How will that bag of federal money given to Burlington be spent? Turns out we have already spent much of it

By Staff

January 24th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington received Federal funding from the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF) for 11 local projects between 2022 and 2023.

Here is where those dollars will be spent:

South Service Road Renewal

The South Service Road Renewal project located between Harvester Road and Century Drive replaced the existing asphalt surface. 1.3km of new concrete sidewalk was added to improve the pedestrian network in the area and improve active transportation connectivity in alignment with the Integrated Mobility Plan. Other improvements in this project included replacing existing street lighting with high-performance, energy efficient LED lights.

This project was completed Dec. 2, 2022.

Beachway Pavilion Renovation and Accessibility Improvements

Beachway Pavilion located at 1086 Lakeshore Rd., included repair and replacement of deteriorated wooden deck boards, guard rails, exposed roof elements as well as accessibility improvements to the public washrooms. The renovation provides a barrier-free path of travel to the beach and the water’s edge allowing for an all-inclusive waterfront experience to all visitors.

This project was completed May 30, 2022.

Bartlett Court Minor Reconstruction

Bartlett Court Minor Reconstruction project replaced the existing pavement and improved the surface drainage within the roadway. Minor storm sewer repairs were completed including the addition of two catch-basin structures to improve drainage in the area. The existing curbs were replaced and area sidewalks were improved.

This project was completed Nov. 30, 2022.

Autumn Hill and Palmer Drive

The Autumn Hill area and Palmer Drive Minor Reconstruction project was a joint City of Burlington-Halton Region project that included the storm sewer repairs, watermain and service replacement, repaving, curb/gutter repairs, and sidewalk replacement.

This project was completed in June 2023.

Wicklow Road and Belfast Avenue Reconstruction

The Wicklow Road and Belfast Avenue Reconstruction project consisted of new water-main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer repairs, asphalt, curb, sidewalk, and street lighting.

This project was completed in June 2023.

Rexway Road Reconstruction

The Rexway Drive Area phase two project was a joint City of Burlington-Halton Region project that included the storm sewer repairs, watermain and service replacement, repaving, curb/gutter repairs, and sidewalk replacement.

This project was completed in August 2023, with minor maintenance works to take place in summer 2024.

Local Road Resurfacing Program

The Local Road Resurfacing program is an annual program to resurface asphalt roadways before minor wear-and-tear spots become significant damage spots. Not maintaining the roads can lead to the weakening of the road substructure and a higher cost of repairs. Road resurfacing was performed on pavement surfaces in need of treatment within the Central Neighbourhood and Millcroft Neighbourhood.

This project was completed Nov. 24, 2023.

Pine Cove Bridge Replacement and Lakeshore Road Resurfacing

The Pine Cove Bridge Replacement and Lakeshore Road Resurfacing project included road resurfacing, minor curb and sidewalk repairs, street lighting improvements and full replacement of the Pine Cove Bridge.

This project was completed in November 2023.

Plains Road Bikeway and Resurfacing

This project included Burlington’s first series of protected bike intersections, road resurfacing construction of new bikeways, a rain garden, curb and sidewalk replacement, driveway and landscape improvements, new transit stops, hydro pole relocations and streetlight upgrades.

This project was completed in November 2023.

Burlington Transit Conventional Vehicle Repair and Renewal

This project supported transit operating expenditures, including Burlington Transit’s conventional bus repair and renewal program and the City’s transit capital program. Burlington Transit used the funding to operate and improve transit by repairing and renewing existing transit vehicles to ensure transit service levels are maintained.

Burlington Transit Conventional Vehicle Replacement

This project supported Burlington Transit’s conventional bus replacement program and the City’s transit capital program. Burlington Transit used the funding to buy transit vehicles.

This project was completed in November 2023.

About the Canada Community-Building Fund

The CCBF, formerly the Federal Gas Tax Fund, is a permanent source of federal funding earmarked for community infrastructure projects. It is provided up front, twice-a-year, to provinces and territories, who in turn flow this funding to their municipalities to support local infrastructure priorities.

In Ontario, the Fund is administered by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, who deliver the CCBF to 444 municipalities.

In 2023, the City of Burlington received $6,066,607. In 2022, the City of Burlington received $5,813,832.

I don’t quite get this – why is the city announcing money that has already been spent?

Was all this just another excuse for a photo op?

 

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Just how does an Ontario Land Tribunal operate - who are the players?

By Staff

January 23rd, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is some confusion in the community regarding roles at Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hearings.

The Millcroft Greens, the company that wants to develop some of the golf club property, did not get the decision they wanted from the City planning department and appealed to the OLT for a decision.

OLT hearing have very clear rules on who takes part.

There are Parties and their are Participants; a clear understanding of the differences between Parties and Participants is important.

The City of Burlington, Conservation Halton, The Region of Halton, Millcroft Greenspace Alliance and Millcroft Against Development (MAD)  are the only parties. All parties have legal representation and expert witnesses to discuss the merits of the development application. Witnesses can only speak within their field of knowledge.  MGA is the only community group that has registered stormwater issues for the Tribunal.  For MGA flooding and storm water management is THE issue

The following information came from the OLT website.

What is a party?

Parties are fully involved in the proceedings before the OLT, and are expected to file submissions, present evidence at the hearing, question witnesses and fully understand the issues in dispute. They may also request adjournments, seek costs or a review of the decision at the end of the hearing.

What is a participant?

Participants have a limited role in the appeal, except as provided for by legislation. They do not fully take part in the proceedings and may only provide written submissions to the OLT.  Participants may not request costs, adjournments, or a review of the decision.
The first really important meeting of an OLT hearing is the Case Management Conference (CMC), the Member(s), that is the person who will make the decision based on the evidence they heard and were presented with.  The Ontario Land Tribunal is made up of a group of people who are assigned to a hearing.  The same person does not necessarily preside at every Tribunal meeting.

Bruce Kruselnicki at a City of Burlington public meeting.

Confusing, yes to the average person.  The lawyers who work regularly in this legal sector are very experienced and very much in demand.

The author of the very first textbook on how these Tribunals work was Bruce Krushelnicki, former Director of Planning for the City of Burlington. His book was based on what was at the time the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).  He went on to become the Chair of the Land Tribunal and is now retired.

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Lots of Confidential items that will be heard in a CLOSED session of Council

By Pepper Parr
December 12th, 2023
BURLINGTON, ON
The City has a lot in the way of property matters that more often than not have to be discussed in a CLOSED session of Council
The following is a list of what they will be going through today.
There is one that deserves a closer look.

Instruct the Manager of Realty Services to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-46-53 and L-56-23 and Instruct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-56-23.

City Manger Tim Commisso has the City looking to acquire as much property as possible.  He has focused on school properties that might become available.  In the item above reference is made to the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture which suggest this might be a parkland opportunity

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-67-23.

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-66-23.

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-65-23.

Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report.

Confidential legal update on a litigation matter regarding 265 North Shore Blvd. E. (L-64-23)

  • Instruct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel, or his designate, to proceed in accordance with the instructions sought in confidential legal department report L-64-23.

  • Receive and file confidential Legal department report L-61-23 providing an update on a litigation matter regarding 2020 Lakeshore Road.

  • Receive and file confidential Legal department report L-62-23 providing an update on a litigation matter regarding Millcroft Greens Corporation.

  • Receive and file the confidential verbal update regarding a human resources matter.

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Resident adds to the delegation she made to City Council

By Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When Aldershot resident Lydia Thomas delegated at City Council earlier this week she ran out of time and wasn’t able to include all that she wanted to say in the five minutes allocated to her.  Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna asked if she would send him the information.  Bentivegnia doesn’t share information with the Gazette.

Ms Thomas sent what Bentivegna and added some additional content

Some of the facts that were not part of the delegation Lydia Thomas  made due to the time limitation are set out below. She said: “I feel the public needs to be aware that:

Here is what Ms Thomas sent us.

