August/September 2011 Progress Report

 

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital

On August 10, 2011 Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital and the Ontario Government announced a decision to go ahead with the re-development of the hospital. This announcement is great news for our community. While not all the details have been formalized, I can confirm:

1. The hospital re-development will include 76 additional acute care beds, 10 new operating rooms, an expanded cancer centre, a significant change in the number of private rooms, a new intensive care unit (ICU), and many other improvements which should result in improved emergency wait times.

2. The community is required to fund $120 million of the re-development cost. This community cost is fixed and will not be adjusted based on end costs. The $120 million contribution is split evenly between the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital Foundation and the City. The province will pay the balance of the re-development cost.

3. The community is required to fund up front. We were advised that City funding would be required as follows:

  • 2012 – $7.5 million
  • 2013 – $7.5 million
  • 2014 – $7.5 million
  • 2015 – $7.5 million
  • 2016 – $15.0 million
  • 2017 – $15.0 million

    Total Contribution of $60.0 million

4. The City did not previously know about this funding schedule and neither the hospital nor the City was included in discussions on the schedule. We have work to do to meet this funding schedule. We must look at a number of alternatives. We understand how important the hospital is to the community. The City is also working through a due diligence process. Funding in advance presents some challenges and we must ensure that the re-development project moves ahead in its entirety.

5. As we proceed with the detailed analysis and evaluation there will be public consultation on the financing options.

6. As indicated in my previous report, we have established a working committee on this and are working with hospital officials to complete this project. The end result will be a memorandum of understanding and a contribution agreement that will provide specific details regarding the “how, what and where” of the funding for the project. 

AMO

I attended the annual AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) Conference in August. I had the opportunity to meet with Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Rick Bartolucci, and the Minister of Infrastructure, Bob Chiarelli. I also heard both Premier McGuinty,  Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, and New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath  speak to the conference attendees.

It became more obvious to me that municipalities are the children of the Province and it is very important for the Mayor to have and continue to build strong relationships with the Province. It is clear that municipalities do not have enough control over the tools for allocation of funds for major issues, including infrastructure. Municipalities only get eight cents on the dollar of all taxes paid by Canadian residents and we deal with aging infrastructure. We need to lobby senior levels of government to help provide additional sustainable funding to address these challenges.

Brant Street Pier

On Monday, September 26, 2011 Council approved by a vote of 7-0 the awarding of the tender to complete the pier to Graham Infrastructure. Graham Infrastructure is the fifth largest organization in this sector in North America.

The final approved budget for the completion of the pier is $14.4 million. This is considerably more than the original budget of $9.2 million.

In reaching its decision, Council considered three options:

  • Dismantle the pier
  • Complete the pier with the original contractor
  • Re-tender the pier

We looked at all the costs. The cost to dismantle the pier was estimated at over $15.0 million. This is largely due to the requirement to pay back other levels of government $6.9 million.

We have pursued the option which we believe is the most cost effective and have retained all our rights to pursue cost recovery and the performance bond of $3.5 million which the original contractor has in place.

At this stage we are going to complete the pier and look at the most cost effective way to resolve the legal dispute. This is a complicated case and it may well require a judge or mediator to decide who pays how much.

Employment Lands Study – Evergreen

Council received the Employment Land Study in July as reported.  Subsequent to the employment land report, Council received a report in September regarding the secondary plan for a land parcel at Tremaine and Dundas. This land parcel boundary is the 407 highway to the north and Bronte Creek to the west and totals 67 hectares. The land is currently zoned “To Be Determined”. 

On September 26, Council approved a mixed use designation that will see some employment use, some commercial use and some residential use.

This zoning of land previously undesignated increases the inventory of employment land and creates some Greenfield land parcels which can be of size not easily available in Burlington. This will however add to the pressure to convert other employment land in the City to residential use.

Downtown Task Force

On September 6 Council established a Task Force to review the status of the Downtown and the Core Commitment. The purpose of the Task Force is to review the implementation status of the Core Commitment – our downtown strategy – identify new issues and opportunities and to re-connect with the public on the long-term development expectations for the downtown.

Agenda items will likely include parking, retail activity, implication of land assembly and the waterfront plans.

The Task Force report will be an important resource as we update the City’s Official Plan in 2012.

Community Gardens

In July, Council approved two community garden pilot projects for 2012/13. During deliberation on the pilot projects, one in Central Park and one at Frances Road, Burlington Green requested that the City support their application for a two-year Trillium grant to operate a Local Food Resource Network at Central Park. Trillium was prepared to support the initiative in Central Park with funding of $76,000.

Staff reviewed and it was determined that the planned capital spending at Central Park for the Community Garden pilot met the funding requirements of the Trillium grant. As a result, we will have a Community garden pilot operated by Burlington Green as a pilot in 2012 and 2013 and a Community pilot at Frances Road starting in 2013.

Road Renewal

Council received a detailed presentation from Engineering regarding a meaningful road maintenance strategy in September. As roads deteriorate, there is an optimal time to repair. If we can make repairs within this window, the lifetime cost of roads is reduced.

Staff has identified these opportunities and outlined a scrape and pave strategy that could run from 2012 through 2016. This would involve increasing the annual road repair by about 30 lane km per year or 150 lane km in total. This level of improvement would be a visible improvement to residents and would cost about $3.0 million per year.

Council has directed staff to consider this project within the 2012 budget.

Telephone Town Hall

On September 20, the City conducted its first telephone town hall meeting. The opportunity was used to provide the community with an update on the Strategic Plan.

There were a couple of glitches but we certainly see the event as successful. Over 2000 residents participated for a few minutes and about 500 stayed on line for a considerable period. We answered questions from 10 residents and another 73 were interested in participating. 

This method of reaching out to the community seems to have merit and we will certainly consider having another telephone town hall in the future.

More detailed information regarding the conversation will be posted online in the near future.

Upcoming Events and Activities

  • Wednesday October 12 – 1PM: City Hall Council Chambers – Non-profit Symposium. How to work better with City Hall. Hosted by Councilor Blair Lancaster.
  • Sunday, October 23 – 2PM: Free Community Party to celebrate the opening of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. Enjoy some entertainment and tour the facility. Watch for ads in the Burlington Post.
  • Friday November 4 – 9:30-11am: Mayor’s Open Door Drop in Session. Please feel free to drop by a City Hall for a chat with the Mayor.
  • Tuesday, November 23 – 7PM: The Mayor’s Inspire Burlington Series continues with André Picard, public health reporter at The Globe and Mail and one of Canada’s top public policy writers. This event will be held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Studio Theatre. More information will be available online in mid-October.

   

Your vote matters to Burlington

This column appeared in the Burlington Post on September 21, 2011 and is available online at http://www.insidehalton.com/opinion/columns/article/1107617–your-vote-matters-to-burlington

September 21, 2011

Voting is both a democratic right and a responsibility.

The Thursday, Oct. 6 provincial election again presents an opportunity for all of us to have our say.

As we saw in the recent federal election, the public can speak and create change.

In the coming provincial election there are some very important issues that affect us directly here in Burlington.

The first important issue surrounds the redevelopment of Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.

Council feels strongly enough about the need to re-develop our hospital that we have committed $60 million to this project on behalf of the residents of our community.

We heard loud and clear that this was very important to the community. I will continue to work with council and with Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital officials to make this a reality.

The other important aspect of the election is the protection of our rural land. Burlington has an urban boundary line, the Dundas/407 corridor, which separates the urban centre from the rural areas.

The decision to expand within the urban area is a positive decision. Burlington will have increased urban areas, which offer lifestyle alternatives, we will have protected suburban neighbourhoods to preserve the traditional Burlington, and we will have rural and agricultural areas, which will become more and more important over time.

I recognize that traffic is a problem. I recognize that moving commercial goods through the GTA is also becoming more and more challenging. I also recognize that the continuing development of Toronto as a world economic centre is paramount to the success of Burlington, the GTA, Ontario and Canada.

We need to have both the provincial and federal governments recognize the GTA’s importance and get on board developing the public transportation infrastructure that we need for this prosperity. Another highway is an alternative, a very expensive and potentially destructive one.

The Liberal and Conservative leadership have taken opposing views on both of these decisions.

Over the next few weeks I encourage everyone to review election information, talk to the candidates and make an informed decision on Oct. 6. Please vote — it’s your right and your responsibility.