The Greater Bay Area Sub-Committee met on Tuesday at Hamilton City Hall. The goal of the sub-committee is to discuss shared issues affecting Hamilton and Burlington as a way to foster stronger cities through co-operation and partnerships.
The sub-committee meets quarterly and currently consists of Burlington councillors Rick Craven and John Taylor, Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Hamilton councillors Lloyd Ferguson and Judi Partridge, along with myself. City managers James Ridge (Burlington) and Chris Murray (Hamilton), along with staff from various departments of both cities attend meetings.
LaSalle Park Update
One of the issues discussed at this week’s meeting was LaSalle Park.
LaSalle Park is owned by the City of Hamilton, but maintained by the City of Burlington. The City of Burlington is looking to acquire the park. Both cities are looking for a fair deal for our taxpayers. Hamilton has been the owner of the park for more than a century. The two cities established a lease agreement in 1983 that sees Burlington pay $1 annually. That lease is set to expire in 2022.
At this week’s meeting, staff reported an appraiser has been hired jointly by both cities. The Greater Bay Area Sub-Committee has asked staff to present a report with the appraiser’s perspective in advance of the next meeting in June. A date for that meeting will be set soon. Staff advised us that, recognizing there will be a difference in opinion, the appraiser will look at the property’s highest and best usage, as well as its usage as park land and as such, present a price range. Staff from both cities will work together to see if there is a number in there that is an appropriate figure, with the possibility of options on how to move forward.
The final decision will ultimately lie with the City of Burlington and City of Hamilton councils. The good news is we have an excellent relationship with the City of Hamilton, and staff is working together on finding a positive outcome. I look forward to seeing the appraiser’s report and further working with Mayor Eisenberger, as well as the city councils and staff of both cities to reach an agreement that is a win-win for both communities.
Regional Transit Connection Update
At the meeting, I spoke about the importance of working with the City of Hamilton to better align our schedules through service by Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) and Burlington Transit. It currently takes approximately an hour by transit from Burlington City Hall to Hamilton City Hall, whereas it is only about a 20-minute drive by car. Considering there are residents of both cities that work, shop and go to school in Burlington and Hamilton, we need to find new ways to get transit riders to where they are going. We also talked about the opportunities around special transit shuttles between our communities for special events, such as Ribfest and Sound of Music in Burlington and for Supercrawl and Hamilton Ti-Cats games. Hamilton staff highlighted examples of existing co-operation, such as working with Burlington Transit around the recent start of roadwork on New Street and related transit detours to ensure its routes were making good connections and people were not missing their buses.
Working with our Federal and Provincial Partners
The Greater Bay Area Sub-Committee agreed there are a number of topics, such as potential cosmetic upgrades (benches, etc.) to the piers on either side of the canal as part of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park revitalization, ownership of Burlington Beach Canal Lighthouse and improved GO Train service, that we would like to discuss further in a joint meeting with our federal and provincial counterparts representing Burlington and Hamilton. Items of discussion will be established by the sub-committee this spring and summer, with the meeting expected to take place in the fall. I look forward to our partners at the federal and provincial levels sitting down with the Greater Bay Area Sub-Committee to move along dialogue on a number of topics.
Bay Area Economic Summit 2016
Keanin Loomis and Richard Allen of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Keith Hoey of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce spoke to the sub-committee about the 2016 edition of the Bay Area Economic Summit on June 21 at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The purpose of the day-long summit is to bring people together to ensure the Bay Area continues to innovate, grow and prosper as a contributor to the Greater Golden Horseshoe and beyond. I was pleased to take part in last year’s summit and look forward to this year’s event. For more information, contact Richard Allen at email@example.com or call 905-572-0363.