Lydia Thomas

– 39% of people in the survey want 0% tax and 31% want 0-3% (likely most want the low end of that); this is very different than what councillor Nisan was stating

– how much did the city pay for renovations in the last 2 years and why do they want to spend more this year; this despite the fact that the offices are empty because of a hybrid work model which I also disagree with – they should be available in person to the residents they are serving 

Richmond Hill will have a 0% tax increase for the 2nd year running and still find a way to hire 16 firefighters and make significant infrastructure changes – maybe we should be asking them what they are doing. 

Meanwhile Burlington is planning the following further tax increases: 

 

Results from a city survey

– the fact that the city  hired over 100 + positions last year and want to hire 40 + more this year and it is not clear what all these roles responsibilities are or why they are needed now so urgently. 

-This supposedly represents $4M in new salaries (according to another delegation), –  they need to do more with less (cut headcount) and pass that $4M back to us all.

Would those over 65 prefer free bus transit (new city initiative) or a reduction in their property taxes?

Would we all rather have a reduction in property taxes or winter maintenance for 20 new park paths and parking lots

The City spent millions on digital efficiency tools which should result in reduced head count  but instead they want to adding 40 more people as per this year’s budget

They spent millions on salaries last year and have another increase of $5.674 million  planned for this yr (additional 4.04 m in salaries, 226K in health and dental, and 1.68 m in pension, employer contributions).

Remember the city has generous benefits package including pension so you’re not just paying for huge salaries. Over 10 m to salaries btw 2023 and this budget? The average salary in Ontario is 56K. At city hall its 104K. 

In 2022 Oakville paid about 1.5 m more in salaries than us but they also have about 500 more people. Oakville also paid about 19K less per person on average than we did. Also, Oakville spent 30% of their total revenue on salaries and wages whereas Burlington spent a whopping 55.7%, a 5% increase from 2021.

So we are spending 25.7% more on salaries for less people than Oakville is. Yet Mayor Meed  is claiming we aren’t paying enough and aren’t compatible with other municipalities. Mayor Meed Ward is being paid over $200 000. 

The Robert Bateman building investment was 2.937 million. Previously approved capital projects which includes Skyway and Mountainside ($3.84 Million). It includes more transit but what they don’t say is that’s also more salaries. 

They want to spend $ on refreshing the look of the CIVIC square.  Not necessary after they spent millions updating Burlington City Hall while most employees are working at home with the Hybrid model.   Note they never floated the idea of renovating City Hall by residents  last year so we never had a chance to provide our opinions.  We can stop this if we feel the money could be better spent elsewhere

– Burlington Food Bank stats show that our community is being hurt across all demographics and income levels due to financial instability (including these unaffordable property taxes) 

– quote some of the 711 comments from the survey of which 211 said that they wanted reduced taxes.

  – the fact that the 3 Mayor budget themes (Provide Essentials, Frontline Services, Planning for Growth) are too vague and do not align with what the residents have said that they want in their survey.  (Reduced traffic congestion, reduced property taxes and City Hall cost cutting) 

Results from a city survey

– the fact that the City’s recent budget survey results indicate that more people want services cut and property taxes decreased than they want them increased and yet they feel the need to grow for the 50 year future. The fact is we did not elect them for 50 years. That is not their job.  They need to be sensitive to the current economic climate and help residents keep their homes and stay out of the Foodbank lines. 

– some of the details of the proposal are missing and I would like to see more info regarding exactly how the new money will be used and what the new hires are needed for with facts and #’s to justify.   There is too much focus on the benefits and risks of not doing it rather than the exact details of what the money will be spent on or what exactly the new roles will be doing and why this is necessary. 

According to the people of Burlington in the recent survey, the #1 priority for City Council should be reducing taxes and yet they are doing the opposite.  

Here is a link to the survey: 

https://burlingtonpublishing.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=72258

Here is comment from Wendy Fletcher on Next Door regarding the results  

“As I read through the comments, the number one theme by far is taxes. You can see the results of that survey below. And if MMW can’t see just from the comments how people feel about the taxes then her position is wilful.”

So here are 3 things to do to save us all thousands of $’s and keep us in our homes:

  1. Give the mayor your feedback on November 7th 7-8:30 (virtual) 

** start calling at 6:45; keep trying and don’t give up because the lines will be busy

Phone number 1-800-785-1654.    – call in and if you agree, say:

“ My name is … and l not be voting for you if real tax increases are not kept below 3%”. 

I “if other cities can do it so can you.  Cut the fat or you will be voted out”. “I don’t agree with your budget.”

Keep your call short so others can say the same thing

  1. Attend your Ward Meetings and/or send an email make a phone call to your Ward Councillor saying something like : 

My name is …and l will not be voting for you if real tax increases are not kept below 3%”

In addition to anything else you want to say. 

Ward 1 Kevin Galbraith   Aldershot      Thurs Nov 16th 10:30 to noon  

Mapleview Mall Food court upper level near the elevator 

kelvin.galbraith@burlington.ca.   Tel: 905-335-7777, ext. 7587
Ward 2 Lisa Kearns –  Central West        lisa.kearns@burlington.ca

Tel: 905-335-7777, ext. 7588

Ward 3 Rory Nisan Nov 9 TBC- Brant Hills Community Centre rory.nisan@burlington.ca

Tel: 905-335-7777, ext. 7459

Ward 4 Shawna Stole. shawna.stolte@burlington.ca

Tel: 905-335-7777, ext. 7531

Ward 5 Paul Sharman Orchard Millcroft    No meeting scheduled  paul.sharman@burlington.ca

Tel: 905-335-7777, ext. 7591

Ward 6 Angelo Bentivegna angelo.bentivegna@burlington.ca

Tel:905-335-7777 ext. 7592

Attend the Budget Council meeting on Nov. 21st and Nov. 23rd 9:30 am in the Council chambers at City Hall in person or join online  

The purpose of the meeting is to Review and approve the proposed 2024 Budget, including delegations from the public. You can attend to support or Include a delegation submission to say your piece.

Let your voices be heard!!    At a minimum email and make a phone call and then 

Please cut and paste and PASS this note on to 8 Burlington residents.  

It will take you 5 – 10 minutes maximum to make a few calls and emails.  

Without people making noise, Mayor Meed Ward will pass this budget and we will pay 32 % more in property taxes. 

The figures Lydia Thomas uses are hers.  This is an opinion piece to which we have added two pie charts from the Financial Needs report produced by the City Treasurer.

This data comes from the Financial Needs document prepared by the City Treasurer.

Related news story:

A delegation that raised a lot of questions and support from Gazette readers

 

 

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Citizen told not to make disparaging remarks about staff during a delegation - then has her petition presentation moved to a date after the Mayor presents her budget

By Pepper Parr

November 2nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Monday October 30th, Wendy Fletcher delegated to City Council virtually. 

Her delegation was about the budget that was being discussed by Council.  On the day she delegated Councillors were hearing what the City Treasurer had presented, which had been named the Needs document.  It wasn’t a budget per se, it was a document that set out in considerable detail (750 + pages) what she, as treasurer, believed the city was getting in terms of revenue and what the city was facing in the way of expenses.

The report delivered to Council on Monday October 30th.

The treasurer determined that a tax increase of 7.6% would be needed.

Mayors in Ontario were given stronger powers on July 1st and had the right to submit their own budget and make any staff changes they felt were necessary including firing the City Manager. Mayor Meed Ward has consistently said she did not have the right to delegate any of the Strong Mayors powers and that she was required to create a budget.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns chastises a delegator during her presentation. As Deputy Mayor she oversees Citizen Participation.

Fletcher began to give the following delegation.  She was brusquely interrupted by the Standing Committee chair Lisa Kearns who objected to comments Fletcher was making about city Staff.

The Gazette has published below the complete delegation with the words Fletcher was told she could not use set out in red.

Fletcher had a Petition she wanted to present as part of her delegation but was not permitted to do so.

On Oct 31, 2023, the day after she delegated, Fletcher got an email from Arjoon (City Clerk) advising her that the petition she wanted to submit was moved to Nov 14, 2023. No reason was given. Fletcher commented: “Regardless of any reason he may conjure up subsequently, this refusal to allow me to participate and to refuse to allow my petition which was submitted well within the required timelines, to be included as part of the public record on the date of the council item it was objecting to, constitutes a violation of my rights as a taxpayer.”

