Building Relationships With a New Federal Government

Photo by Ottawa Tourism

Photo from Ottawa Tourism


Yesterday’s federal election saw a changing in the guard, with a Liberal Party majority led by Justin Trudeau.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Trudeau on his party’s historic victory. I also want to offer my congratulations to Burlington MP elect Karina Gould and Oakville North-Burlington MP elect Pam Damoff. I look forward to meeting with you both at the earliest opportunity to discuss how we can work together to foster a vibrant and prosperous Burlington.

I also look forward to continuing to work with Milton MP Lisa Raitt, who I had the chance to get to know during my first term as mayor. Congratulations on your re-election, Lisa.

Mike Wallace, who was defeated in a close race, also deserves our sincere appreciation for his many years in public service. Mike has served Burlington with distinction as a city and regional councillor, as well as our MP since 2006. Thank you for your commitment to our city, Mike. I know that you will continue your commitment to Burlington in a different way going forward.

I also want to recognize every candidate who ran in Burlington and the surrounding ridings. It is a significant undertaking to run for political office, especially at the federal level. I know firsthand the commitment it takes to knock on doors and prepare for all-candidates’ meetings. You have done your communities a service by putting your name, and importantly, your ideas, forward for a better city and country.

Looking forward, there are important discussions that need to be had between municipalities and the new Liberal federal government. As Chair of the Large Urban Caucus of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, I look forward to serving as a spokesperson on a number of key issues affecting our communities.

Some of the many topics I, as Mayor of Burlington, will be looking to make progress in partnership with Mr. Trudeau and his government include:

  • Infrastructure and transportation: Long-term, sustainable, predictable and reliable federal funding that flows year in and year out and will allow us to eliminate our infrastructure deficit within a generation. While municipalities are very appreciative of federal gas tax funding, we need additional meaningful and predictable federal funding that will assist municipalities in addressing infrastructure and transportation needs, lessening pressure on municipal taxpayers.
  • Economy: All leaders at all levels of government want our economy to be strong and growing with the highest possible employment and productivity. We will be looking for financial investment in an advanced manufacturing hub in Burlington, bringing jobs to our city and bolstering the local economy. During the election, Stephen Harper announced a re-elected Conservative government would create a new advanced manufacturing hub in Burlington. We respectfully request the Liberal government be receptive to investigating an investment in this initiative.
  • Social Housing: We are seeking a commitment of federal funding for social housing. This is a significant issue that needs that needs to be addressed. Investments in housing are also effective at stimulating economic growth and employment.
  • Climate change: We would like to see Canada become a leader by taking action on climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. As a City, we have developed a Community Energy Plan, among a list of other environmentally-sustainable initiatives. We are also looking to the new government to help protect our communities from the challenges of climate change and grow the economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure.

I am also buoyed by the voter turnout in yesterday’s federal election. More than 68 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in Canada, which was the highest turnout since the 1993 federal election. According to Elections Canada, the voter turnout in Burlington was 73 per cent and 69 per cent in Oakville North-Burlington. Democracy functions best when we take the time to become engaged, especially during elections.

What issues are priorities to you? Please connect with me at to share your ideas on joint municipal-federal initiatives you would like to see our governments foster. I look forward to hearing from you.

Finding the right balance in the Roseland Character Area Study

An aerial view of Roseland.

An aerial view of Roseland.

The Roseland Character Area Study is nearing its completion, with the fourth public consultation meeting held last night.

The city’s planning staff has outlined a list of proposed changes to the city’s Official Plan and zoning bylaw for the neighbourhood of Roseland, which consists of approximately 115 acres and 300 dwellings.

The five proposed changes listed in a brief prepared by city staff on the Character Area Study for Roseland and Indian Point include:

  • Develop Official Plan policies to protect and manage development in Character Areas.
  • Prepare amendments to the Zoning By-law for Roseland and Indian Point to reflect the existing housing stock.
  • Maintain the Site Plan Control By-law for Character Areas.
  • Develop an Urban Design Brief to evaluate Site Plan, Minor Variance and Consent applications in Character Areas.
  • Co-ordinate opportunities to plant trees on public rights-of-way as part of the Urban Forestry Management Plan.

Further details of proposed amendments within each of these five changes encompassing such aspects as setbacks, building height and lot coverage are outlined in the brief.

I know Roseland well. I grew up in the neighbourhood, so I have firsthand knowledge of its unique status and character as one of our oldest communities within Burlington. I know the people living in this neighbourhood want to preserve its uniqueness and charm.

