December 2012 Progress Report

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December 17, 2012

Last month I began linking both the upcoming committee agendas and the City Committee Highlights to my monthly progress report to facilitate quick access for you to view the issues being addressed and the resulting decisions by Council. I have received good feedback on this and will continue to make this one of the first pieces in my reports.

Council Decisions

December has been another busy month as we completed our final city Council Meeting for 2012 on December 10, and our final Regional Council meeting on December 12.  The last cycle of Committee Meetings for the City addressed many items.

Development

A Public Meeting was held regarding a new townhouse development at 2072-2102 Ghent Street. This development is for 58 townhouses on what were eight residential lots. The area is zoned residential and the Official Plan designates this area as mid-density. A four storey senior’s residence was considered at one time for this development site but there was concern about the height.

No decisions have been made. The local residents expressed considerable concern over water management and overflow into Rambo Creek. This will be looked at very closely by City staff prior to their report back to Committee and Committee will have many questions on this issue.

Employment Land

Committee received the Draft Phase 2 Report on Employment Lands. We are being very careful with our employment lands to ensure that we have a long term supply. With our decision not to encroach on the rural lands and to restrict development below the Dundas/407 corridor, we have to work with the land we have available. Committee could not fully consider the decision on IKEA’s relocation to the North Service Road without first doing this work.

Committee will consider the IKEA decision in January 2013.

Enbridge Pipeline Report

Committee received a report regarding an application by Enbridge to reverse the flow of pipeline 9a. Pipeline 9a runs from Flamborough to Montreal. This pipeline was built in the mid-1970’s and became operational in 1976. The pipeline currently flows from Montreal to Sarnia, providing crude for refinement, and has done so since 1997. Prior to 1997, the pipeline flowed from west to east. Market conditions and supply dictate the best directional flow.

City Manager Jeff Fielding and I met with a representative of Enbridge. The information provided was provided to staff in preparation for the report.

At first blush, there is little controversy on this issue. There is, however, an additional consideration. It is possible that this line reversal will allow Canadian oil to reach eastern Canada for supply to reduce our need for foreign oil. It is additionally possible that this oil could be shipped via pipeline from Quebec to the US. This has significant economic and geopolitical impacts.

Environmental groups have expressed concern that as a result of this reversal, the Canadian oil being shipped through the pipeline will be “oil sands product” which may have properties different from standard crude and that these differences present additional risk.

The most important step on this matter is to be fully informed. We have asked Enbridge to delegate to Committee in the New Year.

All decisions related to the pipeline are national in nature and the National Energy Board (NEB) is fully responsible for decisions in this area through the National Energy Act; Enbridge has applied to the NEB for the flow reversal.

We will be submitting comments and questions to the NEB regarding the application and more specifically regarding all potential risks that might be increased as a result of this decision. The City will consider its actions after submitting this request to the NEB and the resulting response from NEB.

We may also consider a motion to request that the province conduct an independent Environmental Assessment (EA) for submission to the NEB.

The public can comment directly to the NEB. Please follow this link for further information.

Bike Lanes for Lakeshore Road

A report to consider adding bike lanes to Lakeshore Road was referred and will be considered in January. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Please share your thoughts with a comment below.

Taxes for the Humane Society

Council approved waiving past due taxes on the Humane Society. The Humane Society had been advised that they were tax exempt in 2008; however, subsequent review determined that this information was incorrect.

Council will review a report in the New Year to determine the Humane Society’s tax status moving forward. Under our current guidelines, the SPCA would be exempt but the Humane Society is not. There are additional issues which may or may not make it in the Humane Society’s best interest to be tax exempt.

Region Council approved Burlington’s request to waive the regional portion of the tax on December 12, 2012.

Other City Business

Region Tax Update

The Region approved tax rates for 2013 on December 12, 2012. The tax rate is in two portions – Police and Regional Services. Regional Services increase by zero%. Police increase by 2.3% for an overall increase of .8%.

The average $350,000 home will incur taxes of $807 for Regional Services in 2013 which is the same as 2012 and $458 for Police Services which is a $10 increment from 2012.

The impact of the 2013 Rate Supported Budget (Water and Wastewater) will be an increase from $778 to $815 based on average annual consumption of 274 cubic metres. This is a 4.8% increase.

Community Engagement Charter

The Community Engagement Charter was delivered to Committee. There was over two hours of dialogue on the Charter and the Action Plan included.

Committee has referred this to a meeting in January much to the Citizen Committee’s disappointment. Many members, including me, were concerned by a number of aspects of the proposed Charter. There is still work to do and I am fully confident that we will have a completed Charter in the next few months.

I would like to thank the Charter Team Citizen Committee for their work and to particularly recognize Gloria Reid and Steven Surya for their delegations which were very passionate and compelling.

Leash Free Pilot

Council has authorized the Director of Parks and Recreation to pilot leash free times in certain park locations. The idea is that certain parks are suitable for leash free activity at certain times of the day. This would not result in fenced in areas.

