Santa takes to his first Magic Trail Tour on Saturday: Rural Burlington, Tyandaga, Brant Hills and Mountainside are the first communities

eventsred 100x100By Staff

December 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail
Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail is an innovative alternative to the traditional Santa Claus Parade. Due to COVID-19, the traditional Santa Claus Parade will not happen this year as the City continues to follow public health direction and the need to maintain physical distancing and avoid crowding.

Ho Ho man himself Santa

No reindeer this year – an antique fire truck and with the Ho, Ho, Ho man ringing a bell

Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail will feature Santa Claus riding on an antique fire truck with a police escort through different Burlington neighbourhoods each weekend in December.

To keep residents safe, the truck will not make stops and residents are asked to view Santa from within their own household or if outdoors, follow public health direction and maintain two metres physical distancing from anyone not from your household.

Schedule
Each day, Santa will be moving throughout the neighbourhoods from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.

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

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

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

Dec. 13: Longmoor, Shoreacres, Roseland and Dynes

Dec. 19: Aldershot, Central and Plains

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

For resident safety, the exact route of the SHMT cannot be posted in order to avoid potential gatherings along sidewalks awaiting his arrival. Santa will safely move through neighbourhoods and residents are asked to avoid gathering. The fire truck and police escort will sound their sirens occasionally.

Anyone who sees Santa can use the hashtag #SpotSantaBurlON to notify neighbours of his location and spread the magic.

Santa will not be stopping to accept letters, milk or cookies or posing for photos. Please use caution and stay safe when near the road.

Information is posted on burlington.ca/parade.

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There is a Magic Trail that winds its way through the city - Santa is said to be travelling that trail early in December

News 100 redBy Staff

November 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

To bring happiness and joy to the neighbourhoods of Burlington this holiday season, the City of Burlington is launching Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail (SHMT) and asking you to join virtually for Story Time with Santa.

Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail
Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail is an innovative alternative to the traditional Santa Claus Parade. Due to COVID-19, the traditional Santa Claus Parade will not happen this year as the City continues to follow public health direction and the need to maintain physical distancing and avoid crowding.

Ho Ho man himself Santa

No reindeer this year – an antique fire truck and with the Ho, Ho, Ho man ringing a bell

Santa’s Holiday Magic Trail will feature Santa Claus riding on an antique fire truck with a police escort through different Burlington neighbourhoods each weekend in December. To keep residents safe, the truck will not make stops and residents are asked to view Santa from within their own household or if outdoors, follow public health direction and maintain two metres physical distancing from anyone not from your household.

Schedule
Each day, Santa will be moving throughout the neighbourhoods from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.

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

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

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

Dec. 13: Longmoor, Shoreacres, Roseland and Dynes

Dec. 19: Aldershot, Central and Plains

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

For resident safety, the exact route of the SHMT cannot be posted in order to avoid potential gatherings along sidewalks awaiting his arrival. Santa will safely move through neighbourhoods and residents are asked to avoid gathering. The fire truck and police escort will sound their sirens occasionally.

Anyone who sees Santa can use the hashtag #SpotSantaBurlON to notify neighbours of his location and spread the magic.
Santa will not be stopping to accept letters, milk or cookies or posing for photos. Please use caution and stay safe when near the road.

Information is also posted on burlington.ca/parade.

Story Time with Santa
Beginning Dec. 19, at 6 p.m., Santa will bring greetings to Burlington residents and read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” as well as tell stories of the north pole, his reindeer and the nice list. The video will be posted on burlington.ca/parade and will be available for viewing anytime until Dec. 31.

Our Mayor sees a “silver lining” in the pandemic we are under.   “The silver lining throughout this year has been finding new and creative ways to do things and celebrate holidays from how we’ve traditionally done it before. I want to thank our Recreation Services staff for coming up with Holiday Magic Trail and Storytime with Santa, and putting it together to help our community usher in the Christmas spirit to our Burlington.”

www.burlington.ca/parade is the link you want to catch all this fun.

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Set out as a silent protest about what we are not doing about climate change.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shoe strike 1a

A silent protest.

There they were.

Set out ever so neatly within Civic Square – more than 230 pairs of shoes.

They were part of a silent protest about what we are not doing about climate change.

It was billed as a climate strike inviting everyone in Burlington to join in demanding that all levels of government act immediately on the urgent climate crisis.

The social distancing rules had to be respected. How do you do that?

The people who organized the event identified two places where the shoes could be dropped off. The Rolling Horse Community Cycle in Aldershot and a private home in Millcroft.

Participants were invited to insert a note inside their shoes to convey their message about why urgent action on climate change is important to them.

This was a silent protest. There were no opportunities for speeches or public announcements or political leader photo ops.

After the silent protest the shoes were collected and returned to hosts or donated to a local charity that will distribute them to those in need.

Shoe striike 1 b

Many of the shoes had notes in them – setting out the wish, hope, aspirations and dreams of those who had walked in those shoes earlier.

Similar Shoe Strikes were to take in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills; those situations didn’t work out very well.

Oakville found that their plans were upset with the COVID-19 rules on how many people could gather in a group.

Milton ran into bureaucratic problems – the need for a permit and the need for insurance.

Fridays for Future will be co-coordinating similar Climate Strikes throughout Canada. Locally, organizers come from a cross-section of groups: Burlington Biodiversity Team, Students for Change Halton, BurlingtonGreen Youth Network, Burlington Citizens Concerned about Climate Change (BC4), and local residents.

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Mayor does have Registry of who she meets with but there isn't the kind of transparency expected from Meed Ward.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council ended a long work day on Thursday – starting at 9:30 am and adjourning at just after 10 pm that night.

They started out as a Standing Committee, rolled it over into a Meeting of Council and passed a number of significant bylaws.

There was an interesting debate on plans to create a Registry within which members of Council would let the public know who they have been meeting with.

Politicians at every level don’t particularly like Registry’s. Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns has had one in place for some time.  She brought forward a Motion asking that there be a Registry that included every member of Council

During the debate Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she has had a Register since the day she became Mayor.

Meed Ward as a delegation

Transparency was Meed Ward’s operative word before she was even elected to office.

That was a surprise to me – it was something I had never heard of before. With Mayor Meed Ward everything she does that is new and different is mentioned often. She sees and positions herself as a politician who is going to do things differently. She used the words accountability and transparency every time she delegated at Council as a citizen.

The Gazette reached out to the Mayor’s Communication staffer. Got a message that he was working from home.  Our message to the Communications Staffer was:

At the Standing Committee last night the Mayor said that she keeps a record of everyone she meets with along with minutes of the meeting and that that information is publicly available.

Can you tell me where that information is located?

Thank you

Shortly after we got an email from Suzanne Vukosavljevic, Manager of Communications, City Manager’s Office.  We did not reach out to Vukosavljevic – she appears to have been advised by the Mayor’s Communications Staffer that the Gazette was asking questions.

She responded:

Wearing chain of office

Marianne Meed Ward after being sworn in as Mayor of Burlington

The Mayor’s Office maintains a record of meetings with developers, with minutes. They are not online but, as stated, available to the public upon request and can forward.

We responded asking for a link to the information.

Vukosavljevic replied:

Good afternoon Pepper,

The Mayor’s Office maintains a record of meetings with developers, with minutes. If there is interest in a particular meeting, we can forward those minutes. The only meetings that have taken place this year have been:

  • Clearview – Adam Peaker, June 29
  • Millcroft Golf Course – Frank Bon, Feb 6

Thanks, Suzanne

That is not quite good enough.  Where are the records?  Written up in a little black book?   Are they in a place where they can be accessed by people in the Mayor’s Office and changed?

During the debate the Mayor said the information was public and that it was online.

That isn’t the case.  It certainly isn’t transparent.

Politicians are judged by what they do – not what they say.

We applaud the Mayor recording her meetings and keeping minutes.

We would like to see the complete record of every meeting along with the minutes.  The public has a right to see everything not just what City Hall functionaries decide to make available.

In a conversation with a former Mayor of the City he said that anyone who wants to do something in the City meets with the Mayor.  “It all comes through the Mayor’s office” he said.

Of course it does and the Gazette wants a mayor who preaches accountability and transparency to practice what she preaches.

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

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Good motion gets trashed by Mayor - the need recognized by Councillor Stolte is very real.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the motion you put forward to create more sidewalk space for people to use when they are out for a walk is followed by an amendment from the Mayor with seven points to it – you know your motion is in trouble.