What are Arjoon was doing was moving a citizens petition that opposed a budget the Mayor was presenting to a date after the Mayor had formally presented her budget.

Ms Fletcher maintains doing so “… is a deliberate move by the city to prevent taxpayers from knowing of its existence until all city participation in the budget has ceased as no one visiting the city’s website for the Nov 2 call or the Nov 7 meeting will have any knowledge of the material. It will be as if it doesn’t exist.   Further it is a deliberate move to disallow me to participate in this process, a right I am granted by law.

“By refusing to allow my petition to be on record until Nov 14, it also impinges on the rights of every person who signed the petition. As well it violates the rights of every property owner in the city of Burlington as you take away their right to make alternate decisions by withholding information from them.

“City council had no problem accepting a similar petition with respect to the potential development in Millcroft going so far as to include it in press releases. But a petition against the proposed property tax increase gets removed until a point that it’s past all public input?

“In addition to violating my rights on several levels, this move is unethical, lacks integrity and is massively oppressive. The City of Burlington claims they want city involvement. There are almost 2000 people saying they don’t want this tax increase. And city hall’s response is to silence them. That’s not taxpayer involvement. That’s dictatorship. Given the violation of my rights and your own policies, I have filed a complaint with the Ombudsman’s

“I want my petition marked as part of the public record for Nov 2 ,2023 as I was told it would be, and as is my right under law.”

The following is the delegation Wendy Fletcher gave on October 30th

The operating budget underwent a line-by-line review by the CFO and Service Leads. This review checked the operating budgets for reasonableness and adjusted where appropriate to find budget savings and reduce costs.  If this is true, maybe we need a new CFO. One who doesn’t need almost 8% increases to do her job. Ms. Joan Ford clearly didn’t read the budget survey results that overwhelmingly do not support these increases

Pg 33 of Financial Needs and Multi Year Forecasts uses BMA and a group average to try to say that Burlington taxes are lower than Oakville and Toronto. Just like many of the ways City Hall presents information to taxpayers, it is flawed, skewed data that’s manipulated to serve the city’s purpose. The fact is that Burlington residential taxes are significantly higher than both Oakville and Toronto. That information buried so the amount per 100,000 or the residential tax rate (RT) is not easily found. Other cities are upfront. Burlington is not. It is purposely deceitful. Both in these glorified presentations and on the City’s website.

Burlington’s residential urban rate is 0.00861442

Oakville’s is 0.760437% or 0.00760437

Toronto is 0.506079% or 0.00506079

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

For the 2023 tax increase the city used the budget survey to support the tax increases. That they did so is unethical given they failed to properly inform. The city will deflect that the budget was available. But as indicated by your own data, only 57 people actually looked at the budget. For 2024, many of those who became aware of the tax increase only become aware because I told them. How is it that as a solitary citizen that I can reach more people than the Mayor or Council?  The city can’t use the survey for 2024 as 55% of residents want either taxes cut or services cut. Overwhelmingly they do not support further increases in property taxes.

In addition, in Appendix C of 2024 Budget Survy Results, when asked in Question 8, “As a resident of Burlington, what is the most important issue facing your community, that is, the one issue you feel should receive the greatest attention from your City Council and should be a priority in the 2024 budget”. An astonishing 211 responses out of 711 stated specifically that taxes need to be cut or minimally not raised with many making passionate pleas of the deleterious effects the high rates of tax are having on their ability to maintain their homes. Another 30 made reference to the high taxes by way of suggesting salaries and services need to be cut or that the cost of living was too high. This is 30% of all respondents directly stating taxes are too high. This number would be much higher if everyone taking the survey had been aware of the tax increase in the budget but they weren’t. Only 57/801 respondents read the budget which is only 7% of respondents. That makes the responses by those who didn’t know about the tax hike highly questionable as to their validity as they may have responded very differently had they known.

City Council in a virtual meeting. Delegate claims Mayor and Council and City Hall are deliberately attempting to keep information from taxpayers

As to the 57, that’s not even 1/2 % of the entire population. It says there is a vast lack of knowledge as to what’s going on at city hall with respect to raising our taxes by taxpayers. That’s the fault of this Mayor and Council and City Hall’s deliberate attempts to keep that information from taxpayers

Beyond this data, many many letters have been sent to the Mayor and Council by taxpayers who are upset or angry about these taxes. I know this because many of these people have reached out to me, several telling me their stories.

It’s clear Burlington taxpayers do not agree with the rate of taxation in this city and they most certainly do not support another tax hike of 7.82% or anywhere near it. They want taxes cut or a minimal increase of 3% of less. Indeed, I’ve taken polls that support this. I also have a petition against this tax hike and stating taxpayers will not agree to anything greater than 3%. As of 830am this morning that petition is at 1205 signatures. Whether Mayor Meed Ward is going to heed the taxpayers and refuse to raise taxes or minimally keep them below 3% remains to be seen. At some point Mayor Meed Ward stopped listening to taxpayers. I propose Burlington taxpayers should call for her resignation if she decides to ignore taxpayers and put this tax increase or anywhere near it, through.

The petition that Wendy Fletcher wants to present to City Council:

The City of Burlington raised property taxes by 7.52% in 2023. They have proposed another unprecedented increase of 7.82% for 2024. This is 15.34% over 2 years. From 2023-2027, this Mayor and Council are planning a total increase of 32% in property taxes.

We, the undersigned, do not agree to this proposed increase in property taxes for 2024. We, the undersigned do not agree to any property tax increase over 3%.

If you would like to sign the petition – you can do so HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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City Clerk moves a petition with 1740 names opposing the budget the Mayor proposes until after the budget is discussed

By Pepper Parr

November 1, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Two pieces of information had to be corrected: the date on which the request to delegate was made and the number of names on the petition.

We received the following from Wendy Fletcher, a Burlington resident.

“On October 27, 2023, I filled out a delegation and submitted it to the clerks office. The delegation was to submit a petition in opposition to the budget. I spoke to Lisa Palmero shortly afterwards who advised me that the meeting on Oct 30 was the wrong one and that it was the Nov 2. 2023 Regular Council meeting that it needed to be presented at. She said I didn’t have to do anything, she would ensure it was attached. She said I could send in an updated signature list by noon Nov 1.”

The meeting at which Ms Fletcher wanted to speak was not a budget meeting – the rules are that the matter on which you wish to delegate has to take place at the proper meeting – dumb rule – but I didn’t create it. Budget matters get discussed at budget meetings.

Ms Fletcher continues:  “As per the city’s own rules of engagement, I am entitled to oppose a matter on an upcoming agenda. This is exactly what my intention was in making the delegation for Nov 2.  My intention was also for this petition to be part of the public record in opposition to the budget, at the time the budget was released.”

The link below set out the rules:

https://www.burlington.ca/en/council-and-city-administration/engaging-with-city-council.aspx

Ms Fletcher points to the section that concerns her.

“Petition titles will be listed in the minutes of the meeting, which are posted to the City’s website, and the full petition kept on file as part of the official public record. As part of the public record, petitions may also be distributed to other members of the public on request.”

She continues:

City Clerk – Kevin Arjoon

“On Oct 31, 2023, I was sent an email by Kevin Arjoon (City Clerk) stating my petition was moved to Nov 14, 2023. No reason was given. Regardless of any reason he may conjure up subsequently, this refusal to allow me to participate and to refuse to allow my petition which was submitted well within the required timelines, to be included as part of the public record on the date of the council item it was objecting to, constitutes a violation of my rights as a taxpayer.”

What are Arjoon was doing was moving a citizens opposition to a budget to a date after which the budget is being presented to city Council.  Mayor Meed Ward will be presenting her budget to a Council meeting during which she will explain what her budget is about and justify why she made the decisions she did.

