Coming together at the Burlington Garden in Apeldoorn

 The following is today’s speech by Mayor Rick Goldring celebrating the preview of the Burlington Garden in Apeldoorn.

Good afternoon and Goedemiddag,

I would like to extend warm greetings to Mayor John Berends, Apeldoorn Burlington Committee Chair Jan Koorenhof, Burlington Apeldoorn Committee Chair Charles Minken, Burlington Mundialization Chair Ed Dorr, our citizens, the Burlington Teen Tour Band and our friends in attendance.park8

What a glorious occasion it is to be here today at the preview of Burlington Garden during the 10th anniversary of the official twinning of Burlington and Apeldoorn.

The Burlington Garden is a meaningful initiative for both the City of Apeldoorn and the City of Burlington.

Two years ago, Mayor Berends and I celebrated the groundbreaking for Apeldoorn Park in downtown Burlington. How quickly time has passed, my friend.

Apeldoorn Park officially opened in Burlington in September 2014. It was a special occasion as Apeldoorn high school students were present at the opening.parkapeldoorn

It has many Dutch features, with orange play equipment, benches engraved with tulips, and hundreds of Apeldoorn tulips.

Every time I drive or walk by Apeldoorn Park, I see children playing or seniors sitting enjoying the scenery. Apeldoorn Park is a park that holds a special place in the hearts of our residents.

It is an honour to be here today at the opening of Burlington Garden.park7

I see there are aspects of this site that are truly Canadian, with maple leaves decorating your benches, the walkway and planned maple trees.

This garden embodies the friendship and close bond between the people of Burlington and Apeldoorn.

It is also symbolic of city council’s dedication to the welfare of the people of Apeldoorn, as the garden will be maintained by area citizens and residents of Heeren Loo.

It is beautiful to think that children will be playing in Burlington Garden at the same time as children in Apeldoorn Park.park4

Although we are separated by a vast ocean and hundreds of miles, we are family.

Canadian Forces played an important role in liberating the Netherlands during the Second World War, which forever entwined our countries.

As a Canadian, I am proud of the contributions we have made to your country.park9

I’d like to end with a few lines from a famous Canadian folk song: “Four strong winds that blow lonely; Seven seas that run high; All these things that don’t change come what may.”

Decades after the war left its impact on our countries, one thing that has remained as timeless as the landscape is our friendship.

park10May it always continue to be that way.


Building Burlington: Where to Build in a City That is Built Out – Connecting with you about intensification

Tanya Hendriks - view from Kern Cliff ParkIntensification is a word we use at City Hall and around the community, but I have heard questions about what it means, especially as it applies to Burlington.

One of my priorities is engaging with residents on the topic of intensification.

To understand intensification, we need to understand what is driving our growth.

The Government of Canada has welcomed an average of 250,000 new immigrants per year since 2007.

Recognizing Ontario is a prime destination for many newcomers, the provincial government released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in 2006.

This serves as a tool for municipalities to plan for the projected residential and employment growth of an additional 3.7 million residents and 1.8 million jobs in the Greater Golden Horseshoe by 2031.

As a result of Places to Grow, Halton Region developed the Sustainable Halton Growth Management Strategy to manage growth for the anticipated 780,000 people and 390,000 jobs in Halton by the year 2031.

What does this mean for Burlington?

A key question is: What does this mean for Burlington?

Our population is almost 180,000. The City and Region determined it will grow to 193,000 by 2031.

In a city that is almost built out, where 50 per cent of our city is protected Greenbelt land, the next question is: Where do we grow?

One of the sites slated for intensification is the downtown core. This was established by the province as an Urban Growth Centre.

Our Official Plan also identifies other sites suited for intensification, such as Uptown located at Appleby Line between Mainway and Upper Middle Road.IMG_3307

We are also looking to Urban Growth Corridors, like Fairview Street and Plains Road.

As part of the Official Plan review, we are researching new opportunities for growth in the two provincially-designated mobility hubs, Burlington GO station and Downtown Burlington, as well as the two City-identified mobility hubs around Aldershot and Appleby GO stations.

We are also reviewing intensification opportunities at the city’s aging retail plazas.

It is important to remember why we are building within rather than sprawling out.

Council along with the Province through its Greenbelt Plan has been committed for decades to safeguarding our rural area, which makes up about 50 per cent of the land area of the City of Burlington. We are intensifying within Burlington’s urban boundary because protecting our rural land continues to be a priority.

