January 2016 Progress Report

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in January, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

15-578-MO-State-of-the-City-Blog-Header-1000x288

State of the City Address 2016

Burlington must grow differently as the city approaches build-out of its urban areas and as the city continues to protect valued green spaces. We are one of the first municipalities in Southern Ontario to stop sprawl and instead grow in place, something that many other municipalities will be faced with in the next decade or two.

I was pleased to deliver this message as part of my annual State of the City Address on Jan. 28 to a Burlington Chamber of Commerce audience of more than 400 people.

Burlington is built out with very little room left for traditional greenfield suburban-type development. Fifty per cent of Burlington is rural, agricultural, natural greenbelt and the vast majority of people I talk to want to keep it that way.

The centrepiece of my message was the nearly-complete Strategic Plan for the City of Burlington. After more than a year of collaboration between the community, City Council and city staff, the strategic plan is nearly done, with city staff making revisions based on the feedback provided in December and January. The completed document goes to City Council for approval this spring.

There are four key strategic directions outlined in Burlington’s new strategic plan including: i) A City That Grows ii) A City that Moves iii) A Green and Healthy City iv) An Engaging City. These themes were highlighted in an accompanying video entitled ‘Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040’.

The strategic plan is the 25-year blueprint for city-building and will be supported in more detail with the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Corporate Work Plan.

To read the complete speech, visit http://www.burlingtonmayor.com/state-of-the-city-2016/. The video recording is available below of the entire speech.

For the Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, watch below, or to review the draft strategic plan, visit www.burlington.ca/strategicplan.

For the Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040 video or to review the draft strategic plan, visit www.burlington.ca/strategicplan.

City of Burlington’s 2016 Budget Approved

The City of Burlington has approved the 2016 operating budget with a 3.14 per cent increase in the city’s portion of property taxes, which will result in an overall property tax increase of two per cent when combined with Halton Region and the boards of education, or $17.10 per $100,000 of home assessment value.

Highlights of the approved budget include:

  • The base budget increase of 1.28 per cent is aligned with inflation (Toronto CPI 1.86 per cent) which is consistent with the Long Term Financial Plan objective of competitive property taxes.
  • The base budget maintains the $4.8 million contribution towards the Joseph Brant Hospital reserve fund to meet the city’s $60 million commitment to the redevelopment project.
  • A 1.44 per cent increase dedicated to the renewal of the city’s infrastructure.
  • An additional $20 million in funding has been provided to accelerate roadway renewal needs over the next four years.
  • An additional $20 million of funding has been provided over the next 10 years for surface water drainage projects.
  • $613K in funding (0.43 per cent) to increase service levels in areas such as winter maintenance and storm water management.
  • For those that qualify, the Senior’s Property Tax Rebate has increased from $450 to $525 in this budget.

There are many competing demands for city tax dollars as well as an urgency to find efficiencies and minimize tax rate increases. We have tried to balance all the city’s needs, prioritize them and forecast with great thought and care to deliver a responsible budget that serves everyone.

Budgeting is about planning and meaningful investment. I believe we must provide quality services while maintaining property taxes at a reasonable and affordable rate.

While some would prefer a smaller increase, I believe the overall tax increase is reasonable with strategic investments in services that are essential to keeping our city up and running, as well as fostering Burlington as one of the best communities in Canada in which to live and work.

Your Tax Dollar 2016

Pre-Budget Consultations with MPs

Following the election of a new federal government last October, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comes into office with a lengthy list of platform commitments to implement that have important implications for the financial and social well-being of Canadian cities.

These commitments are in the areas of public infrastructure, rapid transit, community and social services to name a few.

The pending federal budget is the principal vehicle by which the government will reveal its plans for the roll out of these and other policy plans. In anticipation of the budget, I recently met with our two government MPs, Karina Gould (Burlington) and Pam Damoff (Oakville, North Burlington) to put forward Burlington’s needs from Ottawa in these areas. This was followed by another meeting hosted by Halton Region that included Lisa Raitt, MP (Milton) where a similar discussion took place about needs at the regional level.

