open and closed session reporting).

Strategic Focus
The Burlington Land Partnership will use a wide range of approaches depending on what is appropriate or possible and contingent on the needs, interested partners, and resources available for any one specific strategic land related project or opportunity.

The BLP will:
• Lend expertise and enable connections to commercial and residential land development that is undertaken by the City of Burlington, land holding community organizations or not-for-profits or private developers interested in working with the BLP.

• Work with private businesses to foster job-creating commercial real estate developments in strategic areas such as the Innovation District and Major Transit Station Areas.

John - Wellington tower + bus office

The Wellington Tower is part of the Regional Government Housing inventory.

• Partner with Halton Region and other organizations with an affordable housing mandate, to develop affordable housing or seek to incorporate additional affordable housing into future private or public housing developments, including but not limited to the completion and implementation of the City of Burlington Comprehensive Housing Strategy starting in 2021.

• Work with other interested potential partners and key stakeholders to ensure all surplus school sites within Burlington are evaluated and where possible, developed in a manner that improves quality of life in the local neighbourhoods and generates public value.

• Place a strategic focus on the following three priorities:

1) Encouraging Economic Development.
Objective: To maximize business development opportunities and advance future economic growth and job creation.
Key Stakeholders:

– Local businesses
– Regional businesses seeking to expand their presence
– New businesses to the region
– Commercial property developers
– Regional Municipality of Halton
– Provincial and Federal funding partners

2) Implementing City-Building Initiatives
Objective: To facilitate the implementation of city building projects that enhance the quality of life for all citizens.

Key Stakeholders:

– City Building project partners
– Regional Municipality of Halton
– Local landowners and property developers
– Provincial and Federal funding partners

3) Delivering Affordable Housing

Objective: Develop and implement projects that deliver an increased supply of affordable housing through proactive long-term strategies and innovative partnerships.

Key Stakeholders:
– Regional Municipality of Halton
– Residential Property Developers
– Housing Focused Not-for-Profits (such as Habitat for Humanity)
– Provincial and Federal funding partners


The Burlington Lands Partnership governance structure borrows from lessons in other municipalities and the ongoing operations of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation. First, BLP is led by and accountable to Burlington City Council. Second, BLP provides an integrated and accountable organizational structure including a steering committee, designated staff leads, and enhanced business processes with Council oversight including both open and closed session reporting.
Oversight and strategic direction are provided by a steering committee that is ultimately accountable to City Council. The committee is comprised of the Mayor, the City Manager, selected members of Council and appropriate senior staff, and representation from Burlington EcDev.

BLP Steering Committee
The BLP Steering Committee will provide ongoing strategic leadership and oversight and will be established by City Council with approval of BLP Terms of Reference.
Membership consisting of the following for a period of 2 years (with exception of Chair of CPRM committee which is 1 year concurrently with their term as chair).

– Mayor.
– Current Chair of the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee of Council.
– City Manager (Chair).
– Chief Financial Officer.
– Executive Director – Legal Services and Corporate Counsel.
– Executive Director – Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility.
– Executive Director – Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services
– Executive Director – Burlington Economic Development.
– Board Member – Burlington Economic Development.

The BLP will meet on a regular basis (anticipate 3-4 meetings/year) with agenda management including meeting notes prepared/completed to the satisfaction of the City Clerk in keeping with City’s procedural by-law.

BLP Working Groups
• To be determined by the Steering Committee with approval by Council on a project-by-project basis as part of a separate project brief/plan.

Duration and Transition
The Burlington Land Partnership will function during an initial “pilot period” of two years including 2021 and 2022. A report on the strategic activities and outcomes of the BLP will be presented to Council prior to the end of their 2018-2022 terms and will include recommendations for consideration for the 2023-2026 term of Council.

The BLP represents a transitional approach that allows for the expansion of organizational capacity and a build-up of expertise that will in turn enable further consideration by Council of a formalized municipal development corporation (MDC) in line with other municipalities in Ontario and utilizing the powers allowed under the Municipal Act related to municipal corporations.

