John Taylor tells Special Advisors that the growth planned for Halton isn't sustainable.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 18th, 2019


mmw watching Taylor

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward tweets a picture she had taken of John Taylor while he was delegating at the Provincial Review meeting held on Friday.


It wasn’t sustainable and John Taylor wanted the Special Advisors to the Minister of Municipalities and Housing, who were touring the nine Regions that were part of a Provincial Review, to know that his 21 years of experience as a Regional Councillor had led him to the conclusion that in order to meet the 2041 target the Region had been given for population growth there would have to be a 3.25% compound increase in growth to get from the current 550,000 population to the 2041 target of 1million the province was imposing on the Region.

Taylor said it just wasn’t going to be possible to build that kind of infrastructure in 22 years.

The cost to the Region’s taxpayers to develop the infrastructure is not something the property tax base can keep up with.

Taylor didn’t limit his comments to the size of the infrastructure challenge. He pointed out that the Greater Golden Horseshoe is a “province within a province” and that transportation had to be looked at from that perspective.

He told the Special Advisors that transit should be made a Regional responsibility until there was an Authority in place to oversee transit from a Greater Golden horseshoe perspective.


John Taylor in conversation with Halton Region CAO Jane MacCaskill.

John Taylor may no longer be an elected official – he retired from the political scene and did not run in the 2018 municipal election.

Taylor added one comment that should have out a shivers through the few Burlingtonians who were in the room. “The constraints we are under” said Taylor “might mean resorting to greenfield growth”.

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Jim Young: wants to give CHAT a second chance admits they cannot escape a degree of criticism.

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young

May 15th, 2019



In recent Gazette pieces on Citizen Action Labs and Engagement many valid points have been raised, some with which I agree, others on which I differ and offer my experience.

There are two different types of groups advocating for the citizens of Burlington. City appointed Citizen Advisory Committees and Independent Groups who advocate on issues of particular interest to them. Both types can, and have, enjoyed varying degrees of success in their advocacy and engagement with the city.

Some thoughts on why some of them work and some don’t may help start a conversation on Citizen Engagement and the future of City Advisory Committees.

ECoB debate at Baptist on New

ECoB filled church halls – raised thousands of dollars – they were as grass roots as it gets.

The difference in influence between Citizen Advisories may simply be this: Citizen Advisory Committees where there is a directly associated department exert less influence on council. Those Committees where there is no associated department, often exert more influence.

Sparsely attended Transit Advisory meeting - staff talent shows up - members appeared to have missed the bus.

Transit Advisory meeting – staff talent shows up – members appeared to have missed the bus.

Burlington Seniors Advisory is successful because there is no “Department of Seniors”. This absence of departmental influence allows them to pursue seniors’ issues across multiple departments like Transit and Adult Programming. Without departmental affiliation, they are also free to work with Non-City groups like BfAST on issues like Free Seniors Transit. Most importantly, BSAC gets to make its cases directly to council or other city departments without any overshadowing staff influence.

Burlington Cycling Advisory (BCAC) has similar freedom from “Departmental Influence” and given the popularity of cycling with citizens, staff and council, they take full advantage of that.

Two non-city advocacy groups which have had remarkable success, for different reasons, are BfAST (Burlington for Affordable Sustainable Transit) and ECoB (Engaged Citizens of Burlington).

Sue Connor with Jim Young

Jim Young taking part in a Bfast panel discussion with Director of Transit Sue Connor

BfAST are mostly ex-members of the old Transit Advisory, frustrated by years of anti-transit positions of former councils and staffs. Their success rests in not having to advise City Council. Free from staff control BfAST brings together advocacy from city and non-city groups and departments as diverse as Burlington Transit, BSAC, ECoB, BSC Inc. and many more in a way that City Advisory rules can prevent. With a new Transit Director and a new outlook on council, a rapport has developed with BfAST which may provide a model for what advocacy and engagement might look like.

ECOB logo

Engaged Citizens of Burlington came out of nowhere and energized the citizens of the city through the election debates they organized in every ward – packed audiences in most cases – and incumbents who failed to show.

ECoB started as a protest against downtown over-intensification. Castigated by council and censured by planning and communications staff, it grew to become a massive voice for engagement and change. In the October election, ECoB’s organisation of mayoral and candidate debates changed the make-up of council and has given us a council who seem to genuinely want to engage.

Unfortunately, not all citizen advisories work. The old Transit Advisory failed because of a council and Transit Department that did not want advice from transit users or citizens, and the restrictive procedural rules imposed by committee clerks. In an attempt to recover, council created ITAC the city’s Integrated Transit and Transportation Advisory, a committee overweight with staff from Roads, Transit, Transportation and Parking and that same clerical forbearance that spoiled its predecessor.

ITAC were the torch bearers at council for the failed Cycling Lanes on New Street and who advised council to reject Free Transit for Seniors. Surely that says all that needs to be said about committees which don’t work.

Linda McKay with Mayor and Searles

Jim Searle, at one time the chair of the CHAT team poses with the then Mayor Rick Goldring. Some Advisory groups get too close to the elected officials and not close enough to the people they are supposed to represent.

I would like to finish on a positive note but CHAT (Charter Action Team), the committee responsible for Burlington’s engagement charter cannot escape a degree of criticism. CHAT was formed in 2014 under the auspices of Burlington Corporate Communications Department to implement engagement ideas from the 2011 Shape Burlington Report.

Any engagement undertaking, eight years in the making and only now reaching out for “Citizen Action” can hardly be considered a resounding success.

However, given the renewed attitude on council, I am more optimistic and hopeful that under their direction, CHAT will be more amenable to real engagement than the past suggests. If we could be sure of more council direction than staff on this new initiative, I would be even more hopeful. Let us get engaged with Citizen Action Labs and give CHAT one more try.

Related content:

City announces Civic Action labs

Jim Young doesn’t like the look of what he sees

Gazette opines on where it think the problem can be found.


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The problem is not with the citizens - the problem is with the administration - ground zero is in the Clerk's Office.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 13th, 2019



City Hall is reviewing Council appointed Citizen Advisory Committees to determine the best way to use the knowledge and diversity that citizen advisory committees can bring to the city.

A number of Citizen Action Labs are going to be held to get feedback, input and sound discussion on the role citizens can play in the way the city is run.

Citizen Action Labs are where people work together in small, welcoming groups to engage, discuss, share and explore new ideas.

Three Citizen Action Labs are planned. Current and past citizen advisory committee members and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Registration is required as there is a maximum capacity of 80 people at each session.

Burlington has a number of Advisory Committees; some have provided exceptional citizen service while others have been close to a bust and were disbanded.

The best the Gazette has seen is the contribution made by the Heritage Advisory Committee. While delivering one of their reports to a council committee they got a close to standing ovation from the members of council.

They had a budget and made recommendations on what can be given in the way of grants to property owners who want to enhance the heritage aspects of their property. It was citizen participation at its very best.

Prior to the re-creation of the Heritage Advisory committee any mention of designating a property as historically significant had property owners howling. Much of the real estate community didn’t help when property owners were told that a historical designation would make it very hard to sell their property.

No one had informed or educated people in Burlington on just what a historical designation could do to the value of a property. We seemed to be unable to see and understand what Niagara on the Lake had done.

The Sustainability Advisory Committee was also one of the sterling examples of citizen participation. The problem with that committee was that it was too successful and there were too many development applications coming in – they were overwhelmed – but they continued to deliver.

Cut line

Waterfront Advisory didn’t last very long – leadership left a lot to be desired.

Then there was the Waterfront Advisory Committee that was put in place by former Mayor Cam Jackson and headed by a Burlington lawyer who thought he was writing legal briefs when he prepared reports. It was that committee that led to the sale of waterfront property to citizens who saw an opportunity to acquire land abutting their property – they pounced and the city lost forever the opportunity to create a continuous Waterfront Trail along the edge of the lake

That Advisory Committee got shut down.

It is going to be revived with a council member who will be sensitive to the input from the citizens and realize that her role is to liaise with the committee, city staff and council.

Sparsely attended Transit Advisory meeting - staff talent shows up - members appeared to have missed the bus.

Sparsely attended Transit Advisory meeting – staff talent shows up – members appeared to have missed the bus.

There was once a Transit Advisory Committee that a number of people in senior positions at city hall just didn’t want. It was also terribly run. People were throwing documents at each other on one occasion. The council liaison person had no intention of letting citizens say very much

Each of the Advisory committees is given a Clerk who is in place to guide and support the committee; some were not able to do that as effectively as was needed.

The biggest flaw in the Advisory Committee process was the city council member who was put in place as a liaison. Most of them felt that their job was to run the committee and several made sure that their view prevailed.

Our view is that the problem is with the Clerk’s Office. While the City Manager is the person responsible for ensuring the will of council is met the City Clerk is the senior administrative officer and is charged with building public trust and confidence in the city government.

The current Clerk has consistently taken a very tight, almost rigid approach to how the rules get interpreted.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington wanted to use a graphic the city had created to promote the seven public debates they sponsored during the October election.

They were told the graphic could not be used.

Save the Planet - Goldring + organizer

Mayor \goldring had to hold his public meeting on a street corner.

During the 2014 election then Mayor Goldring wanted to hold an event celebrating WORLD Day and was told that he could not use the Gazebo in Spencer Smith Park because it was city property and there was an election taking place.

The Mayor was speaking for the city on an event of international importance. He ended up holding his event on a sidewalk outside a coffee shop.

During the same election the candidate for ward 2 rented space at the Art Gallery for her campaign kick-off event and was told that her election team could not wear their T-shirts in the hallways of the AGB.

There is a nit picking, niggling tone, attitude and approach to the way the Clerk’s office sees the role that citizens should play in the affairs of the city. This Clerk doesn’t have much room or time for the public. “How can we help” are words that do not cross very many lips in the Clerk’s office.

There are exceptions – three in particular understand they are there to serve.

The city now has a Mayor who takes a different view of public involvement. Hopefully the Office of the Clerk will manage to read the signals.

Salt with Pepper is the opinions, reflections,musings and observations of the Gazette Publisher

Related news stories:

Historical Advisory takes an evidence approach to decision making.

Citizen Action labs set up

Jim Young on Advisory Committees

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Mayor listens to developers and real estate professionals - asking what can we do for you.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 10th, 2019



Oh to have been a fly on the wall.

There she was at the front of the room asking a group of developers and real estate types – what can we do for you?

Had Jeff Paikin been in the room the Mayor would have gotten an ear full.  In a recent communication with us he said:

Jeff Paikin

Jeff Paikin – New Horizons Development.

“Moved to Burlington permanently for our offices just in time to be subject to a council that shuts down our business and a mayor who twice uses unauthorized videos of our site to stand on her soap box and pump up over-intensification even when it doesn’t exist.  Nice warm welcoming feeling for a company that pays and has generated hundreds of thousands of tax dollars annually.”

We wonder how Jeff really feels.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was doing another part of her Red Tape Red Carpet initiative to learn how the city could be what Premier Ford has already declared we are: – and that is Open for Business.

The focus group Meed ward was meeting with was made up of a full-house of over 40 leaders from the development and real estate industry. It appears that the audience was made up of people who volunteered to attend and perhaps a few that were asked to take part.

In her newsletter on what has become known as the RTRC initiative Meed Ward said:

high profile 421

Development in the City of Burlington is a very hot issue: Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“As everyone is well aware, development in the City of Burlington is a very hot issue, and was one of the most commonly discussed during last fall’s election campaign.

“My goal is to find a way to help our city grow in the right way and in the right places, and to partner with my colleagues at City Hall, with residents, and with our development community to make that happen.

“With that said, the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force initiative is not just about development. It’s about helping all of Burlington’s businesses thrive. Developers and real estate professionals are just two industries of many in our city, but they overlap with those of businesses that are growing, relocating, or starting out here. Their struggles become the struggles of other businesses too.

“At the same time, developers are a business like any other, and while they face challenges around permits and approvals, they also have to deal with access to talent, adequate transit, employee parking, and beyond.

“The focus group was an important step in better understanding the top issues facing this group, and I appreciated how many leaders from these industries showed up to participate in this journey.

“While the City of Burlington’s current Interim Control Bylaw was top of mind for many in the room, we know that geographically that only applies to 1% of our land in Burlington. Furthermore, we know things weren’t perfect before that was put in place, so we focused on the challenges that already existed and have long-term impact.

