This version of the Burlington Gazette is dead. Someone else will have to fight the good fight.


Burlington aerial of city looking at Locust up

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32 comments to This version of the Burlington Gazette is dead. Someone else will have to fight the good fight.

  • The relationship between a people and their governments is at times magnificent and at times disappointing. The current federal government has captured the spirit of most Canadians in a way that the former government was not able to.

    In Burlington – we are challenged – the relationship between the bureaucracy is at some levels strained – finance works wonderfully, transit is a major disappointment and planning consistently lets people down, misleads people and makes citizens go through endless needless hoops.

    Albert Facenda writes in another comment that he has been sitting on one project for years and has been sort of on hold for a severance he wants on a property he recently purchased for his own use.

    The Freeman station got held up on numerous occasions as they sought the approvals they needed. The group that wants to erect a marker to note where and when Terry Fox passed through this city on his historic achievement found that they while they thought they had done what they were asked to do by the permit people at planning only to be told – on more than three different occasions – that they had not yet done everything that needed to be done.

    The problem the Freeman Station people and the Terry Fox marker people had was they were not told up front what all the steps were.

    This is just bureaucratic crap and it needs to be stopped. It is part of what the Gazette was created do shine a bright light on. That light got turned off.

    The saddest part of both the Freeman situation and the Terry Fox marker situation is that both groups asked me, as publisher of the Gazette, not to write about their problems – they didn’t want to make things any worse for themselves.

    That is how cowed the people of this city have become.

    While all this takes place – the city is running a series of “commercials” on their web site asking people to comment on the quality of service.

    That’s how bad it really is.

  • Albert

    Hi Tom. As far as other developers sharing the sentiments expressed( Running ADI out of town). Less competition, more money for the last man standing. Yes Tom they eat their own. Survival 101 in the real world. I wish my competitors the best. I think we all stay stronger that way. Freedom of speech is only one of the many other freedoms we have in Canada. A few more would be the freedom to earn a living, freedom of mobility and the freedom to be secure and safe and not be run out of town by what ever means. Imagine if these comments were directed at minorities or other groups. The authorities would not be kidding and would take this very seriously. You ask why business is not being conducted in Burlington? Developers are large and small. Until now it appeared that the large developers could not have written the rules in their favor any better if they had written them themselves. As a small developer I’m not as lucky I have an application submitted in 2004 in with the City to create 7 lot’s. It’s been sitting on someones desk for 11 years. I’m looking to sever a large lot on Lakeshore into 2 smaller lots. I meet all the zoning requirements. The Planning dept. tells me to go see Conservation Halton. They tell me to go see the Planning dept. It has been 1 year and 8 months to draw a line down the middle of a lot. And nobody can tell me what they want. Does this sound like the way the City should conduct business. Nobody seems accountable for anything. But what is worse, is that there is nobody checking or in charge to make sure this doesn’t happen. It takes much more time and money to process a building permit in Burlington than just about anywhere else in Canada for small builders. The previous Director of planning, that put all this costly, time wasting process in place considered an extra $30,000 to the price of a house as not a big deal. We have a new Planning Director and it appears that big changes are just around the corner. Thank goodness! I could tell you some real stories. Tom the economics of the construction industry does not influence Planning at the local level. The housing industry clearly lobbies the Feds.and Province to get more bang for there buck as do all industries. I hope we would want all business ventures to be profitable and create jobs. So others would invest here. The Planning criteria is to create viable and sustainable Cities that create economic prosperity and well being for it’s citizens. So the big question is how high is too high. If the city Planning office, council and the OMB. apply the same rule book. The same outcome should occur. Give the system some credit. A little more clarity from the province would not hurt either.

    Editor’s note:
    Albert makes a strong point. The Freeman station people had the same problem and the group that wants to erect a marker in Spencer Smith on the Terry Fox run through this city 35 years ago have had the same problem.
    The disappointing thing for me as a publisher is that both groups had asked that the Gazette not say anything because they felt that would only make things worse for them.