Such was the fate of a motion put forward by ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to assess, create and implement as soon as possible, and with input from other city departments and members of the Cycling and ITAC Committees, a “Shared Streets Burlington” Pilot Project with the goal of temporarily closing portions of roadways to allow for safer physical distancing for pedestrians and cyclists for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background Discussion:

The residents of Burlington, along with City Council and City Staff, are all committed to the goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our role, as City Council and staff, is to amplify the message of medical experts in regard to adhering to physical distancing requirements while also considering a longer-term plan that acknowledges residents need for physical exercise and fresh air in order to effectively manage their mental health and well being.

Stolte had reliable statistical data on how people were handling the isolation. She pointed out that sidewalks are simply not wide enough to ensure the physical distancing requirements recommended by medical experts and the informal use of grass boulevards does not provide a safe nor viable alternative for wheelchairs, strollers or bicycles.

Stolte and Kearns - budget book

These two women work well together; very different personalities but when the strength are combined that are very effective.

Roadways are underutilized due to reduced traffic volumes and represent a clear and simple alternative to “expand the sidewalk”. There are many resources already available, as well as an established work group comprised of dedicated residents from the ITAC and Cycling Committee who have been meeting to research strategies and suggestions for implementation.

Stolte wanted to begin with a Pilot Project to measure, monitor and learn as well as to assess the willingness of the community to participate in a safe manner.  She was strongly supported by ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns.

Her hope was that council would consider a phased approach that can adapt/expand as needed at multiple, local, widespread, “very ordinary” locations to avoid gathering crowds gathering. Her hope was that street networks would be coordinated with park locations

•to ensure strong signage and communication

•to consider a variety of options such as closing off curb lanes on thoroughfares (ex. Maple, Palladium Way, Prospect -east of Guelph) or installing strong “Shared Streets” signage on key neighbourhood streets (ex. Spruce, Townsend, Palmer, Millcroft Park)

This motion is intended to encourage a realistic, longer-term plan that will ensure safe “physical distancing” as well as strive for the balance that is needed to support physical exercise and mental health initiatives, by literally creating more space for people to get outside and breathe.

Burlin Vt road share sign

Public education is key – it doesn’t always take in Burlington.

Stolte encouraged Council to join the 60+ other cities around the world including Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg who have already implemented or are actively exploring this creative alternative as a means of supporting the well-being of their residents.

Debate on this one was vigorous.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna came out of the gate asking that it be deferred – “we have bigger fish to fry – and this will be expensive” he said. “If we open up part of a roadway we are going to have to put pylons out and then take them in.”

Angelo B

Councilor Bentivegna was solidly against the motion – too expensive and the city has bigger fish to fry.

Bentivegna, like most of the other Councillors said they just weren’t seeing all that much pedestrian traffic on the streets.

The Mayor who lives in ward 2 didn’t agree with Lisa Kearns, councillor for the ward. The Mayor said you could fire a cannon up the streets she walked along. She said she was out walking every day.

Councillor Nisan said he felt that this was a Staff matter and that they were the people who should be driving it; implying that Councillor Stolte might be offside. Odd that Nisan would take that position; when he wanted some traffic moderating in Kilbride and he could hardly get the time of day out of the department.

Nisan wanted the issue of changing the way roads get used during the State of Emergency referred back to transportation – problem with that is the motion didn’t come from Transportation – it came from Stolte, a member of council.

Ward 6 councillor Bentivegna said: “Transportation experts should make the decision because it is an operational matter – maybe it should be handled at the ECG.”  It was discussed at the ECG.

Nisan moved a motion to refer it to staff – Galbraith seconded it. He too didn’t see the need, at least not in Aldershot. Didn’t think this was on for Burlington – “we are not a big city like Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Stolte had taken the idea to Staff and found she wasn’t getting anywhere and withdrew the motion she had planned on putting forward earlier in the month.

Meed Ward style

Mayor Med Ward basically manhandled the Stolte motion.

Meed Ward’s amendment, it had seven parts, did add valuable points to the motion. She was concerned about the purpose of the amendment and what the criteria would be for closing down part of a public road.

In getting into her seven point amendment the Mayor seemed to be defining what the motion was really about – it is usually the mover of a motion who does that and the record shows that Stolte had done her home work.

There wasn’t much in the way of appetite for the idea from the Transportation department when it first came to them. The ECG people were swamped with other more pressing issues. City Manager Tim Commisso was comfortable with where things were – people were thinking about a possible problem. Stolte had discussed the idea with them earlier.

Galbraith, Councillor for ward 1 couldn’t see a need. No heavy pedestrian traffic in his part of the world.

Councillor Sharman was non-plussed – he didn’t see any pedestrian traffic to speak of on Spruce or any other part of his ward.

After lengthy, robust debate, the motion carried 4-3 and will come back to Council during the May meeting.

Earlier in the debate Councillor Nisan had put forward a motion to defer  the motion back to Transportation; it really should have been a referral – a motion that will come to be seen in a much different light when the warm weather arrives and people don’t want to stay cooped up.

Lisa Kearns had it right: “This is a public health and a mental health issue, she said.  Covid-19 is a serious public health issue, “but we also have to let people move around and we need to be proactive now and not react to a serious problem later” said Kearns.

Vito 2 Sept 2019

The matter is in the hands of the Director of Transportation Vito Tolone

Bentivegna, Sharman and Galbraith weren’t seeing that.

Nisan wanted staff to run the show.

The City manager, with help from City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol, that the closing of a public road is not something that has been delegated to municipalities – that is going to require some explaining. explained something

The Mayor scooped a good motion right off the plate of a Councillor who understood the need and was taking steps now to handle a situation she is certain will come back to bite us.

Stolte wanted to know why her motion wasn’t acceptable.  The Mayor said that the Nisan motion prevailed.

The Mayor said that Stolte’s motion didn’t do what Nisan’s did.

Hopefully staff will understand and work with the nuance that came out of the meeting.

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Councillor Stolte suggests the city 'expand the sidewalk”.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The height of a building, the architecture and design are both important and for the people of Burlington they are, at this point, a major focus.

Shawna Stolte hand to mouthBut more important than the two is the street.

Streets are where we live – yes, your home is on a street but a lousy street ruins the most impressive home.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte will be putting a motion before Council on Monday – she wants to change the way streets are used during this COVID-19.

Stolte wants to direct the Director of Transportation Services to assess, create and implement as soon as possible, and with input from other city departments and members of the Cycling and ITAC Committees, a “Shared Streets Burlington” Pilot Project with the goal of temporarily closing portions of roadways to allow for safer physical distancing for pedestrians and cyclists for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Streetscape Alton Village

Under normal conditions – this is more then enough sidewalk – but these are not normal times

The residents of Burlington, along with City Council and City Staff, are all committed to the goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Stolte accepts that the role of City Council and staff, is to amplify the message of medical experts in regard to adhering to physical distancing requirements while also considering a longer term plan that acknowledges residents need for physical exercise and fresh air in order to effectively manage their mental health and well-being.

She points to recent Angus Reid Poll that asked, “if there is anything residents are doing more of than normal since being isolated” and 53% reported “going for more walks” and 26% reported “taking up extra exercise”.

City streets and sidewalks are places residents are permitted to travel outside their homes but sidewalks are simply not wide enough to ensure the physical distancing requirements recommended by medical experts and the informal use of grass boulevards does not provide a safe nor viable alternative for wheelchairs, strollers or bicycles.

The streets weren't crowded but the turnout was worth holding the event again nest year. Next car free day will be downton July 15th.

Is shutting down a street and opening it up to people who can just walk and ride bikes a solution?

These sidewalks and multi-use paths are becoming more congested as the seasons change, temperatures are rising, and residents seek outlets to support their mental health and well-being.

The space to expand outdoor physical distancing is available.

Roadways are underutilized due to reduced traffic volumes and represent a clear and simple alternative to “expand the sidewalk”.

There are many resources already available, as well as an established work group comprised of dedicated residents from the ITAC and Cycling Committee who have been meeting to research strategies and suggestions for implementation.