“What we heard from this audience was the following challenges – again, many of which were commonly heard at other groups we’ve met with over the past 2 months (common themes from yesterday’s session are highlighted in bold):

The Permit process – flaws and delays
Ability to attain SPAs in a reasonable time
Dealing with the MTO – lack of accountability to timelines, lots of delays
Delays with Halton Conservation
Conflict between the different levels of government
Business mindset is lacking
Lack of accountability with the City
Too many agencies involved
Staff act like they’re afraid of losing their jobs
No incentives to reduce operational friction
Inconsistent bylaw/zoning interpretation/zoning uncertainty
Lack of vision
Lack of control over other agencies / influence
Affordability of projects becoming unrealistic: land, construction, time all push up costs
No “leader” to manage applications
Lack of KPIs for city staff (perceived or otherwise)
Provincial policies are shifting / rethinking
Lack of staff knowledge in understanding market forces
Lack of respect for landowner rights
Too in the weeds – focus on important issues
Lack of common sense being applied
Opinions can depend on mood of person who is assessing the application
Building envelopes
No severance / Niagara Escarpment Commission
Environmentals on particular corridors
All the time delays cost money
Political agendas – development applications treated politically instead of on their own merit
Time associated with the severance process (took 2 years)
Zoning inflexibility (ex: Seniors Long Term Care facility)
Timing associated with obtaining a zoning verification letter – used to be 10 days now over 5 weeks
City staff raising issues that do not apply to the application in question
Limited incentives available for developers to build sustainably, and integrate sustainable design features
Public transparency re: cost recovery/recovery funding
Compare to Brampton, where 100 units got approval in less than a year – fast process, open to discussions, and Mayor/Council wanted things to happen
Perception that plants and animals have more rights than people
Hard to get calls returned from City Hall (all departments)
Outdated city standards (ex: Parks)
Lack of downtown parking for offices, bars, restaurants and retail
Transit dead spots

“While it took a few minutes to switch gears and focus on the positives, there are certainly reasons everyone in the room is still doing business in Burlington and we wanted to ensure we clearly understood what those are:

BEDC as a facilitator, expeditor and supporter
Great fast-track process for building permits
Experienced city staff are good to deal with
Online process that shows if a building permit is closed
Mayor seems very on board
Facilitation at this event was great – Interim City Manager was great facilitator at the table
Professional people to deal with
Sustainable design guidelines
Ability to start work early to help shorten delivery sometimes
Burlington building process is good
Councillor was helpful overriding bad staff decisions
Building department closing out an old permit +
We win most if not all appeals to OMB/LPAT
Development application website is good
Community safety – businesses with shifts / evening hours are less worried for their staff getting to/from work
Burlington’s culture, family-orientedness & energy draws people here to live and work
Access to talent, amenities and housing (high tech talent is easier than other segments though because of housing costs)

“Again, we finished the day by leveraging the knowledge and experience in the room to come up with solutions, ideas and changes that the City can spearhead to make things better:

Some of the comments Meed Ward highlights are:

Support a culture of service and efficiency by ensuring staff have clear KPIs and they are part of their performance reviews

Incentives for hitting KPIs and going above and beyond

Business/file liaison to track, communicate, and shepherd a file to completion in a reasonable time

Leadership needs to stand behind file planner

Encourage staff to learn more as things change to drive subject matter expertise (regulations, etc.)

Leverage better technology to streamline and automate / CRM system / Self-Serve

Customer service training / commitment to customer service

Hire more people if short-staffing is impacting speed of turnaround

Cut the timelines to match the Municipal Act

Apply a stronger sustainability lens and offer incentives

Allow multiple levels of approval to run concurrently

Seniors housing/land zoning strategy

Business advisory board

BEDC needs more influence

More advocacy/upward pressures necessary to other levels of government

Stand firm on the position of what is good for Burlington – don’t sit on hands with other agencies

Be collaborative vs combative

Site visits at properties to understand context and better apply common sense

Create more “fast track” and “premium” services – willing to pay for speed

Do more to educate the public about the benefits of growth to help those inherently resistant to change to see the positives

Make it a priority or essential that new hires in these departments have spent at least some time in the private sector on the other side of the table to provide better perspective and understanding

Next round of comments shouldn’t go back to bottom of the pile

Be ok with weighting the value of certain projects in their worth to the community (jobs for example) and be willing to prioritize those in terms of speed and attention – not every project is equal

Apply Artificial Intelligence / automated processes to remove personal opinion from the process

Shorten time frames for turnarounds of minor revisions

Fees should be payable on approval not all up front (or reimbursed when deadlines are missed)

Empower staff with more decision-making power to apply common sense

Remove height restrictions

Educate the public on good planning practices

Be more consistent – don’t change policies when Councillors change

Leverage tech being used in other municipalities (ex: Mississauga)

Focus group with staff: what are THEIR challenges to moving quickly & how can we help

Provide more info on the steps that happen in the process & why it takes so long. What is happening each day over the course of all those months (and sometimes years)?

Quick morning meeting/daily scrum (15 min) each day by team leaders to set goals with staff: what will you get off your desk today and move forward? Then hold people accountable and recognize good performance. Ask the question “What will it take to get this approved today?”

More of a culture of recognition for making things happen. Celebrate those staff.

Red tape red carpet The next focus group will include several contributors from the rural business ecosystem who sit on the newly formed Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee with the City of Burlington.

The next step is to take the learnings and information back to the Committee at their next meeting later this month.

Meed Ward has moved with considerable dispatch  on this initiative.  What is disturbing is that she has ensured there is no media in the room.  Why not?


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Big business/manufacturers in the city give the city an earful - it wasn't all bad..

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2019



It was a major talking point at the State of the City address Mayor Marianne Meed Ward gave to the Chamber of Commerce in January.

There were a number of groups that were to get a chance to pass along their beefs and bouquets to the Mayor and senior city hall staff.

Red Tape - red carpet crowd March 28

Some Council members too part in the first session.

Previous groups included: City Staff and Partner Organization Focus Group Highlights and Small Business Focus Group Highlights

The focus this time was on the big business/manufacturers in the city.

Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, along with Interim City Manager Tim Commisso and team members from the Burlington Economic Development Corporation took part in the 90 minute session.

Attendees included CEOs, Founders, General Managers and VPs from businesses around Burlington varying in industry and location. There were approximately 20 leaders in the room ready to share insights with us over the 90-minute session.

In keeping with the format of prior sessions, attendees were asked to share the challenges they faced to starting and/or growing/expanding their business, anything they felt was already working well, and ideas they had for what will make things better.

What we heard from this audience” said the Mayor, “was the following challenges, many of which were commonly heard at other groups, with a few new insights and examples.

Red tape red carpet• The Permit process – flaws and delays
• Dealing with the MTO – lack of accountability to timelines, unwilling to conduct site visits
• City is too slow to react
• City staff have a lack of knowledge behind the scenes/of private sector and are unresponsive
• Staff are inconsistent in their application of policy
• Fees are inconsistent
• Turnover of City staff
• Sense of confrontation with City staff – rational conversation is difficult
• Lack of common sense and practicality in processes
• Commercial/employment zoning needs
• Regional transit connectivity and transportation/traffic overall
• Lack of land availability / larger space for manufacturing
• Sign bylaws are too restrictive
• Access to high tech talent / post-secondary / new fields & areas of study
• Site visits are needed to understand practical issues
• Tough finding the right department at the City
• Incremental feedback on multiple submissions
• Need clear timelines / business timelines
• Ineffective communications
• Lack of incentives if not manufacturing
• Skilled and non-skilled labour/talent

To ensure we don’t try to fix what’s not broken, the audience also told the Mayor about the following processes and issues that were already working from their point of view (common comments are highlighted in bold):

• New council = progressive thinking
• The Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force – appreciate the City is listening and willing to change
• BEDC support, networking events and TechPlace
• Employee retention and recruitment
• Recent immigrants in the area provide a great talent pool
• Success in exporting / export funding was helpful (got cut thought)
• Location: close to highways, the border, and Go train
• Innovation through partnerships
• Growth of manufacturing locally
• Rotational Engineer program uses fresh grads to fill roles
• Product development support funding (SRED, IRAP)
• Access to a huge market next door (Toronto)
• Engineering staff at the City of Burlington are constant, fair, good to deal with, consistent

The following ideas about what can change and improve were put forward:

• Work hard to create a customer service culture at City Hall. Start at the top and trickle down. Help everyone feel good at the end of the day for what they did and how they did it.
• Change how work is assigned: Rather than having work assigned to whoever is next available, have the same person allocated to all permits for the same building so that the familiarity is there to increase speed and customer service rather than have so many different people involved each time and forcing them to start at square one and get up to speed.
• Advocate and influence with other government and regulatory agencies.
• Site plan vs. survey education – field trips and training
• Include copyright protection (not here now)
• Ombudsman backed by Council
• Better performance management of City staff with KPIs attached / measurements
• Consider CRM/Software solutions for better digitization/automation of processes as well as tracking
• Electronic file transfers of documents submitted
• Status on reports on file in less than 3-4 weeks / Customer Status reports conducted by Staff
• Lunch & Learns for Developers
• Exception approvals at the counter
• Staff to ask the question: how can we make this work?
• New City staff should have to have spent time in the industry first (externally)
• Leverage development around Go stations
• List of issues that are black/white – clear & automate (ex: building code)
• Personalization of website – “what are you here for today”
• Self-serve options
• Overall management / admin/ project management for applications
• Business concierge support
• More mixed-use service available without getting in car
• Better marketing and promotion of Burlington to businesses
• Need tax credit advocacy with Minister of Finance
• Review incentive programs to be more accessible
• Incentives to hire new grads
• Need a tech school in Halton (post-secondary)
• Ontario apprenticeship: training and tax credit (needs new process released)
• Increase limits on “Now Hiring” portable signs
• More affordable housing (for employees)
• Foreign worker depository
• All day Go train (24 hours)
• Transparency on timelines / status updates
• Be willing to refund processing fees if deadlines aren’t met by City

Mayor Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward during the Swearing in Ceremony in December.

Meed Ward reports that: “Overall the session provided a forum for this group of leaders to directly communicate with City leaders, and each other, helping ensure our businesses feel heard, valued and supported as critical parts of Burlington’s economic health and well-being.

‘”We are listening at City Hall, and we are thankful for all the insights and ideas that are helping us identify what we can do – or do better – do help our businesses grow and thrive.”

The next group to get the Red Carpet treatment and an opportunity to cut some of that Red Tape will be leaders and stakeholders from the real estate and development industries (May 1st) and on May 15th we will meet with some of our rural business owners to better understand their unique needs and challenges.

The idea certainly had merit. Some of the comment were damning – a sign that there are some serious problems at city hall. The comments (a couple were brutal) don’t get softened by the positive compliment that were voiced.

Media didn’t take part in the event. The Mayor chose not to allow media to hear what was said – one of the concerns was that people who represented a corporation might make a comment that would reflect poorly on that corporation – bad PR isn’t something the corporate sector invites.

‘You can hear what I have to say – but don’t attribute anything to me’ seemed to be the approach.

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Steve Clark: 'Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now.' - the government then took action.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 2nd, 2019



The first word we got on the massive changes the provincial government was planning to make in the way housing is provided came from a reader who was vacationing in Cuba.
It is a whopper of a media release and covers renters, people who want to own and the people who build the homes and apartments.  All backed up by 14 footnotes.  This was a major policy announcement.

Steve Clark, Minister of  Municipal Affairs and Housing said:

Steve Clark Minister

Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“Young families are searching for their first home, close to schools, where they can build a life and raise children. Seniors are thinking about downsizing and want homes that meet their needs as they age, staying in neighbourhoods they love. College and university students need a place to live close to school while they study. So many people want to live where they can commute to their jobs easily, and get home to family and friends faster, so that they can enjoy their down-time.

“Everyone is looking for something different, and each person has a budget. The cost of buying a home is becoming out of reach for many and affordable rentals are too hard to find. Plus, the cost of housing is hurting Ontario’s economy, making it harder to attract investment and create jobs.

“Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. It’s time for our government to take action.

