February 7, 2014
Burlington Progress Report: February 2014
Committee and Council Meetings
Information on the most recent standing Committee meetings is available online, including agendas, minutes and videos.
- Development and Infrastructure Committee: February 3, 2014
- Community and Corporate Services Committee: February 4, 2013
- City Committee Highlights from last month: January 23, 2014
Our next Council meeting is on February 18 where we will be considering the Proposed Capital Budget.
On February 18th, Council will vote on approving the Proposed Capital Budget for 2014. Immediately after, we will begin our review of the proposed 2014 Current operating budget at the Community and Corporate Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. on February 20, 2014. A special Council meeting will be held immediately following the Committee meeting to approve the Current budget.
On January 29th, we held an interactive workshop about the city’s 2014 current and capital budgets. We had a great turn out at this meeting. Participants had the opportunity to discuss service choices, infrastructure, and the long-term financial plan while learning more about the city’s 2014 current and capital budgets and the impact the budget will have on 2014 property taxes.
We heard from residents, that in future budget meetings, we should provide more detail on the base numbers. We also heard that the vast majority of attendees support investment in economic development.
The proposed tax rate increase recommended by City Staff is 4.13% which includes a 0.93% tax levy for the Joseph Brant Hospital redevelopment.
This will not be the final number as there will be much discussion at the Budget and Corporate Services Committee meeting on February 20. If the staff recommendation of 4.13% is approved, combined with the regional and the education portions of the property tax bill, the overall proposed property tax increase will be 1.68 percent. Council will have the opportunity of asking questions of staff at the Community and Corporate Services Budget preparation meetings.
I would like your feedback on the City Budget. Please email me at email@example.com with your comments or questions.
Last month Council endorsed the Burlington Community Energy Plan. The plan development was overseen by a Project Steering Committee and a community Stakeholder Advisory Committee was subsequently formed. Participants in the development of the plan included representatives of the City of Burlington, Halton Region, Burlington Hydro, Ontario Power Authority, McMaster University, the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic School Board, Union Gas, the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee and BurlingtonGreen.
I would like to thank the members of this committee for their commitment and hard work that has led to a “made in Burlington” approach to community energy planning.
The result is a ‘living document’ that provides a holistic view of how energy is used, conserved, generated, distributed and potentially stored, with a focus on how community partners can work together to improve the current system.
The city was recently awarded the Community Conservation Award by the Ontario Power Authority in recognition of the progress we have made through our corporate energy management program and the development of the Community Energy Plan.
We have the opportunity to lead energy planning and initiate collaboration with our residents, businesses, utilities, developers, and all levels of government to drive this forward. I truly believe that these initiatives are integral to the future sustainability and affordability of our future.
Protecting our natural heritage has always been important to residents. As we move toward intensification in our designated urban growth areas, it will be even more important to protect our natural assets.
A preliminary study of the heritage character of the Mount Nemo Plateau was conducted last fall to identify options for the long-term conservation and enhancement of the character and heritage value of the Plateau.
As a result of this preliminary study, Council have approved the recommendation for public consultations to take place with key stakeholders and the community before beginning a study to assess the Mount Nemo Plateau Heritage Character. The city will be communicating opportunities for engagement and to provide updates.
A public consultation event takes place next week at Kilbride Public School on February 10 at 6:30 pm.
Rail Line Safety and Awareness Review
The City of Burlington in collaboration with stakeholders from CN Rail, GO Transit, VIA Rail, Police and Regional staff, the Canadian Mental Health Association and others implemented a rail line safety and awareness review with the objective of establishing a sustainable and meaningful information exchange process and an effective process for identifying and potentially implementing strategies that can assist in the prevention of rail line fatalities.
The City facilitated its first rail line safety and awareness stakeholder meeting where attendees provided information on how their organizations are raising awareness of rail safety, including offering educational sessions and speaking opportunities to youth at local schools.
The group identified a number of strategies to enhance rail line safety and awareness and a number of short-term mitigation strategies that the City has control over. The City has implemented or scheduled for implementation a number of these strategies, including the review of publicly held lands that abut rail line properties to address any required fencing repairs.
I would like to commend Denise Davies who brought these issues to Council earlier this year, as well as staff and our stakeholder partners in this initiative. The development of this process will be used as a template for other municipalities.
Interim Control Bylaw for the Roseland Community
The City has been conducting Character Area Study for two neighbourhoods – Roseland and Indian Point – as part of the Official Plan Review. The purpose of the study is to develop planning tools to manage neighbourhood character issues in established residential areas that are under pressure to be redeveloped.