Ms Fletcher continues: “It is a deliberate move by the city to prevent taxpayers from knowing of its existence until all city participation in the budget has ceased as no one visiting the city’s website for the Nov 2 call or the Nov 7 meeting will have any knowledge of the material. It will be as if it doesn’t exist.   Further it is a deliberate move to disallow me to participate in this process, a right I am granted by law.

“By refusing to allow my petition to be on record until Nov 14, it also impinges on the rights of every person who signed the petition. As well it violates the rights of every property owner in the city of Burlington as you take away their right to make alternate decisions by withholding information from them.

“City council had no problem accepting a similar petition with respect to the potential development in Millcroft going so far as to include it in press releases. But a petition against the proposed property tax increase gets removed until a point that it’s past all public input?

“In addition to violating my rights on several levels, this move is unethical, lacks integrity and is massively oppressive. The City of Burlington claims they want city involvement. There are almost 2000 people saying they don’t want this tax increase. And city hall’s response is to silence them. That’s not taxpayer involvement. That’s dictatorship. Given the violation of my rights and your own policies, I have filed a complaint with the Ombudsman’s

“I want my petition marked as part of the public record for Nov 2 ,2023 as I was told it would be, and as is my right under law.”

The Gazette has asked for a copy of the petition which we will publish in full when it is received.

For those who want to sign the petition you can do so HERE

 

 

 

 

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An email that is original gets read - if it is a template it gets counted - the difference matters

By Pepper Parr

October 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Good folks in the Millcroft community are ready to bombard the politicians with email requests to support the city request for a MZ0 – a Ministerial Zoning Order.

If they get what they are asking for it will be one of those Zap! You’re done or a wave of a Magic Wand.

It would mean an immediate end to the application for a decision from the Ontario Land Tribunal.

With a stroke of a pen, the Minister can instantly override any chance of appeal of land use planning.

The City is requesting a Minister’s Zoning Order (“MZO”) to protect and preserve the existing uses of Areas A to D and to facilitate appropriate residential development in Area E.

Email from constituents matters – they read what you write but they do count what comes in and they note if what they are getting is the same thing from everyone.

The view taken by constituent offices is:  if you don’t care enough to write your own letter then why should we bother paying you all that much attention.

Millcroft Aganst Development has provided some tips and suggests.  But make a point of making it personal – make a mention of the impact this will have on YOUR home and the larger community.

Do that – and you have their attention – and you might have your Zap! Moment.

The community is served by two Conservative MPP’S who support our cause.  Everyone can be involved so please forward this email to friends and family>An email should go to:

Premier,

Hon. Paul Calandra,

Hon. Doug Downey, make sure you put KC at the end of the Downey email.  He’s pleased is as punch with the Kings Council designation he gave himself.

Hon. Parm Gill

Send your email to the following addresses:

Premier@ontario.ca”>Premier@ontario.ca; minister.mah@ontario.ca; attorneygeneral@ontario.ca; minister.mrtr@ontario.ca;

cc. effie.triantafilopoulos@pc.ola.org; Natalie.Pierre@pc.ola.org

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MAD needs far more than they have raised: a possible 15-20% drop in housing prices doesn't appear to be much of a motivator

By Staff

September 29th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Millcroft Against Bad Development (MAD) reports they have been “hard at work since 2020, pulling together a unified community voice to oppose Millcroft Greens’ application to infill the heart of our community – the Millcroft golf course – with residential housing.

“Green space plays an important role in helping local wildlife flourish and in the overall harmony of the community we are all proud to call home.

“Local real estate agents predict a 15-20% drop in Millcroft housing prices if the Millcroft Greens development proceeds. Everyone in Millcroft will be impacted by this development, whether financially or otherwise, with the temporary closure of the golf course and years of construction. MAD believes this is just “phase one” of Millcroft Greens’ plan to put housing on the entire golf course, thereby removing almost all remaining green space in the neighbourhood. We must stop this from happening.

We are approaching the time at which a final, irreversible, and un-appealable decision will be made by the Ontario Land Tribunal. The hearings are scheduled for March 5, 2024 and MAD needs your financial support to raise an additional $40,000 to oppose Millcroft Greens’ application. We have tailored our approach to be expedient but also cost-efficient.

“The funds will predominantly be used to pay our professional advisors, Weir & Foulds and Allan Ramsay, to represent us at the hearings. If MAD is unable to raise these additional funds, we will unfortunately need to adjust our approach and reduce our participation, thereby having less of an impact at the hearings. We are grateful for the many individuals and companies who have already contributed to the cause.

The families that live in this unique community want to keep it just the way it is. Any changes could result in 15 to 20% devaluation of the properties.

The A & B locations, shown in yellow are the parts of the golf course the developer wants to build 98 homes on.

“Our participation at the hearings is vital. There is strength in numbers and our 6,000 supporters evidence a strong community voice. We must maintain our participant status at the hearings to voice the community’s opposition, to support the City, the Region, and Conversation Halton in their opposition, and to be a part of any negotiated settlement discussions.

“WeirFoulds is engaged as our legal counsel and has one of the preeminent land-use planning practices in Ontario. Allan Ramsey is engaged as the Planning Consultant, having over 30 years experience in land-use planning, policy development, development planning, and public consultation.

To date, we have raised over $75,000 (net of sign and calendar costs); however, these donations have come from just over 200 donors in a neighbourhood with 4,000 homes. We implore everyone to help as much as they are able for the betterment of our community as a whole.

To make a donation

·    Donate through our website

·    E-transfer to admin@millcroftagainstdevelopment.ca

·    Cheque

o  Mail or drop off at 2067 Hadfield Court, Burlington, Ontario, L7M 3V5.

o  For pickup, email admin@millcroftagainstdevelopment.ca

·    Tax Receipt Option – donate through Small Change Fund

We will recognize donors who have contributed over $500 in various levels of giving (ie. Diamond – $10,000 plus; Platinum – $5,000 plus; Gold – $2,500 plus; Silver – $1,000 plus; Bronze – $500 plus). In addition, those companies that contribute $500 plus will be recognized in all of our future mass communication emails.

 

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MAD needs funding if it is to be properly represented at OLT hearing - $40 thousand short at this point

By Pepper Parr

September 15th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON’

 

An update on the preparations for the March Ontario Land Tribunal hearing on the development application to add close to 100 homes to the golf course site.

On Tuesday, September 26 at 9:30am, Burlington city council will consider a resolution to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to declare a provincial interest in preserving Millcroft’s greenspace.

If successful, such a resolution has the potential to halt the Ontario Land Tribunal hearing. However, we cannot rely on this option’s success exclusively.
In the event the resolution is passed, MAD will contact supporters to write to their local MPPs, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Premier in support of the resolution.

The OLT hearing’s confirmed parties are Millcroft Against Bad Development, City of Burlington, Region of Halton, Halton Conservation Authority, Millcroft Greenspace Alliance, and Millcroft Greens.

Each party has exchanged its witness list. Chantal Desereville of Weir Foulds (Legal Counsel) and Allan Ramsey (Land Use Planner) will represent MAD at the hearing.

The key dates for the OLT process are as follows:

October 13 – Meeting of party experts
October 27 – Statement of facts
November 24 – Exchange of witness statements, summoned witness outlines, expert reports
December 15 – Exchange of response to witness statements
March 5 – Hearing commences (expected to be 19 days)

Political opposition to the development
The City of Burlington, Region of Halton, and Halton Conservation all oppose the development application and will call several expert witnesses. MAD believes each of these parties will vigorously oppose the application and have the financial means to supply the appropriate experts. With close to 6,000 registered supporters, MAD has the political voice to make an impact at the OLT hearing.

MAD initiatives
Over the summer, MAD executives continued to engage with city Councilors and provincial MPPs to rally their support for our cause and explore pathways to halt the development prior to an OLT hearing. Due to our approximately 6,000 supporters, many Councilors, MPPs, and other politically significant people and groups now follow MAD on social media. We have also been working with our expert team, Allan Ramsey and Chantal Desereville, in preparing for the

OLT hearing.
MAD had a fundraising concert on Hadfield Court with the Torque classic rock band sponsored by Glen Bowker, which raised over $4,000. We have partnered with Small Change Fund to allow supporters to receive a charitable donation receipt for their contributions to our cause.