“We must build smart and we must be flexible. Housing must be built in the right places, so we can maintain Ontario’s vibrant agricultural sector and employment lands, protect sensitive areas like the Greenbelt and preserve cultural heritage. Every community should build in response to local interests and demand, building a mix of housing to accommodate diverse needs.

“Government cannot address the housing crisis on its own. We can make it easier for municipalities, non-profits and private firms to build housing. We can help to boost supply and give people more choice.

“More homes, more choice outlines our government’s plan to tackle Ontario’s housing crisis and encourages our partners to do their part by starting now, to build more housing that meets the needs of people in every part of Ontario.


Housing chart 1 Infograph

This infographic details the realities of Ontario’s housing crisis. But how did we get here? To start, building housing takes too long and costs too much. There is red tape, unexpected changes and government fees that add years of paperwork and can also contribute tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of an average home. These layers of regulation and “not-in-my-backyard” attitudes make it hard to build different kinds of homes – the townhomes, mid-rises and family-sized apartments that the people need. Meanwhile, rents skyrocket because it is difficult and costly to build new rentals and to be a landlord.

“The province doesn’t build housing, but we can cut red tape to create conditions that make it easier to build housing and introduce policies that encourage densification. We can also make the most of infrastructure investments and encourage more density around major transit stations. We can do all these things while maintaining important protections for existing residents of stable communities, a vibrant agricultural sector, employment lands, the Greenbelt, our cultural heritage and the environment.”

There are additional news stories on this announcement.

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Is Caroline east of Brant going to see a proposed 8 storey medical services building transform into an 18 storey tower ?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2019



I want to try and connect some of the dots.

While walking out of city hall recently (yes, I was in the building) a planning consultant, who once worked for a municipality sidled up to me and asked how things were going.

Medica One or the Carriage Gate project - pick the name you like best - will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.

The view from the corner of Elizabeth and Caroline with what was originally going to be an eight storey medical services building, then to the south an above ground parking garage and then the 17 storey that already has residents.

We chatted for a few moments during which time the independent planner said “I was able to get them 17 storeys on John Street.”

The developer was named – I left the conversation wondering what piece of property on John Street could the planner have been talking about?

That piece of information stayed lodged in my mind. I couldn’t figure out which piece of land was going to have a 17 storey building on it.

A few days later, during a conversation about a development that had three parts to it, the person I was talking to said that the two parts of the site that were yet to be developed had been sold.

That is when the penny dropped.

Carriage Gate - three buidings

Have the development interests in the above ground parking (green roof) and the ‘future office building been sold?

Was the 17 storeys that the planner “got” related to the development that has the Berkeley condominium that is now completed?

The original plan for that site was to have the 17 storey condominium, 8 levels of above ground parking and an 8 storey medical services building at the north end fronting on Caroline.

When the project was approved the city had concerns that the developer would not complete the development and included a provision that set out a fine of $300,000 if all three parts were not built.

Are those 17 storeys the independent planner “got” for the the developer going to sit on Caroline between John and Elizabeth?

Related news story:

The original plan for the site in John and Caroline

The Berkeley as it was being built.

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Mayor and the MPP exchange letters; MPP slips an advance copy to some media.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 25th, 2019



In the world of politics you send out the bad news media releases late in the day on a Friday. Works even better when there is a long weekend.

Last week Burlington MPP Jane McKenna went even further.


MPP Jane McKenna at a public event.

Late last Thursday, that would be the 18th of April with the Friday being a holiday, “MPP Jane McKenna sent a letter to my office”,said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, “expressing her concerns with my April 15th statement about the recent provincial budget.

“She also shared her letter with the Burlington Post/Inside Halton where it appeared in a story on April 20th. Having personally received her letter yesterday morning, I then had the opportunity to review it and respond.

The following response was sent to her yesterday:

Dear Ms. McKenna, M.P.P.,

Much discussion is being had in the public domain since the release of the Provincial Budget earlier this month. As a result of the many cuts that were announced by Premier Doug Ford and his government, citizens and communities continue to voice their concerns over the impact they will see and feel to services they count on and priorities they value. From increasing classroom sizes to slashing funding for indigenous affairs to changes in funding for families dealing with autism, there are many issues of concern.

As Mayor of Burlington, I am focused on the list of things that directly impact our municipal bottom line and represent a downloading of costs to our tax payers. Issues of particular concern to our city involve cuts of over $300K to the Conservation Authority that will hurt flood mitigation strategies and impact public safety, recent Province-wide public health funding cuts which were only disclosed late last week and whose impact (both financial and practical) to our residents is yet to be clarified, and the cancelled promise of incremental gas-tax funding increases which would have helped fund essential transit improvements in Burlington and beyond.

As I said in a previous statement, I am particularly disappointed in the government’s decision to cancel the incremental increases in Provincial gas-tax funding over the next 10 years – a promise that was made by the conservative party during the election campaign as reported in a recent article by the CBC. The related numbers you referenced in your letter are incorrect. I would welcome a discussion with you, myself, and Joan Ford, our Director of Finance, who can furnish you with the correct numbers. For example, your letter referenced transit ridership data from 2013 to 2015, and we have already seen increased ridership from 2016-2018 that add new context to this issue. The gas tax increase from 2% to 2.5% would be enough to fund one additional bus purchase each and every year: a substantial impact to our city.

While the Council of the City of Burlington acts prudently and does not budget for any upper-level government transfers promised during election campaigns, federal or provincial, we do get them consistently every year and they amount to millions of critical dollars (originally collected from our own tax payers) being delivered back to us so that we can reinvest in our city’s infrastructure and services. Over the past week, I have spoken with Mayors in neighboring municipalities who share our concerns and we are now discussing a joint response.

Health, the environment, transit and infrastructure are not the places to be making cuts. Ultimately these decisions will download millions in costs to municipalities and their tax payers in order to maintain the services they’ve come to count on.

Once again, I would welcome a further discussion on these issues in person with myself and my team anytime.


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward City of Burlington

What did the MPP say to the Mayor? We don’t know yet – Ms McKenna doesn’t send her media material to the Gazette – she doesn’t like the stories we right about some of her public behavior.

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Politicians gather for a photo-op - and some detail on federal spending.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 25th, 2019



For some reason the Honourable Karina Gould, MP, Burlington, Minister of Democratic Institutions and Pam Damoff, MP, Oakville North-Burlington, joined Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to announce the Burlington projects that will benefit from the Federal One-time Municipal Infrastructure Top-up funding.

A media release with the information would have done the trick.

Climate Change is the flavour of the month and every politician who has served more than a year in office learns to discern what the issues are – or they aren’t around for a second term.

Climate emergency graphicBurlington had declared a Climate Emergency the day before; there was every reason to roll with the momentum. And roll they did.

Last month’s federal budget included municipal top-up funding to support local infrastructure priorities. This one-time doubling of the Federal Gas Tax funding will result in an extra $5.6 million for infrastructure. Federal Gas Tax funding can be used in eligible categories including productivity and economic growth through areas such as roads, bridges or public transit, clean environment initiatives such as community energy systems or strong cities and communities via sport, recreation, culture, tourism or disaster mitigation.

City staff brought a report with recommended projects to council earlier this month. Council has approved these projects:

Elgin Promenade, Phase 4 – $700,000

There are some who wonder why this expenditure would be approved until the issue as to just what is built on the old Elisabeth Interiors site has been determined.  Much of what gets build on that site will result in parts of the Promenade that will run right beside what is now Kelly’s Bakeshop.

Transit Bus renewal program – $500,000
Wolfe Island Bridge, additional rehabilitation – $230,000
New Street resurfacing, advance from 2023 to 2020 – $2,050,000
Beachway Pavilion, decking and accessibility improvements – $350,000

A much needed improvement – hopefully the public washrooms will get some attention

Civic Square, additional enhancements – $265,000
Skyway Arena, new small indoor walking track – $1,500,000

Most projects are expected to be completed within 18 months, with the exception of the New Street resurfacing, which is anticipated to happen in 2020 and Skyway Arena enhancements, which will take two to three years to complete.

Gould Karina H&S

Karina Gould, MP, Burlington, Minister of Democratic Institutions

The Honourable Karina Gould, MP, Burlington, Minister of Democratic Institutions said at the photo op on Wednesday that: “The Federal Municipal top up will allow municipalities, like Burlington, to continue to fund long-term, stable infrastructure projects such as public transit, water and wastewater, local roads, sports and recreation facilities and tourism infrastructure. The investment announced today reiterates our commitment to making our communities stronger and more resilient.”

Damoff ofice opening

Oakville Burlington North MP Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff, MP, Oakville North-Burlington, who will probably get to hold her own photo-op with the Mayor of Oakville said: “Public investments in areas like infrastructure and public transit are crucial to driving economic growth and strengthening the middle class. Through my experience on Oakville Town Council, I saw first hand the benefits of funding to municipalities to help them build and revitalize their local public infrastructure while creating jobs and long term prosperity. By making smart investments in local infrastructure, we can build roads, transit and water systems that make a difference in our communities.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward added her comments: “It is always a fantastic thing when our levels of government work together in a way that betters our amazing City. And this Federal One-time Municipal Infrastructure Top-Up Funding of approximately $5.6 million does just that.

The waterfront file was one THE Councillor Meed Ward domain but she has backed away a bit from this one of late.

Marianne Meed Ward as a Council member during a Strategic Plan session at LaSalle Pavilion.

“This is prudent spending ” said Meed Ward “and reflects the majority of the things we heard from the community that they wanted. These choices help make our city more livable, and encourage healthy living, environmentally-friendly choices, and improve our infrastructure to keep people moving safely and efficiently.

“It’s always a difficult job paring down the list of what projects can benefit from funding like this, so I want to thank our City of Burlington staff for the great job they did in balancing the known priorities of our community and helping us get started as soon as possible.”

Other spending to look forward to are:
Housing:  To help municipalities grow housing supply and find new solutions for affordable housing, Budget 2019 proposes to provide $300 million to launch a new Housing Supply Challenge.

The Housing Supply Challenge will invite municipalities and other stakeholder groups across Canada to propose new ways to break down barriers that limit the creation of new housing.

Energy efficiency
Budget 2019 plans to give resources to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM), municipal funding program, the Green Municipal Fund for three initiatives that would provide financing to municipalities.

1. Collaboration on Community Climate Action ($350 million) will provide municipalities and non-profit community organizations with financing and grants to retrofit and improve the energy efficiency of large community buildings and community pilot and demonstration projects in Canadian municipalities, large and small. FCM and the Low Carbon Cities Canada Initiatives will create a network across Canada that will support local community actions to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.

2. Community EcoEfficiency Acceleration ($300 million) will provide financing for municipal initiatives that support home energy efficiency retrofits. Homeowners could qualify for assistance in replacing furnaces and installing renewable energy technologies. The FCM will use innovative approaches like the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) model that allows homeowners to repay retrofit costs through their property tax bills.

3. Sustainable Affordable Housing Innovation ($300 million) will provide financing and support to affordable housing developments to improve energy efficiency in new and existing housing and support on-site energy generation.

Can you feel the federal election coming?

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Premier stiffs the municipal sector - Burlington Mayor 'disappointed'.'

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 15th, 2019



There never was all that much in the way of a meeting of minds. Today Burlington’s Mayor let Premier Ford know just how disappointed she is with him. In a statement released from her office Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said:

On behalf of the City of Burlington and Burlington City Council, I would like to express my disappointment in some aspects of the 2019 Ontario Budget that was released on April 11 — particularly, the decision to cancel the incremental increases in Provincial gas-tax funding over the next 10 years.

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli presents the 2019 budget as Premier Doug Ford looks on at the legislature in Toronto on Thursday, April 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli presents the 2019 budget as Premier Doug Ford looks on at the legislature in Toronto on Thursday, April 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

In 2017, the Province announced the doubling of the gas tax from the current 2 cents per litre to 4 cents per litre. The funding was projected to increase to 2.5 cents/litre in 2019-2020, 3 cents/litre in 2020-21 and 4 cents/litre in 2021-22.

The City of Burlington currently receives $2.2 million, based on the 2 cents/litre model — over the next decade, and based on the former planned increases, this funding would have amounted to an additional $19.25 million in that 10-year span.

This is money that has been taken out of the pockets of our City and residents — funding that could have been used for essential transit projects, such as buying additional transit vehicles, adding more routes, extending the hours of service, implementing fare strategies and improving accessibility.