As a result of community concern about prolonged implementation of the character area study’s findings regarding the Roseland Community, Council approved the recommendation for staff to complete and expedite the Character Area Study separate from the Official Plan Review and bring forward the results of the study and any recommended amendments and other planning tools by February 2015. The Indian Point work will continue as part of the Official Plan Review.
With the City of Burlington reaching maturity and approaching build-out, we often have requests to redevelop within mature and established residential neighbourhoods. I believe that we will have to review many of these on a case-by-case basis, making sure that we continue to maintain great and vibrant neighbourhoods while allowing for alternative residential design.
Restaurant Roof Top Patio
A plan has been brought forward for the development of a restaurant that includes a roof top patio in the plaza at the south east corner of Appleby and New Street. A restaurant is allowed as a right in the plaza and the only reason this came to council was because the applicant applied for a rezoning to allow the roof top patio.
A number of residents raised concerns about noise and light pollution and potential parking issues. Council approved the planning application to amend the Zoning By-law regulations on the condition that the site plan for the development be undelegated, meaning the site plan will need Council approval. Both staff and the applicant will be required to advise Council on the steps being taken to address the concerns raised by members of the community. I am satisfied that any concerns about noise and light will be addressed.
I suggest that when we see private investment in local neighbourhoods like this, it is a really good indication that businesses see the opportunities in creating complete neighbourhoods with nearby amenities and services.
The litigation is currently in the discovery stage, with court-ordered mediation tentatively scheduled for June. As mentioned in the presentation, there are three possible outcomes: settlement, court-ordered mediation or a trial.
Council has delegated this matter to our City Manager Jeff Fielding. We have great confidence that Jeff will be able to resolve this issue in the best interest of taxpayers.
It has always been my desire to disclose information about the Pier litigation and legal fees when the timing is right and would not negatively impact the ongoing legal case. I think that people in the community will agree that six years is long enough and the timing for an update on the cost of the legal fees was past due.
Winter Control and Ice Storm Debrief
I believe everyone would agree that we are having a rather exceptional winter so far this year. I cannot remember a winter season with as much snow and cold weather in a long time.
These conditions continue to present some challenges and our Roads and Parks Maintenance crews have been working very hard to ensure that our roads and sidewalks remain cleared, are safe, and up to our approved service standards.
As we are barely into February, I would like to remind everyone to check the Snow Control website for regular updates here during a weather event; additional information on our service standards and a list of FAQs are also available.
It is important to note that residential streets are only plowed after the main roadways have been cleared. During severe and continuous snowfalls, it is sometimes necessary for snowplows to be redeployed back to the main roadways in order to keep them clear of snow. In these situations, residential roads will take longer to complete.
To report an area that has not been plowed please contact Roads and Parks Maintenance: 905-333-6166 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please wait 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling before calling to let us know if your street has not been plowed.
On January 17 I met with 18 other Mayors and 3 Regional Chairs from across the Greater Hamilton-Toronto Area to discuss financial support from the provincial and federal governments to clean up from the ice storm.
Many of the municipalities affected by the storm will be requesting financial assistance to help with clean up. The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate the request and approach to both the province and the federal government for assistance.
Municipalities across the region have incurred collectively over $250 million in costs to respond to immediate public safety issues and the continuation of the clean up after the storm. We are faced with an expensive clean up and a lengthy recovery period.
The meeting was chaired by Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Linda Jeffrey was in attendance. Together the GTHA Mayors and Chairs unanimously supported a resolution to request that the provincial and federal governments fund 1/3 of the full cost of response and ongoing recovery from the ice storm. We requested a response by March 1, 2014. Read about that meeting here.
City of Burlington Debrief
In the short term, we have updated our emergency plan and staff are currently putting together an internal report to address the issues noted during the ice storm.
LaSalle Park Marina
The City is not proposing any changes to the Marina or the Park. The suggestion to build a new wave break and eventually expand the Marina comes from the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA), a private group. This is an example of a Joint Venture Agreement that the City of Burlington also has with other groups (Burlington Gymnastics Club, various tennis clubs and Drury Lane Theatre) that run programs and offer recreation services out of city-owned facilities.
The LPMA has proposed to construct a permanent wave break to shield boats at the marina from significant damage that has occurred on several occasions. The proposed wave break would reduce damage from high winds and improve habitat opportunities at the marina. The City of Burlington recognizes the importance of protecting the environment and all wildlife species that inhabit the LaSalle Park Marina area.
In order to consider any type of initiative in water, an Environmental Assessment (EA) is required to be completed. This is a detailed study of the environmental impacts of a proposed project. The Trumpeter Swans and other aspects of the environment have been considered during the EA process. The EA process for the wave break concluded in August 2013 and work on this project is documented in an Environmental Study Report (ESR) which is available online. The City has provided financial support to fund the EA process that is required for this study.