    The Gazette was created to shine a light on these bureaucratic abuses – we unfortunately are not able to continue. Damn!

  • Albert

    Hi Tom I was hoping to not have to write a book. Let me explain, Monte suggested council should be looking at how business is conducted in Burlington. (His words not mine). If council does this it will quickly find that business is not being conducted in Burlington.(My words) I have no interest in the airpark simply because I have no knowledge about it. But if it makes you feel better let’s include them in Not a Fan of ADI gang of outlaws that are not playing by the rules. Not a fan of ADI claims that 3 prominent business owners have given the city of Burlington a very bad reputation. “Neither company wants to play by the rules.” How the hell can we get rid of these two nuisance companies?” “Both should be run out of town”.” I just don’t like them” Not a Fan of ADI after making these statements in a public forum. You might consider yourself lucky with just a lawsuit. What is this fear of the OMB. All the rules of development in Ontario will apply as well as local by-laws and official plans. Oops that’s what you didn’t want to hear. Maybe ADI is smarter than us.

    • Tom Muir

      Hi Albert,

      It’s hard to see what you say you want to explain when we have to get past the sarcasm, exaggeration, general assertions, and the dark language directed at Not a Fan of ADI.

      What exactly do you mean and suggest when you say they should consider themselves lucky with a lawsuit? This comes across as a darkly veiled threat in your choice of words.

      It doesn’t sound like kidding. And a lot of people in town, including other developers share the sentiments expressed.

      Good thing we have freedom of speech, subject to libel, slander, and the addition of paranoia well illustrated on the pages of the Gazette.

      Anyways, to get to substance, please tell us specifically how business is not being conducted in Burlington?

      Then we get to the second last sentence where we have another hurdle of your words to get over.

      Finally, your last sentence may be correct – ADI may be smarter than us.

      From a risk-taking perspective they may come out ahead.

      They are spending some on the project proposal, but comparatively little I suspect compared to what they are gambling on getting from the OMB hearing.

      They could make out big-time. So maybe this is smart, as you say.

      I wish I knew more of the specifics of the finance and economics of the condo construction density structure.

      So my question to you is can you provide us with anything relevant and informative on this economics?

      This would be helpful.

  • Albert

    Monte you hit nail right on the head. Council should be looking at why business is not being conducted in Burlington. It is so difficult to develop anything here, that I don’t blame people for going around the City and straight to the OMB. There is culture in this City that it should oppose every development put before it. Not an ADI fan posted that ADI was not playing by the rules. (Sounds like another lawsuit coming.) ADI has every right to go to the OMB. after a certain period of time. ADI has rights just as the local citizens do. How convenient of you to forget.

    • Tom Muir

      Come on, Albert, if you are going to say that other people said certain things, then at least get it right!

      Monte actually said Council should look at HOW business is conducted in Burlington, and NOT what you mistate him as saying, as why business is NOT conducted.

      Not even close to the same thing.

      And you double down on this misstatement by doing the same thing with what Not an ADI fan actually said.

      This person actually said “Neither company WANTS to play by the rules.” You say they said, that “ADI was NOT playing by the rules.”

      And then you add an attempt to stoke the fear factor with, “(Sounds like another lawsuit coming.)”

      So again you completely misquote and then use this to make a false argument.

      So what is your real purpose here?

      The ADI proposal site plan and design specifications,are objectively, in the opinion of an overwhelming number of people, including city staff, city Council, and a number of other developers that I know of, far too much, on far too little, with no regard apparent for anyone or anything else but the ADI reach too far.

      The Planning Act and other provincial legislation and city plans and by-laws are the rules and policy framework imposed on all.

      This framework allowed the city to develop an OP that allows 4 stories, but possibly a maximum of 8 stories with negotiation and conditions. ADI wanted 28 originally, now 26, and never offered any negotiation.