Flood Fairview plaza

It was a fllod that wasn’t expected. It cost the city a bundle and we now know there is more of this weather coming our way. Where the money is going to come from to pay for future damage is going to come from is now an unknown.

We also learned that the Province is planning cuts to the Conservation Authority Flood Forecasting and Natural Hazards Management funding by 50 per cent. This represents balancing the provincial books by downloading costs to municipalities and cutting funding obligations to cities and agencies.

Cuts to flood mitigation and public safety initiatives are the worst places to make cuts and not where they should be done. As a board member of Conservation Halton, I know we continually look for savings wherever possible. The Province needs to contribute their agreed upon share to this important work.

Downloading the aforementioned costs to municipalities increases the likelihood of increased taxes on our residents to maintain the initiatives and services they count on and at a level they should expect.

Mayor Meed Ward and Premier - Dec 2018

Smiles are not going to get anyone anywhere with this Premier. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward meets with Premier at a photo op.

As a City, we are particularly disheartened by the fact that these cuts were not publicly disclosed during the official announcement of the Provincial Budget last week.

The displeasure with the Premier could be a little brisker.  How about your basically stealing our money – what are you using it for – the new license plates we are going to get to use?  Diplomacy, reason and straight up accountability isn’t going to work with this Premier.

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New Democrats not excited about the first budget. Conservatives decide the deficit isn't a real problem after all.

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

April 12, 2019



Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli presents the 2019 budget as Premier Doug Ford looks on at the legislature in Toronto on Thursday, April 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli presents the 2019 budget as Premier Doug Ford looks on at the legislature in Toronto on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

Yesterday, the Ford government presented the first budget of its mandate. There are many cuts in the Conservative budget, and many services will be reduced or made ineffective. Health care and education in particular will be severely impacted as the budget commits to lower than inflation increases in health and education spending across the term. However, perhaps as a result of the protests already seen across Ontario, the Ford government held back on tax breaks for corporations.

The corporate tax changes announced use government incentives to encourage investment rather than a flat cut of rates.

The biggest ticket item in the budget is the one that Ford personally unveiled yesterday, a $10.9 billion investment in Toronto’s transit system. While it is encouraging to see the government address capital transit projects, there are many concerns regarding how it intends to implement those changes. The government plans to add two stops to the Scarborough Subway extension, which will have the effect of replanning the route of the line. In essence, this change will cost the city of Toronto $200 million or more as the efforts to plan and appropriate land to this point need to be ripped up and restarted.

Beyond those big transit announcements though, there was no additional transit funding provided for much of the rest of the province. Nothing to help Burlington buy new buses or plan new routes, nothing to improve regional transportation in the western GTA (or anywhere else). The Conservative budget in terms of transit was entirely focused on Toronto and building underground.

budget graph

The Conservatives had no problem with letting the deficit rise – even after whacking the Liberals for doing the same thing. Spend – spend – spend.

In an unexpected move, the budget does not set Ontario on a course to balance its budget within its first term. The budget foresees spending reductions and economic improvement that bring the budget back to balance by 2024. In fact, the 2019 budget includes $4.9 MORE spending than the 2018 budget from his predecessors.

In what Minister Fedeli described as the “Goldilocks Plan” the government is trying to make cuts that are not too deep to allow Ontario to adjust without it going “too fast”.

In another surprise move, the Conservatives did not follow through on their election promise of a corporate tax cut of 1%. Instead, the government proposed a new tax incentive for businesses that make capital investments in Ontario. While there is certainly an argument against any sort of corporate welfare while cutting government services, the fact that the government changed course to require some investment to offset any tax cut is a welcome tweak on their plans.

budget - child care

There is a positive move on child care financial support.

Another new service that the budget includes is a rebate to families for their spending on childcare.

To fit the Conservative ethos of personal choice, the rebate is not tied to using any particular kind of childcare, but allows the family to spend money in any manner and apply for a rebate against it. The rebate is also not specific to region, so despite the incredibly high costs of childcare in some regions relative to others, everyone in Ontario will get the same rebate. It will also do very little for those with the lowest income since people can only get a refund if they had the funds to spend initially.

In an effort to provide some support to low income seniors, the Conservative budget also includes a $90 million investment in seniors’ dental care, which works out to almost $30 per senior in the province. The reason they can invest so little is the incredibly low income that a senior needs to have in order to qualify for the benefit. A single senior needs to have an income less than $19,300 to qualify for the program. Given that the poverty rate in Halton is $22,133, many seniors below the poverty line are still too “rich” to qualify for the new dental program.

From the government summary tables, the long-term targets of cuts becomes apparent. The Ministry of Children’s and Social Services will go from a budget in 2019 of $17 billion to a 2022 budget of $16.0 billion. That is a $1 billion reduction beyond inflation. This budget supports the Children’s Aid Society, ODSP, Autism Family Supports, Shelters for Abused Women, etc. Every one of these services is already stretched to the limit with the meager funding available today, but Ford intends it to be cut by $1 billion over the next 3 years with no explanation as to where.

budget - shelters

Shelters for women are not being provided – the need is very real. This location is seen as very high end.

The government previously cut $4 million in announced funding to women’s shelters (despite finding $10 million in new funding Horse Racing), and from the numbers in this budget, that was only the beginning of pain for disadvantaged groups. As has been documented before, in Halton groups like Halton Women’s Place have increasingly relied on private donations to raise the necessary revenue to provide services. As these cuts take hold, this reliance will only get worse.

BUDGET - legal aid

Few will be able to make use of Legal Aid.

Another ministry that will see drastic cutbacks is the Ministry of Justice. They are going to see a 6% cut in funding over the next 3 years (again, before factoring inflation). One of the primary sources of this cut will be Legal Aid.

Legal Aid will see a $164 million cut (29% of its total budget) over the next 2 years. This is the service providing legal assistance to people in Ontario who make less than $17,731 per year and could otherwise not afford legal representation. Because of the announced cuts, Legal Aid CEO David Field said, “We’re going to have to consider ways to streamline and offer more services online.” The poorest among us will now lose the ability to meet with a lawyer in person, and will have to rely on getting legal advice online.

E-learning Online Education Application Concept

E-learning Online Education is not for everyone.

The other two Ministries that are concerning in the lack of clarity about how cutbacks will be achieved are the two biggest. Health and Education. Health spending will be capped to increase at levels lower than inflation every year through 2024. The means a real dollar cut to spending every single year that is currently planned. In Education, the yearly increases are so small that in some cases they are just a rounding error (2020 funding $29.8 billion, 2021 funding $29.8 billion) with no accounting for inflation. The government already announced some of the plans to achieve these cuts with forcing students to take 13% of classes online. However, this represents a real spending cut in education for every year of the Ford fiscal plan.
In a nutshell, that is what this budget represents.

In order to give a corporate tax incentive and to protect the wealthiest in Ontario from a tax increase, the Conservative budget is going to force students away from teachers to take classes online. It is going to cut health care spending. It is going to remove legal services from poor Ontarians. It is going to cut services for vulnerable children. It is going to cut services for Ontarians on disability. Those are the priorities of this government.

You have to wonder if those are the priorities of Ontario’s people.

Andrew DrummondAndrew Drummond was the NDP candidate for Burlington in the last provincial election.  His intention is to do the same thing in the next provincial election.

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Parking, foot traffic downtown, getting good help and red tape were what small business people wanted fixed.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 9th, 2019



Mayor Meed Ward released the following report earlier today:

Red tape red carpetThe first of four targeted focus group sessions took place Monday (April 8) afternoon as the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force initiative continues. Monday’s session was open to small business owners in Burlington and, since space permitted, took place in the Mayor’s Boardroom at City Hall from 2-3:30 p.m.

Attendees represented a range of industries including retail (clothing and food), marketing and consulting, and safety training businesses. Joelle Goddard-Cooling attended as owner of Joelle’s and Jeff’s Guy Shop, as well as an active member of the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Maria N. Thornton, owner of Flour Child Bakery, and Steven Hewson, owner of La Crème de la Crème Creamery attended, as did Kathryn Davies, Lead Instructor & Safety Consultant from Life’s Emergency Training, Maroun Naser, owner of, and Chantelle Misheal, City Program Coordinator of BurlingtonGreen.

Mayor Meed Ward and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith were in attendance, as was Anita Cassidy, Acting Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC).

These business owners varied from spending 20-plus years running a successful small business here in Burlington, to those who are just celebrating their one-year anniversary. Many of them indicated the reason they chose Burlington as the place for their business was a combination of living here and calling it home, loving the people and culture around them, and the great amenities we have like the lakefront and all our festivals and events.

Red Tape - red carpet crowd March 28

First of a series of meetings the Mayor held on the issue of red tape.

Similar to what was discussed at the broader town hall on March 28, the group shared stories of the origins of their businesses, why they chose to locate in Burlington, and what challenges they have faced over the years in growing their business here. The smaller group session, with many having similarities in size and scale, were able to focus their conversations on issues that are more common to small businesses in our City, and build on one another’s comments and learnings.

Some of the highlights of the discussion included the following:

Access to qualified young labour. Factors that play a significant role in that challenge are a) the high price of living in Burlington and b) the difficulty in commuting here by anything other than a personal automobile, which many don’t have. Trying to recruit skilled employees from surrounding trade schools/colleges/universities is difficult when they find out how expensive starter townhomes or condos are here. With the often bus-train-bus experience most would have to partake in should they decide to commute from a neighboring community with potentially more affordable real estate options, the length of time of the commute becomes too prohibitive. Bottom line: more needs to be done to allow young people to live and/or work here, whether it’s through more affordable housing options or better/faster transit options.

Red tape with handRed Tape. Many examples were given of challenges before a business could open, and the labyrinth of approvals and expenses that came along the way. Reference was made to needing engineering approvals on storefront signage (a reasonable request to ensure they’re safe and won’t fall on anyone) but there was a lack of understanding of whether the $800 engineering fee was reasonable, or whether more could be done to educate new business owners about alternative options that may be more affordable. Other examples were given about starting down one path of approval, only to be told later in the process that additional items were needed and additional expenses would have to be incurred that they had not budgeted for. Answers given by City Staff were referenced as sometimes being inconsistent with one another, leading to confusion. Overall, many spoke about a lack of support through the process. Those who had been around for 20+ years made reference to having strong and experienced mentors and using their own hard work and ability to pull in experts to advise them on things from accounting to networking and beyond.

Some attendees had no idea if they belonged to their local BIA (or whether they even could), and most did not know about support that could be provided to them through partner organizations like the BEDC. Many wished they could give advice to new businesses setting up shop and better inform them of whether the location they are choosing is appropriate for their business model to help them avoid failure, and whether landlords and real estate agents can better help facilitate that evaluation for likelier long-term success. Bottom line: Can a smarter welcome package be created for those exploring starting a new small business in Burlington – one that outlines all the steps needed before opening, the demographics of different neighborhoods, and clearly directs people to the other resources available to help them get there? Can our staff be well-trained to provide a supportive and welcoming “red carpet” experience when new businesses reach out to start the process?

Parking. While this is more of an issue for small business owners south of the QEW, such as in Aldershot or Downtown Burlington, it is a known challenge and source of frustration. When discussing Free Parking in December…business owners referenced abuse by people who already have parking passes elsewhere like their condos (but find street parking more convenient), and those who are employees of local businesses and drive to work that month since they can now get free parking. Neither option helps paying customers find additional spots. It was generally felt that there were too many confusing rules around parking in general (paid during the day but not after 6, but free in December, but still no parking anywhere for longer than 3 hours although there are some lots with exceptions to that, etc…). Bottom line: we need to think about the initiatives we are implementing around parking and whether they are supporting the goal they were intended to support.

Foot Traffic. With many businesses dependent on foot traffic, weather plays a significant role in deterring people from coming across their business unless it is nice outside. There is a history of vacancies in areas due to past landlord decisions that didn’t feel supportive to the surrounding economy, and with new high-rise developments coming, people are worried about more empty storefronts due to potentially high rents. Bottom line: While it was understood the City doesn’t control the weather, or the decisions of landlords, discussion turned to what more we could do to encourage residents from all over town to visit popular events (via shuttle buses, for example) and if we could create more events that take place in varied neighborhoods rather than always downtown.