Mad’s participation at OLT – A Critical role
As the most directly impacted party at the hearing, it is critical that MAD present Allan Ramsey’s expert testimony on land use planning, with world-class legal counsel for opening statements and cross-examination. MAD, as the united community voice, is an indispensable party in ensuring any proposal reflects the best interests of the entire neighbourhood and city, should a negotiated solution be considered.

Funding the efforts

The projected cost of our participation at the OLT is $60,000. The majority of these costs will be related to our professional advisors, with the remainder to be spent on outreach and continued communication with our supporters. MAD has approximately $20,000 in reserve. Consequently, we need to raise $40,000. We believe this to be a realistic fundraising target. If we are unable to raise these funds, we will be unable to participate meaningfully at the OLT hearing.

Ways to donate
• Donate through our website
• E-transfer to admin@millcroftagainstdevelopment.ca
• Cheque
o Mail or drop off at 2067 Hadfield Court, Burlington, Ontario, L7M 3V5.
o For pickup, email admin@millcroftagainstdevelopment.ca
Tax Receipt Option – Small Change Fund

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Conservation Halton would like any comments people can provide on the flooding around Hole 3 - Berwick on the golf course

By Staff

July 31st, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Conservation Halton(CH) completed a East Burlington Creeks Flood Hazard Mapping Study.

Millcroft Against Development (MAD) said the “Observational information from residents helped “ground-truth” the study findings and strengthen CH’s understanding of the flood hazard in the Millcroft Golf Club area.

CH staff reviewed the information provided in MAD’s July 6th, 2023 report as well as emails with observations and feedback from 2022 and 2021 when the study commenced. Specifically, engineers from CH’s floodplain mapping team have evaluated the comprehensive feedback from Millcroft residents relative to the draft flood hazard modelling and mapping from the study.

Only riverine flooding that is associated with a flood hazard of a watercourse is regulated by CH and was mapped as part of CH’s study. The reported observations of riverine flooding in this area are generally consistent with study modelling, which considered flooding associated with a range of storm events including more frequent storms to very rare events such as the August 4, 2014 storm, the 1:100 year storm, and the Hurricane Hazel Regional Storm.

However, in the area around Hole 3, a reported observation of flooding along a fence does not align with the draft flood hazard modelling and mapping from CH’s study. To confirm whether this observation may be related to riverine flooding, CH floodplain mapping program staff would appreciate an opportunity to meet with any residents who provided flood observations related to the Hole 3 area on their properties, to gain a clearer understanding of their observations.

The Millcroft Against Development (MAD) Admin team would appreciate your assistance in connecting residents who provided the observations related to flooding around Hole 3/Berwick with Conservation Halton.

Please email the Admin team at admin@millcroftagainstdevelopment.ca with your contact information.

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Has the beginning of a shift in the way Council will work going forward begun - and are there new faces building a profile?

By Pepper Parr

July 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Let’s take a look at three women who are part of the Burlington political world.

Mayor Meed Ward once said she has 17 points of contact with her constituents – and she uses every one of them regularly.

Marianne Meed Ward has served the city as a Councillor and as Mayor now in her second term. In 2026 she will have served the city for 16 years which will result in a very decent pension. Will she run again? Will she be opposed by a member of Council; two that we are aware of harbour hopes of wearing the chain of office.

Shawna Stolte has been the Councillor for ward 4 since 2018. Her Integrity Commissioner problems made her first term very difficult and many were not certain she would run again. But she did and was the Deputy Mayor for the Council meeting July 11th. Watching how she handled the meeting one got the sense that she liked the role; perhaps chairing Council meetings on a regular basis was even more appealing than when we had a conversation with her about wearing the Chain of Office.

Daintry Klein, the woman who advocates for green space and has been a tireless advocate for the Millcroft community and doing everything she can to prevent any future development on the golf course properties.

A recent community meeting was to urge resident of Millcroft to donate the funds needed to hire the experts that will get the organizations leads through the Ontario Land Tribunal hearing that is working its way through the bureaucracy.

The shaded areas show where the 98 additional houses will be built.

Klein did a good job of explaining why the funds were needed and how much was needed.

Angelo Bentivegna – has no problem in ignoring groups in his ward. Was absent at the most recent meeting of Millcroft Green Alliance

The ward Councillor Angelo Bentivegna was absent – he appears to have decided to keep his distance from the Millcroft Greenspace Alliance.

What made the meeting awkward for Klein was that Mayor Meed Ward attended and told the audience that she didn’t want to see the case now at the OLT take place. She told the audience that she was going to work the telephones and get a decision from the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs to put an end to the development application.

Given that the Mayor now has Strong Mayor powers she could put a stop to it in minutes. Is that in the offing?

Last week, Klein delegated to a Statutory meeting on a development in the ward that she felt created some risk from an environmental perspective.

She learned to her surprise that the planner speaking for the people who owned the property told council that they did not yet have a client because the people they wanted to offer the property to needed more in the way of certainty on just what they could and could not do.

Despite the surprise Klein continued until Councillor Sharman, who was chairing the Statutory meeting, asked her to speak to the specific issue. Taken aback Kline did a quick pivot and talked about the need to keep environmental issues a close to the top issue when it came time to make a decision.

There was no strong reason for Klein to be doing a delegation other than to maintain the profile she has in the community.

A working relationship with ward Councillor Angelo Bentivegna hardly exists and Klein would not be taking all that much of a risk should decide she could do a better job as the Councillor for ward 6.

Shawna Stolte has weathered everything the Mayor has thrown at her and has managed to hold her own.

The dynamic between the three women is interesting. Stolte took a very unfair drubbing from Meed Ward when she attempted to revise a Council meeting agenda and force Stolte to issue a public apology who was once her administrative assistant. Stole did a fine job of turning the tables and calling out the Mayor for what really was atrocious behaviour. We once again share that behaviour – here is the link.

Mayor Meed Ward did herself no favours when she told the audience of a meeting Klein had called that there was no reason to raise funds because she, the Mayor, was going to do everything in her power to prevent the matter of developing some of the golf course lands – where the developer wants to build 98 high end houses on a very desirable location – even if they are shoe horning them in at some of the locations Those homes will sell just is as soon is as the developer knows his appeal to the OLT come out with a decision in their favour.
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The Mayor does not have a strong working relationship with the Millcroft Greenspace Alliance and she certainly doesn’t have a quality working relationship with Stolte.

The interesting scenario is we have a Mayor who doesn’t have a strong, positive working relationship with at least one member of her council, has another member who isn’t interested in serving parts of his constituency and appears to be blunting the efforts of a community that needs all the help it can get to prevent a radical change.

Daintry Klein has worked tirelessly to keep the interest of her community in the public eye. Is she ready to sit at the table where the decisions are made. She would be at positive addition.

Daintry Kline has a strong background in the finance sector and has been more than diligent in working for her community. Does that translate into running for public office – Klein  has said she has no interest – they all do that until they announce that they want to serve their community and would be honoured to do just that.

Stolte and Klein would get along well – the have that “community first” in their DNA.

Keep an eye on both of them.

As for the Mayor – she will let you know what she is up to.

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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It is going to take more than grassroots love to stop Doug Ford from doing whatever he wants to do with the Regions

By Pepper Parr

May 22nd, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Doug Ford is at it again. He seems to have this fixation on what the municipal level of government is all about. He continues to meddle and muddle until he finds something that suits his fancy. In the process, he creates great churn and turmoil in all levels of government below the province.

The government introduced legislation on Thursday dubbed the “Hazel McCallion Act” to dissolve Peel Region and have the three municipalities stand on their own starting Jan. 1, 2025.
Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon will be ‘peeled’ apart in under two years — and six other regions have been put on notice that they could be next.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said he was taking “decisive action” to help the municipalities build more homes.
Ontario also said it will appoint “regional facilitators” in the coming weeks for the upper-tier municipalities of Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe, Waterloo and York. Their job will be to find out whether the municipalities that make up those regions are able to stand on their own.