What makes sense for Burlington?

Two questions I hear from some residents are, “Why do we have to grow? Why can’t Burlington stay the same?”

If we take federal and provincial policies out of the picture, what makes sense when it comes to residential growth for Burlington? Would we intensify regardless of growth policies?

I firmly believe shutting the door to growth through intensification is not a viable option for Burlington.

Since we are essentially at build out, halting residential growth within our urban boundaries means there would be little additional housing stock.

The low supply of housing could further increase residential real estate prices, making it even more of a challenge for our young people moving out on their own or our seniors looking to downsize to stay in the community.

Increased housing prices could lead to a decrease in the number of families in Burlington. This could impact school enrolment.

There could also be an impact on property taxes with little to no growth. Ten years ago we had three per cent assessment growth. Last year, we saw one per cent assessment growth and that is expected to fall to 0.5 per cent moving forward. As a result of a flat tax base, taxes could go up, services could be reduced or a combination of both.Plains Road Mosaic 02

We have the tools to manage our growth in a responsible way – in conjunction with community engagement. Let’s work together to continue to foster a made-in-Burlington approach to growth, creating a sustainable city for generations to come.

Engaging with you on intensification

As a result of a staff direction from city council, the City of Burlington is currently developing a communication program to provide community engagement, dialogue and participation with Burlington residents about why and how we will transition redevelopment in urban areas of the community.

An online survey was posted earlier this month, with more engagement opportunities coming soon.

I invite you to connect with City of Burlington about intensification through upcoming engagement opportunities that are part of our communication initiative. Learn more at:

As mayor, I also welcome invitations from community groups, service clubs or organizations to come speak to you on this issue. Please contact me at or call 905-335-7607 with your requests.

What are some of the benefits of intensification?

  • Makes efficient use of scarce land resources.
  • Is a viable alternative to urban sprawl.
  • Fosters walkable neighbourhoods, decreasing reliance on the car and preventing increased traffic backlogs.Spencer_Ice108-8x12[1]
  • Increases the number of residents in an area, providing the population base for augmented transit service levels.
  • More efficient use of land can impact housing affordability by reducing land component of housing costs.
  • Brings new families into existing neighbourhoods, filling school classrooms and making use of existing park and playground facilities.

State of the City Address 2015


[Check Against Delivery]

How do we define Burlington?

What words can we use to describe the place where we live, the place where we work, and the place where we raise our children?

As Canadians, we often define ourselves by what we are not.

In our case, we are not Toronto. We are not Hamilton. We are not Oakville.

What and who is Burlington? Continue reading

Mayor Rick Goldring, Inaugural Address 2014

Inaugural Meeting 2014-2Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Burlington Performing Arts Centre for the inaugural meeting of the 2014-2018 Burlington City Council.

At this time, I would like to acknowledge some of the special guests that are with us this evening.

  • Burlington MPP – Eleanor McMahon
  • Halton Region CAO – Jane MacCaskill
  • Interim City Manager – Pat Moyle
  • General Manager of Development and Infrastructure – Scott Stewart
  • The Senior Management Team of the City of Burlington

I also want to acknowledge and thank:

  • Hayley Verrall for her great rendition of O Canada
  • The Venerable Dr. Steve Hopkins from St. Christopher’s Church for doing the invocation
  • The Honourable Mr. Justice Dale Fitzpatrick for commissioning the declarations of office
  • The Burlington Concert Band’s Saxophone Ensemble – Sax’nSyn
  • Rob Bennett and the World Renowned Burlington Teen Tour Band
  • Special Keynote Speaker – “Dr.” Ron Foxcroft
  • Staff of the Clerk’s Office and Mayor’s Office for organizing the inaugural meeting tonight.

Continue reading

Helping Build a Stronger Community – Habitat Halton


April 16, 2014

Appeared in the Burlington Post, April 16, 2014

Habitat Halton

You may have read the front Habitat Halton April 2014page story of a recent Burlington Post edition entitled “Habitat Halton hands over keys to 19th, 20th homeowners”.  That article covered an event I attended that was deeply moving and humbling as I watched the longtime dreams of two families become fulfilled, thanks to the efforts of this organization and countless volunteers.

Unfortunately, too many families find this dream elusive. Continue reading