Next up on the focus group list this week is a session with City Staff and Partner Organizations, so we will have that newsletter out as soon as we can compile the insights and comments.

The Gazette’s take:  Not a word, apparently, on the downtown core intensification.


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Mayor reports on her Red Tape - Red Carpet initiative.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 1st, 2019


Mayor Meed Ward reports on her Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force, an initiative she announced at the State of the City address in January 30.

“The purpose was to use a series of events (town hall, focus groups, and task force sessions) along with other studies, surveys and anecdotal feedback to identify the challenges and obstacles facing growth and relocation of businesses in Burlington, and develop actionable solutions that can be presented to City Council for approval and implementation as soon as possible.”

Red Tape - red carpet crowd March 28

Just over 85 people took part in facilitated table sessions where they set out what they liked, didn’t like and how they felt the city could do better. There were few surprises.

The event held last week was open to all business owners in Burlington, with postcard invitations mailed out in February to all those who are registered as local businesses with Canada Post, along with the event being promoted on both the Mayor’s and City’s website and social media.

Tickets were free although seating was limited in the venue chosen: The Waterfront Hotel. The turnout was a few seats shy of capacity, with approximately 85 attendees from various industries, business sizes, and backgrounds. It was a diverse crowd ranging from local lawyers and award-winning architects to creative bakery proprietors to entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space and beyond.

Along with co-chair, Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, the first event launched into a 90 minute session that had city hall staff acting as table facilitators to guide attendees through a series of questions aimed at collecting stories, ideas, and insights to better identify what’s working and what’s not when it comes to doing business in Burlington.

Three questions were put to the participants:
What challenges or obstacles have you faced doing business in Burlington?
What are some of the successes you have had?
What are some ideas, solutions or suggestions that can be considered to remove the obstacles?

Meed Ward told the audience that she understands some things that are already working well for you many of you felt you have given the City feedback about your challenges in the past and are frustrated that it did not result in action or improvement. We hear you – and we are committed to doing better. That’s the whole purpose of this initiative.

The Mayor provided a summary of the common themes and feedback heard.

What challenges or obstacles have you faced doing business in Burlington?

We definitely saw some common themes here, and I’d like to mention that although we had some developers in the room today, we parked the recent Interim Control Bylaw that pauses development in the downtown area and near the Burlington Go station for a future focus group to better explore that with a targeted audience.

• Construction during high season impacts my business
• Being part of a BIA for easier cross-promotion would be helpful
• Transit limitations
• Challenges with other agencies (ex: Conservation Halton)
• Dump Site/Transfer Station
• Lack of affordable housing to help attract staff
• Downtown traffic during the rush hour / traffic volume / traffic signals and timing
• Bylaws: responses to changes take a long time and are hard to plan
• Not enough parking – especially in December – deliveries are also hard
• Cost of parking passes, pass renewals/tickets (especially downtown for staff of businesses)
• Lack of incentives for sustainable business practices
• BIA events – not great return for services businesses
• Bylaws don’t feel like they are “common sense”
• Lack of vision
• Outdated Official Plan – not reflective of market
• Too many approval agencies
• Sign bylaw – permitting too complex / unclear and costly for businesses – inconsistent too
• Development approvals process is too long – shorter in other municipalities
• Connection to businesses from Go stations aren’t timely enough to get people to work
• Talent attraction
• Lack of community spaces / public spaces
• High fees combined with lower levels of service
• Snow removal and how it impacts accessibility
• City staff interference with consultants
• Spent too much time looking for office space / lack of affordable or big enough office space
• Need better staff knowledge
• Lack of street visibility – need better tree clean-up, trimming
• Railroad noise at night / Road noise / Go Train noise
• Lack of amenities in Aldershot
• Neighborhood redevelopment and reno rule enforcement
• Tax audits
• Locations available for expansion are not suitable – don’t know where new development lands are
• Challenge to get word out about new businesses
• Land conveyance for site plan approval
• Newcomers – not knowing where to start and how to find information
• Need more collaboration with other businesses and networking events
• Erosion of property rights
• One window for development applicants
• Small home development processes very flawed / mess
• Inconsistent application of zoning bylaws by staff
• Conservation authority should not be able to expand their restricted areas w/o notice
• Special interest directing City Hall / Cronyism
• Sign permit request denied with no explanation
• Development Charges

 What are some of the successes you have had?

Attendees told us they were happy with some of the following initiatives, practices and processes that either directly or indirectly helped their business launch, grow or thrive:

• Shuttles from the Go station to busy public events
• New Private Tree Bylaw
• Access permits are timely
• Ability to use public spaces
• City staff being accessible and responsive and engaged with us
• Community spirit
• Openness to change
• Events like this – reaching out to businesses – proactive and forward-thinking
• Clean, safe
• Permitting
• Transit
• Quality of employable people
• Capital $ / Taxes
• Demographics of clientele and its growth
• Connecting with the right people / networking / dealing with other local businesses
• Messages around healthy living
• Public events like Ribfest and Sound of Music and festivals bring business/attention
• Social events are very well organized and engaging
• High amount of people downtown = consumers!
• Longevity and brand recognition downtown
• Intensification downtown brings new customers although issues with parking
• Partnership with City re: “clean up green up”
• Great location for growth – 40min to US, 40 min to Toronto
• TechPlace and Burlington Day at Mohawk and International Student Job Crawl
• Support from BurlingtonGreen
• Councillor support
• Burlington Chamber of Commerce Awards
• Smooth site plan approval process
• Change in leadership – new Mayor
• New license application – fast to process
• There is positive potential here
• The City listens
• Citizen committees that help bring different perspectives of residents to City
• Flexible parking on weekends and holidays
• BIA support
• Good use of social media from Mayor’s office
• Good communication
• Diverse technology culture in Burlington – great for high-tech industry and hub – TechPlace
• Understanding property values vs rent/lease
• Love that our Mayor is looking to improve
• Still affordable (although worried about future rent)
• No problem finding tenants downtown
• Revitalization of Village Square

Red tape red carpetWhat are some ideas, solutions or suggestions that can be considered to remove the obstacles?

• More frequent transit/Improve transit (intensification will help) + regional connections
• Fire/Ambulance/Police in one building downtown
• Incentives to complete construction on time to minimize disruption to services
• Less steps for approvals / improve flow / speed
• Shuttle buses from core to core and from North Burlington to downtown events
• Help With / Facilitate meetings with other agencies to help with development approvals
• Dedicate a brush site for landscape maintenance companies
• Bus from Go station to downtown when it arrives (timing better)
• Incentives for affordable housing
• Lights timing (to help traffic flow) and more parking
• Need marina at Spencer Smith & more waterfront features/restaurants/shops
• Be open to change – think of solutions to get to “yes” before saying no
• Stop comparing Burlington to Oakville
• More public engagement with all points of view – surveys, etc.
• On-site visits by City staff
• Improve messaging that we’re open for business
• Clarify if taxes will go up if we don’t have significant intensification & what are benefits of development
• Spread events around the whole town
• More interdepartmental cooperation & get all staff on the same page
• Deal with panhandlers
• Provide a directory of consultants to help (ex: in the planning department)
• Concierge for businesses based on size of business and type
• Talent attraction strategies for graduates
• Better distribution of amenities including groceries and hardware esp. around aging pop’s (ex: Aldershot) – perhaps incentives for that
• Maintain employment lands
• Control high-rise development
• Weekend/Friday afternoon permit advice from different departments on application process
• Provide estimation on time needed for processes incl. permits, site plan, zoning, etc.
• Stronger partnership with City, School Boards, other community sports clubs
• One-stop shop for parents looking for a place their kids can play sports
• Grants / incentives
• Online marketplace
• Live weekly streaming show for businesses
• Getting to know our Mayor better
• Online building permits
• Dress code for staff
• Improve website search engine
• Need a mediator to move issues forward
• Mayor should go through building and application process anonymously to audit it & see problems
• More diversity and inclusion in city staff
• More BIAs
• Better snow removal
• Preconsultation meetings
• Expand rezoning for downtown and flexible zoning for senior living
• Business permits for home businesses – they should pay some fees that other businesses pay
• Hire private sector people at City Hall
• Tax holiday for new businesses

There was a lot of feedback – and a number of inconsistencies as well.

Meed Ward set out the next step: a series of focus groups to delve more deeply into some of the key segments and stakeholders in our City. We will be inviting smaller groups of individuals to facilitate more intimate conversations about issues specific to these industries and organizations.

Focus Groups (all taking place at TechPlace in Burlington):

A. Small Businesses – April 8th from 2-3:30pm
B. City Staff and Partner Organizations/BIAs – April 9th from 3-4:30pm
C. Large Businesses / Manufacturers – April 29th from 2:30-4pm
D. Developers and Real Estate Industry – May 1st from 2-3:30pm

After the focus groups have completed their work, the Mayor reported that: “we will take that feedback, along with that from our Town Hall, and review it with our smaller Task Force of local business leaders, myself, and Councillor Galbraith to identify actionable recommendations to bring to Council this June.”

Was it a useful exercise?  Certainly was.  Was there a good reason for keeping media out of the room – none that we could see.

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Cities in Action: Bay Area Climate Change Summit 2019

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 15th, 2019



We are no longer denying that the climate has changed  we see it around us every day.

The challenge has been to get to the point where we begin to do something about it.  The issue is so huge many people wondered if there was anything they could do individually.  Electric cars were being sold but the number of trucks and SUV’s being sold has sky-rocketed.

Cities in Action: Bay Area Climate Change Summit 2019 is driving climate action in the Bay Area. They are connecting people and solutions to create opportunities that will improve our lives today while mitigating climate impacts for the next generations. Because it is the cities – where most of our population lives – and the businesses within them that are taking action to build a hopeful future.

The Cities in Action: Bay Area Climate Change Summit 2019  has created a four day program with sections on:

Climate and the Economy
Energy and Community
Transportation and Health
Bay Area Climate Change Youth Summit

The four day event will have programs taking place at the Royal Botanical Gardens and the McMaster Innovation Centre.

Cities in action logo

Registration can be done HERE.

Cities in Action Launch: Hope In Action7:00 – 9:00 pm, March 25, 2019
Doors open at 6:15 for Registration, Refreshments and Networking

Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium,
680 Plains Rd W, BurlingtonPlease join us for this free public event to kick off the Bay Area’s largest-ever Climate Change Summit. We’re thrilled to welcome Åsa Karlsson Björkmarker, Chair of ICLEI Europe, here from Sweden to share stories of how Europe’s cities are taking action to create stronger, more resilient economies while reducing carbon emissions and preparing for climate change impacts.  Join in the discussion!

Day 1: Climate and Economy

8:00 am – 4:30 pm March 26, 2019
Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium,
680 Plains Rd W, Burlington

“Working together, we can fight climate change. This is about the world we want today — and for our kids and grandkids. Canada has an incredible opportunity. We can use the ingenuity of Canadians, transition to a cleaner future, and be a leader for the world.”

Minister Catherine McKenna (from @cathmckenna, Dec 31, 2018)

Day One will feature some of Canada’s and the Bay Area’s leading thinkers and companies to explore the relationship between climate change and the economy, new innovation and real action being taken to build the economy while transitioning to a cleaner future.

Here is a taste of what to expect, and a few of our speakers. More speakers to be announced soon!

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Keynote: Economic Implications of Climate Change

  • Glen Hodgson, Commissioner, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission
  • Introduction and Discussion moderated by Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Communication & Changing Behaviour – Moderated by Sustainable Hamilton Burlington

  • David Photiadis, Director, The Delphi Group
  • Brian Paré, Business Analyst – Procurement, Walker Emulsions
  • Mark Kardos, Senior Sustainability Consultant, UL Environment
  • More speakers to be announced shortly

Networking Lunch

Climate Innovation & Technology

  • Drew Hauser, Director, McCallum Sather
  • Tony Cupido, Research Chair, Sustainability, Mohawk College
  • Paul Smith, Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Atif Kubursi, Professor (Emeritus) of Economics, McMaster University and President, Econometric Research Ltd.
  • Steven Martin, CEO, Pond Technologies

Circular Economy

  • Melissa Mirowski, Country Sustainability Specialist, IKEA Group


  • Pierre LarabieBusiness Services Manager, Danby Appliances
  • Mike McKay, Managing Director, DeSpray Environmental
  • Peter Hargreave, President, Policy Integrity

Day 2: Energy and Community

8:00 am – 4:30 pm March 27, 2019
Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium,
680 Plains Rd W, Burlington

Over 80% of Canadians live in urban areas in 2019. Cities are the greatest consumers of energy, and have some of the greatest opportunities to impact climate change. Join us for Day Two to learn about action being taken in Hamilton and Burlington and beyond to transition to low carbon, resilient cities for today and future generations.

