Council Supports Ending The New St. Road Diet

At the Committee of the Whole Meeting last night (November 27, 2017), council supported the Transportation Staff recommendation to convert the existing New Street Road Diet pilot project to the original four-lane section that was in existence before August 2016.  The conversion will take place in the early spring of 2018.

I was initially very lukewarm to this project as it was my expectation there would be significant opposition because of concerns about extended driving times and criticisms of low cycling activity.

As it turned out, I heard the opposition to this pilot project loud and clear in the very early stages. I remember working out at the Burlington YMCA the morning after the decision and boy, did I get an earful!

The full recommendation that was approved last night includes a direction for the staff to include cycle tracks on New Street between Guelph Line and Burloak for consideration in the 2019-2028 capital budget and forecast, along with pursuing a senior level of government funding.

This design option will maintain a four-lane road platform and implement an integrated and connected network of physically separated bike lanes which is my preference. This concept will not slow down traffic and will encourage many people to cycle due to the higher level of safety that cycle tracks provide.

We are in the process of developing a detailed cycling plan for the city that will be complete by spring of 2018 that will focus on the development of a city-wide integrated and connected network of cycling infrastructure. New Street Cycle Tracks will be part of that.I believe that a decision to locate bicycle lanes anywhere in the city needs to implement an overall planned network.

On another point that is related to cycling, I’ve also heard from many residents about the lack of connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists over the QEW.  As a result, I am asking for council support at the Capital Budget Meeting on Friday (December 1) to provide funding for a preparatory work to occur to assure that we are ready to build an Active Transportation Bridge over the QEW when the senior level of government funding becomes available.

I am a supporter of cycling infrastructure that will ensure cyclist safety, form an efficient and well-designed network while recognizing the associated impact on residents’ use of their vehicles.

I want to thank everyone who connected with me about the New Street Road diet. We heard all of you!

Millennial Advisory Committee Talk Development with Builder Jeff Paikin

Guest blog by Mark McGuire and Karl Wulf, Co-Chairs of the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee.

Mayor Rick Goldring’s Millennial Advisory Committee met for their October meeting at the Haber Recreation Centre on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017. The Mayor welcomed those who attended and introduced a local developer for a discussion on residential developments in Burlington.

Election

The October meeting commenced with an election for the Year 2 Co-Chairs. The First Term Co-Chairs Mark McGuire and Chris Ritsma were at the polls against First Term committee members Karl Wulf. The committee members opted to give Karl Wulf and Mark McGuire the mandate for the second year of the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee.

Development in Burlington

The local Developer Jeff Paikin, of New Horizon Homes, came to the meeting to offer insight into a developers mind and the challenges that developers face when juggling the needs and want of buyers. Jeff Paikin offered insight into the difference between a 12 and a 25-storey building while acknowledging the obvious – both are already high enough that no pedestrian will notice the difference from the sidewalk immediately below. Paikin offered further insight into the plan for growth within Burlington, mentioning that the mobility hubs in Burlington will be critical for people movement as the Greater Toronto Area adds 250,000 new residents each year.

Burlington is a desirable community and that makes it hard to be affordable

Paikin pointed out an interesting and seemingly obvious fact, the stress on housing supply has more to do with the number of people seeking to live in this area. As a result of the stress on the housing supply, the demand for land has increased, while supply can only increase at the rate of construction – which are increasingly vertical projects. As single-family detached homes become a less common commodity in Burlington’s downtown, families may look to condos and apartments fulfil the desire to dwell downtown. However, family oriented units tend to be larger – and larger units tend to be the last units to sell due to their higher cost.

Paikin mentioned further insight on the Greenbelt as a long-term policy tool. The Greenbelt will benefit future generations by preventing the large suburban sprawl into a limited supply of natural heritage spaces – forests, rivers, and the escarpment. The Greenbelt also ensures that farmland is not developed.

421 Brant St.

The concluding discussion of the evening was a brief discussion of the development across from Burlington City Hall – 421-431 Brant St. The brief discussion highlighted a few criteria that the Millennial Advisory Committee believe are essential to preserving the civic aura around City Hall.