Currently, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) is reviewing the Environmental Study Report and related comments. Once the MOE has reviewed the Environmental Study Report, staff will report to Council on this project and next steps. So far, we do not know when the review will be completed.
The City of Burlington has demonstrated its commitment to protecting our natural environment and wildlife habitats by taking action to protect our natural environment in areas like Mount Nemo, creating the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark, and advocating against a new Niagara-GTA Highway through rural Burlington. And each spring, the City closes a section of King Road to protect the endangered Jefferson Salamander during its migration period.
Currently, there is no approval for this project, no timetable, and no funding. If approved by the Ministry of Environment, the next step in the process is detailed design of the wave break based on the availability of funding. City staff are working closely with the LPMA to address all concerns. Finally, before any decisions are made, the community will be informed and there will be opportunities for public input.
I have been out to visit LaSalle Park Marina and to see the Trumpeter Swans wintering in the bay. The local ward councillor, Rick Craven, along with City of Burlington staff and consultants have also met with residents on several occasions and at several public meetings to address concerns about the swans. We do not want to harm the swans and have no intention to do so.
I support the proposal to construct a permanent wave break on the condition that the Trumpeter Swans are not harmed. If the project moves forward, the city will not fund it. The City has provided financial support to the EA process to ensure that the appropriate studies and measures are taken to protect the swan’s habitat and our waterfront.
For more information on this project, please visit the city website.
Originally an initiative that came out of this office, Innovate Burlington [IB] is a not-for-profit marketing consultancy here in Burlington whose goal is to stimulate the growth and development of local businesses by connecting some of the regions’ most talented graduates with the local business community. IB recruits graduates from a variety of local business schools and programs to work as consultants on meaningful projects under the direct guidance of experienced mentors.
Businesses benefit from the program significantly by gaining the outside perspective of young professionals who are on the leading edge of creative and strategic thinking.
Since 2012 Innovate Burlington has supported 14 graduates in achieving employment in their desired field. 2014 will be a critical growth year for IB as they expand the program to support 20 graduates per year. More information on Innovate Burlington can be found on their website www.innovateburlington.ca.
I am truly pleased with how this initiative has progressed in the last two years. Providing opportunities for youth to find employment in our community is important to maintaining our vitality as a community.
The purpose of this annual speech is to review the year that has just been complete, outline our current situation, and provide context on where I believe we need to focus our energies to ensure Burlington remains a prosperous and healthy community.
As part of the speech this year, we distributed copies of The Burlington Story. It tells the story of where we’ve been, where we are today and where we’re going. I encourage you to read The Burlington Story and think about how you can play a role in the next chapter.
I would like to thank everyone who attended the event and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce for bringing this to the public forum.
I recently sent a special email regarding Insight Burlington. To-date, we have registered over 300 residents as part of this online panel and we will continue to grow this list until we reach 5,000.
If you are interested but have not signed up, I encourage you to do so and participate as part of this important panel.
To get started please click on the link below and complete the short survey. It should take you no more than 6 minutes.
Insight Burlington will provide an easily accessible way for you to engage and provide your thoughts and comments on issues and subject matter affecting your city.
I have spoken often about the uniqueness of Burlington’s geography and the fact that we maintain a 50/50 urban and rural split.
I believe this is a very special characteristic of Burlington and one that contributes significantly to the quality of life that we enjoy.
The City of Burlington, along with several partner organizations have developed the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System with a vision to develop a park system that will be known internationally as a protected, permanent and connected natural lands sanctuary from the Harbour to the Escarpment that promotes an ecosystem and human health within Ontario’s Greenbelt.
The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is four times the size of Central Park in New York City. As I mentioned in the State of the city Address, this was a significant accomplishment for 2013 and Council recently authorized additional funding in order to facilitate senior government legislation.
On February 19, 2014, I invite you to join me at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre for the first Inspire Burlington event for 2014, where Dr. David Galbraith, Head of Science, Royal Botanical Gardens, will describe for us the beauty and significance of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. This event is free, open to the public. We do ask you to register your attendance online or by calling 905-335-7607. Seats are filling up quickly so please register today.
Information about Election 2014 is available online, including a list of registered candidates which is updated regularly, along with information on how to vote. I will continue to make myself available for any potential candidates to chat about life as a member of Burlington City Council.
Most importantly – I hope you will ensure your voice is heard on October 27, 2014.
Open Door Session
On February 19 from 3 to 4:30 pm, I will be hosting an Open Door session. Please feel free to drop by. Check in with reception and my staff will meet you in the lobby. This is an opportunity for a one-on-one conversation with no appointment necessary. As we often have several residents arrive at once, we hold these sessions on a first-come, first-served basis.