Here is a taste of what to expect, and a few of our speakers. More speakers to be announced soon!

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Morning Keynote: Bay Area’s Low Carbon Future
Yuill Herbert, Director, Sustainability Solutions Group

Bay Area Climate Change Council Work Plan Highlights

Sustainable Buildings and Energy – Moderated by Alectra

  • Betsy Agar, Senior Analyst, Buildings and Urban Solutions, Pembina Institute
  • Troy Hare, P.Eng., M.Sc., President & CEO, Hamilton Utilities Corporation & HCE Technologies
  • Jeff Ranson, Regional Director – Greater Toronto Area, Canada Green Building Council

Networking Lunch: Meet the Bay Area Climate Change Council

Afternoon Keynote – Investing in a Low Carbon Future

  • Julia Langer, CEO, The Atmospheric Fund

Stream A: Green Investment Financing

  • Randy LeClair, Manager, Capital Markets, City of Toronto Green Bond
  • Melissa Menzies, Senior Associate, Sustainable Finance Solutions, Sustainalytics
  • Kelly O’Neill, Senior Manager, Environmental, TD Bank

Steam B: Local Energy Stories

  • Chris Shilton, Energy Project Manager, CityHousing Hamilton
  • Mariano Arriaga, General Manager – Energy and Power Innovation Centre, Mohawk College
  • Dr. Jim Cotton, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University

TED Style Presentations – Energy and Community (BACCC members)

  • Michael Mikulak, Acting Senior Director, Community Impact, United Way Halton & Hamilton
  • Victoria Brzozowski, Waste Management Coordinator, Customer Support Services, Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Anita Cassidy, Acting Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation

Report Back & Wrap Up

Day 3: Transportation and Health

8:00 am – 4:30 pm March 28, 2019
Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium,
680 Plains Rd W, Burlington

Transportation, how we get around in and between our cities has a profound impact on our greenhouse gas emissions, our health and our economy. Day Three features the Bay Area Transportation Forum, featuring transportation solutions of today and tomorrow: current realities and future possibilities.

Here is a taste of what to expect, and a few of our speakers. More speakers to be announced soon!

Welcome & Setting the Stage

  • Peter Topalovic, Project Manager-Sustainable Mobility Programs, City of Hamilton
  • Kaylan Edgcumbe, Manager of Transportation Planning and Parking, City of Burlington
  • Trevor Imhoff, Senior Project Manager – Air Quality & Climate Change, City of Hamilton

Local Leaders Panel

  • Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation Services, City of Burlington
  • Brian Hollingworth, Director of Transportation Planning and Parking, City of Hamilton
  • Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner, Halton Region Health Department
  • Dr. Myles Sergeant, Director of Medically Complex Care Unit, Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Chelsea Cox, General Manager, Hamilton Bike Share
  • Dr. Fran Scott, Acting Director, McMaster Institute for Healthier Environments
  • Jason Thorne, General Manager Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton (Moderator)

Workshop – Innovation in a Box – The Future of Transportation in the Bay Area

Stream A: New Mobility

  • Andrea Lendak, Associate, IBI
  • Marty Gray, Manager of Public Policy, Uber
  • Jason Hammond, President, Wroute Inc.
  • Chris Schafer, Senior Director of Strategic Development, Lime
  • Dr. Mark Ferguson, Senior Research Associate, McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics

Stream B: The Climate Around School Travel

  • Dr. Matthew Adams, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto Mississauga
  • Kate Berry, Program Director – Ontario Active School Travel, Green Communities Canada
  • Rebecca Bassett-Gunter, Associate Professor, York University
  • Amanda O’Rouke, Executive Director, 8 80 Cities (Moderator)

Keynote: Walking and Cycling Towards Change
Kate Whitfield, Senior Associate Engineer/Planner, Alta Planning + Design

Transportation Forum Closing Remarks

  • Peter Topalovic
  • Kaylan Edgcumbe

Summit Report Back and Wrap Up

Day 4: Bay Area Climate Change Youth Summit

9:15 am – 4:30 pm March 29, 2019
McMaster Innovation Park,
175 Longwood Road, Hamilton

Our future: Our Opportunity encapsulates the theme for Day 4, the Bay Area’s first Climate Change Youth Summit. An immersive, 1-day experience at the McMaster Innovation Park with workshops focused on green jobs, protecting our built and natural environment, and building a climate-ready city.

Climate Change Virtual Reality Experiences by House of VR
Available all day, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Networking Breakfast and Registration
9:15 am – 10:00 am

  • Light breakfast and coffee

10:00 am – 10:05 am 

Land Acknowledgement
10:05 am – 10:30 am 

It’s Our Future, It’s Our Opportunity: Building a Climate-Change Ready Ontario
10:30 am – 11:15 am

  • Kate Flynn, Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College, and Alanna Bodo, McMaster University

Morning Breakout Sessions
11:30 am- 12:30 pm

Panel Discussion #1: Green jobs and the New Economy

  • EcoCanada: Claudine Vidallo, Director of Research
  • Women in Renewable Energy: Joanna Osawe, Executive Director & Co-Founder

 Panel Discussion #2: Supporting Climate Change-Ready Communities

  • IBI Group: Vikram Hardatt, Program Manager Smart Commute Hamilton
  • City of Toronto, Public Energy Initiatives: Stewart Dutfield, Program Manager Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)

Panel Discussion #3: Protecting the Natural Environment in the Age of Climate Change

  • City of Hamilton, Landscape Architecture: Cynthia Graham, Manager of Landscape Architectural Services
  • Conservation Hamilton: Kim Barrett, Associate Director, Science & Partnerships

Networking Lunch
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

  • Full lunch with vegetarian and vegan options available

Climate Change Improv
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Fireside Chat with Green Tech Entrepreneur
1:30 pm – 2:25 pm
Stephanie McLarty, CEO, Refficient

Afternoon break
2:25 pm – 2:45 pm

  • Afternoon snack, coffee and networking

Afternoon Breakout Sessions
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Panel Session #1 – Advocate For Climate Change Policy

  • Burlington Green: Amy Schnurr, Executive Director
  • Environmental Hamilton: Ian Borsuk, Climate Change Campaign Coordinator

Panel Session #2 – Finding a Green Job

  • Mitacs: Ryan Caldwell, Business Development Specialist
  • Mohawk College Career Services: Sally Simpson, Career and Student Success Coach

Panel Session #3 – Supporting Your Community

  • Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton: Matt Thompson, Community Financial Worker
  • McMaster Office of Community Engagement: Dave Heidebrecht, Manager

Report back and wrap up:
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Summit Ends
4:30 pm

Registration can be done HERE.

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Regional government is getting a close look by the province; this may not end well for the tax payer.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 14th, 2019



Province of Ontario requesting input from Burlington residents and businesses to assist with review of regional government system

Map Region Halton

The Region is made up of four municipalities; they might get merged into a single city.

There is a potential change in the air that could impact Burlington significantly.

The province is doing a review of how some of the municipalities are organized.  Burlington, along with Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills is part of the Region of Halton.

The province is thinking about changing that kind of organization and perhaps doing away with the Regional level of government.

The regional review is examining Ontario’s eight regional governments (Durham, Halton, Muskoka District, Niagara, Oxford County, Peel, Waterloo, York), Simcoe County and their lower-tier municipalities. In total, 82 municipalities are included in the review.

The Province of Ontario is asking Burlington residents and businesses to provide their input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and the municipalities that are members of regional governments. Burlington is a local municipality within the regional government of Halton.

The public consultation is part of a review of regional governments announced by the Province of Ontario on Jan. 15, 2019. The review, led by two appointed Special Advisors, Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling, is focused on ensuring regional governments are working efficiently and effectively. Once the review is completed, the Special Advisors will provide recommendations to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery.

The public is invited to share their views on the regional government system in two ways:

Online – complete an online survey.  CLICK HERE

Send written submissions by email to or by mail to Local Government Policy Branch, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 777 Bay St, 13th floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2E5

All feedback is due by April 23, 2019.

There is little doubt on where Mayor Meed Ward stands on this issue.

“The City of Burlington is always happy to look for efficiencies within our government system but amalgamating our municipalities into a City of Halton is a non-starter.

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Meed Ward.

“Burlington is already an efficient council: the smallest of Halton Region at seven members, and the smallest of any Ontario municipality of our size. The Region is also efficient and effective; we enjoy being the safest region in Canada, a Triple A credit rating, high satisfaction on our services, and tax increases at or below the rate of inflation, with a number of years of no increases.

“Similar to the one passed at Regional Council, Burlington City Council passed a resolution – unanimously – to protect Burlington’s identity and two-tiered municipal government system. With Council being unanimous once again in its stance and passing of this resolution, it sends a strong message as to where Burlington is on this matter.”

The municipalities can protest as much as they like, Premier Doug Ford had no problem changing the makeup of Toronto city council – he forced changes on that city in the middle of an election.

It is now evident that once Ford makes up his mind he bulldozes – and that may well mean that the Region of  Halton will be a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

The immediate impact will be a significant pay cut for the members of Council.  For the six Burlington council members that will amount to very close to half of their income.

There will also be some disruption in the delivery of services:  Policing is a Regional matter, Education is a Regional matter – does that mean that fire services will become Regional; will Transit become Regional?

Social services are managed at the Regional level.

Affordable housing is managed at the Regional level.

Should the province decide to eliminate the Regional level of government it will take years to complete any reorganization and the cost of governing will rise.



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Mayor lists accomplishments in the first 100 days.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 13th, 2019



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

Meed ward election night 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• held a flag-raising for Special Olympics Week

• cheered on the Chilly Half Marathon

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

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

As Mayor, I am proud to have:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Commisso 2 smile

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

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

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

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Freeze on development for one year in the downtown core is now in place.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

March 6th, 2019



At a Special meeting of Council, on March 5, 2019, Burlington City Council voted in favour (on a 5-1 vote with Councillor Sharman absent) for a staff report recommending an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL). The ICBL temporarily restricts the development of lands within a study area for a period of one year, with a possible extension of a second year.

The lands in the study area include the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station.

During the one-year “freeze” on development in the study area, the City will complete a land-use study to:
• Assess the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as Major Transit Station Areas
• Examine the planning structure, land use mix and intensity for the lands identified in the study area
• Update the Official Plan and Zoning bylaw regulations as needed for the lands identified in the study area.

ICB lands tighter

Northern portion of the lands subject to the Interim Control Bylaw

ICB lands tighter #2

Southern portion of the lands subject to the Interim Control bylaw.

The recommendation to implement an ICBL was brought forward by City staff in response to two primary concerns:

1. Growth pressures that continue to emerge for the lands in the study area
City staff are aware of multiple pending developments in the application review stage where the proposed intensities are significantly higher than those anticipated by the Official Plan. In addition, there are many other expressions of development interest and land assemblies taking place in the downtown Urban Growth Centre and in proximity to the Burlington GO station where the intensities being considered are substantially larger than what is proposed in the current Official Plan or the 2018 adopted Official Plan which is currently under review.

2. The role and function of the John Street Bus Terminal as a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA)
The John Street Bus Terminal is identified as a MTSA in the Province’s 2017 Growth Plan. Its designation as a MTSA was relied upon by the Ontario Municipal Board in its decision to allow a 26-storey development at 374 Martha St, citing that as a MTSA, the terminal could support intensities well in excess of those contained in the Official Plan. The terminal’s capacity to absorb the transit impacts of significant growth plays a critical role in shaping the mix of land uses and transit development within the downtown UGC.
That’s the official line from the city. It was quite a bit more complex than that.

What isn’t at all clear yet is – where did the initiative for this move come from? Things like this don’t just fall off the back of a truck. Someone at some point a number of months ago came up with the idea of a freeze on development.

