July 5, 2013
Upcoming Committee Meetings
- Development and Infrastructure Committee: July 8, 2013
- Budget and Corporate Services Committee: July 9, 2013
- Community Services Committee: July 10, 2013
- City Committee Highlights from June 28, 2013
During several meetings with both Council and the Regional Council, the Burlington Airpark has been a topic of great discussion and contention. We have heard from many residents who live near the airpark regarding the impacts of the Airport’s expansion program currently underway – impacts to both the neighbouring properties and the local environment.
Over the last 5-6 years, tens of thousands of truck loads of fill have been transported onto the airpark site for the apparent purpose of enhancing and expanding aviation activity. The negative impact to residents in the area has been significant. There are many unanswered questions including: what are the airport’s long term plans, are there any issues with the quality of the fill, is there any impact on the wells in the area, how long will the fill operations continue? There has been much media attention on this issue:
- City Hires Lawyer in Airport Dispute
- Leaders speak out against Burlington airport expansion
- Airpark neighbours call on government for help
- Media Release: City moves forward with legal strategy regarding Burlington Executive Airport construction
This is a challenging situation as there are complications with jurisdiction that remain unresolved.
Council has taken a firm stand on this issue, including resolutions by both Burlington City Council and Halton Regional Council. Staff have also prepared a report to Council regarding this issue and will continue to work with local residents and representatives from the Airpark.
I have also initiated correspondence with the Honourable Linda Jeffery, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour and MP for the area, the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastrcture and Communities and the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment to request assistance with lobbying the Federal Ministry of Transportation to develop a process to allow municipalities to have input on airpark land filling operations and expansion plans through the use of permit and site plan applications to maintain the integrity of our local environment and the impact on neighboring residents.
This situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible and we need to continue to work to protect our rural area.
To read more, Update: Burlington Airpark.
Downtown Parking Changes
On July 2 Council approved several changes to downtown parking operations. These include:
- free parking for the month of December and on Saturdays
- increase of on-street parking to three hours
- installation of pay-and-display parking machines that can accept a variety of payment methods (such as credit cards)
- an increase of 25 cents an hour to all downtown municipal parking spaces.
Several of our local downtown businesses appeared as delegates in support of these changes.
Taxi Scrip Alternative Program
Burlington Transit’s Taxi Scrip program was discontinued in May. Several residents had unused taxi scrip coupons. As a result, a full refund be provided to residents who have unused taxi scrip coupons. Refunds will match what people paid for the coupons, such as $24 for a book. Refunds will be by cheque or transfer to a PRESTO card. PRESTO cards are issued right away and cheques are sent by mail.
Residents can contact Burlington Transit for refunds and transfers, available until end of day September 30, 2013.
Brant St. Pier
On June 14th we officially opened the Pier with a recognition ceremony that included our funding partners, the contractors involved in the project, staff and the seven children who left their handprints permanently on the Pier.
Then on June 15 during the Sound of Music Festival, we joined together again with the public to celebrate.
I am extremely pleased that we are now enjoying this destination highlight at Spencer Smith Park. I have heard wonderful, positive feedback from many residents and visitors alike.
We are still working through the legal aspects associated with the Pier. At the June 18 Budget and Corporate Services Meeting, Council received a memo from the City Solicitor and Director of Legal Services, regarding the five lawsuits related to the Pier.
- Read the Staff update.
Transportation Master Plan
One of the most prevalent issues I hear about from residents is traffic congestion on city and regional roads as well as area highways. Burlington, like so many other suburban cities and towns, was developed based on cheap land and cheap oil. As a result of the design of the city, cars are seen as a necessity for all those who can afford one.
In Burlington there are approximately 120,000 cars based on 1.7 cars per household. We have a labour force of about 90,000 people of which 50% work in Burlington and the balance commute outside of Burlington. We also have an influx of about 45,000 people into Burlington each day for work. The vast majority of commuters use their cars.
On top of the auto trips that are work related, there are all the other trips that occur each day including driving our children to school and other activities, shopping, visiting friends and personal appointments. Fifty percent of the trips are for less than 5 km, and thirty percent for trips less than 2 km.
In addition, because of our location, there is a tremendous amount of cut-through traffic with people attempting to avoid congestion on the QEW, in particular during the morning and afternoon peak periods.