Some suggestions are as follows:

  • begin with a Pilot Project to measure, monitor and learn as well as to assess the willingness of the community to participate in a safe manner;
  • consider a phased approach that can adapt/expand as needed;
Carpentr House - walking the trail

Community walks like this are not on – the Beachway Trail can’t handle the traffic – can part of the roadway be opened to pedestrians?

  • offer multiple, local, widespread, “very ordinary” locations to create the opposite of a destination to avoid gathering crowds
  • to network streets and coordinate with park locations;
  • ensure strong signage and communication;
  • consider a variety of options such as closing off curb lanes on thoroughfares (ex. Maple, Palladium Way, Prospect -east of Guelph) or installing strong “Shared Streets” signage on key neighbourhood streets (ex. Spruce, Townsend, Palmer, Millcroft Park)
Shawana Stolte 1

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte has put a good idea on the table – now the community has to join in and flesh this out. The bureaucrats need to lighten up a little and get creative as well.

Stolte points out that the “motion is intended to encourage a realistic, longer term plan that will ensure safe “physical distancing” as well as strive for the balance that is needed to support physical exercise and mental health initiatives, by literally creating more space for people to get outside and breathe.

It’s an interesting idea – Stolte has done her part. Now it is up to the people who live on those streets to think about how they would change their streets.

Talk to your neighbours – write up your ideas and send them to the Councillor – at ward4@burlington.ca

Let’s see if this idea has any traction.

And let’s see how creative the folks in the Transportation Department can be.

 

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City announces new time lines on Planning and LPAT matters: public gets some breathing room.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City has had to make changes to various timelines and processes related to Planning and Building and By-law matters.

“To that end, the Statutory public meeting scheduled for April 6 on the official downtown policies has been pushed to fall to better enable the public and all stakeholders an opportunity to provide full feedback to staff and Council as decision makers, in a public and accountable forum.

“The City is currently processing development applications and building permit applications received by March 13.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has suspended all LPAT hearings until the end of June. As a result of COVID-19, processes for building inspections have been modified accordingly to keep both staff and the public safe.

Staff and consultants Rosa +

Detailed policies on the Downtown are being developed by the consultants and staff – preparing them for public review

Official Plan Update
Over the past few months, the Official Plan project team with help from planning firm, SGL Planning and Design, have been working on developing detailed policies.

“The endorsed land use vision and built form concept for the Downtown was largely endorsed by Council this past January. The detailed policies were going to be available for public review during the week of March 23 and presented to Council in April 2020 as recommended modifications to the policies of the Adopted Official Plan.

“However, these timelines have been delayed to protect the public and City staff and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, the City has closed facilities, including City Hall. These closures and workplace changes have had an impact on the project timeline. As a result, the public release of the detailed policies and associated reports will be delayed.

“The detailed policies will now be released at the end of April and the Statutory Public Meeting will be scheduled for the fall.

The City recognizes the work of the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan is vitally important to continue to move forward.

The City remains committed to ensuring the public has the full ability to comment on the detailed policies and for this reason, the associated timelines have been changed.

Planning Applications

Millcroft logo• Development applications received by March 13, 2020 are currently being processed.
• Inquires continue to be handled by Planning staff via phone and email.
• Staff are exploring how new applications might be accepted and processed.
• No Pre-application public meetings will be held at this time, including Millcroft Green, and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has suspended all LPAT hearings scheduled to take place between March 16 until the end of June.

The cancelled hearings will be rescheduled at a later date. Currently, hearings July onward will proceed on their scheduled date. Burlington applications affected include:

Amica development rendering

Amica – proposed development

• March 20 – HHHBA Appeal of Parking rates- first Case Management Conference
• March 20 – 1085 Clearview/St. Matthews- a telephone CMC
• April 17 – 1157 Northshore Blvd (Amica)- a telephone CMC
• April 30 – 2069 Lakeshore /Pearl Street (Carriage Gate)- first Case Management Conference
• May 11 – OPA 107 (Evergreen)- a Case Management Conference
• May 19 – 1085 Clearview/St. Matthews- Hearing

There were no Burlington hearings scheduled for June.

Building Permits and Inspections

• Building permit applications received by March 13, 2020 are currently being processed.
• Staff have implemented a modified level of building inspections. Exterior building inspections continue and a modified process for interior inspections is in place that does not involve staff going into buildings and protects staff from physical contact in line with COVID-19 safety precautions.
• Staff are exploring how new applications might be accepted and processed.

Signage in Commercial Districts

City hall told the merchant signs like this were a no, no. Why then would a merchant break the rules? what else would this merchant do?

City hall told the merchant signs like this were a no, no.

• A-frame signage on private property is still permitted in front of any business during regular business hours and no permits are required.
• Portable sign permits and renewals are still being processed by sending necessary information to building@burlington.ca.

Business License Renewal
• Existing business licenses that require renewal will be extended during the COVID-19 crisis.

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had this to say: “This is an extraordinary and unprecedented situation we’re facing, and we know it won’t be business as usual for some time. As a City, we’ll continue the operations we can, while putting the health and safety of our community and employees first.

“Our downtown policies and Official Plan are vitally important to our entire community. We want to ensure the public and all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide full feedback to staff and council as decision makers, in a public and accountable forum. This work is appropriately put on hold till we can provide that opportunity. Releasing the policies early affords everyone significant time for review and comment, before decisions are made. This is perhaps the silver lining in this situation. ”

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Community Planning added: “The City continues to process applications received prior to March 13th and City staff remain available by email and phone to connect and answer questions. In light of the situation with COVID-19 and the rapidly changing updates from healthcare professionals and our partners across all levels of government, our priority remains on keeping staff and the public safe. Since March 16th, City Hall remains closed to the public and we will continue to do our best to ensure transparency and accountability to the public while protecting our staff and the public.”

Dev fee guy STAFF

Nick Anastasopoulos, Chief Building Official / Director of Building & By-law

Nick Anastasopoulos, Chief Building Official / Director of Building & By-law explained that: “Our primary focus is on the safety of the public, our staff and buildings in our city when we do our building inspections. Exterior building inspections are continuing with our normal process and the reality of COVID-19 has made us look at creative ways to deliver on interior inspections. We have created a modified process for interior inspections to respect physical distancing and avoid the need for staff to go into buildings. We appreciate the continued understanding of our community as we continue to address this challenge together.”

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Could you please remove my last name and just call me xxxx. I am very frightened ...

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The frantic emails came in at 5:47 pm; then 5:55 pm and again at 6:04 pm

The writer was frightened – the person had written a comment in the Gazette on the Millcroft story and thought she had to provide her full name for authentication.

Her comment, which is published as Name Witheld said:

Where is this developers conscience? How much money is enough? For residents who have their life savings in their home, with respect Mr. developer, how do you sleep?

These are seniors, couples, families who invested in a dream. We live both on and off the golf course. We are not rich, we work hard because we love our community, our schools, and our greenspace.

Safety? Please do not hide behind this pathetic excuse. Sweet dreams, Mr. developer.

You have one hell of a fight coming your way!

The emails to us went:

I am a resident of Burlington who today wrote a Letter in response to the MAD story. I did not know that you would use my full name. Could you please remove my last name and just call me xxxx. I am very frightened as I’m alone with two kids right now. I did not intend for my full name to go out there. Please can you help me. It says it is being reviewed.

Minutes Later

Please do not use my name in the opinions column currently being moderated. I thought I had to put my full name just for you to authenticate. I am a scared mother of 2. Please either remove or change my name to xx.
Thank you! Please let me know ASAP

Later

Hello I mistakenly used my full name in your editorial option section about Millcroft March 4.

Could you please remove the opinion or at least write me as xxx not my full name. I thought I had to leave my name for authentication. I did not want my last name used. Please help me.

Please understand I’m terrified.

Later

Hello, I wrote an opinion on the mad article. My name is xxx xxx can you please not use my last name. I am a scared mother as it is. Please just call me Please. I’m going to lose sleep over this. I thought I had to put in my full name.
Thankyou… please either erase it or just use my name xxx.

Block b 42 view 2

The full colour is part of the housing stock Argo Development wants to add to the Millcroft community. The grey part is development that already exists.

We published the comment and find ourselves asking: what kind of a city is this – that a person would fear that they would be harmed for saying what they think.

The number one city in the country eh!

Related news story:

Scope and scale of the development

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Many sports fields are still very soggy - not open for use.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

May 22, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Due to the amount of rain the City has had over the past few weeks, the following Grass Multi-use Fields and Ball Diamonds remain closed today:

• Berton Park F1
• Berwick Green Park D1
• Brada Woods Park D1
• Brant Hills Park D3, F1, F2, F3
• Clarksdale Park D1
• Frontenac Park F1
• General Brock Park D1
• Ireland Park F3, F4
• Kerns Park D1, D2
• Kilbride Park D1, D3, F1
• Landsdown Park D1, F1
• Leighland Park D1, D2
• Lowville Park D1
• Maple Park F1
• Millcroft Park D3
• Newport Park F1
• Orchard Community Park F1
• Palmer Park F1
• Pearson High School Fields
• Sheldon Park D1, F1
• Sherwood Forest Park D1
• Skyway Park D2
• Tom Thompson Diamond
• Wellington Park F2

All other fields are open.

Not much left to use is there?

baseball_in_rain_large

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Mayor lists accomplishments in the first 100 days.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a statement released yesterday Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “On December 3rd of 2018, Burlington’s new city council and myself were officially sworn into office.

Meed ward election night 1

Victory.

Today marks our 100th day serving the community of Burlington in our new roles. I still wake up smiling every morning, grateful for the opportunity to be Mayor of this amazing city.

I want to take a moment today to share with you some of the accomplishments this council has achieved thus far and remind you of where we are headed together.

As a council, we have already made a big impact on our commitments to our constituents:

• We removed the use of the new, unapproved, Official Plan of 2018 and went back to reviewing the last approved version to ensure we are aligned with Regional expectations as well as the vision our citizens have for our city.

• We approved an Interim Control Bylaw to temporarily pause development downtown and around the Burlington GO station until we can better define the land use we want to see and the policies that will support it. We will ensure the growth and development being approved in Burlington works for all our residents, businesses, and communities.

• We rallied with neighboring cities and publicly reaffirmed our commitment to protecting the Greenbelt when it was threatened by new provincial legislation. As a result, we saw that legislation modified to again protect this vital area of land and its role in our environment, health, and rural economy.

• We listened to the voices in our communities and, in a 5:2 vote, agreed to allow retail cannabis stores in Burlington.

• We led town halls and public feedback collection on our budget process and then delivered the lowest tax increase in eight years, near the rate of inflation at 2.99% for the city portion, and 2% once blended with Halton Region and education taxes.

There are countless events and fundraisers we have shared in with the community as we:

• celebrated the holidays and Festival of Lights along our downtown waterfront

• helped kick off Black History Month and Heritage Month, both in February

• rang in the Year of the Pig for Chinese New Year with the Read Leaf Cultural Integration group

• joined the fun and braved the weather at the Coldest Night of the Year charity walk

• raised money and ate like royalty at the Gift of Giving Back Top Chef competition

• had a circus-themed great time at the Halton Women’s Place Big Top gala

• held a flag-raising for Special Olympics Week

• cheered on the Chilly Half Marathon

• celebrated phenomenal women at numerous events around International Women’s Day

We also took pause to remember the lives of some of the community leaders and contributors we lost, from Pasquale Paletta and Donald Green to Ron Joyce and Bob Brechin.

As Mayor, I am proud to have:

• launched a Key to the City program and helped celebrate the talented life of local musician Mike Taylor of Walk Off the Earth with thousands of fellow fans braving a cold January night in Civic Square

• shared my first State of the City address with a full house at the Burlington Convention Centre on January 30th and outlined our council’s priorities and vision for the next four years

• met with mayors from across Ontario to discuss shared issues and ways to collaborate

• launched the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force to help remove obstacles to business growth and relocation here in Burlington

For a more comprehensive and detailed list of what we have delivered for our city, visit the “Top 30 Accomplishments in the First 100 Days” post on my blog at mariannemeedward.ca

I want to thank our Interim City Manager as well as each Councillor, five of whom are new to the job, for uniquely delivering for our constituents and continuing to bring the needs of each Ward to the table:

Kelvin Galbraith, Ward 1: “The first 100 days of being a new Councillor have been a massive learning experience for myself personally but an honour to serve. Our new council is a diverse group and it has been great to work with them. I am proud that we are delivering some new services to the residents in the budget in terms of free transit for seniors, new staff for seniors’ programs and the Joseph Brant Museum. We are looking into a bike sharing program to connect residents with our mobility hubs and the downtown.”

Lisa Kearns, Ward 2: “Residents want to re-connect with their City Hall. I’ve worked to rebuild trust through the launch of the first Ward Business Meeting Registry, so you know who is talking to your Councillor, in line with a code of conduct. This directly supports the transparency, accountability and integrity of the government decision-making process and promotes open dialogue between the many stakeholders that make up our community.”

Rory Nisan, Ward 3: “I believe our primary achievement as a council has been delivering a budget that improves the quality of life of Burlington residents, including delivering the Brant Hills splash pad as well as better public transit, while keeping the tax increase within half a percent of inflation.”

Shawna Stolte, Ward 4: “The tree canopy in Ward 4 is a valuable asset to our city’s health and well- being, and I’m glad we have taken steps to protect it and replenish it with the Roseland Private Tree Bylaw and additional funding for tree planting to help mitigate the losses we’ve seen in recent years from the Emerald Ash Borer.”

Paul Sharman, Ward 5: “I’m happy to see the improvements to Burloak Park maintenance for Ward 5, and the launch of city-wide free transit for those who qualify for the SPLIT transit subsidy program, along with free weekday transit for seniors. It is a pleasure to work with our new members of Council as we all get to know each other.”

Angelo Bentivenga, Ward 6: “In these first 100 days, I’m proud to have launched advisory groups in four distinct Ward 6 neighborhoods (Headon Forest, Millcroft, Alton Village and our Rural area), held a well- attended Ward 6 town hall budget meeting, proposed a staff direction to look at how we streamline budget process in 2020, and provided input to the City in providing better hearing accessibility in Council Chambers.”

Tim Commisso 2 smile

Tim Commisso: Coach to five newbies, counselor to the Mayor.

Tim Commisso, Interim City Manager: “Council has been focused on building a strong relationship with staff. This priority was an emphasis during their orientation and out of this developed the Civic”ology” program, which is an informal opportunity for council to meet and work closely with staff in all departments.”

Meed Ward added: “There is still much work to do over the next four years, but your council is off to a great start and it all begins with respect for each other, for residents and for staff. By inviting and welcoming diverse perspectives in a respectful environment, we set the stage for great ideas to emerge to address the challenges we face in our community… together.”

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Major differences between the residential and condominium markets in Burlington

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 10th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Real Estate is a much different business these days – the crazy prices that were being asked and the crazier prices that were being paid are a thing of the past. The Rocca Sister Associates produce summaries of different markets on a regular basis. Their recap for February is set out below – for both the residential and condominium markets.

Residential:

The average price of a freehold property in February increased by 0.1% as compared to February 2018. Sales were down 2.8% for the month and properties sold for 98.41% of the asking price. Inventory levels were low when compared to the 5-year average but very similar to the same levels we saw at the end of February 2018.

The best way to describe market conditions in Burlington is, confusing. 33 properties sold for their asking price or more. One property in Millcroft was listed at $1,499,000 for 84 days without any price reductions and sold for the asking price.

Yet the stats suggest that the market is leaning in favour of buyers. Tell that to someone that is trying to buy a townhouse in the $650,000 price range or a good sized family home in Tyandaga or Millcroft – they will undoubtedly think you are from another planet.

Rocca residential stats

Condominium market:
In February we saw prices paid per square foot increase by just over 10% as compared to February 2018. Sales increased by 17.5% and sale prices increased by just under 5%. At the end of February, there were 103 condos apartments for sale compared to 90 in 2018. Average condo fees per square foot were 60 cents which is up slightly from January. Remarkably, of the 47 sales in February, 12 sold for the asking price or more. Condos sold for 98.54% of the asking price in February and the average days on market is 36.

 

rocca condo stats Feb 2019

What Does All Of This Mean?

According to Royal LePage Edge Magazine (2019), 32% of the baby boomer demographic will be entering the condo market in the next 5 years. If the government relaxes mortgage rules in the coming months, we may see more millennials looking at this sector as an option as well. With certainty, the condo sector is on an upward trajectory.

There are so many nuances to consider with every condo building – features that can impact values today and in the future. While there is no doubt condo prices will increase over the coming months and years making today a good time to buy, choosing the right condo will be more important than ever. Selling a condo in this type of market may seem easy but if your condo is not sale ready, you may be leaving money on the table.

 

 

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The resident, the black Honda and the Regional Police budget.

News 100 redBy Rob Narejko

December 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The temperature was minus 2, crisp, not cold. The sun was shining brightly in a clear blue sky. I decided to walk 1km to the local gym’ an enjoyable way to start my day. It would keep me off the detested treadmill. I slung my gym bag over my shoulder and started my walk.

As I headed east on Millcroft Park Drive, I started to cross Country Club Drive at 8:18 AM. There were no cars at the four way stop, but a black SUV was approaching the intersection, heading west on Millcroft Park Drive.

The SUV stopped at the intersection as I was two  or three  steps across Country Club. The SUV turned south on Country Club, heading right towards me.

frosted car window

Failing to clean the snow or frost from the window is a Highway Traffic Offense.

I looked towards the driver, but couldn’t see who was driving, or even if there was anyone in the vehicle, driver or passenger. The inside of the vehicle was totally dark. Not only were the windows blacked out, they were frosted over. The side windows were 100% covered in frost. Only the bottom one-quarter, maybe one-third, if I’m being generous, of the front window was clear of frost. The clear section was most likely from the car heater. The driver hadn’t bothered to scrape the frost from any of his or her windows!

I literally had to spin out of the way of the vehicle, like a bullfighter avoiding the horns of the bull. In this case, a 4,220 pound Honda Pilot SUV black bull with license plate starting with CCCW. I didn’t note the 3 numbers of the plate.

Honda Pilot SUV

A 4000 pound lethal weapon.

I was upset, to say the least, yelling at the driver to watch where they were driving while I angrily waved my arms. The SUV went slowly down the road. I thought the driver would stop and apologize for almost hitting me, but he just kept rolling away. I’m sure the driver was totally unaware that I was even in the intersection. If I couldn’t see the driver, could the driver see me?

Being severely annoyed, I called Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) and relayed my experience to the operator. She told me I could go online to report the incident.

When I told the person I only had the first 4 characters of the license plate, she said the Police could do nothing. I needed to have the entire license plate in order to send an officer by to speak with the driver. In my state of anxiety, I was only able to capture a portion of the vital information. In other words, the HRPS was  telling me complete information is required for the police to act. No effort is to be expanded by the police to track down what many would consider to be assault with a lethal 4,000 pound weapon.

That was a major disappointment. I wanted someone to speak to this driver. If I had not reacted quickly, I could have been injured or worse. Millcroft is a neighbourhood of people of all ages. Moms with strollers, young school age kids, and also a lot of older people walk the neighbourhood. Not all are attuned to their environment, or have the mental or physical ability to react quickly to a car being driven at them. Who would think, on a clear, bright, sunny morning, that a vehicle would be driven at a person crossing the road with the right of way. It definitely felt like an assault.

Narejko Rob-with-bikesAfter my workout, I walked home, able to enjoy the sun and relative warmth without incident, thankfully. But as I was walking, I kept thinking about all the items in the prior paragraph. And I was asking myself questions about the HRPS.

I know they are well funded. With a 3.5% increase over 2018, the 2019 HRPS budget will be $155.4 million.

HRPS crest

The police services budget has exceeded inflation for most of the past decade.

A quick scan of the budget shows heavy investment in information and communications technologies. Some of the items are:
● Upgrade/replace front-line technology tools
● Research/implement efficient digital storage
● Deploy a separate LTE wireless network for first responders ($1.2M)
● Network Server replacements ($153k)
● Technology replacements ($362k, including $150k for a call manager upgrade for the 911 call centre)
● the acquisition/construction of a new tactical response vehicle ($450k)

Two mobile commands

TRV are also known as Mobile Command vehicles.

I don’t know exactly what a tactical response vehicle (TRV) is, but it’s not an inexpensive item. I am sure we, the citizens who pay the taxes that pay for the TRV, are getting good value from the HRPS for our $450k.

I also know the HRPS has Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs), high speed computer controlled camera systems that capture all license plates that come into view. They capture the location, date and time of the vehicle as it passes the camera. All the data, including photos of the vehicle, it’s driver and passengers, are uploaded to a central server. This information, over time, can paint a picture of where you drive, where you go to church, where you shop, who your doctor is and many more facets of your life. The system captures the data, regardless of whether you are a law abiding citizen or a . If your car has a license plate, and all cars have license plates, you and your activities can and are stored in the database.

Halton taxpayers are a generous group and there is no lack of funding for police services in Halton. HRPS has increased its budget every year for the past 6 years, and probably longer. 2019 – 3.5% / 2018 – 3.5% / 2017 – 3.7% / 2016 – 1.9% / 2015 – couldn’t find / 2014 – 3.6%). In 2016, HRPS was budgeted $139.7M. From 2016 to 2019, that is an increase of $15.7M in 4 years. Or an increase of greater than 11% in 4 years. No shortage of funding.

Maybe, however, there could be an allocation somewhere in that $155.4M budget for something that would be a great enhancement to the services that the HRPS offers. Maybe HRPS could find it in their budget to pay for software that would more directly help the citizens by making their everyday interactions with HRPS more satisfactory. A TRV may be used on occasion, but I am sure there are many more scenarios, similar to mine, occurring everyday, that could be addressed to make the roads safer.

That information alone would narrow down the search area to a homeowner in Millcroft. Having an IT background, the ability to do a search on a partial set of information sounds extremely simple, almost painfully simple. The data already resides in the MTO (Ministry of Transportation) database. I know the police access the MTO data. Sounds straightforward, but there must be complexities that go beyond my understanding.

ALPR

ALPR is a very efficient data collection service.

The ALPR technology, on the other hand, is quite sophisticated. But it must be easier than having the ability to do a partial search on a license plate, with 4 of the seven characters, the make, model and colour of the vehicle as well as the general vicinity of where the vehicle’s owner lives.

Let’s assume you have access to the data. The vehicle has a built-in GPS. The driver (most certainly) has a smart-phone, also equipped with a GPS. Pull the information from both devices and you have the location, date and time of the driver and vehicle being at that intersection.

I get this information from my own phone. Google knows where I have been. How long it took me to get from start to destination. How long I spent at the gym. Where I stopped and for how long. Easily accessible information.

You may say this is a waste of time and a waste of limited resources. No one was hurt. Move on. I agree, to a point.

If people are allowed to get away with sloppy driving habits, they will eventually take more risks and not improve their behaviour. Sloppy driving habits could lead to life altering consequences for a future victim, the perpetrator and their respective families. I can’t imagine the pain of knowing that a person would have the ability to walk, run, bike or otherwise enjoy a life of full mobility, if only I had taken two minutes from my day to scrape the ice from my windows.

If you drive your vehicle without the ability to see down the road, this isn’t an accident. This is willful neglect.

To the driver of the black Honda Pilot, license CCCW who lives east of Country Club Drive in Millcroft, I’m keeping my eyes open for you and so should everyone else.

And clear your windshield!

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The ward 6 debate takes place this evening - Lancaster, the incumbent will not attend.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 20th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

The following are the opinions, reflections, observations and musings of Pepper Parr, publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

The second ECoB debate takes place in ward 6 this evening where there are three candidates; the incumbent Blair Lancaster, her strongest opponent in the 2014 race Angelo Bentivegna and Ken White a first time candidate.

The debate is to take place in the theatre in Hayden high school. Event starts at 7:00 pm with the doors opening at 6:30 pm

The event will be moderated by Deb Tymstra a popular Cogeco TV personality who has produced several programs and is a regular interviewer on The Issue.

Unfortunately, Lancaster has announced that she will not attend, because, she claims, the debate’s facilitator, is extremely biased. “While ECOB initially responded positively to my request to change the facilitator, they immediately went on to share information about my private correspondence with the Burlington Gazette—to discredit me and my concerns.   The Gazette then proceeded to write an article citing threats of violence against me. (The article Lancaster is concerned about are attached below.)

Lancaster, a two term member of city council was a member of the Shape Burlington report that was one of the attempt to get city staff and council to be more responsive to citizen concerns.  Lancaster did little to advocate for any real changes.

Considered part of the more reactionary wing of the current council Lancaster has a couple of achievements that need to be remembered. Her decision to work with ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward (she is now a candidate for the mayoralty) on saving the Freeman Station – they succeeded. The station is close to complete and is expected to be open to the public on a regular basis soon.

Were it not for the efforts of Lancaster and Meed Ward the Freeman station would be kindling burned in a fire place somewhere.

They had every reason to be smiling. Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster pose with five members of the Friends of Freeman Station after the Council meeting that approved the entering into of a Joint Venture that would have the Friends moving the station and taking on the task of renovating the building.

They had every reason to be smiling. Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster pose with five members of the Friends of Freeman Station after the Council meeting that approved the entering into of a Joint Venture that would have the Friends moving the station and taking on the task of renovating the building.

Lancaster brought another significant issue before council during the current term. Lancaster realized that the city was losing a couple of the long term care facilities – the Mt. Nemo operation was moving to Hamilton –and there was no land available for new facilities.

With a growing seniors population there is going to be a desperate need at some time in the near future.

Lancaster thought that long term care facilities could be built on land that was zoned as Employment Lands. She argued that the patient staff/resident ratio made these facilities significant employers and as such could be built in the Employment Lands the city has.

She didn’t get the traction the idea deserved.

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about – civic engagement

She has a tendency to rely on Councillor Sharman, who sits next to her at council, for advice and direction.

She didn’t cover herself in glory on the air park matter. She was far too close to the owner of the Air Park at a time when the city was involved in expensive court proceedings

Lancaster can be scrappy at times and gets dramatic on occasion.

The evening she gave a demonstration on the use of Epi pens was a bit of a flop; the expert in the room politely told Lancaster that she wasn’t demonstrating the use of the pen properly..

Angelo Bentivegna came a close second to Lancaster in the 2014 election. There were 10 candidates in the race then. Lancaster took exception to the debate being sponsored by the Gazette. She has always had difficulty with media – it goes back to her days as a beauty queen.

To her credit she did tell the publisher of the Gazette after the debate that she thought the event was fair to all the candidates.

Bentivegna has done little since the 2014 election. In his campaign literature he said he “will create a ratepayers association in each community of ward 6 (Rural, Alton Village, Millcroft, and Headon Forest) to engage citizens in what’s happening in their area long before the ink dries!”

wevb

Ward 6 candidate Angelo Bentivegna

There isn’t a reason in the world why B couldn’t have formed those association the day after the last election. Saying you are going to involve people and actually doing so are two different things.

The  Bentivegna family worked hard to make a wonderful contribution to the Joseph Brant hospital.

In December 2009, Diane, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumor and began a regime of chemotherapy and radiation proved to be successful. The family wanted do something special to thank our physicians, nurses, caregivers and the hospital.  They decided to raise funds to purchase  State of the Art Digital Mammography unit with a Biopsy attachment.

The goal to reach was $450,000.00. In 2012 they raised $75,000.00. In 2013 they raised $101,000.00 plus $88,000.00 on a Bobby Orr autographed Bruins color Corvette.

In 2014 they raised the balance to achieve our goal: $450,000. The equipment was purchased,  delivered and installed at Joseph Brant Hospital in 2014.

Bee covers all the bases in his campaign literature – but other than delegating on the signage that was to be permitted by candidates for council seats the Gazette hasn’t seen much of him.

Budget public Angelo Benivenuto and Carol Gottlob

Angelo Bentivegna and Carol Gottlob at a 2015 city budget meeting.

He did appear at a presentation of a city budget one evening during a snow storm when there were more people at the ice pad next door than there were in the room the budget was being explained.

Bentivegna was available for media interviews during his 2014 campaign – he has chosen not to be interviewed by the Gazette this time around. That puts him in the same camp at Lancaster, Sharman and Dennison – not the right side of the political spectrum to be on in this campaign.

In his campaign literature Bentivegna lists his issues.  He includes the schools which has nothing to do with the city, as a former educator one would have thought he would know that.

Taxes: We need to focus on industrial and commercial opportunities to reduce the dependency on raising residential taxes. Taxes over the last two terms have been excessive to say the least…4.3% this past year alone! This council spends our money recklessly. They have demonstrated throughout their term of office that this trend will continue!

Our city is reactive, when it comes to compliance, as to who follows the rules and who doesn’t. Our city leaves a ton of money on the table…would you…I will work to recapture lost revenues!

Traffic: Every day I hear from our residents…Please help us move traffic around our city!Our roads get busier and busier each day, drive any major road north to south or west to east and vice versa. Intensification added to Ward 6 and to our city needs to be planned better! We need to incorporate with help from developers (community benefits..section 37) and resident input, solutions to move traffic flow smarter, easier, and timely…

The Transit System: Put Transit where the cars are!!!! Transit needs to be easy for users…needs to be frequent and reliable…needs to be simple to use, even if you are not a transit user! We need to develop a trust in the system…a trust the allows frequency, on time and reliable service when we need it! Let’s create a workable plan and work with our stakeholders to lure riders.

OP & Development: I am not against development, we need it to become sustainable and to attract people and Jobs to our city…What I am against is ” the “NEW” way we do business in our City. Our Official Plan & our Zoning Bylaws moving forward will not only act as guidelines, but they will now become targets for amendments! There was a time when an ‘amendment” was a change to fill a need that was somewhat minor or insignificant…now amendments are serious “ASKS”…10 stories to 17 stories…is that the “NEW NORMAL”.

Rural: We need to actively revisit our Official Plan to give our farmers and rural residents the tools that create flexibility to effectively manage their lands for the future. Together we can make this a positive economic issue in our City.

Seniors: In the next twenty years our senior population will double. We need to have more places for seniors to interact and stay connected in our City. We need to design all inclusive amenities that allow seniors to stay connected & comfortable with aging.

Our schools: How will our schools stay viable and at capacity in the future. What will happen to the school buildings that may struggle or lay empty. Now is the time to work cooperatively with our province, region, and school boards……City Council as a whole needs to voice a collective opinion. I said this during my last campaign in 2014 and we still need to pay attention to these issues looking forward.

Recreational Facilities: A need to re-examine how we can be more productive in our arenas, parks, gyms and libraries. We are not maximizing potential revenues from our City owned facilities. We have an opportunity to be creative in partnering with the private sector to find ways to increase revenues and reduce overhead.

ken-white-clicker-problem

Ken White delegating at city council.

Ken White is an Alton Village resident. He takes a very tough approach to what he thinks a new council will do.  He is for firing the city manager

Alton skating - two boys + dad

A Do it Yourself community hockey rink that White was instrumental in creating.

White has been active in his community – that involvement had him out late at night flooding a do-it-yourself hockey rink.

White, unfortunately, got himself on the wrong side of the city’s Heritage Advisory committee who found they had to send him a cease and desist letter when he was linking an idea he had for heritage fund raising to the Heritage Advisory web site.  At the time his wife was on the Board of that Advisory committee – hashtag awkward.

Among the issues he wants to promote:

Responsible development:
The future of our fine city is in our hands and right now Burlington is in crisis. The choices we make today will have far-reaching impact and it is critically important that every decision be thoroughly examined, well balanced and sustainable. We want growth, prosperity and advancement, but never at a reckless pace and never at the expense – or exclusive benefit – of any one stakeholder.

“I for one do not want to sit on the sidelines and watch as potentially poor decisions bring on deterioration of the services, lifestyle and values we currently embrace”, Ken explains. “I am committed to be part of the solution, where growth is measured, analyzed for the common good and always well planned.” Today, we are already well ahead of provincially mandated intensification goals. Accelerated high rise development without corresponding infrastructure improvement will be harmful in the long term and we will all pay through skyrocketing taxation.

Responsible development.

Every one of us is responsible for making sure that our voices are heard and our opinions considered.

We also expect prudence, fiscal restraint, transparency and accountability.

It is troubling to see that these expectations are not currently being met by our City. Burlington’s budget increases have averaged almost 4% a year since 2014. The City’s “human resource” cost is now $141,000 per employee. With the new Joseph Brant Museum being built at an incredible cost of $650 per square foot, the existing City Council has demonstrated a total lack of restraint or prudence.

As a financial executive, Ken finds these statistics an assault to the principles of his profession. That’s why he advocates changes that would help the City operate in a manner resembling a responsible, successful business – thereby holding the line on tax increases.

Consider just a few of ideas on his low-cost, high-impact slate:

Improve efficiency by appointing a City Manager who would receive a modest base salary supplemented by a variable compensation for meeting aggressive cost-cutting goals.

Engage an independent body to investigate where the City wastes money and where it performs well. The province’s Auditor General is very effective at keeping both politicians and government employees thinking twice before spending money on White Elephants.

The Joseph Brant Museum is being built at a cost of $650 per square foot. While I support a greatly expanded museum for a City of Burlington’s size the construction costs alone exceed the cost of buying a house in Millcroft at less than $500 per square foot including the land!

The time for accountability is now.

Every proposal for a zoning change, development project or building permit must receive the City’s approval. That stipulation gives City Council enormous influence.

Existing Council has failed to exert that influence to the benefit of our children’s education. Its unparalleled access to School Boards is an indirect lever to ensure responsible planning, yet Council has refused to voice their opinion or speak on behalf of their constituents. Even the City Manager was silent while he sat on the Halton District School Board’s Program Accommodation Review (PAR).

The HDSB has chosen to close two high schools with one just outside Ward 6. Frank Hayden High School in Alton Village has 16 portables while, 3.8 kms away, Lester B Pearson is being closed. School Board Trustees are voting favourably to build a new $23 Million Administration Centre. Councillor Meed Ward took her fight to Queen’s Park and won the right to keep Central High School open. The rest of Burlington Council, including Blair Lancaster, voted to NOT send a letter to the Provincial government to stop the closures of more schools.

Other municipalities in Ontario demand that their School Boards and developers provide a cogent plan with respect to where, how and how many children are going to be schooled when a building or subdivision is approved. Acceptable development demands intelligence.

Burlington needs to step up and take its zoning responsibilities seriously.

Deb Tymstra

Deb Tymstra will moderate the ward 6 debate

Those are the ward 6 candidates – two of them will be debating this evening.

Deb Tymstra will be moderating.

Related articles:

Defending dumb decision

Lancaster announces she won’t show up at the debate.

 

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Ward 6 candidates

council 100x100By Staff

September 17th,2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

ward6_map-321x650Angelo Bentivegna
3219 Renton Road, Burlington, ON, L7M 3C6
905-973-6923
Angelo.Bentivegna@gmail.com
www.AngeloBentivegnaWard6.ca

Blair Lancaster
3210 Hazelwood Ave., Burlington, ON, L7M 2V4
905-335-7068
blair@blairlancaster.ca
www.blairlancaster.ca

Kinsey Schurm
4163 Millcroft Park Dr., Burlington
289-828-0435
kinseyschurm@gmail.com

Ken White
905-220-4707
ken@kenwhiteward6.ca
www.kenwhiteward6.ca

Deb Tymstra will moderate the ECoB ward 6 debate

Always an artist at heart, Deb Tymstra worked tirelessly on behalf of the arts in Burlington. Rotarian Award richly deserved.

Always an artist at heart, Deb Tymstra worked tirelessly on behalf of the arts in Burlington. Rotarian Award richly deserved.

Deb Tymstra, a co-host of Your TVs, The Issue. She has been involved in the Burlington community since moving here in 1976. She is the owner of DWA Business Services, a past president of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, a driver, along with many others, in convincing council to approve the development and creation of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, and a recipient of Rotary’s Paul Harris Award.

A community producer and host of several shows with Cogeco, including Neighbour to Neighbour and most recently At Home, Deb introduced viewers to issues, organizations and individuals who believe in the value of contributing in a positive way to the communities in which we live. Deb is married to Gerry, the mother of three daughters and grandmother to three grandchildren.

ECOB logoECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington was formed in December of 2017 when a number of residents became concerned about the rate of and scope of development that was taking place in the downtown core.

Citizen engagement was a key issue. Residents felt that Council was not listening to their concerns regarding their vision of what they would like their Burlington to look like.

ECoB set out to educate and inform residents. They held an event for anyone wanting to run in the October 2018 municipal election and built a to scale Lego based model of what the city would look like with developments that were approved and planned. The city administration said there wasn’t time to have this 3D model built – so ECoB did it.

They then set out to hold debates in each of the wards in the city, something that had not been done before as well as a debate for those running for the office of Mayor.

The organization is funded by donations from people who attend meetings.

Pure grass roots organization.

The ward 6 debate takes place in the theatre at Hayden high school on September 20th.  Doors open at 6:30 – debate runs from 7:00 to 9:00 pm

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Real estate professionals say Burlington is still in a sellers market.

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 14th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Despite the overall rather sluggish appearance of the Burlington market, inventory levels suggest that Burlington is still in a sellers market.

Based on historical data, in order to achieve a balanced market in The Greater Golden Horseshoe area, there needs to be 3.1 months worth of inventory on hand.

At the end of May, Burlington had 490 freehold properties for sale which represents 2.24 months of inventory, based on total May sales of 219. While inventory levels suggest a sellers market, the sales results tell another story.

Sale prices are down 7.3% when comparing May 2017 to May 2018.

Sales are down over 27% and it’s taking twice as long to sell properties. YTD most communities continue to see a moderate decline in values with only Aldershot and the Orchard seeing significant declines in the double digits.

The month of May saw some incredible recoveries, particularly in Tyandaga where we saw a 27% increase in prices paid and a 20% increase in sales when comparing May 2017 to May 2018.

The Maple neighborhood also saw a terrific result in May with sale prices up 29%. The overall trend in Burlington continues to be declining prices with only Millcroft showing an increase in prices paid year over year. The declines are gradually decreasing for the most part.

Rocca May 2018

 

The real estate party appears to be coming to an end.

Rocca Sisters Fashion Show

The Sisters!

What will happen when all the condominiums that are going to begin to rise out of the ground do to the market?

The data used in this report was supplied by the Rocca Sisters Team.

graphic04

 

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Police arrest two males for theft from autos in North Burlington; they were fleeing the scene in a taxi.

Crime 100By Staff

August 3rd, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

Late in July at very close to 2:30 AM on a Friday police received a call from a citizen who observed two males break into a neighbour’s car in the area of Millcroft Park Drive and Sarazen Dr. in Burlington.

Police arrived and observed two males matching the suspect’s descriptions leaving the area in the back of a taxi.

The taxi was stopped and the two males were arrested and found to have a quantity of stolen property that had been taken from numerous vehicles in the Millcroft, Headon Forest and Alton Village Communities of North Burlington.

Police also located a set of keys that were linked to a Dodge Ram that had been stolen from Deer Run Avenue and later located on Minvera Way in Alton Village (Burlington).

Kameron ARSENAULT (18-yrs) of Burlington and a 17 year-old male youth who cannot be named because of his age were held for bail charged with the following offences:

• Theft Under $5000
• Possession of property obtained by crime (6 counts)
• Possession of break-in instruments
• Break and enter
• Theft of motor vehicle

• The 17-year-old male faces additional charges of breaching recognizance and fail to comply with disposition.

Anyone who may have information pertaining to theft from autos are asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825 4747 ext. 2316, Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS, through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca or by texting “Tip 201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

Police are reminding the public of the following prevention tips:

• Ensure your unattended vehicle(s) are kept locked/secure
• Never leave personal identification or valuables in your vehicle
• Park in a well-lit and attended areas whenever possible
• Never leave spare keys in your vehicle
• If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, lock them in your trunk. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving packages or purses in plain view or on the seat.
• Remove GPS navigation and cell phone devices & power cords from view when not in your vehicle
• Consider installing CCTV / Surveillance cameras which can capture the crime and aid in suspect identification
Help police catch those responsible by keeping an eye out in your communities and immediately reporting any suspicious activity

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Sales were up, prices were up and days on market were way down. Looking a little closer, the expected was happening and it was all superficially and completely unsustainable..

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The sisters released their most recent update on where things are going in the world of real estate – a market that is in a state of flux to say the least.

The Rocca Sisters & Associates, who work under the banner of Royal LePage, have created a brand that is supported by significant local promotion.

the sisters

Cathy and Tanya Rocca.

In their end of May report, they say the impact of the new rules announced by the Wynne government had not yet been felt in Burlington, overall.

Sales were up, prices were up and days on market were way down. Looking a little closer, the expected was happening.

The older parts of Burlington where homes lack the more modern amenities started to show some softening.

When inventory levels start to increase in areas such as Millcroft, Orchard and more significantly in Oakville, these older homes – side-splits, bungalows and raised ranches start to look less attractive. Similarly but for different reasons, Tyandaga saw a significant decrease in sale price for the month of May, due to a few uncharacteristically low sale prices for some link and semi-detached homes, but also due to the area being much farther west, adding to commute times.

When buyers have choices in Oakville, and north east Burlington, they tend to avoid anything west of Walker’s Line if they work east of Burlington. We expect the market in Burlington to continue to settle and with any luck, achieve more balance, where buyers have choices, time to think about a purchase and include conditions to ensure that they are able to successfully complete a transaction.

Clearly some communities will see softening but only from a superficial high that was completely unsustainable.

Rocca sales numbers May 2017

 

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Federal government drops $598,430 into Burlington for 14 projects. Flashy new taxis on hand to celebrate the arrival of all that cash.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 1st, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is not an April 1st story. It is absolutely true – every word of it.

Burlington’s Members of Parliament could hardly keep up with the pace.

They were scooting from place to place during the day, in the rain, handing out cheques right and left.

The Gazette caught up with Karina Gould the MP for Burlington and Minister of Democratic Institutions and Pam Damoff the MP for Oakville North Burlington at the Mainway arena,where they jointly announced federal funding for an impressive number of Burlington projects.

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario had approved up to $598,430 for 14 projects in Burlington under Intake Two of the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program:

GreenUp trees in Beachway

The dunes in the Beachway are environmentally sensitive. Burlington Green has been plating trees to stabilize the land. Some of the federal government money is going to be used to build a dune crossing.

1. Improvement of Bayview Park – $123,000
2. Ireland Park Washroom Improvements – $13,320
3. Lowville Park Washroom Accessibility – $23,310
4. Millcroft Park Washroom Accessibility – $14,985
5. Orchard Park Washroom Improvements – $16,650
6. Dune Crossing at Beachway Park – $73,000
7. Mainway Arena Accessibility – $100,000
8. Appleby Ice Resurfacing – $25,000
9. Mainway Ice Resurfacing – $12,500
10. Mainway Rink Lighting – $41,666
11. Appleby Ice Sub-Metering – $8,333
12. Mainway Sub-Metering System – $5,000
13. Multi-Use Pathway at John Street – $135,000
14. Tansley Woods Sub-Metering – $6,666

These projects are planned for completion by March 31, 2018 and are part of the Canada 150 celebrations for what will be our Sesquicentennial.

Mayor Goldring has set a personal goal for the city and the Love My Hood program where he wants to see at least 150 small neighbourhood projects taking place in the city.

The Parks and Recreation people have come up with a neat program that wants to see small hand coloured Canadian flags in, ideally, every window in the city.

The Mayor and the other assembled dignitaries were give blank forms and a box of crayons to create their own flags.

Chris Allan at 150 announcement - flags

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation hands out blank forms with an outline of a maple leaf along with a package of crayons that MP’s Pam Damoff and Karina Gould along with Mayor Goldring can use to make flags for the windows in their homes.

Mayor Goldring advised a disappointed looking of Parks and Recreation Director Chris Glenn that he had been kicked out of the grade 8 art class. Fortunately the Mayor had his wife with him – Cheryl, an accomplished artist in her own right, will probably be given the crayons and asked to produce a more than acceptable flag.

Burlington taxi 150 vehicle

Burlington Taxi is changing the colour scheme o three of its cabs and calling them Ambassador Taxis to recognize the 150 year of Canada’s birth.

The getting into a Sesquicentennial mode was made a little easier with the appearance of two Burlington Taxis, done up in a bright red and white theme. Scott Wallace said that he had changed the colour theme of three of his cabs that he is calling Ambassador Taxis that will be available to people who need transportation to high profile Love my Hood events.

Pam Damoff wasn’t happy with the standard photo ops that were taking place and wanted everyone to step into the ice rink for some picture. The Mainway arena is in her Oakville North Burlington riding. One photographer wanted her out on the ice. “I’m not going out on the ice” said Damoff. She rides a bike rather well – but I guess she doesn’t skate.

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Burlington real estate sales still setting new records - inventory is scarce.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Real estate sales are beginning to read like gossip columns – people want to know what houses in their neighbourhood are going for – they think that maybe this is the time to sell – and if that is the kind of thinking you are doing the Rocca Sisters would love to hear from you.

“If you were to ask a top producing realtor in Burlington if they thought the number of sales were down in January 2017 as compared to 2016 and without the benefit of the statistics Rocca provides on a regular basis, they would almost certainly say that they were way down. That inventory levels were at an all-time low and that prices increased exponentially”, reported the Rocca organization

Rocca year to date Burlington March 2017

Some startling numbers – great for sellers, providing they don’t intend to by something else in the city.

“In fact, sales were up in January – the big difference being days on market. More than half of the properties sold in under 7 days in January and almost 2/3rds sold for the asking price or considerably more.

“The biggest standout was a 2 storey semi in Alton Village that sold for just under $772,000, almost 23% over the asking price. There are a few anomalies that emerged in the stats – the Maple area hasn’t suddenly increased in value by 67% – there were a couple of very unusual sales that have skewed that number for the month.

“Roseland has not seen an enormous drop in value – just several fixer upper opportunities sold during the month”, they added.

The real stories, according to the Sisters, is in Headon Forest, sale prices up 33% – that’s a real number. Millcroft, sale prices up 32%.

Alton Village is not a cheap place to live - it is also sassy and brassy - these people worked hard to be able to live in this community and they are going to make the city a different place.

Alton Village is not a cheap place to live – it is also sassy and brassy – these people worked hard to be able to live in this community and they are going to make the city a different place.

“Palmer, sale prices up 41% and finally, Alton Village seeing an almost 37% swing in sale prices. We feel certain that we are going to see considerably more inventory coming on the market in the coming months – we just don’t see any end to the vast numbers of buyers scooping up these properties at any cost.”

The hovering questions is – how long can this last.

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Real estate market was great for sellers in 2016 - tough for buyers. 2017 will see some stress for over-extended owners.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 13th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is just an opinion but it is based on significant experience and many years in the real-estate business.

Having said that here is what the Rocca Sisters and Associates have to say about the Burlington real estate market.

When all was said and done, 2016 turned out to be a good year for sellers – prices up 16%, year over year, days on market down by 34.7% – and a not so great year for buyers.

Compared to our other trading areas, however, Burlington was somewhat moderate in terms of wild fluctuations. With the exception of the Orchard, the neighborhoods with the higher increases in prices paid were those that, it could be said, were somewhat undervalued to start with.

Palmer Drive - graphic

Palmer Drive – an older community (most built in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s) has lagged behind in terms of sale price growth.

Aldershot South, Central Burlington, Dynes, Longmoor, Tyandaga and Palmer all older communities (most built in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s) had lagged behind in terms of sale price growth while newer communities like the Orchard, Millcroft and Headon Forest increased exponentially.

These more mature areas, with the exception of Tyandaga offered smaller homes with bigger yards but the absence of modern conveniences such as a bathroom for every member of the household and closet space to accommodate bursting wardrobes made them less attractive to many buyers.

Tyendaga community

Tyandaga community saw a huge increase year over year – the biggest surprise is that it took so long.

When demand outstripped supply in the newer neighborhoods to the point that the purchase prices were swelling dangerously, these older communities became the next best thing. It’s no surprise that Tyandaga saw a huge increase year over year – the biggest surprise is that it took so long. Large gracious homes on huge mature lots with mature landscaping finally came on buyer’s radar when at the end of last year the average price of a house in Millcroft was over $900,000 and the average price of an equivalent sized house on a bigger lot was just over $800,000 in Tyandaga.

These properties, along with Roseland and Shoreacre properties still tend to take a little longer to sell – we chalk that up to a lot of non- Burlington sales reps not knowing the neighborhoods that well and just a general reticence to buying an older home. All in all, 2016 was not nearly as tumultuous in Burlington as in the rest of the world so Burlingtonians should be quite satisfied with the result.

Predictions for 2017 – many overextended homeowners are going to be re-evaluating their finances and for some, the choice will be obvious – downsize.

The result will quite possibly be a glut of move-up houses on the market later in the year, forcing a minor correction and a continued shortage of inventory in the $500-$700,000 price range.

Notwithstanding, we expect to see much of the same in early 2017 – a seller’s market for the foreseeable future.

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