Telier + MacDonald

Director of City Building Heather MacDonald with Jamie Tellier who served as Acting Director while MacDonald was on a leave of absence. MacDonald did all the heavy lifting during the Standing Committee.

Heather MacDonald, the Director of City Building, the Chief Planner, has been away on a pre-planned leave of absence of about two weeks.

The city retained Gowlings, a top line legal firm to provide them with legal counsel on the decision.

The interim city manager has been in place for a couple of months.

Who did the deep thinking? Who thought through the ramifications? Who took a long look at the possible unintended consequences?

And why did the Mayor ask: “What’s the rush”.

Let’s look at those unintended consequences. For anyone, that includes the owner of a single dwelling who might want to build a deck at the back of their property: nyat – nada – nope. You won’t be able to do that.
You can ask for an exemption – it wasn’t clear during the Standing Committee that you will actually be able to get one.

Amica development rendering

Amica had its plans for this massive development put on hold for at least a year. There will be some grief for a number of people involved in this development.

Amica, the retirement home operator who have plans for a major development before the city to build a mammoth development on North Shore Blvd at the ramp to the 403, learned that they are within the boundary and that they are not exempt. They have a deal in place with the individual owners of a large co-op, to buy all the units. That sale may not get completed. The delegation from Amica chose to be a little tight lipped when it came to details.

As for the study itself – there are going to be two of them – both running parallel. One – the ‘land study’ which starts tomorrow, if it hasn’t already started, the other is the work leading up to the next version of the Official Plan that the City Building department is working one. One is said to be “informing” the other; a new phrase we are going to hear often.

The Standing Committee heard that there are several “first steps” that will get underway on Wednesday. The terms of reference have to be set out and the possible sole source consultants that will be brought in to do much of the work for the city. This will be a large contract – $100,000 appears to be the starting number.

There are only so many consulting firms that can take on a job of this magnitude – there are a number of firms the city might want to steer clear of – no hint at this point on who might be chosen.

The interim city manager, the deputy city manager and the Director of City Building would be the people who would make the decision – they may have already decided who they want to go with.

No mention was made of any request for a proposal.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna asked what impact the freeze would have on Committee of Adjustment decisions. That committee won’t be able to make any decisions – a freeze will be in place.

The rules that govern Interim Control Bylaws allow the city to lift the freeze at any time. It also limits the freeze to a one year period with a possible extension of a second year and a possible extension for a third year.

MacDonald said that exemptions could be made but that would have to come before Council. She added that she did not recommend changing the boundaries of the study. Once the word was out everyone appeared to want the boundary changed.

What became clear was that the OMB decision made on the ADI development on Lakeshore at Martha was what prompted the decision to go the Interim Control Bylaw route. The city lost that argument before the OMB, in part because ADI’s lawyers argued that the existence of a Downtown mobility hub allowed for the height they were asking for.

Transit terminal - John Street

The center of the Downtown Mobility hub.

That hub gets referred to as a terminal isn’t much more than a place where you can buy tickets and keep out of the cold. It has taken on an almost mythical force that a developer turned into a winning argument before the OMB.

The Planning department was blind-sided by the developer and the city is paying a price for the failure to be fully prepared.

That decision sent a signal to the development community that Burlington was more than open for business. The development proposals were coming in at an alarming pace – far more than the City Building department could handle. (They should have stayed with the former department title: Planning department.)

Thus the decision to put a freeze in place.

An oddity that came to the surface was that the city still has to accept development proposals. They still have to hold pre-consult meetings with developers and give them the list of the reports they will have to provide. A development application, even with the freeze in place, can go as far as the Statutory Public Meeting phase – the Planning Act requires that.

There was a concern expressed that the clock will still be ticking and that the city will get dinged by developer and taken to the LPAT (Local Planning Act Tribunal) for not meeting the 210 time frame within which to make a decision on a development application.

Heather MacDonald said that it was the view of the Planning department, supported by a legal opinion, that LPAT would dismiss any such application.

A large part of the pause the city wants to take with the freeze in place is to determine just what the future of the terminal on John Street is. At one point the Transit people wanted to shut it down and move ticket sales into city hall. That idea got squelched.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

Bridgewater as seen from the lake.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kerns said she would support the Staff Recommendation because it was clear that the City Building department was overwhelmed and had lost control of the planning process. She said that at one point the Bridgewater development was the city’s legacy project – at 22 stories it is being dwarfed by some of the newer development proposals.

The question as to what happens to the development fees that have been paid wasn’t really answered. Nor was there any clear direction on what happens to those developments that were past the Statutory meeting point. It would appear that they are frozen at whatever point they happen to be at.

The value that has been placed on properties adjacent to large proposed developments has shot sky high. Councillor Kearns said some residents are seeing tax bills that have doubled.

Kelvin Angelo MMW

Councillor Galbraith didn’t like the look of the ICBL, voted no – Councillor Bentivegna and the Mayor voted for it.

It all came down to a 5-1 vote for the Staff recommendation with Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith voting against and Councillor Sharman absent for the second day in a row.

With the vote at the Standing Committee in place; they adjourned, turned themselves into a city council meeting and voted for the freeze then passed the necessary bylaw.  It was a recorded vote with each Councillor having to stand and declare their vote – something new to the five newbies.  Meed Ward told Galbraith to get used to being the lone dissenter – she had to do it for years.

Zap – everything was frozen.

Now we watch for the unintended consequences. This is a draconian bylaw that seemed to be necessary. Let’s get it right in as short a time frame as possible.

Will Burlington, this time next year, be “one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive”. Stay tuned.

Related links:

Is the Downtown Mobility hub the result of a clerical error

Scobie on that Downtown Mobility hub

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The community needs the regional government to invest in enough subsidized housing to reduce wait times for women at risk that can be measured in weeks - not years.

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

March 4th,  2019


HWP - City Council (2)

From the left: Councillor Bentivegna, Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Paul Sharman and Lisa Kearns


Halton Women’s Place held their annual fundraiser gala recently. It was a delightful affair with 413 attendees including politicians of all levels and parties. Part of the event was a live auction where one of the “items” being auctioned off was an evening party with a number of gentlemen from the Oakville Fire Department. It was a touching gesture (which raised $3,000) and was a wonderful way for the department to give back to the community.

However, as the department’s spokesperson took the stage to extol others to bid on them, he told the crowd about some startling statistics about Halton Women’s Place and the work that they do and the constraints that they work under. The most alarming statistic was that the shelter only has 52 beds and that as a temporary shelter, the majority of their residents are being transitioned to a full time, safe housing. This process used to take six to eight weeks, but now can take up to six to eight MONTHS.

There is such a lack of affordable housing in Halton region that a woman fleeing violence with her children can wait up to eight months in a shelter.

HWP - GraphWithin the HWP annual reports, an even more troubling trend appears. In 2014, the shelter housed 270 women and 211 children for some period of time over the year. The report also noted that “766 women did not receive shelter due to capacity”. In 2014, the shelter only was able to serve 39% of the need in the region. Compared to 2018 however, 2014’s 39% was a success. As a result of the reduced availability of safe, affordable housing in Halton, in 2018, HWP was only able to serve 173 women and 183 children. They no longer list the number of women turned away in the annual report, but only being able to assist 74% of their 2014 number cannot be a good sign.

There are two critical issues then, which need to be addressed for our community to be able to successfully assist women fleeing violence and abuse. First need Halton Women’s Place needs a stable source of funding.

Second Halton Region needs to ensure there is adequate housing for women to transition into. From the chart below, over the last 5 years, the level of funding from government sources has increased at less than the rate of inflation (8.2% total). As a result, HWP has increasingly relied on private funds to make up the gap in funding.

Fortunately for the shelter, the public has responded (+45.4% over 5 years), but raising private money is time consuming and unpredictable and forces HWP to devote its efforts away from its primary focus – helping abused women.

The second critical issue to alleviate the pressure on HWP is to increase the availability of subsidized housing across Halton Region. On the Region of Halton website for subsidized housing, there is an ominous note about wait times for subsidized housing.

“It is not possible to provide a specific wait time. Criteria used to place individuals and families changes regularly. Halton Region must follow provincial government regulations, which means the date on your application is not the only information used for placement on our wait list. The waiting time can sometimes take several years for units highest in demand…”

Finding affordable housing can take years. Hundreds of women fleeing violence are turned away from shelters in our region because of overlong wait times for safe, subsidized housing. This is simply not acceptable.
Turning battered women away is one part of the issue, but the longer wait times also have an impact on the women who do get into the shelters. One of the most important things these women need at this time is stability. They and their children are rebuilding a life, and the months they have to wait to start it is a significant strain on everyone. Permanency is a requirement for building a stable new life.

In its recent 2019 budget, the Region of Halton proposed a 1.9% tax increase for regional services. Regional Chair Gary Carr has taken to social media repeatedly to boast of “delivering an average property tax increase of 0.7% for Regional Services from 2007 to 2018, while maintaining or enhancing core services.” All of these increases fall below the rate of inflation. In other words, overall, Halton is collecting less tax to provide services and the end result has been, wait times for subsidized housing increasing year over year.

HWP - Room Shot (2)

Community level support was evident. Can’t say that much for the support from the Regional government.

The question is then, why is sufficient safe, affordable housing for our community’s most vulnerable people not considered a “core service”? There is clear evidence that the region is providing far less than what is required by its citizens and yet tax increases are still being kept below the rates of inflation. There is hope however, in 2018 Burlington elected a slate of progressive city councillors that are determined to work to support the more vulnerable among us.

But the effort needs to come from all levels of government. Our community needs the provincial government to increase shelter funding to at least the level of inflation. Our community needs the regional government to invest in enough subsidized housing that the wait times can be measured in weeks and not years. And our community needs the city to live up to its commitment to its most vulnerable.

In 2017 in Halton there were 3,156 police calls for domestic violence. And in Halton we only have 52 shelter beds for the women who made those calls.

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Burlington's reserve accounts: how many are there, what are they used for and how much money is in them?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2019



The city of Burlington has tonnes of money squirreled away in bank accounts. Some of the money is ear marked for specific purposes.  Other reserve funds are there to be used for almost any purpose.

The city’s reserves got a lot of attention during the recent budget deliberations.  In a number of instances funds from a reserve fund were brought in to the 2019 budget to cover an project expense.

That there is now a bit of a struggle for control of those reserve funds became evident during the budget debates where sharp differences from the Interim city manager, the Director of Finance, Councillor Sharman and the Mayor.  That debate ended with the chair of the budget committee promising not to raid the reserve accounts in the future.

In a document from the Finance department they explain that “Reserve Fund Assets are segregated and restricted to meet the purpose of the reserve fund. Investment income must be accumulated in the reserve fund and be accounted as part of it.

“There are two types of reserve funds: obligatory reserve funds and discretionary reserve funds. The following table provides a summary of our reserve funds and their purpose,”

Development Related Reserve Funds:
Development Charges against land to pay for increased capital costs required because of increased needs for services arising from development of the area to which the By-law applies. – (By-Law No. 46-2014)

Central Park - play area

Central Park

Park Dedication
For funding parkland acquisition and other recreational purposes in accordance with governing legislation and municipal policy. (By-Law Nos. 147-1993, 57-2005, 70-2005)

Public Benefits
Funding to be utilized only for facilities, services and other matters specified in the policies of the official plan and Sec. 34 regulations as enacted and as more particularly set forth in the signed agreement between the City and developer. – (By-Law No. 15-2017)

Vehicle Depreciation and Replacements
To accumulate funds to be used for the purpose of funding replacement requirements and/or purchase of vehicles, equipment, accessories through the Capital Budget process. – (By-Law Nos. 140-2002, 141-2002 & 142-2002)

Reserve capital

ReservE CAPITAL 2Transit Related Reserve Funds
Transit Inter-Regional/Capital to accumulate funds to be utilized for Transit Inter-Regional Capital Projects or other Transit related capital requirements as approved by City Council. – (By-Law No. 62-2002)
For the accumulation of monies to finance future transit capital requirements.
(By-Law No. 61-2002)

Transit Capital
For the transfer of funds from the Provincial Fall Economic Statement (2007) Funds for municipal transit capital expenditures. – (By-Law No. 33-2008)

bus with a bike on it

Gas tax funds cover the cost of new vehicles.