My desired outcome of the Character Area Study is to provide the city’s planning staff with additional considerations when assessing the merits of applications for development from homeowners and developers in Roseland.

Last night, I heard from residents that the proposed directions do not go far enough compared to what was suggested in the consultant’s report. I heard the request for staff to reconsider legacy zoning. I heard the concerns about clearing vegetation and houses from lots before making applications to sever. I heard the request for a private tree bylaw – even if it starts out as a pilot project in the Roseland neighbourhood.

I have long believed a private tree bylaw would help control tree removal.

Unfortunately, there was not enough support from city council in 2013 for moving forward with a bylaw. Only I and a another member of council supported a staff direction in 2013 asking for options for a private tree bylaw. I look forward to a renewed discussion on this topic in the coming weeks.

Our planning staff also heard you last night and will be considering your suggestions.

As I stated last night, I believe our building and planning staff have been diligent throughout the process to find the best solution. It is not easy to create a balance between the need for growth and the community’s desire to stay the same. It may not be possible to arrive at a balance that satisfies everyone in the community – difficult choices will have to be made.

Staff will consider community feedback as they prepare the final report, which is expected to go to the Development and Infrastructure Committee in late March or early April.

At that time, it is ultimately up to city council to approve, modify or refuse the study recommendations.

In regards to the Indian Point study, our staff is continuing to communicate with the community about its preferred options. I have heard there is a strong will from the majority of residents in that neighbourhood to maintain the current Official Plan and zoning bylaw.

Written comments on the Character Area Study can be emailed to planner Rosa Bustamante at by Monday, February 9. I welcome to you also share your thoughts and feedback with me at

More details can be found on the city’s Character Area Study webpage.


LUMCO invitation to Party Leaders

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), of which I am a member, invited Premier Kathleen Wynne, Leader of the Official Opposition Tim Hudak, and Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario Andrea Horwath to meet individually with the LUMCO membership, requesting that they, or their representatives, present their party’s Provincial Platform on the issues facing Ontario’s Big Cities.Large Urban Mayors' Caucus of Ontario

LUMCO’s key priorities for 2014 include gridlock and transit issues, the rising cost of emergency services, and job creation in Ontario. LUMCO Chair Mayor Jeff Lehman spoke for all Mayors’ when he indicated that the organization is working to advance the issues facing the majority of Ontarians in our large Cities. This Provincial election campaign provides us the perfect opportunity to find out where the leaders stand on our key priorities. We remain cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the important issues of infrastructure, transit and job creation will remain on the Provincial agenda, regardless of the election outcome.

A press release resulting from last Friday’s meeting is posted on my blog indicating where the parties have or have not addressed the issue put forward at the LUMCO meeting.

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) represents 67% of Ontario’s population with Mayors of 26 communities over 100,000 residents. LUMCO advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.

Burlington Airpark: December Update – City gets legal advice on Airpark’s appeal


Airpark Updates:

Burlington Airpark environmental report report

Burlington Airpark Environmental Report

As you know, over the last 5-6 years, tens of thousands of truck loads of fill have been transported onto the Burlington Airpark site for the apparent purpose of expansion and enhancements to the existing services offered at the airpark.

These activities have raised a number of questions by both neighbours, residents and the city, including questions about the quality of the fill being dumped.

Test Results

On July 15 City Council received a report from Terrapex Environmental on test results of the fill at the Burlington Airpark. The results have been shared with the public and are available online. A summary of the test results is available in the press release issued: “Burlington City Council receives environmental report on fill material at Burlington Executive Airport
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Burlington Beachway Park: Update from Regional Council


November 4, 2013

Burlington BeachwayBurlington Beachway

Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park
is one of three of Halton Region’s waterfront parks. Burlington Beachway Park is classified as a regional park, and is jointly governed by Halton Region, Conservation Halton and the City of Burlington.

The City of Burlington is committed to protecting the Beachway, an environmentally significant area of the city, while respecting the rights of the existing residents.

(Read more about the City Council meeting here: “Burlington Beachway Park: Update from City Council”)

As a result of the Halton Regional Council decision on October 23, the city will continue working in partnership with the Region of Halton and Conservation Halton to deliver a detailed park design, master plan and an environmental management plan for the area.

Halton Regional Council Decision

On October 23rd, after much discussion and deliberation, Halton Regional Council supported the motion (Regional Council NO. 09-13):

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