State of the City Address 2015

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

State-of-the-City-banner-2015

[Check Against Delivery]

How do we define Burlington?

What words can we use to describe the place where we live, the place where we work, and the place where we raise our children?

As Canadians, we often define ourselves by what we are not.

In our case, we are not Toronto. We are not Hamilton. We are not Oakville.

What and who is Burlington? Continue reading

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

Managing Burlington’s growth through intensification

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

This column appears in the February 13, 2015 edition of the Burlington Post.

Intensification is a word we use at city hall and around the community, but I’ve heard questions about what it means, especially as it applies to Burlington.

One of my priorities is engaging with residents on the topic of intensification.

To understand intensification, we need to understand what’s driving our growth. Continue reading

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

February 2015 Progress Report

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in January, as well as agendas and reports for February’s meetings, are available online.

Upcoming Meetings

Development & Infrastructure Committee: Monday, February 9 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Community & Corporate Services Committee: Tuesday, February 10 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Audit Committee: Wednesday, February 11 at 3:30 p.m.

City Council: Monday, February 23 at 6:30 pm. Continue reading

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

Setting priorities for 2015

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

This column appears in the February 2015 edition of Snapd Burlington.

The new year is a time for setting priorities.

I have developed five priorities I believe we as a city can make traction on in 2015.

These five priorities, in no particular order, include intensification, climate change adaptation, economic development, service based budgeting and the Community Energy Plan.

Intensification is an issue I hear about regularly from Burlington residents. People want to know why our community is seeing more residential units being built, particularly in the form of mid-rise and high-rise condominium buildings.

My goal this year is to further engage the community on this topic.

I will be speaking about intensification at every opportunity, as well as inviting feedback from the community. It is important to share with residents the federal and provincial policies that are driving intensification, and how Halton and Burlington are managing these pressures.

Climate change adaptation and education is another priority for 2015. The ice storm of 2013 and flood of 2014 have shown our climate is changing and we need to be prepared.

Currently, municipal and regional staff is working on ways to mitigate flood risks with our stormwater and wastrwater systems. Reports with recommendations are expected this spring.

I will also be hosting a climate change symposium in Burlington in fall 2015.

Economic development also remains a priority, as it was during my first term as mayor. The Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has been restructured, with a new executive director and board. The BEDC recently released its updated strategic plan. I look forward to seeing the resulting data in 2015.

Service based budgeting is now in place for the 2015 budget. This is budgeting by service delivered, not by organizational department. The overall goal is to ensure citizens are getting good value for their tax dollar. I will be watching closely to ensure service based budgeting is the right approach.

The city, in partnership with Burlington Hydro, and with the assistance of a group of community stakeholders, has developed a Community Energy Plan for Burlington.

The plan will help us identify areas where conservation and efficiency measures can be focused, as well as assess the potential for local generation, particularly through renewable energy, and the use of smart grid technology.

I invite residents to connect with me by phone at 905-335-7607, by email at mayor@burlington.ca, on Twitter @RickGoldring and on Facebook at Mayor Rick Goldring.

 

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email

Finding the right balance in the Roseland Character Area Study

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email
An aerial view of Roseland.

An aerial view of Roseland.

The Roseland Character Area Study is nearing its completion, with the fourth public consultation meeting held last night.

The city’s planning staff has outlined a list of proposed changes to the city’s Official Plan and zoning bylaw for the neighbourhood of Roseland, which consists of approximately 115 acres and 300 dwellings.

The five proposed changes listed in a brief prepared by city staff on the Character Area Study for Roseland and Indian Point include:

  • Develop Official Plan policies to protect and manage development in Character Areas.
  • Prepare amendments to the Zoning By-law for Roseland and Indian Point to reflect the existing housing stock.
  • Maintain the Site Plan Control By-law for Character Areas.
  • Develop an Urban Design Brief to evaluate Site Plan, Minor Variance and Consent applications in Character Areas.
  • Co-ordinate opportunities to plant trees on public rights-of-way as part of the Urban Forestry Management Plan.

Further details of proposed amendments within each of these five changes encompassing such aspects as setbacks, building height and lot coverage are outlined in the brief.

I know Roseland well. I grew up in the neighbourhood, so I have firsthand knowledge of its unique status and character as one of our oldest communities within Burlington. I know the people living in this neighbourhood want to preserve its uniqueness and charm.

My desired outcome of the Character Area Study is to provide the city’s planning staff with additional considerations when assessing the merits of applications for development from homeowners and developers in Roseland.

Last night, I heard from residents that the proposed directions do not go far enough compared to what was suggested in the consultant’s report. I heard the request for staff to reconsider legacy zoning. I heard the concerns about clearing vegetation and houses from lots before making applications to sever. I heard the request for a private tree bylaw – even if it starts out as a pilot project in the Roseland neighbourhood.

I have long believed a private tree bylaw would help control tree removal.

Unfortunately, there was not enough support from city council in 2013 for moving forward with a bylaw. Only I and a another member of council supported a staff direction in 2013 asking for options for a private tree bylaw. I look forward to a renewed discussion on this topic in the coming weeks.

Our planning staff also heard you last night and will be considering your suggestions.

As I stated last night, I believe our building and planning staff have been diligent throughout the process to find the best solution. It is not easy to create a balance between the need for growth and the community’s desire to stay the same. It may not be possible to arrive at a balance that satisfies everyone in the community – difficult choices will have to be made.

Staff will consider community feedback as they prepare the final report, which is expected to go to the Development and Infrastructure Committee in late March or early April.

At that time, it is ultimately up to city council to approve, modify or refuse the study recommendations.

In regards to the Indian Point study, our staff is continuing to communicate with the community about its preferred options. I have heard there is a strong will from the majority of residents in that neighbourhood to maintain the current Official Plan and zoning bylaw.

Written comments on the Character Area Study can be emailed to planner Rosa Bustamante at rosa.bustamante@burlington.ca by Monday, February 9. I welcome to you also share your thoughts and feedback with me at mayor@burlington.ca.

More details can be found on the city’s Character Area Study webpage.

 

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+Email