While Burlington is only expected to grow by 15,000 – 20,000 people in the next 20 years, we are also being proactive in attracting new business to Burlington and hope to have 29,000 new jobs in Burlington in the next 20 years. We are right in the middle of the Greater Golden Horseshoe area which is expected to grow by 1.8 million people in the next 20 years which will create even more traffic, with some of that impacting Burlington.
We have also made it clear to the Province of Ontario that we do NOT want a highway to cut through North Burlington. As a result of all these factors, it is imperative that we do a review and update of our Transportation Master Plan.
The TMP will create a 20 year shared vision and strategy to achieve a complete transportation network. This plan will be used to ensure that our transportation networks (roads, sidewalks, etc.) and services can accommodate our future growth.
Staff hosted an initial meeting for the Technical Agency and Stakeholder Advisory Committee on June 20th. Presentations from the meeting are available online. The meetings introduced the Transportation Master Plan, discussed the role for both the technical and stakeholder committee members and set out key milestones for the project.
If you would like to be a part of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, please email email@example.com.
Western GTA Summit
On same theme of Transportation I joined the Mayors of Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Caledon, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills and Barrie along with residents, business leaders and experts at Western GTA Summit in May.
Our goal was to start a discussion about the big issues facing the cities of the Western GTA and about the kind of region we want to live in and more importantly, what we need to do to make this vision a reality. The roundtable and townhall sessions highlighted that the residents of the Western GTA want the Big Move Transportation Plan implemented as soon as possible; and what we need now is political leadership and above all else, action.”
A report from the summit will be released over the next few weeks as to next steps online at westerngta.ca
Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan
We are currently undergoing a review and update of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan. This document has been in place for many years. Many of the current beach residents have expressed concern over the long-standing goal of public ownership of the remaining private holdings that exist along the beach strip. There is a need for certainty of direction regarding whether the homes should stay or go.
Councillor Rick Craven has held meetings with many of these residents in addition to hosting a meeting with Conservation Halton Regional and City staff. The Halton Region Waterfront Parks Advisory Committee receveived a Comprehensive Background Report on Burlington Beach and recommendations about the Beach are expected to be presented to Council in September.
Conservation Halton’s (CH) board of directors voted 6-6 at its meeting on two recommendations that the region continue its acquisition policy of the remaining 30 Burlington Beachway homes, as well as add a timeline and dedicated funding. As a result of the tie, the recommendations failed. CH staff will continue working with the city and region on the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan, developing a strategy to address encroachment issues following a decision around the residences, and creating an environmental management plan as part of the master plan to guide the restoration of the park.
There has been a tremendous amount of discussion in the community about the idea of a Private Tree Bylaw being implemented in Burlington.
Our staff have done an excellent job creating opportunities for input on the broad issue of trees as well as the potential for a Private Tree Bylaw.
The report for Development & Infrastructure Committee discussion is available online. At this point, there will be no decisions made at the July 8 meeting. The final decisions coming out of this report will be made in the fall.
Staff will provide an update on the Private Tree Bylaw Feasibility Study at the July 8 at the Development and Infrastructure Committee Meeting. This will include the results of the survey that has been available online for the past several months. The results of the public consultation are available online.
This has been a very controversial issue with many people strongly supportive of a private tree by-law, with many people also strongly opposed to the idea.
I will continue to keep you informed on this issue. Please continue to share your thoughts with me.
Plains Road Corridor Functional Design
On June 26, a public meeting was held in Ward 1 regarding the Plains Road Corridor Functional Design web site. Presentations were given and are now available online. There are 3 presentations as well as copies of the display boards and the plans. It is vitally important to facilitate the continuation of the transformation of Plains Road from a suburban highway to a vibrant urban main street.
Community Energy Plan
The City of Burlington has been working with Burlington Hydro and other stakeholders to produce a community energy plan that will help the city identify areas where conservation and efficiency measures can be focused; assess the potential for local generation, particularly renewable energy, and the utilization of smart grid technology; and look at the energy implications of future growth and prosperity.
The initial phase of the process included the data collection for energy usage in Burlington from a number of industry resources to undertake energy mapping exercise, illustrating relative energy use by buildings throughout the city, and correlating with municipal assessment building data.
The Community Energy Plan includes information on current conditions, opportunities and constraints, proposed goals, objectives and actions, and a high level implementation plan. There are five areas of focus in the plan with associated goals.