      The rules allowed a refusal recommendation by the city.

      The rules allowed ADI to go to the OMB, which is where it now sits waiting for a scheduled hearing.

      This entire project was prickly with controversy, which continues. Obviously, many people find this whole scenario odious, disdainful, and arrogant.

      The “rules” do not allow ADI to build whatever they want, anywhere.

      As far as development proceeding in the city, just check Aldershot, in which many projects are proceeding normally, according to the rules, no disruptive controversy, because the written OP and by-laws are being respected.

      If developers respect the rules then things proceed. Burlington is not the Wild West where things are for the taking.

      That’s the key – Respect.

      Respect for fellow citizens, their values, and rules arrived at by mutual agreement.

      And most of all, Respect for the Truth.

      Truth, modified even slightly, is no longer truth, but just gives birth to another lie.

      As you said yourself to Not a Fan of ADI, “How convenient of you to forget.”

      • John


        Pepper and the Gazette are indeed ready to carry on, that’s the best outcome imaginable.

        As for ADI playing by the rules or truth being modified, it’s no longer the question, according to my source, referring to the ADI Martha St. proposal, and I quote –
        “This hearing is bigger than this site or Burlington, it is about the OMB and planning system in Ontario as a whole”

        Apparently while I wasn’t looking this hearing is now about the OMB, not ADI or their proposal.
        That’s very little respect for a provincially mandated board.

        • Tom Muir


          I agree on the need for Pepper getting enough ad revenue to support a viable business plan. I don’t know how much this is, but I don’t think it’s all that much.

          But the community, city hall, business, and taxpayer supported institutions and activities that advertise really need to take note of the need for their support as reasonable and possible.

          Pepper has really put his heart and soul into this endevour, and a shutdown will be a great loss to the political and social fabric, and citizen engagement function of the city.

          Make no mistake about this.

          As far as the other point you make, about what is now the real question – ADI Martha St, or the OMB – I don’t really know what to say.

          Whether we like it or not, and however many warts cover the scene, the rules as a whole are operating. The OMB appeal was based on the city failure to make a decision in 180 days for the OP amendment, and 120 days for the by-law amendments.

          We are told by the city Manager and the legals, that the ADI proposal will be judged at the OMB on the same planning policies, framework, and merits regardless of the basis of the appeal.

          That’s another wart to many, but nonetheless, it’s a stated reality.

          The quote you offer from your source;

          “This hearing is bigger than this site or Burlington, it is about the OMB and planning system in Ontario as a whole”, I essentially agree with, but I retain my due respect for the process for now.

          In my opinion, the ADI proposal is so extremely out of line that the OMB should just throw it out on it’s face.

          It’s the possibility that the OMB can and will decide to approve the application that underlies the basis of the quote.

          If the OMB does not decide to refuse the application, but decides in ADI favour, then that is clearly a fundamental appearance of the usurping of local city decision-making based on a long and due process carried out by the city and citizens as specified under the Planning Act.

          In this case, the OP of Burlington will be fundamentally undermined and trashed, and every developer around, including ADI, can use such an OMB decision and rationale to try and get what they want regardless of the OP and by-laws for innumerable projects.

          This implication would extend to all cities.

          This means that the planning system as it now exists would be taken over by the substance of such an approval and justification of this particular project in all its extremes.

          The further implication to me, how I would see it being interpreted, is that the OMB, in this single decision, would overthrow the entire system of planning relevant to Burlington, and any similar city with similar OP and by-law structures.

          And this decision could be made by a single OMB person and Board Chairman.

          Unfortunately, this decision and Board structure are ones that the OMB has the power to make.

          I certainly would not respect the OMB and the planning system in Ontario if such a decision is made and allowed.

          But that is a personal decision that I cannot make at this moment – it has to actually happen.

          Until then, as far as I have been able to reflect on it, the hearing is first of all about the ADI Martha St proposal, the city, and the OMB.