Provincial Gas Tax
For the accumulation of monies received from the Provincial government under the Dedicated Gas Tax Funds for Public Transportation Programs. – (By-Law No. 123-2004)

Federal Gas Tax – Transit Dedicated
To accumulate funds to be used according to guidelines established within the Municipal Funding Agreement. – (By-Law No. 149-2006)
Transit Shelters Funds for use in the construction of Bus Shelters. – (By-Law No. 72-1992)

Burlington Hydro Proceeds
Used to capture interest and dividend payments to the City as the sole shareholder. The funds are used for capital renewal projects as well as provide funding to the Current Budget. – (By-Law No. 34-2001)

Capital Purposes
Contributions from the Current Budget are held in this fund before they are required in the capital program. Provisions to Capital from Current are made annually. (By-Law No. 2-1991)

Infrastructure Renewal
For funding minor reconstruction of roads, creek work, facility or building retrofit and repairs and technology replacement. Provisions from the Current Budget are made annually. (By-Law No. 116-1996)

Information Technology Renewal
For funding capital renewal of the City’s information technology Systems and infrastructure. (By-Law No. 109-2015)

Federal Gas Tax
To execute the Municipal Funding Agreement for the Transfer of Federal Gas Tax Revenue under the New Deal for Cities and Communities between the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Corporation of the City of Burlington. (By-Law No. 109-2005)

Aldershot public art - Waterdown and Plains #1

Public art on Plains Road

Public Art
To fund future expenditures related to the acquisition, installation, deaccessioning, maintenance, preservation, restoration, and collection management of the City’s Public Art Program. (By-Law No. 89-2004)

Railway Crossing
For funding future railway crossing improvements and possible new grade separations budgeted in the Capital Budget. (By-Law No. 33-1997)

Joseph Brant Hospital
In December 2009 Council approved a municipal contribution of not more than $60 million toward the JBH Phase I Redevelopment plan. (By-Law No. 28-2010)

Strategic Plan
For funding the delivery of the initiatives identified in the City’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan. (By-Law No. 46-2016)

Strategic Land Acquisition
The accumulation of funds for the acquisition of land. (By-Law No. 56-2008)

Severe Weather
To accumulate funds primarily for the purpose of alleviating the fiscal impact of unforeseen or uncontrollable fluctuations in costs associated with severe weather events. (By-Law No. 60-2010)

Operating reserves 1Tax Rate Stabilization
To alleviate the fiscal impact on the city’s budget and tax rate as a result of unforeseen or uncontrollable fluctuations in budget expenditures and revenues. (By-Law No. 35-1994)

Building Permit Stabilization
For the accumulation of monies to stabilize building permit revenues. (By-Law No. 27-2005)

Planning Fee Stabilization
For the accumulation of monies to stabilize planning and development revenues. (By-Law No. 29-2005)

Engineering Fee Stabilization
For the accumulation of monies to stabilize engineering revenues. (By-Law No. 28-2005)

Commodity Stabilization
To alleviate the impact of unforeseen or uncontrollable fluctuations in commodity costs. (By-Law No. 06-2016)

Employee Accident
Required by agreement for funding Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims and related expenses incurred by the City as a Schedule 2 employer. (By-Law No. 25-1994)

Fund consists of premium rebates from the insurance carrier, used to make various payments relating to the provision of benefits to staff. (By-Law No. 26-1993)

Economic Development
Used to fund economic development initiatives designed to capitalize on significant business recruitment opportunities. (By-Law No. 26-1998)

Waterfront Centre
For the accumulation of monies received from net surplus from the indoor operations of the Waterfront Centre as well as the net surplus revenues from the waterfront parking lots parking program for the capital renewal, capital enhancement and debt repayment of the Waterfront Centre. (By-Law No. 66-2015)


Paletta mansion

Paletta Mansion
For the accumulation of monies received from the net operations of the Paletta Mansion for the capital renewal and capital enhancement of the Paletta Mansion. (By-Law No. 64-2015)

Tyandaga Facility
For funding capital improvements to the municipally owned Tyandaga Golf Facility. (By-Law No. 4-1991)

LaSalle Park Pavilion
For the accumulation of monies received from the net operations of the LaSalle Park Pavilion for the capital renewal and capital enhancement of the LaSalle Park Pavilion. (By-Law No. 63-2015)

Senior’s Centre
For the accumulation of monies received by way of surcharge from facility rentals, program registrations, memberships and/or donations at the Burlington Senior’s Centre to support the capital renewal of the Burlington Senior’s Centre. (By-Law No. 65-2015)

Sports fields
For the accumulation of monies received by way of surcharge from facility rentals and/or unrestricted donations at Artificial Turf Fields, Sports Fields and Passive Parks (“Sports Fields”) to support the capital renewal and capital enhancement of these Sports Fields. (By-Law No. 61-2015)

Haber Community Centre
For the accumulation of monies received from the naming rights to Haber Recreations Centre to support the capital renewal and capital enhancement of the Haber Recreation Centre. (By-Law No. 67-2015)

Gymnasiums in Haber Recreation Centre

One of several gymnasiums at the Haber recreation centre.

Recreation Centre
For the accumulation of monies received by way of surcharge from facility rentals, program registrations, memberships and/or unrestricted donations at Brant Hills Recreation Centre, Haber Recreation Centre, Mountainside Recreation Centre Community Rooms, Rotary Youth Centre, Tansley Woods Community Centre Gyms and Community Rooms, Sherwood Forest, Ella Foote Hall, Lowville School House (“Recreation Centres”) to support the capital renewal and capital enhancement of these Recreation Centres and the related program amenities. (By-Law No. 58-2015)


Beats the heat doesn't it? Your tax dollars at work.

Swimming pool. When the Nelson pool equipment failed funds to replace everything came from a reserve fund.

For the accumulation of monies received by way of surcharge from facility rentals, program registrations, memberships and/or unrestricted donations at Aldershot pool, Angela Coughlan Pool, Centennial Pool, LaSalle Pool, Mountainside Pool, Nelson Pool and Tansley Woods Pool (“Pools”) to support the capital renewal and capital enhancement of these Pools and the related program amenities. (By-Law No. 60-2015)

For the accumulation of monies received by way of debt repayment from ice and room rentals at Aldershot Arena, Appleby Arena, Central Arena, Mainway Arena, Mountainside Arena, Nelson Arena and Skyway Arena (“Arenas”) for the debt repayment of Appleby Ice Centre. (By-Law No. 62-2015)

For the accumulation of monies received by way of surcharge from facility rentals, program registrations, memberships and/or unrestricted donations at Music Centre and Student Theatre (“Cultural Facilities”) to support the capital renewal and capital enhancement of these Cultural Facilities and the related program amenities. (By-Law No. 59-2015)

Randall reef

Funds for the Burlington share ($2.3million) for Randall Reef that had to be built to encase years of toxic waste in Hamilton Harbour we kept in a reserve fund.

Randal Reef
For the accumulation of monies for the purpose of providing the City’s and Region’s contribution to ensuring the successful implementation of sediment remediation efforts for Randle Reef, by way of agreement with Environment Canada, Ontario Ministry of Environment, City of Hamilton, Hamilton Port Authority and US Steel Canada Inc. (By-Law No. 25-2013)

Downtown Streetscape
Funds for use in improving streetscaping in the downtown core area. (By-Law No. 108-1994)

Community Heritage
Funds provided by the Ministry of Culture and the City to provide financial assistance to owners of designated properties. (By-Law Nos. 128-1985 & 16-1993)

Mundialization Committee
To provide funding for reciprocal gifts for the City of Burlington’s twin, Itabashi, Japan. (By-Law No. 89-1995)

Naval Memorial

The Naval Veterans Promenade will pass right in front of the Memorial.

The Naval Memorial; a prominent part of Spencer Smith Park.

Fund provided for the purpose of funding future expenditures related to the maintenance, preservation, restoration and management of the Naval Memorial Monument. (By-Law No. 81-2009)

LaSalle Marina
Funds collected from the sale of slips to be used for the capital replacement of the LaSalle Park Marina. (By-Law No. 17-2005)

Policy Initiatives
For funding corporate and departmental policy initiatives. (By-Law No. 106-2015)

Culture Initiatives
For funding expenditures to facilitate opportunities for enhancing city-initiated cultural programs. (By-Law No. 107-2015)

Energy Initiatives
For funding energy initiatives deemed to be feasible and in line with City objectives relating to energy conservation. (By-Law No. 108-2015)

Community Investment
For funding solely towards supporting future community initiatives approved through the Community Investment Policy. (By-Law No. 115-2015)

Sims Square
For the accumulation of monies received from the net operations of Sims Square for the capital renewal and capital enhancement of Sims Square.

For Funding expenditures related to the preservation of City of Burlington’s tree canopy from invasive species and diseases such as Emerald Ash Borer, Gypsy Moth and Dutch Elm. This includes treatment programs, removal and replacement of impacted trees, and related coordination and communication costs. (By-Law No. 105-2015)

Parking District
For funding capital improvements to parking lots within the City. (By-Law No. 3-2007)

Downtown BIA
For the purpose of funding future capital projects and future tax rate stabilization. (By-Law Nos. 39-1997 & 99-1999)

BEDC Operations & Marketing
Funding for programs relating to the Downtown Partnership and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation. (By-Law No. 161-1993)

BEDC Innovation Centre
Funding to be used to alleviate the impact of unforeseen operating expenses or for capital purposes such as for renovations, improvement and equipment that will benefit users of the centre and most be approved by the Burlington Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, or otherwise approved by Council. (By-Law No. 32-2018)

Local boards

local boards 2Library Board
Contributions from the Current Budget are held in this fund before being required in the capital program for Library purposes. (By-Law No. 70-2003)

Tourism Burlington
For the accumulation of monies to be used to cover Current Budget shortfalls and for special projects after the Current Budget has been expended. (By-Law No. 69-2006)

Museums Board
Funds for use in the acquisition of artifacts and for capital improvements to the Joseph Brant and Ireland House Museums. (By-Law Nos. 20-1990, 21-1990, 22-1990 & 143-1991)


The transformed Brant museum is scheduled to open in July.

Museum Board – Joseph Brant Transformation Project
Funds to be used solely for the purpose of funding the Joseph Brant Museum Transformation Project. (By-Law No. 56-2014)

Burlington Performing Arts Centre
For the accumulation of monies received from net surplus revenues from the operations of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. (By-Law No. 55-2015)
Burlington Performing Arts Centre – donations
For donations contributed to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. (By-Law No. 54-2015)

Burlington Performing Arts Centre – capital
For capital repairs, rehabilitation and renewal of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. (By-Law No. 50-2015)

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Application has been made for a retail cannabis operation on Fairview, east of Walkers Line.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26th, 2019



An application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington has been received by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Written comments due by March 6

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) has received an application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington at 103-4031 Fairview St.

Cannabis location

Proposed location for a retail cannabis operation. On Fairview east of Walkers Line.

Written comments about the proposed location at 103-4031 Fairview St. will be received by the AGCO until March 6, 2019 and may be submitted online at The AGCO will accept submissions from:

• A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located
• The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.

Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:

• Protecting public health and safety
• Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
• Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.

After March 6, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been an advocate for retail cannabis operations. During the election campaign she said she was surprised at the resistance to retail locations in the city.

When it came to a vote at city council Councillors Shawna Stolte, Ward 4 and ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentevegna voted to not have retail outlets.


Mayor Meed Ward supports the opening of a retail cannabis site: two of the six Councillors were not n side with her.

The Mayor said: “This is the kind of location where it is appropriate for accommodating retail cannabis stores in our city. It is more than 150 metres from any school or any of the other locations of particular concern, including parks, pools, arenas, libraries or recreation centres. And it is also along transit routes and near the QEW/Hwy. 403.

She added that the city “won’t be submitting comments to the AGCO on this application given its suitability. The public can submit their comments by March 6 to the AGCO’s website. Burlington City Council is in the process of creating a task force to develop a set of standard comments we would provide to the AGCO, when applications come forward, that reflect community perspectives on where these should be located.”

Meed Ward has been appointed as one of four members of a working group at the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), part of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, that will work to develop similar guidelines for suitable locations. The working group includes mayors of two municipalities that opted in and two that opted out of allowing cannabis retail stores, recognizing that our concerns are similar. The guidelines we create will be shared with the AGCO and our municipalities.

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