The facilitators were initially announced in November with the goal of looking into whether the regions should get strong mayor powers, and to advise on “the best mix of roles and responsibilities between upper and lower-tier municipalities” for tackling the housing crisis.

Simcoe, which was initially left off the list, was added on Thursday.

Now, the government is explicitly saying the D-word – dissolution!

“These facilitators will be tasked with reviewing whether the upper-tier government continues to be relevant to the needs of its communities or whether the lower-tier municipalities are mature enough to pursue dissolution,” reads the Thursday release.

It’s still unclear who the facilitators will be.

“Details regarding the facilitators and the timing of their appointment are under development and we will have more to share on that soon,” Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) spokesperson Melissa Diakoumeas said in an email.

None of the municipalities provided comment about their potential dissolution by press time.

There’s nothing in the new legislation about expanding any municipal boundaries, as the government has been wont to do, sometimes without warning. Of course, the facilitators could make that recommendation; or the government could decide to do it at any time.

Clark was asked on Thursday why Simcoe was added to the list.   “I think we’ve always had that discussion, given the high growth pressures in Simcoe County,” he said. “Servicing is obviously an issue.”

Regional Chair Gary Carr, speaking at the Millcroft resident’s meeting said that there were huge changes coming to the Region. At the time Chair Carr didn’t elaborate – now we know what he was talking about.

The up-to-five-person transition board that will oversee Peel Region’s breakup has a slew of issues that will have to be sorted out — like the future of municipal taxes, finances, regional staff, conservation authorities, and the Peel Region Police — by 2025.

The transition board will also have the power to ban the municipalities from doing things it deems would hurt the dissolution. If the municipalities ignore the board, the legislation gives power to Clark to step in and manage their affairs directly.

The Ford government will appoint the panel’s members sometime this year — and the municipalities will foot the bill, according to the legislation.

We Love Burlington fought the good fight back in 2018-19 – the report that was to be released has yet to see the light of day. The government is in the process of taking another crack at changing the role that Regions play in the building of the residential housing the city has pledged to deliver.

That same process will be used when the province decides to take another look at how Halton operates. This might revive the “We Love Burlington” advocacy group.

In 2018/19, the newly elected PC Government undertook a review of regional governments with specific emphasis on achieving economies of scale, reduction of red tape and operating efficiencies through amalgamation.

The direction was directly opposite that announced on Thursday; it was to assimilate specific lower tier municipalities into the upper tier government.

It projected multiple benefits through consolidating services at the regional level and dramatically reforming or eliminating local governments.

Former Waterloo chair Ken Seiling, right, and former deputy minister Michael Fenn (who was once a General Manager with the City of Burlington) were tasked with the review to be prepared and reported by early summer of 2019. The report they submitted was never released to the public.

There were specific target regions – Halton, York, Durham, Waterloo, Niagara, Peel, Muskoka District, Oxford County, the County of Simcoe and their lower-tier municipalities. Former Waterloo chair Ken Seiling and former deputy minister Michael Fenn were tasked with the review to be prepared and reported by early summer of 2019.

Grass roots organizations quickly sprouted in Oakville and Burlington (the “We Loves”) to fight amalgamation and counter the perceived threat to local decision-making and the expression of local voice. The anti-amalgamation campaign was short but relatively intense and well-co-ordinates. Although public opinion seemed to be split in other regions, Halton presented a common face and championed preserving local autonomy. What started with much fanfare and bluster ended quietly in late June 2019 when the Ford Government announced that they would receive the report but neither publish nor act on its recommendations.

So, today it’s “déjà vu all over again” but in reverse with the regional governments in danger of dissolution, of being “peeled back”. This is not a victory for local autonomy and the integrity of local governance and decision-making. Municipalities, such as Burlington, are still the creation of the Province and very much subject to its control and direction.
Indeed, early messaging from Queen’s Park is that an even tighter choke will be placed around the lower tier neck.

Some of these municipalities, such as Burlington, may not recognize themselves when this is through.

Ironically, those who founded the 2019 We Love Burlington campaign would find it difficult to pose the same arguments of local governance integrity and transparency today.

Related news story:

Opinion piece on the changes in Regional government.

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Spread the Word, Make an Impact! Tonight is the Night!

By Staff

May 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was built as a community within a golf course – and the residents want to keep it that way.

Spread the Word, Make an Impact!

Millcroft Greenspace Alliance is committed to preserving the entire Millcroft Golf Course Greenspace using an approach that is grounded in research, advocacy, and leveraging resources.

Tonight is the Night! Learn More about…

Our unique strategy to preserve the Millcroft Golf Course green infrastructure, and its importance to our community’s case at the OLT in response to recent legislative changes.
MGA has been fortunate to have significant professional and business support from our neighbours who have volunteered to help analyze the Millcroft Greens application and develop our strategy.

We have focused our efforts on advocacy to find a solution to maintain this greenspace in advance of the OLT. As the OLT hearing draws near, we must now hire a seasoned municipal litigator and a stormwater expert to represent our strategy.

When: Today (May 8th) at 7:30pm
Where: Grace United Church (Millcroft Park Drive and Walkers Line)

We encourage you to forward this email to neighbours, family or friends to remind them of tonight’s community meeting.

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Food trucks and feeding the public - Councillors loved the idea and wanted access to all the data collected

By Pepper Parr.

April 24th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The staff from the Communications and Engagement department showed up at a Standing Committee recently with a long report that set out everything they’d done since their last report – one list was 15 pages long.

Kwab Ako-Adjei Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement

Kwab Ako-Adjei Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement  and his team spoke of the “extraordinary amount of engagement that was done by the city which includes council as well” and then went on to take council through what had been done since their last annual report.

We are a “ very data driven department” and we will start sharing a lot of that with counsel in the near future”, said Kwab

The phrase “giving people a choice for their voice” was the way Communications explained the decision to continue in person or online engagement or a combination of both.

The question Kwab may have wished he didn’t ask was: “What is the will of council for having the Food for Feedback event as an annual event? And what about the locations?

He and his team were before Council to get reaction on various city communications issues, however the Food for Feedback initiative quickly became the focus of the meeting – that and the desire on the part of every member of council for access to all the data collected and a plea that the event be held in their ward at some point.

The Food for Feedback idea was you got a ticket to get something to eat from a Food Truck that was parked nearby – but you had to “engage” with city staff at one of the booth set up in the Band Shell park next to the Library.

It was a popular event – two Food for Feedback events were held – Covid did get in the way of their longer term plans, but it worked and that was the premise behind the report.

Kwab wasn’t prepared for the reaction. He explained that these events were expensive.

Council didn’t seem to care – what they were interested in was doing more of the Food for Feedback events and asking if they could be held more often and in their ward would be nice.

Councillor Sharman explained that it would cost next to nothing to do a Food for Feedback event in his ward and tied it into events that were already scheduled – his annual Appleby Line Street Festival was his angle.

The first Food for Feedback event drew 1000 people. What the Gazette doesn’t recall learning was – what did the city get in the way of feedback – and what did the event cost ?

The first event was held in 2019, 1000 people were reported to have attended. COVID knocked out 2020 and 2021. An event was held in 2022 at Brant Hills where 640 people are reported to have attended.

The criteria for these events was put together by the communications department – their recommendation was to hold the event at Central Park band shell because it met all of the criteria.

That criteria became an issue – first because Councillors didn’t think it was accurate and second – they didn’t like the criteria.

Kwab said “… we know you have questions – we have a lot of documentation about how we came up with this criteria, adding that not all wards actually have a suitable location based on this criteria.”

That’s where the differences of opinion began to become evident – almost every member of Council was able to explain how the event could be run in their ward.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan did his best to make sure the Food for Feedback was held in his ward as often as possible.

First up was Councillor Nisan who said “great work, expecting less and you more than exceeded expectations adding that he was “ basically really happy with everything else but was having a sports field as a criteria is a good thing or a bad thing ?”