          Only secondarily, depending on the decision and justification coming out of the OMB, is it about the system.

          But I do agree with the truth of the quote you offer. It is all these things.

          • John

            The quote I used, yes it’s real, was to highlight the authors lack of understanding and absurd notion that this hearing is about the OMB.
            The OMB gets it’s mandate from the elected provincial government, any hearing regarding the OMB would be conducted by the province.

            The OMB resolves disputes, using, as Albert has pointed out, all the rules of development and I will add the planning act and provincial policy.
            The OMB has resolved many disputes in Burlington, they get it right, that’s what they do.

            Lets not, as the author of my quote attempts to do, shoot the messenger.

  • Not an ADI or Burlington Airpark fan

    ADI Development Group owned by Tariq & Saud Adi, and the Burlington Airpark owned by Vince Rossi, are two local businesses that have now given Burlington a very bad reputation, solely based on their total disdain for local citizens’ rights, and local government authority. Neither company wants to play by the rules. They prefer to bully their way around to get things done their way. Both have shot the messenger, (our own Burlington Gazette and publisher Pepper Parr. It’s not the fault of the Burlington Gazette. They shouldn’t be threatened with financially crippling lawsuits. Both ADI Development Group and Burlington Airpark have infuriated the general public, not to mention many Burlington businesses. How the hell can we get rid of these two nuisance companies? Both should be run out of town. I just don’t like them. It’s as simple as that.

  • Monte

    Reading the comments would lead one to wonder who is the worse corporate citizen in Burlington, the ADI group the Burlington Airpark or perhaps some other which hasn’t sued Burlington residents as yet.

    Perhaps there should be a referendum held on this?

    Council should take a close look at how business is conducted in Burlington and why this is happening.
    Not a nice reputation for Burlington, that is evolving and departing from, what was once voted the most desirable city?

    With no newspaper reporting events, citizens must be very careful, as negative reputations take years to overcome, some communities never recover.

    Communities are not built by participating in a “race to the bottom”!

  • Not an ADI fan

    WOW! What a surprise when I read that the end of the Burlington Gazette has happened; as some have indicated through the legal pressure of the ADI Development Group and the owners,Saud & Tarif Adi.

    To say the least, this is terrible news for the loyal followers who looked forward to the refreshing candor of Pepper Parr and his Burlington Gazette. The Burlington Gazette stimulated conversations amongst its followers, who emailed in their comments, and then the lively banter went back & forth. This online newspaper had a sizable following, and I am sure we are all very disappointed right now. We have lost a valuable media outlet in Burlington, all brought about by the unnecessary actions of Saud and Tarif Adi.

    It’s very unfortunate that this has happened. To see a successful local developer like ADI take on a senior citizen; a one man operation, and then force him out of business is in my way of thinking, totally unforgivable, and quite immoral. It just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, and I am sure many, many more feel the same way. We just don’t do business this way in Canada.

    If I owned ADI, and this has taken place, which it has, I would be more concerned about commencing some damage control for ADI right now. I would be very concerned about the bad reputation ADI has now generated. I would be very concerned about the damage created in trying to create a good working relationship with the City of Burlington, the Mayor and the City Councillors. I would be more concerned about turning off potential purchasers. I would also be greatly concerned about getting approval for the Nautique building next month. Once those at the hearing read all of this bad press generated by this legal action, it may just grind the Nautique project to a complete halt, or worse, cancel it. This could be the beginning of the end for ADI.

    Pepper Parr is a senior citizen. He doesn’t need to be put through this turmoil. There are thousands of senior citizens in Burlington. What is the message that ADI has sent to all of them. The message is; ADI will take legal action against anyone, even senior citizens, if ADI doesn’t get their own way. Many seniors may be looking towards purchasing a condo with one of the several ADI projects in Burlington. If I were the ADI owner, I would be concerned that they will now back away from anything that has the ADI name on it. The ADI name has been tarnished. I would be concerned too, that the ADI name will be bad mouthed around town. I would be concerned that the reputations of Saud and Tarif Adi were now in question. All the hard work to build ADI, from literally nothing to where it is now, has unquestionably put ADI in jeopardy. And for what? ADI has won this battle, but if I owned ADI, I would be more concerned about losing the war.

