May 2011 Progress Report

As of today, our new Council has been in office for six months. It has been both the quickest and most intense six months of my life. I am enjoying the job and even more – I am enjoying meeting all of the committed and caring members of our community.

During the campaign, I committed to a set of objectives that would be tackled in the first year. I remain focused on delivering against those promises.

In addition, it has become apparent that some other areas also need to be addressed. Certainly we must continue to work with the community on a mutual understanding regarding intensification and community development in the coming years. 

May Activities

Strategic Plan

May efforts were focused on the Strategic Plan. Council and Staff completed over 20 hours of session work on the plan in the month of May. I am pleased with the progress. We have so much more input from the public to assist in this plan than in the previous Strategic Plan. The schedule for the Strategic Plan points to the next public consultation process in late June or early July. Certainly summer is not the perfect time for this, however it is important to continue the dialogue between the community and Council.

I would like to share with you some of the feedback we received from the public through the consultation process to-date.

  • 87% indicated that Burlington was an Excellent or Very Good place to live. This was an increase from 82% in 2008. Just as noteworthy, 53% indicated that Burlington was an Excellent place to live, up from 42% in 2008.
  • 95% of respondents indicated they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with City services.
  • Snow removal and road conditions and maintenance were the two areas identified as most important.
  • Through the Strategic Plan Vision inputs, the community highlighted sustainability, safe, livable and prosperous as key elements.
  • Through the same process, key priorities included fiscal responsibility, managed and sustainable growth and economic development. In addition, transportation, infrastructure end the environment followed.

This information can be reviewed in detail at http://cobcms.burlington.ca/Page12922.aspx.

Development Projects

There was also extensive debate regarding three developments in the City – a townhouse development at Jackson and Glover, a townhouse development on Glenwood School Drive, and an apartment/condo development on Brock Street. The community and City need to work better together on the structure and process that we follow on these intensification projects.

A number of improvements to the process are underway and I expect that we will see meaningful changes as we progress.

Alton

Work has begun on two parks in the Alton area. Both Palladium Park and Norton are now in the construction phase. There have been a number of delays with some elements of the Alton community and the park projects are a key part of completing this development. We are also nearing completion on our work with the Halton District School Board and hope to make some announcements on the Alton High School, Library and Community centre shortly.  

National Cycling

After extensive discussion and negotiation we learned this month that most of the National Cycling Races slated for Burlington were being relocated. The prime reason was that the promoter was able to secure a location in Toronto which significantly reduced the policing requirements and related costs.

There will still be one or two races in Burlington and we still hope to participate in some fashion in the 2012 Olympic qualifying races.

Downtown Open for July 1

The Burlington Downtown Business Association applied for and were approved and designated as a tourist destination which means businesses will be permitted to operate on July 1 and Labour Day. July 1 – Canada Day – will have extensive festivities both downtown and on the Waterfront and we hope to have as many residents as possible participate.

Coming up in June

Reports to Committee

  • Citizen engagement co-ordinator job description
  • Corporate customer service standards
  • Web/electronic communication policy update
  • Toward zero waste update and policy regarding city food services and non-city events
  • LaSalle Park Marina Association Vision 2012

Hospital

We have a working group that is focused on completion of the agreement with the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital. We hope to have the agreement brought forward to Council and the public for review in early fall.

Budget 2012

Staff is completing a review and analysis of the 2011 Budget Process and will be making recommendations on some improvements. We expect this during the summer in preparation for the 2012 budget cycle.

Portland

Portland Oregon is recognized as a leading City in livability and sustainability. I am out west for personal reasons and have extended my visit to spend a few days in Portland. I will be meeting with six or seven departments and agencies as well as with the Mayor to review the success that Portland enjoys and to gather relevant information and best practices to share with Council.

INSPIRE Burlington

Gil Penelosa,the Executive Director from 8-80 Cities, will be the keynote speaker on June 15 at the DeGroote School of Business Ron Joyce Centre. Gil’s topic – Creating 8-80 Cities: Moving from Talking to Doing – is sure to inspire us with ways to make Burlington a more walkable and cycle-friendly community. Admission to this event is free. Please email mayor@burlington.ca to confirm your attendance or register online at http://cms.burlington.ca/Page6932.aspx.