Kwab: “We often cannot use a sports field – some other group may have booked the space but not the rest of a park area.
The staff member who had worked in the Events depart with the city for 10 years, explained “we are not permitted to have events on sports fields. We can be in a park but not use the sports fields that are adjacent to and within a park.”

Nisan, no fool when it comes to bringing opportunities to his ward, offered to have the Food For Feedback event at Brant Hills every second year asking “Is there a willingness to rotate – have it at Brant Hills … do you have any issues with doing so?

Kwab responds: “Our first choice would be Central Band Shell however, we are obviously open to the will of council to have north- south alternate every year and our suggestion would be Brant Hills would be the North location because it does meet all of the criteria.

Mayor Meed Ward followed Nisan saying she had few questions – mostly comments and asked if “You have social stats for other channels; there’s the City of Burlington and then there’s the rec one. Are there other city channels out there that we can get data on ? The only other data source I can think of off the top of my head is transit; I am very interested, if you gather those stats, to see any other city channels that are out there.

Kwab: “Recreation has a number of accounts as well as Instagram accounts – we do work with them with to make sure that they are properly engaging with the community. We could share the stats and data on that.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – she wanted data.

Mayor: “That’d be awesome. And I assume that there’s some sort of technology tool that you possibly pay for to get all these stats. Can you run it for council channels, so we can see what our own engagement levels are? Other than just you know, looking at them?

Kwab: I’d have to go back and chat with Kevin (City Clerk) about that. There would be an additional cost, because it’s Sprout Social that we use and they are limited in the accounts. But we can see if there is a way to do it. I mean, it does do comparisons to neighbouring municipalities and as you can see, generally speaking in terms of engagement or impressions, we are well above the industry so it does do those sorts of comparisons but to pull specific Councillor data; I’d have to check on that and get back to you on what the potential cost of would be.

Mayor Meed Ward: “We can talk about that offline. I’d be really interested to look into Sprout.

Shawna Stolte, ward 4 Councillor who is currently on a two month leave of absence.

Councillor Stolte noted that the event held in September 2022 had a total of 640 people attending and was told that approximately 1000 people attended at Central Park in 2019?

“When I attended the one at Brand Hills I asked if they were feeling there was representation from across the city and asked: “ Did you take any stats on where people were hailing from when they came out? I certainly got the impression that most of the attendees of 640 were from the north ward 3 area.

Kwab: “Some might have asked but as a whole we didn’t ask – but that’s something we can definitely implement for the future.”

Councillor Kearns: “Can we think about or bring back something to have a more thorough discussion on regarding Food for Feedback during the election year? There was quite a lot of conversation out there around the appropriateness of sitting councillors and or candidates attending – wondering if we can have a further discussion on that at some point.

Kearns also wanted to know more about the social media – “wondering if you can provide some additional insight on how does the information garnered through social media get back to council or help with decision making?”

Kwab – Do you mean the kind of feedback that we get?

Stolte piped in with: “ I don’t think I’ve ever received something from social media through the city to help with decision making, whether that be in a report or anything to that effect goes out, or how it comes back in?

Michelle Dyer, part of the Communications department team, who does more than analyze data.

Michelle Dyer, part of the Communications department team: “ We know we do want to make sure we’re sharing more information with counsel in terms of our social media, posts and content. So stay tuned – we’re developing a toolkit that will point to some of the information that we share on social media that will be coming to council very soon.

“In terms of feedback. I mean, we get a lot of comments on social media, a tonnes of comments. I mean, if we compile it all there would be reams and reams of pages. Kevin (City Clerk) and Victoria do a great job of going through those comments. And if they do pertain to a particular department or anything like that we do share it with them. If there’s anything specific to council I think you need to see I’m fairly certain that’s something that we would share directly with members of council but there are many instances that we share the feedback that we get from social directly with staff, which couldn’t make its way into reports or memos or any of that information. They’re also very looped into our social media channels and what we’re doing but if there’s anything specific, I think that counsel needs to be aware of we would definitely share with you directly.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna wanted more detail on the criteria that was used to choose locations for the Food for Feedback events. He pointed out that the ward 6 Arlene Park and Millcroft Park;, two fairly large parks in his ward “but the criteria says no in terms of parking and I don’t understand that.”

Kwab: ” In regards to the two parks in your ward, the reason it was no is because based on the other amenities that are in the park and the attendance that we expect for the event we don’t believe there would be enough parking for the event to occur as well as the regular Park activities. So that’s why we put no just to kind of prevent any potential parking issues.”

Ward 6 Councillor had to update the Communications on the number of parks in his ward.

Bentivegna:. “We’ve got parking lots including two massive parking lots next door to each other. My other question would be choosing the location and the question about which wards they come from. I agree with Councillor Stolte I think people sometimes assume okay, it’s in central that means it’s downtown stuff. I know food trucks costs money but you know, maybe we don’t do the food trucks. I think the neighborhoods would walk. I mean, if you’re having it in Alton Village, they’re going to walk to play in the Doug Wright park. I do believe the criteria as to where and why people go to these events is very, very important.

Kwab: “I think if we just step back for a second, we had a clear interest from counsel to make sure that we would move this around. So that’s where we started from knowing that this is what counsel wants. Let’s look at the location. If counsel says they want to have this ongoing feedback every year; my opinion is that they would be in September and as we stand right now, it will be with food trucks, because I know they’re very popular. So we said okay, let’s go and let’s look at where we can actually have this. And when we take all these things into consideration – we could live with moving around; sure we can, but I think we have to consider that there may not be enough parking. If it rains, we may have to move it indoors. We can’t get on the sports field, these are all the things that we need to consider.

This is our recommendation, council wants to move it around. That’s why we presented those options for Council to consider and ultimately direct us to what you what want us to do.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – no he wasn’t asleep.

Councillor Sharman : “Thank you very much for the report. Lots of complexity. So with respect to the Orchard, it is probably the urban area furthest away from downtown and Orchard people don’t come downtown very much. Orchard Park has a school right in the middle that has washrooms and has parking. We did a 2000 person event in Orchard Park last summer and there was no problem. My question is it possible that the school board properties can be used?

“This is a Sunday event? no kids in the schools; there’s plenty of space and there’s even public washrooms paid for by the city.”

The Appleby Line Car Free Sunday was better attended than the one on Brant Street several weeks later. Over time the attendance grew to the point where it is now an annual well attended event.

Kwab – “We can certainly work with them, Again, we do have those risk factors to take into consideration .”

Sharman: “The other question I have is Sherwood Forest Park. It has everything Why is it not on our list?”

Kwab: “We tried to kind of pick two locations per ward that have had events in the past. Sherwood is such a well utilized space. We wouldn’t want to take that out of the inventory for the community if there was already bookings there in regards to the different amenities they have.

Galbraith: I’m just gonna jump in here first time. Thanks for the report. Really, really good and congratulations for creating such a great event that every counselor wants it in their ward including myself.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith – he wanted to see those food trucks at LaSalle Park.

Looking at the two parks available for Ward 1 – Can you explain the no because of parking at LaSalle?

Kwab: “I think we’re hearing what counsel wants. So we can take this away and come back with our recommendations and we’ll move this around, or we can certainly wait for direction at this at this point in time. I mean based on based on the discussion that we’re hearing, – I will certainly leave it to counsel but I think we’re getting the message – loud and clear.

Galbraith: I think if it was moved around the city and then came back to Central it would be even better because everyone got exposure to it.
Stolte: “Back to Food for Feedback – there’s no doubt that having it in a park with green grass is ideal. But the real ideal is getting as many people out as possible and having it at the right location.

“Could we consider other city facilities and I’m thinking in Ward 4 maybe the Mainway arena?”  “Can we consider venues other than just parks? If we’re going to look at moving it around?”

Kwab: We didn’t plan it that way initially and we have the indoor space more as a rain area in case there’s inclement weather; if there was too much separation between the booths and the food trucks people may eat but not take part in the purpose of the event – let’s be honest, they’re giving out food, some wouldn’t be doing the feedback.