    I would also be very concerned that others have called ADI, Burlington’s worst corporate citizen, not to mention a corporate bully. That’s difficult to exist as a company when words like that are flung around by the good citizens of Burlington. ADI deserves better. There’s lots of work to do now. Saud and Tarif Adi, turn this mess that you created around right now.

    If I owned ADI, the answer is damage control to save the company; not legal action. I would like to see Saud and Tarif Adi call this whole legal issue off, and then start to rebuild their severely damaged reputation, so Burlington can be proud of you for once.

  • Kathy Hyatt

    I just came across the Gazette a year ago by accident and have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the info on what was
    going on in our beautiful city. I am going to be lost without it. Very sad news!

  • Richard Head

    I concur with Frank Rance. I have the same opinion; ADI has now become Burlington’s worst corporate citizen. Potential buyers should be extremely wary of this despicable bully company and their methods of operation. I wish they would leave Burlington immediately. We don’t need people like Saud or Tarif Adi living and working amongst us. These two developers totally disgust me.

  • Frank Rance

    I think we have just witnessed at first hand how a developer can bully the media right out of business. In my opinion, ADI is Burlington’s worst corporate citizen. Shame on them.

  • tenni

    I am hopeful that there is a positive resolution to this problem. I stand by those that state the loss of the Burlington Gazette is a serious loss to local democracy.

  • Dan Nolan

    Very sorry to hear the paper is dead. Pepper kept them hopping. I hope he catches his breath and comes back.

  • Tom Muir

    This is truly a sad day for all citizens of Burlington – what a loss.

    The fact is we have lost again anything that resembles free press news reporting on the civic affairs of Burlington.

    Who now will provide us with in-depth reporting of the goings on at Council, and on important city developments?

    ADI is facing an OMB hearing in March, so who will provide us now with in-depth reporting of the hearing?

    The Post is little more than a carrier of advertising copy, pamphlets and announcements. It is not a “newspaper” in any sense that I know.

    It does not report on the city hall beat, or the ongoing political and development processes of the city.

    The Helene critical comments above ignore that the only reason most people have any idea who she is is because of Pepper and the Gazette.

    He gave her a voice. So much for appreciating the source of her good fortune.

    Another comment of indifference doesn’t seem to fathom what the loss means. It was never about competing with the Post as there is nothing of substance in the Post to compete with.

    Pepper had other, much deeper motivations.

    Everyone in the city has lost the only light on city hall goings on, and gave them a voice.

    This voice has been lost, and that is a tragedy.

    The loss will never lead to anything good

  • Roger

    You and the paper will be missed

  • The loss of the Burlington Gazette is a major loss for our community. I hope people with resources and means contact Pepper to offer help to get the Burlington Gazette back online.

    Burlington Gazette Editor, Pepper Parr always reported Burlington’s news as accurately and fairly as he understood it. He could be convinced that he made mistakes and errors, and would print retractions and corrections. He even printed criticism of his work (Note Helene Skinner’s previous reply) Pepper stubbornly refused to back down when he believed he was right, often at great personal and financial sacrifice. He always stuck up for people he believed were wronged or treated unfairly. He gave a voice to those with important messages trying to be heard.

    The Burlington Gazette was often the only news source to report some important local news stories.

    No doubt some stories in the Burlington Gazette didn’t portray Burlington or our leaders in the best light. Usually I found myself agreeing with Pepper’ criticisms. We don’t need the press to just tell us what we are doing well or what works. We also need the press to identify problems, so we can act to resolve them.