The sites have not been specifically determined yet and more information will follow from Parks and Recreation.

King Road Separation

The final tender has been authorized to complete the King Road work. A significant milestone was achieved in October with the insertion of the underpass during the Thanksgiving weekend. This was a significant engineering achievement and I congratulate staff. By the fall of 2013, King Road should be fully complete and rerouted through the underpass.

Office of the Mayor Information: 2012

 This has been a very busy year. We have made progress in a number of areas:

  1. The Pier construction has been well managed and we are almost there. Staff advised Committee that we should expect the Pier to be open in June 2013.
  2. The agreement with Joseph Brant Hospital was reached and the province is moving forward with the much needed redevelopment.
  3. The City and Region committed to support the clean-up of Randle Reef and we expect to see some meaningful decisions in 2013 with a major announcement before year end.
  4. We completed several parks in North Burlington and our new Alton public library and community centre are underway. We also approved the re-development of Mountainside Park Arena which will take place in 2013.
  5. We formed a sub-committee to work with the City of Hamilton on mutually important issues. This currently includes Randle Reef and Economic Development opportunities. I’d like to thank Councillor Craven for his efforts on this.
  6. A number of important activities took place this year and we will see the results in 2013.
    • The Downtown Taskforce will report on the work they have done to update the community vision for downtown.
    • Our Community Energy Project team will report on the work they have done to create a baseline report on Community Energy which will allow us to start and set long term goals.
    • The Beachway Park review is underway and we will receive a report with recommended actions in 2013. This has been an area of interest for some time and needs clarity for all.
    • Staff has begun implementation of Results Based Accountability and has implemented a new business plan approach to service areas.
    • We have dramatically slowed the growth of costs at City Hall as we assess our future.
    • Two meaningful technology projects are underway to dramatically upgrade the public’s access to information at City Hall. We expect to see many of these projects fully implemented in 2013.

Inspire Burlington

I would like to thank everyone who attended the Inspire Burlington speakers series in 2012. We had four very successful events:

  • Ken Greenberg – City Building: A New Convergence
  • Chris Crowley – Younger Next Year
  • Dr. Samir Sinha – With Respect to Old Age
  • Senator Art Eggleton – Income Inequality: The Great Divergence

I will be hosting four more events in 2013, beginning on February 28 at 7 pm at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre. Dr. Pamela Blais, author of Perverse Cities and Principal of Metropole Urban Planning will be my guest. Dr. Blais’ areas of expertise include urban planning, hidden municipal subsidies, efficient versus inefficient built form, and market-oriented tools to encourage more sustainable development. I would suggest Dr. Blais’ comments are going to be very timely as we continue with our official plan review.

I have also launched an Inspire Burlington section on my website and invite you to visit for upcoming speakers and past event information.

State of the City Address: January 24, 2013: Burlington Convention Centre

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Mayor’s State of the City Address on January 24, 2013 at 7:30 am. Tickets are available from the Chamber through their website or by calling 905-639-0174.

A copy of my speech will be available online after the presentation. The speech will also be available on TVCogeco.

 

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office should you have any concerns or comments. Have a happy and healthy holiday season and I look forward to continuing to communicate with you in 2013.

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8 thoughts on “December 2012 Progress Report

  1. Follow up: Lakeshore Road Bike Lanes

    Thank you very much to all those who shared their views on this issue with me.

    At the January 28 City Council meeting, we will be reviewing the proposal approved by the Development and Infrastructure Committee. I have heard from many residents on both sides of this issue. After careful consideration, I will NOT be voting to support this pilot project proposal for bike lanes on Lakeshore Road.

    As Mayor, I have to consider how decisions will affect all residents of the city. I am supportive of the City’s long term plans for cycling and active transportation and the many groups who are dedicated to promoting active living and sharing the road.

    This year we will continue to work on our Official Plan review and start work on a new Transportation Master Plan. This will be an opportunity to assess and plan for our long-term transportation needs and active transportation options. I encourage you to participate in these discussions.

    Thank you for your input on this matter. I appreciate all of the comments and feedback.

    • On behalf of the Burlington Place Resident’s Association and all 241 residents who signed our petition thank you Mayor Goldring for showing the leadership that this great city of ours deserves.

  2. The Roseland Community Organizatio (RCO) is not in favour of the elimination of the turning lane (some of whom are weekend cyclists.) It was disappointing that only Ms. Meed Ward and Mr. Sharman voted against this. For anyone who lives in or adjacent to Lakeshore Road, it is quite evident that it is difficult enough accessing our neighbourhood or Lakeshore Road itself. Lakeshore residents will experience similar frustrations. There is already an existing Bike Path along the north side Lakeshore. This will create difficulties for Emergency Services Vehicles and physicians trying to access the Hospital. We believe this proposal is not in the interests of the public at a whole (16,500 motorists versus 115 cyclists per daily average.) While cycling is an important recreational activity, it should not be at the expense of commuters/residents who travel this route daily. It is believed that this increased inconvenience will likely result in diminished safety as a result of frustration amongst motorists. Our bicycle lanes are frequently grossly underused. It is not too late for the Mayor and Council to reverse this decision. I encourage all who have issue with this to register as a delegation prior to the January 28th ratification.

