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!

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.

 

September 2017 Progress Report

Media Shines Spotlight on Burlington

CBC’s “The Current”

CBC’s “The Current” host Anna Maria Tremonti and producer Kristin Nelson, spent the day in Burlington to talk about how our city is adapting to climate change after being hammered by the flood of 2014.
The show features residents of Burlington and Blair Feltmate from Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.  The episode came together exceptionally well. You can listen to it here.

Metro Morning

The producer of Metro Morning with Matt Galloway contacted my office because they were so intrigued by our Official Plan“Grow Bold”.
Especially the idea that the City of Burlington won’t build another single family home again. We’re building up, not out.  Listen to the full interview here.

 Reality on Transit

At the last Committee of the Whole Workshop, city council received news that our Transit department is operating at a level that will not meet future growth. Simply put, we haven’t made the investment needed to keep up.
Our service lacked reliability. Our maintenance team was unable to keep up with demands. Our transit staff and drivers continue to go above and beyond despite the lack of funding.
The message is loud and clear. We need significant investments in our Transit department to support a key pillar of our Strategic Plan. A City that Moves.
A report will be coming out ahead of budget schedule on how we can stabilize our system, and we’re taking this opportunity to review our entire Transit operations to make sure it meets the needs of current and future residents.

Mobility Hubs

We continue to collect public opinion on the four Mobility Hubs planned across Burlington. DowntownAldershot GOBurlington GO and Appleby GO.
I’ve attended many public meetings to listen to what residents have to say.
What do they think of the proposed concepts? Likes? Dislikes? There are a range of opinions dependent on a number of factors. Our younger residents are very supportive of more urban development while older residents prefer more traditional suburban development.
The next step on Downtown Mobility Hub is the Committee of the Whole workshop with the city council that will feature a presentation by our staff. That meeting is Thursday, September 28th at 1 pm.
I also encourage you to attend the Appleby Go Mobility Hub Concepts Public Open House on Wednesday October 11th at the Appleby Ice Centre.
No matter where you stand on the issue, your opinion is being heard and considered.

Waterfront Hotel Planning Study

On Thursday, September 14th, two community workshops were held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.
The public had the chance to study the preferred concepts for the site followed by small group discussions.
At these meetings, an emerging preferred concept was introduced along with the three original concepts used for the public survey. You can view the presentation here.
We are asking Burlington residents to continue engaging with us through this process. This is your city, your waterfront and your opinions matter. Staff will be delivering their recommendations in November. Stay tuned!

We Are An Engaging City

This is a proud moment for the City of Burlington. We have been named the Organization of the Year for being An Engaging City!
The award was handed out this month byInternational Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and it recognizes our mandate to consult and engage with residents in all matters. As one judge put it “Employees now ask how to engage — not whether”
Congratulations to the city staff, my colleagues on council and to the residents of Burlington!

Milton Logistics Hub Consultation

Canadian National Railway(CN) has chosen Milton as their preferred location to build a new logistics hub.
Currently, they are undergoing an environmental assessment to assess the project’s potential environmental and socio-economic effects.
From September 18 to October 31, CN will be consulting with Halton Region residents about the proposed mitigation measures to reduce the effects of the Milton Logistics Hub on communities and the environment. Further information about the proposed Project and the fall consultation period is available at cnmilton.ca.

Love My Hood Block Party

Have you hosted your Love My Hood event this summer?
My neighbourhood had ours this month, and it was fantastic! Our organizer Mary managed to pull out all the stops.
We collected over 3800 canned goods for the Burlington Food Bank. Our goal was 2500. They estimated that our donation was worth over $10,000!  Thank you Fortinos for giving us a head start on donations.
I also wan to thank Dairy Queen, The Coop Wicked Chicken, Turtle Jacks and Frat’s Cucina who donate their time and food for the event.

What’s Happening Burlington?

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.
The next found of committee meetings begin on Monday September 25th.

First day of fall arrived Sept. 22! As we welcome fall, another round of great festivals and events are in the works! Take a look at our calendar for all the events in your area.

Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040

Strat-Plan-CoverI am pleased to share that after almost a year of collaboration between the community, City Council and city staff, Burlington’s 2015-40 Strategic Plan is ready for review and will be going to council early in the new year for final approval.

This strategic plan marks a departure in Burlington’s history as it looks forward 25 years, rather than the next four years as is the norm in many municipalities.

Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-40 will guide this council and future councils in their decision-making by encouraging common goals and planned investment. This plan is a result of year-long engagement that saw input from residents, businesses, community groups, city staff and members of Burlington City Council.

There are four key strategic directions outlined in the new strategic plan:

  • A City That Grows – The City of Burlington is a magnet for talent, good jobs and economic opportunity while having achieved intensification and a balanced, targeted population growth for youth, families, newcomers and seniors.
  • A City That Moves – People and goods move through the city more efficiently and safely. A variety of convenient, affordable and green forms of transportation that align with regional patterns are the norm. Walkability within new/transitioning neighbourhoods and the downtown are a reality.
  • A Healthy and Greener City – The City of Burlington is a leader in the stewardship of the environment while encouraging healthy lifestyles.
  • An Engaging City – Community members are engaged, empowered, welcomed and well-served by their city. Culture and community activities thrive, creating a positive sense of place, inclusivity and community.

Short-term implementation plans and medium-term policy documents, like the Transportation Master Plan and Official Plan (5-10 year renewal), will complement the long-term policy of the strategic plan.

We want to know what you think of the city’s new strategic plan. Is the draft plan in plain language and easy to understand? Has the plan captured what’s most important to you about living in Burlington? Is anything critical that is missing? To view the strategic plan, visit www.burlington.ca/strategicplan or request a copy by contacting strategicplan@burlington.ca or 905-335-7600, ext. 7378.

The city is hosting four open houses on the Strategic Plan in December and January:

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015
Haber Recreation Centre
3040 Tim Dobbie Dr.
Community Room 2
7 – 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016
Robert Bateman High School
5151 New St.
Cafeteria
7 – 9 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016
Burlington Public Library – Central Branch
2331 New St.
Centennial Hall
7- 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016
LaSalle Park Pavilion
50 North Shore Blvd. E.
Main Hall (upper level)
7 – 9 p.m.

If you are unable to make the open houses, starting January 4th, please give your feedback online at www.burlington.ca/strategicplan. You are also welcome to email strategicplan@burlington.ca anytime with your feedback or questions.

As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me by phone at 905-335-7607, email at mayor@burlington.ca, on Twitter at @RickGoldring and on Facebook at Rick Goldring.

Note: A shortened version of this column will appear in the January edition of Snapd.