Niagara to GTA Highway: Chair Carr and I had a very positive meeting with Minister Rick Bartolucci regarding the provinces requested modifications to the Region’s official Plan with the inclusion of an Arrow showing a possible highway location. The province has withdrawn this request and all related modifications to the official plan. Councillor’s Taylor and Lancaster deserve recognition for their efforts on this issue and I would also like to acknowledge the commitment and efforts made by the coalition Stop the Escarpment Highway. This matter is not over and work continues to be done with a focus on the Environmental Assessment currently underway.
Budget: Council continued work on both the Capital Budget and the Operating Budget. Public meetings are March 2 at 7PM at Tansley Woods and March 5 at 9AM at the Burlington Arts centre. A number of Councillors are having local Ward budget meetings as well.
Policy Items: We are looking at ways to address the Downtown development status including the Old Lakeshore precinct. The Waterfront Citizen Advisory Committee has been meeting and has formed several sub-committees. There are also some policy issues being considered for research related to zoning for Places of Worship.
Freeman Station:A Citizen committee has now been formed and will be working to find alternatives for the station. The Committee is forming a legal entity with charitable status for fundraising purposes. If you have any ideas in this regard please contact Councillor Lancaster or Meed-Ward.
LUMCO: I had the opportunity to attend my first LUMCO (Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario) meeting in February. The focus of conversation and concern from mayors across Ontario was Staff costs and the current arbitration process that does not consider the ability of the taxpayer to pay. All mayor’s are concerned about the sustainability of wage agreements. LUMCO issued a request to Premier McGuinty to consider changes in the Interest Arbitration rules to ensure that “ability to pay” was truly recognized.