    In recent years the quality of news reporting has become so degraded, that many people seem to accept that the role of the press is to tell ourselves how good we are and glossing over our problems. More like a cheer leaders for our city and elected leaders. Effectively our main stream news has become a means by which wealthy powerful people control what we know and as a result what we think, how we act and how we vote. Thanks to Pepper, the Burlington Gazette never sank to this low.

    Instead the Burlington Gazette:

    1) Held our government leaders accountable to the people for their statements, decisions and actions.

    2) Publicized issues that needed attention,

    3) Educated Burlington citizens so we could make better, more informed decisions, and

    4) Connected us to each other.

    We should be grateful to Burlington Gazette Editor, Pepper Parr who has worked tirelessly to report on Burlington’s News. I can honestly say, I’ve never met a harder working more dedicated journalist and that I am a better person for knowing you.

    I am much better informed about Burlington as a consequence of reading the Burlington Gazette.

    Thank you Pepper!

  • I am truly sorry that this has happened. My words about this are in my blog post.

  • Steve Smith

    Burlington is a smaller sized town and it already has a left-wing news outlet, the Post. Pretty hard to sustain two.

  • Glenda D

    Say it isn’t so…..yours was the only source of constant information about our city and what is happening.

  • Helene Skinner

    I am not surprised that it has come to this. I have advised the Burlington Gazette to report the facts not just opinion on several occasions. The Burlington Gazette, in my opinion, has added to the unnecessary prejudice of my community.

    • C Jester

      You liked it when he wrote to save the community. Now he reports the facts of its pending demise and you don’t like it. Figures.

      Gazette is not perfect, but there is no other source to get citizens thinking and debating in Burlington. The Post gave up news long ago.

    • Mike Ettlewood

      What a callow, perfectly self-absorbed comment! Pepper championed fairness, due process and political transparency/accountability when he reported on ‘your community’. He gave ‘your community’ a voice and visibility. You will sorely miss him.

  • Bryce

    You all miss the point:

    This version of the Burlington Gazette is dead. Someone else will have to fight the good fight.


    The first word in the phrase “This” is the important word in the entire phrase.

    Pepper “may” reignite the online Burlington Gazette, however suspect two lawsuits may have well been too much.

    Journalists of all stripes have to watch their backside; nobody/company likes to be criticized, especially in print for all to see.

    The ADI group is one, Burlington Air Park is another.

    If you want to see something against you be stopped; sue, for money and the related expenses. Be it for a small or a large amount; it still involves you and as such financial expense.

    There are many ways to break a person; taking their assets in this case money, and their livelihood is only one method.

  • Zaffi

    Pepper what does this headline mean? I hope it is not what my imagination is thinking.

  • Monte

    How sad that it’s the end.

    While I didn’t always agree with some of the articles, most of them brought to light, issues which required exposure.

    Issues require exposure and encourage discussion when they affect the public and its citizens. The single biggest issue has been the Burlington Airpark and its affect on the community, which is as negative as negative gets. The affect on the community was exposed by community groups and the Burlington Gazette, both of which are facing a meritless law suit which could have been avoided by the owner showing some respect for adjacent landowners and engaging in meaningful discussion.

    Only by having open dialog and discussion will communities get developments that build a great community. One of those doors is now being closed.

    Burlington is now left with no independent news reporting to engage citizens in discussion, in order to develop truly positive projects. Open season for anyone to do anything will now be the norm.

    Good luck for our future and all the best to anyone wanting to continue.


  • Luke

    What’s this Pepper? Has this airport thing got you down? You cannot lose an argument because “You reported the facts.”
    One line defence argument costs you $40 to file.
    BLG – Borden Ladner Gervais got dusted by such a defence just two years ago in PEI by a News Blogger after filing nearly 100 pages of argument.
    Otherwise you are doing a good job.

  • Steve

    Very sorry to read this. You’re publication will be missed.