Be a part of Burlington’s future through the strategic plan update

Waterfront small pictureThis column appears in the April 17, 2015 edition of the Burlington Post.

Residents often ask me how they can become involved in the future of our community.

I believe one meaningful way is through our strategic plan.

Our strategic plan determines where our city will be going over the next four years and in the future, how we will get there and how we will know if we were successful.

I am asking you to be engaged in updating our strategic plan for 2015-2018.

The process involves a review of the city’s vision and the setting of priorities and goals.

Our online and telephone surveys are complete, but there are more ways to get involved. The workbook for planning the future of Burlington is available until April 26.

The workbook can be found online at or you can call 905-335-7600, ext. 7378 to have a copy mailed to you.

There will also be an opportunity to weigh in when the draft plan is presented publicly.

The strategic plan for 2011-2014, entitled Burlington, Our Future, featured three strategic directions, including vibrant neighbourhoods, prosperity and excellence in governance. More than 4,000 people participated in the creation of that plan through various engagement opportunities.

I believe we made great progress on the priorities and goals set out by the city in that plan.

I would like to highlight just a few of our many achievements.

To foster vibrant neighbourhoods, we renovated Centennial Pool and the Mountainside Recreation Centre, are completing our Community Trails Strategy and are on track to add more than 40 kilometres of bike lanes between 2009 and 2015.

We made strides in prosperity with the reorganization for the Burlington Economic Development Corporation, complete with an updated strategic plan and clear key performance indicators.

We have also worked towards furthering excellence in governance with new and improved online customer service initiatives, focused infrastructure investment and a service-based budget in 2015.

What goals will be set in our updated strategic plan? Connect with us at

Connect with me by phone at 905-335-7607, on Twitter @RickGoldring and on Facebook at Rick Goldring.

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Become engaged in Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2018


I am asking you to become involved in the future of Burlington by engaging in the process of updating our strategic plan for 2015-2018.

The strategic plan sets priorities for the future and builds on past successes. Citizens often ask me the best time to get involved in city planning. The strategic plan update, along with our Official Plan review, which are both currently underway, are two such opportunities.

There will be many ways to get provide input for the strategic plan in the coming months.

Currently, there is an online survey through Insight Burlington. The survey will be available until midnight on March 9.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to complete this survey and share your views about our city.

For more information on the strategic plan and the upcoming ways to get involved, visit

If you would like to receive email updates from the city on the strategic plan, please email or call 905-335-7600, ext. 7378.

We are stronger when we work together.

Turning on to the environment and turning off your engine

Anti-IdlingCouncil and the City of Burlington are committed to sustaining the quality of life that we have come to know and enjoy in our community. One of those key factors is protecting and enhancing our environment. The importance of the natural environment was identified in the city’s strategic plan where over 4,000 community members participated in its development. The vision of the plan titled Burlington, Our Future is “where people, nature and business thrive.”  Within our corporation, we have staff dedicated to our environment – Burlington’s sustainability team. I invite you to learn more online about how we are reducing our impact on the environment and how you too can do your part to reduce your impact .

One of the priorities I would like to focus on is air quality.

Vehicle idling can have a dramatic impact on local air quality; when idling vehicles are present, pollution levels rise. And poor air quality has a dramatic impact on our health and well-being; it can trigger asthma and other breathing difficulties for many people.

Poor air quality has also been linked to cancer as announced recently by the World Health Organization. As reported on CBC, the WHO has declared that air pollution in our cities is the most important environmental carcinogen, equating it with tobacco smoke and UV radiation. More and more information is being released about poor air quality and the effects on our health. In a recent National Post article, exhaust fumes have been shown to increase the risk of heart failure.
Continue reading

Cultural Action Plan: Building a Creative Community

The Burlington Community Foundation recently released the second edition of Burlington’s Vital Signs – an annual check-up that evaluates Burlington as a place to live, work, and play by identifying trends that are critical to our quality of life. Included in that report are survey results that indicate 76% of residents said culture is “essential” or “highly important” in their daily lives.

Culture means many things – painting, writing, music, museums, public art, landscapes, streetscapes, memorials, sport. Culture can build our identity and community pride, improve the quality of life for all, engage people of all ages in our environment, and help us to embrace our diversity.

I have read a number of books and articles in recent months, particularly as we work through the process of creating our own Cultural Action Plan. Universally, they state that progressive communities need to integrate social, cultural, environmental and economic policies into the long-term plans for the city.

Gord Hume , in his book Cultural Planning for Creative Communities states that Cultural planning and “becoming a creative community means protecting our unique heritage properties, having a throbbing downtown core, being appealing to entrepreneurs, and generating new wealth. It means being a ‘Smart Community’. It means respecting the environment. It means being innovative and progressive as a community. It means having ‘buzz’.” Continue reading

Burlington ‘Vital Signs’ Report

Last summer I asked Halton Social Services to put together a meaningful summary of what is happening in Halton and Burlington. For the most part, I was able to confirm the issues that I see and hear about every day. No matter how successful we are as a City and as a Community, there will always be those looking to catch up.

This is not a futile exercise. People move up the economic ladder through opportunity and education. Sometimes, society has to provide that support network so that survival is assured and opportunity can be taken advantage of. Many of us live with privilege that we take for granted and we simply don’t see the challenges that others face.

The Burlington Community Foundation has just released its first Burlington Vital Signs 2012 Report. I invite you to take a look. Burlington is one of the very best places to live for about 85% of the residents; but  many others struggle just as they do in any community.

Although always a struggle, the many volunteers and contributors to worthy causes in Burlington make a huge difference through their efforts, and offer hope and opportunity to the less fortunate. As our community focuses on funding the needed hospital re-development, I am concerned that we will lose sight of those in real need. Meeting the needs of all members of the community is important to our community’s success.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Burlington Community Foundation for taking this step and introducing Vital Signs to Burlington. Awareness of the needs of others is needed so that we can help provide the opportunities required.