Upcoming Event: Inspire Burlington Feb. 11, 2016

My Inspire Burlington Series and the City of Burlington presents guest speaker Brent Toderian – city planner and urbanist with TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, former Vancouver chief planner and president of the Council for Canadian Urbanism.

Thursday, February 11, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium 680 Plains Road West.

Hear Brent Toderian talk about why cities should grow up through infill rather than out through sprawl. A Question and Answer session with Brent and myself will follow the presentation. Please join us for this unique opportunity to hear Brent’s ideas for creative, vibrant city-building.

Free admission. Reserve your seat by emailing mayor@burlington.ca or calling 905-335-7607.

Inspire Burlington Feb2016

Report on Character Area Study

The Development and Infrastructure Committee will consider the recommendations in a staff report on the Character Area Study for the Indian Point and Roseland neighbourhoods at its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The report highlights the findings and recommendations of the Character Area Study for these two neighbourhoods. The Character Area Study formally started in January 2013. The purpose of the study is to identify and define the character area components of Roseland and Indian Point and to develop policy and implementation tools to manage neighbourhood change.

At the same time, the implementation tools will be used to support the long term stability of Indian Point and Roseland neighbourhoods as stable residential neighbourhoods. Based on the findings of the study, staff has established four general directions for the Character Area Study in the areas of policy, process and implementation.

The report is available on the City’s website: http://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/studies.asp. Scroll down to “Character Area Study” and click on “Additional Information”.

While I do believe the recommendations in the report have some merit, I will not be taking a firm position until I have had the opportunity to hear from interested residents. I encourage those interested to review the report and provide your feedback. Your comments can be sent to mayor@burlington.ca and planner Rosa.Bustamante@burlington.ca.

Bridgewater Development 

bridgewater-render-2[1]

The site of the Bridgewater development will see increased activity in the coming months as construction gets underway.

The Bridgewater site is located south of Lakeshore Road between Elizabeth Street and Pearl Street at 2042, 2048 and 2054 Lakeshore Rd. The property was previously occupied by a motel and an old Dairy Queen, with both buildings having been removed.

The development features three mixed-use buildings:

  • 22-storey condominium building with approximately 100 residential units and 1170 m2 of ground floor commercial space
  • seven-storey tall condominium unit building with approximately 50 residential units and 750 m2 of ground floor commercial space
  •  eight-storey hotel with 130 hotel units and units and 855 m2 of ground floor commercial space

The development will also feature a large, publicly-accessible courtyard with a water feature facing the lake. The courtyard will connect directly to an extension of the lakefront promenade by way of a grand staircase.

I have heard from some residents concerned about the height and density of the project. I understand their concerns.

It is important to note the height of this building was previously established in our Official Plan for more than 20 years as the landmark building in downtown Burlington.

In regards to possible traffic issues, with the walk-friendly nature of downtown, we expect the residents of these buildings, as well as hotel guests, will choose to walk to shops, restaurants and services, rather than drive, for the majority of their trips.  New residents living downtown will help our downtown businesses with increased customers.

It is also important to note our downtown core is identified as a key centre for additional residents as a provincially-designated Urban Growth Centre.

Burlington has run out of our traditional greenfield land for development. In order to preserve our more than 50 per cent rural area, meet moderate growth targets, support our low density stable residential neighbourhoods, and maintain competitive tax increases and a vibrant community, adding buildings within our urban boundary (south of Dundas Street-407 corridor) is our preferred option.

I’ve heard people say “We don’t want to be Toronto.” I agree. We want to be Burlington and foster residential growth in strategic places – the areas around our GO stations, downtown Burlington, the Plains/Fairview corridor, Uptown and our aging retail plazas. We anticipate 80 per cent of our city’s neighbourhoods will see little to no change with good planning. When combined with community engagement about how and where we grow, we can continue to build a great city.