- Behaviour change – a culture of conservation
- Energy efficiency
- Energy generation and security
- Improve land use and growth
There are objectives for each goal with a number of specific actions for implementation. Proposed energy reduction targets are also provided for consideration.
The implementation plan provides information on timing, lead organization, and resources required. Council will receive the Draft Community Energy Plan on July 8 at the Development & Infrastructure Committee for community engagement and feedback process.
The community will have the opportunity to review the draft Community Energy Plan and provide feedback to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Public consultation will assist in refining the Community Energy Plan so that it is truly a ‘made in Burlington’ plan. Committee will report back to Council in the 4th quarter of 2013 with a final document.
I am very pleased with the committees’ work so far and that we are creating a ‘made in Burlington’ plan that will focus on a sustainable, renewable and economical approach to community energy.
On September 25, Brent Gilmour from QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow) will speak about Community Energy Plans at Inspire Burlington at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre. More information and online registration will be available in August.
The current owners of Village Square have put the property on the market. In preparation for any change to that site, staff prepared a Cultural Heritage Assessment report for the three heritage buildings that are on the Heritage Property Registry within Village Square.
The recommendations included in the report are that all three units meet the criteria for heritage designation and should remain on the Municipal Register.The report also recommended that a conservation strategy should be initiated that will keep these units in place with some repair and restoration of their historic elements.
Village Square is a unique venue in downtown Burlington and any new development at that site must maintain the unique qualities and feel that Village Square has had since it was built.
Development Projects: Update
A number of developments continue to be proposed for the City in many wards. Some of the larger developments include:
- A residential apartment building complex at the southesast corner of Dundas Street and Sutton Drive
- A medium-density residential development of 19 street townhouses at 561 Wedgewood Drive
- A 176-unit, eight-storey apartment building for seniors at 3260-3306 New Street.
Development applications for all Wards can be viewed online.
Many members of Council attended a media event to promote the Bridgewater project, just east of the Waterfront Hotel where the Dairy Queen and Riviera Motel used to be. This project has been talked about for over 25 years and in 2006, approval was given for a landmark development on our waterfront. Significant additional height and density were granted in order to have an eight storey 4-star hotel along with an open central plaza with direct access to our waterfront trail, in effect, extending Spencer Smith Park further to the east.
The project will be a 340,000 square foot development which will include two condominiium buildings, one 22- storey and one seven-storey, along with the 8 storey, four-star hotel and 11,000 square feet of retail space. There will be 170 condominium units expected to house 300 people and 152 hotels rooms and suites. Mady Development is the contractor on this project. Renderings of the project can be viewed on their website.
Thanks to Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who has been working behind the scenes on some of the issues, ensuring that this project will go ahead in as timely a manner as possible.
Burlington’s Community Report
Burlington’s 2013 Community Report was distributed to all local residents in June. This is the first annual report that provides an update on the progress of the city’s strategic plan. The report is also available online and there are several videos connected to the report that I encourage you to watch. The first one illustrates with great simplicity the financial challenges of a city and the second one highlights some unique Burlington moments.
Office of the Mayor Information
Fostering Economic Development Relations with German Water Companies
This past June 1-6, I traveled to Germany with Kyle Benham, Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) for an economic development trip. It was a productive, whirlwind trip.
The purpose of the trip was to participate in the German Water Partnership, a conference of approximately 300 water technology businesses from across Germany and to meet with several Germany head offices with local operations in Burlington. Canada has been an attractive location for German companies, and Burlington is a good fit with the skill set of our residential base – a fusion of engineering and business management talent. The BEDC Investment Attraction Strategy has identified advanced manufacturing and water/wastewater technology as a focus area for future investment attraction.
Read more and watch a video from the economic development trip, here.
I’m very pleased to be hosting three more Inspire Burlington events this fall:
- September 25 – “Community Energy Planning” with Brent Gilmour from QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow)
- October 24 – “22nd Century Community Engagement” with Angus Reid, Chairman of Vision Critical and Angus Reid Public Opinion
- November 20 – “Creative Cities” with Trevor Copp, Artistic Director of Tottering Biped Theatre and Jeremy Freiburger, Cobalt Connects
I would like to offer my congratulations to the 33 new Canadians who took their oath of citizenship on July 1 at Spencer Smith Park.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office should you have any concerns or comments: 905-335-7607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org