The Millennial Advisory Committee’s key considerations for assessing the development were based on the 5 criteria that were perceived at this time to be essential to encourage healthy growth in Burlington’s downtown without sacrificing the existing heritage and cultural appeal. The top 5 criteria for emphasis on developments in the downtown are:

  • Emphasize need for Transit (Bus, Walking, Cycling)
  • Emphasize Green Space (Plants)
  • Emphasize Employment Space (Retail and Commercial)
  • Emphasize Family-oriented Units & Design
  • Emphasize need for Parking (Resident, Visitor, and Retail-Consumer)

The committee established a consensus and opted to delegate at the Planning and Development Committee meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, at 7 PM. The result of the Planning and Development Committee meeting was the decision to approve the application of 421 Brant St. Inc. at 23 storeys. Mayor Rick Goldring and Councilor Meed Ward voted against the proposal, citing the height as a concern and the need for more employment space.

Our Next Meeting

The November meeting will take place on Thursday, November 16th , 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Haber Recreation Centre, 3040 Tim Dobbie Drive. This meeting will be focus on upcoming discussions at Burlington City Hall, such as the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel, the New St. Road Diet Pilot Project, and the Bus Transit Schedule. These are important discussions for the future of Burlington.

If you are a millennial trying to get involved! This is a chance for millennials to speak out on the things they think would attract more millennials to Burlington.

Want to get involved?

To apply to be a member of the committee, please email mayor@burlington.ca with the following information.

  • Name
  • Age
  • Primary email address
  • City of current residence
  • Social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • Profession/Student status
  • A 500-word (max.) response to the following question: What ideas do you have for Mayor Rick Goldring’s Millennial Advisory Committee that would help meet its mandate of helping Burlington foster and retain millennial-age residents.

The Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee was created to develop initiatives and provide input on how to keep and attract residents aged 19 to 36 in Burlington. The Millennial Advisory Committee identifies millennials as people born from 1981 to 1998.

Why get involved?

The City of Burlington has the best reasons to get involved with any Committee or Board:

  • meet new people
  • share your talents
  • develop skills
  • address a common interest
  • make a difference in your community

Want more information?

Read the Summer Update from Term 1 Co-chairs Chris Ritsma and Mark McGuire. You can keep up to date on the news from the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee by visiting Burlington.ca/millennials.

For more information about the committee, contact the Office of the Mayor at  mayor@burlington.ca.

 

November 2017 Update

 421 – 431 Brant Street Rezoning Approved

Monday night, at the City Council meeting, the members of council voted 5-2 in favour of rezoning 421-431 Brant Street to allow for a proposed 23-storey mixed-use condo building to be built across from City Hall.

The Building would include 169 residential units, office space on the second floor and ground floor retail.  You can read the detailed staff recommendation here.

I was one of the two who voted against the proposal.

I want to thank the residents who took the time out of their busy lives to share their insight and delegated on Monday evening.

Proposed New Official Plan Open House

Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan is out for public review.

It contains additions, deletions and modifications to the draft new Officiall Plan that was released in April. Our staff received feedback from agencies,stakeholders and the public that guided in producing the new proposed OP.

We continue to ask for your input.  Please join city staff at  upcoming public meetings to review and discuss the proposed new Official Plan.  If you can’t make it ou to the public meetings, you can email newop@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7642 with your questions or concerns.

If you haven’t been following, click here for a refresher on the New Official Plan Project.

2018 Budget Overview

The Financial Overview of the 2018 Proposed Capital Budget and Forecast was presented to the Committee of the Whole – Budget Committee on November 9th.

The 2018 Proposed Capital Budget is approximately $68.6 million with a strong focus on infrastructure renewal projects reflective of the city’s commitment to the asset management plan and the Strategic Plan initiative.

Committee will review the Proposed Capital Budget on December 1, 2017, with Council approval scheduled for December 11, 2017.

The  Proposed 2018 Capital Budget Book is available now for public review.