Syrian Refugees in Burlington and Halton

Refugees from Syria are beginning to arrive in Burlington where there are fourteen sponsorships in progress. Arrangements for housing are still being made for some of them. While the emigration of thousands of refugees from Syria is primarily an initiative of the federal government, the City of Burlington is facilitating these efforts at the local level through management of a webpage  https://burlingtonactionsyria.recovers.org/ created to connect sponsors of refugees with Burlington’s many generous donors of goods and services.

I strongly encourage sponsors and donors to make use of this resource as the most efficient way of connecting refugees with goods and services being made available.

Persons or organizations wishing to donate goods, services or personal time are reminded to use the online webpage that has been created for this purpose.

Upcoming Event – Open Door Session with Mayor Goldring

16-039-MO Open Door Ad

I invite the community to connect with me at my next Open Door Session on Saturday, February 20 from 10 a.m.-noon at Burlington Mall, 777 Guelph Line. I will have a table set up in the mall near Shoppers Drug Mart.

Please drop by, or email to reserve a time, to share your comments and ideas about Burlington. For more information, please contact the Office of the Mayor at 905-335-7607 or email mayor@burlington.ca.

Grant from the Green Municipal Fund for the City of Burlington

The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and Raymond Louie, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Acting Mayor of the City of Vancouver, BC, recently announced a grant of $162,250 from the Green Municipal Fund for the City of Burlington, ON.

The grant supports a study that will determine whether an integrated district energy system — a centralized heating and cooling facility serving the community — would be more energy efficient and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions than using individual systems for each building. Additional study costs will be covered by the city and Burlington Electricity Services Inc. Burlington is working hard to become a smart energy community with the support of our local community partners and agencies. We are looking forward to seeing the results of this study.

Learn more about the Community Energy Plan at: http://www.burlington.ca/en/live-and-play/community-energy-plan.asp.

New Customer Service Features Added to Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit is pleased to announce two new customer service features: automated schedule times by phone; and bus stop announcements and on-board visual displays.

Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, transit users will be able to call 905-639-0550 with their bus stop ID number to hear upcoming scheduled bus arrival times. The bus stop ID number and phone number can be found on bus stop signs across the city.

The second customer service feature is the automatic bus stop announcement system and LED visual display unit in all city buses. Passengers can now hear and see each stop as they travel along a route. This feature is now operating on all city buses.

Investing in transit and encouraging people to use alternate transportation are steps towards achieving our goals of keeping Burlington moving, sustainable and green. Public transit is a key service in a city that moves.

With the phone system upgrade in February, the arrival time information given to the transit rider will be the scheduled arrival time. In late spring 2016, the rider will be able to call to get actual, real-time bus arrival information.  By summer 2016, transit riders will have access to a variety of new web and mobile-friendly tools to access transit information. Both new features are part of Burlington Transit’s larger Smart Transit System project.

It is important to note there may be a temporary phone service disruption on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 as the new phone feature is installed.

DeGroote Women’s Professional Network

I was pleased to join the launch of the DeGroote Women’s Professional Network at the Ron Joyce Centre on January 19, 2016.

The DeGroote Women’s Professional Network is committed to the advancement of women in business and society through continuing learning and professional development, networking opportunities, mentorship platforms, and philanthropic initiatives.

The Network brings together current and emerging female leaders from across the DeGroote community in support of the mission of the DeGroote School of Business.

This collective of passionate and collaborative women openly welcomes students, alumni, academics, community members, and corporate partners from a diverse set of backgrounds.

Donation to Reach Out Centre for Kids from a Citizen of Itabashi, Burlington’s Twin City

ROCK Cheque Presentation

Through the concept of mundialization, connecting Burlington to the world, a citizen of Itabashi, Japan, made a donation of ¥445,000 ($4,755) to support the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK).

I had the pleasure of attending a cheque presentation ceremony on Feb. 1 at the ROCK facility on Pearl Street joined by Councillor Blair Lancaster, Joanna Matthews President of Strategic Planning, ROCK; and members of Burlington’s Mundialization Committee. The donor, Japanese philanthropist Mr. Taroo Enomoto, has made a donation to Burlington for the past 27 years, was not able to attend.