Stolte: Food trucks could go inside the arena. Would it be the least bit feasible to consider hosting two food for feedback events, whether it be two on the same day, or subsequent Saturday’s holding one in the south and one of the North?

Kwab Ako-Adjei Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement found he was getting a lot of criticism and fed new ideas by members of Council.  The upside for him was he is going to be able to go after a bigger budget in future.

Kwab: The short answer: anything is possible. The logistics and the costs would have to be taken into consideration and how you would determine which staff you send North versus the South, which engagement opportunity that you that you had so simultaneous – that would maybe be a challenge.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

“Let me reiterate we’ve only done this twice. So we are definitely open to feedback and in terms of how we improve this.

Nisan: “I am open if there’s more questions about Food for Feedback but let me just put it on the table at this point. And then they can have questions and answers. That’s what I would suggest. The motion was to approved the continuation of Food for Ffeedback as an annual engagement event to be rotated between different suitable locations across the city each year.

“I think that gets us landing what we want of this This leads us to essentially a report back

“I would assume staff would come back to us through a CIP which would allow us to, to review and make modifications if we wish, but give them the opportunity to do some more work on it and look at some of the different options that we’ve all raised today.

Certainly would love to have Brant Hills park back again.”

Stolte: Thank you just speaking to this proposed amendment, which I certainly agree with about it being rotated between different suitable locations. Staff. Do you feel the need for us to add in things like and consider two events or a weekend event or anything like that? Or do you feel as though you have enough feedback from the conversation?

Kwab: “We would have to have more resources to look at multiple events.

“The recommendation is to have it in at Central Park for 2023 .”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – hold the events at either his Appleby Street Festival or at Sherwood Park – and don’t feel you have a tonne of money.

Sharman: “I really appreciate the hard work that goes into the annual event. That is a big deal. But actually, you don’t need to put a lot of work into doing it in existing events. And it doesn’t need to cost us a lot of money. We don’t need to pay bags of cash for food, because we’ll have people that we can do other incentives.

“I’m also suggesting that we don’t necessarily limit this to an annual event and you don’t need to make it a big deal. Perhaps you could just put that into your thinking, because you can have as many as you want. It may be a booth and it may be some incentive but I think there’s opportunities to do a lot more.

“Last year, we had 14 or 16 booths and I think it was similar in 2019. So I mean, we would have no issue. Our staff if it was just you know, having a booth on engagement and communication, but I think maybe where it might get tricky is is having the number of events if in fact we wanted to have that many booths to garner feedback, that would possibly be the only issue.

“The other thing too is the timing of projects that require feedback, right? It changes throughout the year. So those would be the only some of the cautions that I would add please, for that, you’re gonna have the north end of our Appleby Line Festival – and you can have as many booths as you want.

Now we wait to see how the Communications department reacts. It is clear council wants the Food for Feedback events to happen.

Equally clear is that Communications didn’t appear to have brought much in the way of imagination or innovation to revising the event.  All the good ideas came from members of Council with Kwab saying he would “look into that,”

What was all too evident was that the engagement people don’t do engagement very well.  But they do collect data – ‘tonnes of it”.

 

 

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Ward 3 Councillor had more financial support in the 2022 election from people who did not live in the ward than from those who did

By Staff

April 17th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan at one of the few Council meetings he attended in person.

Rory Nisan, the candidate for ward 3 in the October municipal election who was returned to office did not contribute any of his own money to his campaign (aside from buying signs).

He received 36 donations over $100. Only 16 of those donors reside in Ward 3. Of those 16, 10 are in rural area, only 6 reside in “urban” Ward 3.

Six live in ward 6 – 4 in Millcroft

Six live outside Burlington (including one erroneously listed as a Burlington address but which is in fact Toronto).

Four donors who donated to him in 2018 donated again in 2022 (one from outside Burlington).

One might ask if Nisan actually prioritizes his Ward 3 residents or is he spending more time and energy on those outside Ward 3? If so, why?

Rory Nisan retrieving a package from the back seat of his car at a house in ward 2 that he purchased in June of 2022, before he was re-elected in ward 3. Building permits were obtained in December of 2022.

We will watch with interest to see what he does or doesn’t do for Ward 3 this term. He does still live there, right?

The Chair of the Heritage Committee donated $300 (Rory sat on Heritage Committee last term but isn’t on it now).

Nick Leblovic, Committee of Adjustment member donated $$250 to the campaign. This is only relevant with respect to the Integrity Commission complaint regarding Leblovic which council now must consider. Will Nisan recuse himself due to this conflict?

Rory had a fundraising dinner on June 23, 2022, $250/ticket – 8 tickets sold. After expenses, this brought in just under $1000. Dinner touted a “special guest”. Anyone know who the special guest was?

Karl Wulf donated food and beverages the day after this event, at a cost of $748.46. He is the Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee and understood to be a local realtor. This amount may have been a portion of the $983.30 expense listed under “Food and Beverage” for the June 23 fundraiser.

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Four foot tree giveaway on the 29th of April - Register now the supply is limited

By Staff

March 31st, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington and BurlingtonGreen are hosting Earth Day activities at various locations throughout the city.

More trees – less flooding

Earth Day Tree Planting Event
In partnership with BurlingtonGreen, a tree planting event will take place at Millcroft Park, April 22 starting at 9:30 a.m., rain or shine. Advance registration at burlingtongreen.org is required. Space is limited.

Celebrate Earth Day with BurlingtonGreen
Residents can visit the BurlingtonGreen Eco-Hub at Burlington Beach Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. where a variety of fun and family-friendly eco-activities will be taking place: pollinator seed ball making, cycling resources and giveaways, a guided tree walk, shoreline clean up, a repair café and a -bike raffle opportunity.

Tree Giveaway
The City of Burlington is giving away 500 trees to residents. To receive a free, four-to-five-foot tree, you must register in advance and have a vehicle able to safely transport the tree. There are several types of trees available. Quantities and types are limited.

Date: Saturday, April 29, 2023
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pick up time is dependent on the species selected.

Location: Roads, Parks and Forestry Operation Centre Parking Lot, 897 Cumberland Ave., Burlington

Registration is open now until April 18, 2023. To register for a tree, go to Get Involved Burlington. Quantities and tree species are limited. Click HERE to Register

Gloria Reid: Not just a member of the Board – she gets right in there with the 15,000 people they want to help CleanUp and GreenUp

BurlingtonGreen’s Annual Clean Up Green Up
Celebrating their 15-year anniversary, BurlingtonGreen is aiming to see 15,000 people participate in their annual Clean Up Green Up this year. Residents, schools, groups and businesses are invited to be a part of this city-wide event cleaning up litter from Burlington’s parks, school yards and neighbourhoods.

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Team Logue will be using a White and Navy Blue theme for their Tree at the Performing Arts Centre

By Katelyn Goodwin

December 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Real estate service Team Logue is one of this year’s tree sponsors for the 6th annual Festival of Trees taking place at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre through to December 17th.

Makayla, the staff member I spoke to, explained that  Team Logue is a community based real estate service company with an ‘outside the box’ approach offering expertise in Burlington, Milton, Oakville, and the surrounding areas-mainly the Millcroft area.

They have been involved in community-based events before, and Makayla told me this was another great opportunity for them to contribute to another.

This is their first year sponsoring and decorating a tree. The company decided to decorate a tree to be part of getting people into the spirit this holiday season.

Sarah Logue is the broker of record and a huge lover of the Christmas season.  The group decorating the tree have yet to decide quite what they want to do in terms of decorations; they do know that the theme will be white and navy to go with Logue’s brand colours.

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

By Daintry Klein

October 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

By Katelyn Goodwin

October 19th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their comments went like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katelyn Goodwin is a graduating student at Sheridan College.

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

By Staff

October 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

The Burlington Fire Department is going to be

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burlington Public Library Firefighter Story Time

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

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

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

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

“Just the Facts”

  • Carbon monoxide alarms in every bedroom

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

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

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

 

Fire Chief Karen Roche accepting cookies.

Karen Roche, Burlington Fire Chief

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

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