Remembrance Day

I am proud and moved by the number of Burlington residents who joined me on Remembrance Day to show their love and support to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

We had a larger than normal crowd at the Sunrise Ceremony at the Naval Ships Memorial Monument in Spencer Smith Park.  Brant Street was packed with the young and old who came to pay their respects as our veterans made their way to the Cenotaph.

2017 is a special year of commemoration for Canada, including Canada 150, the 100th anniversaries of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Passchendaele, and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

I am proud and honoured to be Canadian and thankful to all our veterans who risked their lives for our freedom.

Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign

I helped kick off The Salvation Army’s  Christmas Kettle Campaign with Major Bob and three-year-old Zoey this week.

Christmas Kettles are found in over 2,000 locations across Canada and funds donated will support the work of The Salvation Army during the Christmas Season.

Major Bob tells me that he is still looking for up to 100 volunteers to be the Kettle Bell Ringers in various locations across our city.

If you can give the gift of time, it would mean more low-income families will be able to spend Christmas with special meals and presents.

To become a Kettle Bell Ringer, contact Major Bob at 905-630-5212 or sign up online.

What’s Happening Burlington?

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings, as well agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

The next round of committee meetings begin on November 27th.

 

Community Garden Lottery

The City of Burlington had one community garden in 2012 with 30 plots.  Today, there are five community gardens with 167 plots including thirteen raised accessible plots for those with limited mobility.

If you’d like to claim a plot for 2018, submit an application before November 30th and you will be entered into a lottery draw on December 1st.   Good Luck!

Why I Voted Against the 23-Storey Development Proposal

421-431 Brant Street Development Rendering

On November 1st, the Planning and Development Committee approved a Planning staff recommendation to allow the development of a 23-storey building right across from City Hall at the North East corner of James and Brant Street.

The building would include 169 residential units, office space on the second floor and ground floor retail.

The Committee voted 5-2 in favour of this recommendation. I voted against this proposal.

Downtown Burlington is a very desirable area to live and work for obvious reasons.  There are great restaurants, unique shops and amenities including the Performing Arts Centre and proximity to the waterfront.

There are also great places to live, in existing modern high-rise buildings that were built over the last 20 years including 360 on Pearl, the Pearl and Pine Retirement Residence and the Baxter. None of these buildings exceeds 18 storeys.

In my view, our downtown has an appropriate scale of current development that provides an urban intimacy. The proposed 23-storey building across from the City Hall is not consistent with the present scale, and we should not approve it.

The development proposal is not consistent with the new Downtown Mobility Hub Draft Precinct Plan that was presented to council by Planning staff in October.

The Draft Precinct Plan called for a Special Policy Area at the corner of James and Brant that would allow building height of 17 storeys, assuming that certain public benefits could be achieved. I supported that plan and believe that this site is appropriate for a well-designed building that is either mid-rise or up to 17 storeys, not 23.

I understand the rationale for taller and more slender buildings, but a well-developed mid-rise or lower high-rise will fit the scale and form the character of our downtown that many residents have asked us to maintain. Planning staff have stated that a larger, wider and shorter 12-storey building can house the same amount of residential, office and retail space that the proposed 23-storey building would contain.

Our downtown, South of Caroline, can be shaped with well-thought-out buildings that are 17-storeys or lower that provide an inviting, pedestrian-friendly and attractive street.

Brant Street can improve without dramatically changing it.  The focus in our downtown should be distinctive and attractive design, not excessive height.

I am concerned about the negative consequences of this decision. We cannot look at this decision in isolation as there is reasonable planning rationale to mirror the same height and density on the opposite side of James Street.

I am concerned that this proposed development will have a considerable impact on the Draft Downtown Plan and undermine the confidence that residents are being asked to have for the City’s vision for future growth in the downtown.

Burlington City Council will make the final decision at our next meeting in the council chambers at City Hall on Monday, November 13th at 6:30 p.m.

If you’d like to have your voices heard, I encourage you to email the members of the council and me.  You can also register to delegate at the council meeting, which allows you to state your perspective publicly.