Through the City of Burlington’s Mundialization Committee, Burlington is twinned with Mr. Enomoto’s home city of Itabashi, Japan. Mr. Enomoto also donated the rhododendrons at Paletta Lakefront Mansion in 1997 and has donated more than $30,000 towards important causes in Burlington over the past 27 years.

Nominations Open for Burlington’s Best

Burlington's Best

We need to recognize and celebrate our residents and groups who go above and beyond for their community or cause. These are the people who are working to be the change they want to see. They are working towards a better Burlington and doing it on their own free time.

Nominations are now open. This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.  Visit www.burlington.ca/best to nominate someone deserving of civic recognition for their hard work, compassion and dedication. Nomination forms can be completed online or by picking up a nomination form at the clerks department at City Hall, 426 Brant St.  Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 19, 2016.

There are seven categories of Burlington’s Best:

Citizen of the year

A person whose volunteer activity has made a significant and sustained contribution to the vibrancy and wellbeing of the Burlington community

Junior Citizen of the year

A high school student, 18 years or younger who has made a significant contribution to the Burlington community

Senior Person of the year

A person, 55 years or older who has advocated on behalf of seniors and/or made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.

Environmental Award

An individual or group that improved and/or protects Burlington’s environment

Arts Person of the Year

An individual who has contributed to the arts in Burlington as an artist, patron or advocate including but not limited to, visual arts, media arts, musical arts, performing arts and literary arts

Community Service Award

An individual or group whose volunteer activity has contributed to the betterment of the Burlington community

Heritage Award

An individual who has demonstrated a commitment to the preservation of Burlington’s heritage, and has volunteered their time in an effort to support the preservation of Burlington’s heritage

To learn more about Burlington’s Best Awards, visit www.burlington.ca/best.

Burlington Unveils Mountainside Public Art Installation 

The City of Burlington, through its Public Art Program, is inviting residents to celebrate the unveiling of public art installation at Mountainside Recreation Centre on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. The public art piece will complement the Mountainside Recreation Centre revitalization project.

Residents are invited to meet artist Simon Frank, followed by a free community skate and complimentary hot chocolate.

Simon Frank was inspired by the natural setting of the facility, and feedback we received from the public.  Residents also shared their memories of the Mountainside community, which Frank included in the piece to help tell the history of Burlington and the area.

The mission of the City of Burlington’s Public Art Program is to enhance the quality of life in Burlington through art. The program strives to bring artwork by both established and emerging artists throughout Burlington.

For more information, visit www.burlington.ca/culture and www.burlingtonpublicart.com.

Join Insight BurlingtonInsight-Promotion-Social

The City of Burlington is looking for residents to become a member of the Insight Burlington panel. This is a valuable tool for residents to tell city staff, the mayor and council your opinions on a variety of important issues. Members will be asked for their input into city decisions through interactive surveys and questions. Please consider joining and serving as a voice for your community. Visit www.insightburlington.com for more information or to sign up.

Burlington Spring Live & Play Guide Now Available 

The City of Burlington has released its Spring Live & Play Guide to recreation, sports and culture programs online and in print.

The Spring Live & Play Guide is the City of Burlington’s guide to recreation, sport and culture programs and events offered throughout the city. The online Live & Play Guide allows residents to view available activities and register for programs directly. The online guide is mobile-friendly and allows pages to be easily searched. Program information can be shared through email and social media.

Registration for Youth, Swimming, Skating, Individuals with a Disability, Music and Student Theatre programs is now open as is registration for March Break and Summer Camps. Registration for Fitness, Adult and Senior programs begins on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 9 a.m.

For details on how to register, see page 115 in the guide or visit www.burlington.ca/play. Printed copies of the guide are available at City Hall, 426 Brant St., Burlington Public Library branches or any city recreation centre.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *