May 17, 2013
Burlington has a unique and close relationship with our neighbours in Halton Region and the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area. We share an economy, we share a work force, and we share our transportation corridors.
Which means we also share the challenges of congestion and gridlock in the GTHA. Traffic congestion affects our quality of life, increases the costs of doing business, and has a significant impact on public safety, our health and the environment.
Transportation, urban planning and economic development are inherently linked. In Burlington we are working with the Burlington Economic Development Corporation to attract more jobs and create live-work opportunities for our residents, but the reality is that we that have a high percentage of commuters.
Every day, approximately 50% of the Burlington labour force leaves the city to travel across the GTHA for work, school, business and other reasons.Traffic congestion and gridlock affects everyone in the region.
I believe that local governments have historically been too local, too silo-ed in their approach to cooperation and economic development. Municipal governments need to take a page from business and not be constrained by traditional lines on a map. Rather, we need to forge partnerships and alliances with communities that share common interests, goals, resources, and barriers, to develop a stronger, more impactful voice for our constituents. We need to work together.
I’m looking forward to hearing from Ken Greenberg at the Summit on May 21st. Ken gave a presentation as part of the Inspire Burlington series last year, where he talked about cities have an incredible capacity to change, learn and adapt. We can think differently about planning. As Ken so eloquently puts it – “allow ourselves to play chords instead of single notes” and create great, memorable and sustainable places.
Our approach going forward cannot be politics as usual. We need 22nd century thinking to address our current and future challenges and opportunities. Elected officials need to work together with our residents so that we can have a future that we can all aspire to.
I am pleased to join Western GTA Mayors, civic leaders and business leaders at the Western GTA Summit on May 21. This will be an important opportunity to discuss our common challenges of regional transportation and economic development.
Please join me at this free event on May 21 at the Mississauga Convention Centre. Register online at westerngtasummit.ca
- How does traffic congestion impact your daily life in Burlington?
- Do we need to change the way we live and design our communities?
- What should our future neighbourhood and city growth look like?
- What are some ways that we can work together to improve regional transportation?
- How will we pay for regional transportation networks?
- What innovation and employment opportunities will we create for our region?