There is a lot to be said about this initiative.  That it gets presented to the public just before the current Council begins to move into election mode (the next municipal election is just 20 months away) and put on the table while the country is fighting a second wave of the COVID-19 virus can be seen as a little foolhardy.

Part 1 of a 4 part series.

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The provincial government is easing us into a gradual re-opening of the economy - or is the Premier reacting to the tremendous pressure from the Retail Council

News 100 redBy Staff

February 9th, 2021



Ontario will begin to gradually reopen its economy on Wednesday but the government could use an “emergency brake” to move regions back into lockdown if cases spike.

Doug ford in mask

Premier Doug Ford announcing a transition out of the strict lock-down.

Premier Doug Ford said Monday that a state of emergency will be allowed to expire as scheduled on Tuesday and regions will transition back to the province’s colour-coded pandemic restrictions system over the next three weeks.

A stay-at-home order will remain in place for communities until they move over to the tiered system.

“We can’t return to normal, not yet,” Ford said. “But we can transition out of the province wide shut-down.”

As part of its reopening efforts, the province is changing the rules for the strictest category of the restrictions system to allow previously closed retailers to reopen with capacity limits of 25 per cent.

“To those business owners who are struggling, I want you to know that we have listened,” Ford said.“We’ve been working day and night to find every possible way to safely allow more businesses to reopen.”

Where will reopening start?

Three health units — Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and Renfrew County — will move into the least-restrictive green category on Wednesday, which means restaurants and non-essential businesses can reopen.

The Timiskaming Health Unit, which was also expected to move to the green category Wednesday, will be held back for a week since a COVID-19 variant was discovered in the region over the weekend, the province said.

On Feb. 16, all remaining regions (this includes all of Halton and Hamilton) but not the three hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area are set to move to the restrictions framework. The category they are placed in will depend on their local case infection rates.

Toronto, Peel Region and York Region are expected to be the last to make the transition on Feb. 22, but the province said any sudden increase in cases could delay that plan.

Christine Elliott

Deputy Premier Christine Elliott saying this is not a re-opening – it is a transition with a hand brake at the ready.

The province will also have an “emergency brake” in place to allow the government to quickly move a region back into lockdown if it experiences a rapid increase in cases or if its health-system becomes overwhelmed.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the measure is meant to help deal with the risk posed by new variants of COVID-19.

“This is not a reopening, or a return to normal,” she said of the changes announced Monday. “It’s an acknowledgement that we are making steady progress.

“Without those stronger public health measures, (Ford) might be dooming us to the cycle of illness and lockdowns, again and again,” she said.


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Councillor hints at financial concerns at transit that are not being tabled

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021


Clarification:  The Gazette has learned that the losses Councillor Sharman mentioned at Council earlier this week have been known for some time and were discussed when James Ridge was city manager.  Quite why Councillor Sharman brought them up is something we don’t understand.

Minutes before the Standing Committee that was hearing what the Finance department had to say about the 2020-21 Operations budget Councillor Paul Sharman made a comment relating to financial problems at Burlington Transit.

He said “there is a serious concern about a million dollar loss at transit that we have not been told about and there is another one coming.”

Sharman b

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Paul Sharman delights in throwing a spanner into the works from time to time. He dumps a piece of information on the table, doesn’t follow up – just leaves it there to fester.

Whatever Sharman knows, rest assured there are others who know;  Is the City Manager one of them?

Let’s ask some questions and see what comes to the surface.

Transit in the past few years has managed to do very well in terms of service and leadership in the use of technology.

The department has had a sterling reputation.

What was Sharman alluding to?

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City gets ready to do its part in the mass public vaccinations - might all be in play by the end of the month

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2021



Vaccinations are taking place now and there is a plan to do the mass vaccinations that will be needed to bring this virus to heel.

Big picture 3 phases

The big picture: sets out the rate at which the city and the Region will get us all vaccinated.

The city administration created a Task Force that would work directly with the Regional Public Health Office which has asked the city to find a possible three locations at which vaccinations can be administered.

launching CIB task force

The make-up of the Task Force – city side

They asked that one of the three be the Haber Recreation Centre which has been used in the past for measles vaccinations.
The way this will roll out is to have the city providing the space with the required security, backup power supply and the on hand staffing that will be needed. Parking and transit access were also important.

The public will be given details on who is to show up when.

Council learned that it is going to be many months before everyone is vaccinated. Sheila Jones, one of the Executive Directors,  who guided the presentations made by staff said she thought it could be completed by August.

There are three phases to the plan. The time lines for each phase are not cast in stone. All the people who are working on this task are fully aware that everything is both fluid and dynamic.

Some people may be getting their vaccinations at a Doctor’s Office; some may get their vaccination at a pharmacy, assuming they are part of the picture.

Phase 2 roles and Resp COB

Who does what?

Karen Roche

Burlington Fire Chief Karen Rocke will work with City Staffer Amber Rushton to lead to Vaccination Task Force

Amber Rushton and Fire Chief Karen Roche are the staff members leading this Task Force. More on Ms Rushton in a separate article.

The Plan they are administering so that vaccinations can be given quickly and efficiently includes:

Having the needed equipment in place
Site set up
Traffic control
Site security
Public safety and volume management.

Sites that are set up will have to stay in place until the public vaccination is complete – we are talking about many months.

There will be a military liaison person attached to the Task Force as well as someone from the Mayor’s office – that was defined as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Victoria Al Samadi.

The Task Force reports directly to the Emergency Control Group weekly.

One of the problems that has plagued this health crisis is the, at times, very poor messaging by the province.

The Regional Public Health Network hasn’t earned all that many gold stars for the way it has communicated with a worried public. However, they have been good at getting data out.

Dratf reporting structure (LAST)

Reporting structure is a work in progress at this point – but there are very good people in place to make it all happen.

This next phase is going to require very tight communication between the city – they are going to provide a location that is ready the moment the nurses walk through the door ready to put needles in arms – and the Region, that is going to bring the thousands of doses that will be needed to the location and ensure that there are enough nurses on hand to work from 8:30 am to about 5:30 pm seven days a week.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Things will be moving very quickly by the end of the month when the public vaccination takes place.

One message to the public:  the City and the Region have a very firm grip on what has to be done.  The role for individuals is to be patient and to trust the civil servants to do their jobs.  The really do know what they are doing.

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Province comes up with $5.4 million to get us through the 2020 budget

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 18th, 2020



In the municipal world, a deficit is not permitted.

When revenues do not cover all the expenses then treasurer people have to draw down funds from a reserve account.

Burlington, like every other municipality in the province, has dozens of reserve accounts.

The 2021 Operating budget that is being put together (it will go to Council in January) did not look all that good – a higher than the 2% tax rate the public finds they can live with looked as if it was going to rise – 4% was possible unless spending was cut drastically or if there was an infusion of cash from higher levels of government.

Burlington was advised this week that it would get more financial relief from the Province during COVID-19.

Mayor Meed Ward and Premier - Dec 2018

Premier Ford meets Mayor Meed Ward – smiles all around.

The province announced yesterday they are allocating an additional $695 million to provide financial relief for municipalities and help ensure they do not carry operating deficits into 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burlington is one of 48 (out of 444 municipalities) to receive the “full” phase 2 funding allocation. The City is receiving an additional 2020 operating funding of $5.4 million, plus $1.9 million to help with 2021 COVID-related operating pressures.

This funding is in addition to $2.2 million in transit-related money provided to help with local transit pressures, which was also secured through the City’s phase 2 application through the Safe Restart program.

These funds build upon the first phase of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Funding Agreement announced this summer and will help municipalities deliver critical services during COVID-19.

The federal-provincial Safe Restart Funding Agreement is a historic partnership that secured up to $4 billion in emergency funding for Ontario’s municipalities to help them on the road to a safe recovery during the pandemic.

Audit Tim 1 more vocal

Tim Commisso, City Manager

“… great news for our City”, said the Mayor, who added that “the Province listened to us. This additional funding will help us as we enter a difficult 2021 budget to maintain and enhance the services our residents expect, while keeping it affordable.

Tim Commisso, City Manager pointed out that “… we still have a challenging 2021 operating budget forthcoming in January, this funding is a huge relief for the city as we continue to deal with the financial impacts of this pandemic.”

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