  3. Bike lanes in principle are good however – it snows in Canada and present snow clearing in Burlington – banks snow blocking the bike lanes – as well Burlington allow bike lanes to be used as parking – see the Fairview (east of Appleby line) example where there were bike lanes put in however the lanes are often blocked by cars and trucks who use the lanes for parking – the parking is not illegal and confirmed by by-law the lanes can be blocked for temporary parking. Burlington needs to step back and look what the purpose of the lanes is and how they can remain bike only. Please noted that a line a paint does not prevent cars – which I have experienced – going into the bike lanes – please see Fairview + Appleby Line example. Burlington needs to put laws in place – also – the city has an excellent path system – see Centennial path however – remains deep in snow and ice and not usable by bikes – to supplement lanes – the paths must be used – its not just about converting streets to bike lanes but making use of all the resources that we have in place

  4. I think the trial should go ahead. It is an opportunity to test the dynamics – we’ve seen lots of opposition to creating bike-lanes when traffic lanes are lost, yet the majority seem to function fine. Traffic is fluid and adjusts to the situation, whereas cyclists have no real option along this important waterfront trail. It’s ride on the road in traffic, or take the bumpy and dangerous sidewalk/trail that crosses roads, driveways, etc. putting cyclists in danger.
    This seems to be a one-time opportunity to run the test. If it fails miserably, then go to plan B. But we will never know if it would work without trying it.

  5. With respect to the bike lane issue, i wholeheartedly support this measure. Right now the way the street is configured, cyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized methods of travel have to share a multi-use pathway. Transport Canada studies have shown that such facilities are actually more dangerous for cyclists than riding on the road without bike lanes at all. It is also uncomfortable for pedestrians to have cyclists weaving around them.

    Encouraging more people to ride bicycles is exactly the reason we need this. If only 1% of our trips are taken via cycling, that represents a vast potential to increase the number of people served by our transportation system at very low cost. Adding a bike lane here costs $40K, adding a car lane $9.5 million. So if we want to increase the ability of our citizens to get around, the former represents a much more fiscally responsible approach.

    As far as gas taxes go, don’t get me started. Based again on Transport Canada data, motorists are subsidized to the tune of $13.9 billion annually in Canada, mostly by property taxes which are also paid by non-drivers. Gas taxes do not even pay for half of the cost of maintaining and building roads, not to mention all of the other externalities caused by motor vehicle use – pollution, land use impacts, parking subsidies, noise, accidents and health costs. With the bicycle, the external impacts are mainly positive.

    Look to the example of Portland, Oregon…for the cost of one mile of freeway or 1% of their total road budget, they built an entire bicycle network that increased the share of cyclists by 7% of the population. While that pales in comparison to many European cities that consciously decided to promote cycling, it illustrates that by providing safe and comfortable infrastructure, that citizens will adopt it. Other cities in North America such as New York and Minneapolis have also seen similar impacts. Even the ill-fated Jarvis St. reconfiguration saw triple the bicycle volumes and increased safety for ALL users after bike lanes were installed.

    Lakeshore Road is part of the City’s overall Master Cycling Plan. It would be the height of foolishness to derail these carefully laid out (and frankly, unambitious) plan because of a few negative comments. Cycling represents the most fiscally conservative way to add capacity to our transportation system, and we should be proud to be a city that is willing to invest in safe and convenient cycling infrastructure. Thank you.

  6. At a time when there does not seem to be enough taxpayers dollars to go around, I have to say that I would oppose spending
    some of those dollars on trial bike lanes on Lakeshore Road. Especially with the figures given in the report showing that less than 1% of traffic on lakeshore are bicycles.
    Taking out the centre lane (turn lane) which is there to help increase safety for 99% (cars) of the traffic on Lakeshore to help the 1% (bikes) seems to me to be a case of the tail wagging the dog. Especially when you consider that the 1% (bikes) do not pay through gas taxes for the upkeep of the road in question.
    I am a car driver & also a bike rider but this proposal seems nothing but a money water to me.

  7. Rick,
    Regarding Lakeshore Road bike lanes I’m not in favour. There is just too much traffic and personally neither Gerry nor I wouldn’t feel safe using these lanes. The bike lanes would encourage more people to ride on Lakeshore Road and perhaps would give some a false sense of security. Kids especially could be vulnerable as they might not be as alert as adults to remain within the lines. From a motorist’s point of view there is now a higher risk of accident either directly with a biker (say from a younger person who is not being careful) or with another car that may have been involved in an accident with a biker.

    One other point about Lakeshore Road. The traffic calming measure to reduce the lanes west of Brant Street (between Brant and Maple to one Lane only is a bad idea. I’m sure you’ve seen the back ups that stretch all the way to Walkers Line sometimes late in the afternoon. It really is stop and go at times all the way to Maple.

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