June 2015 Progress Report

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Committee and Council Meetings

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

Upcoming Meetings

Development & Infrastructure Committee: Monday, July 6 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Burlington City Council: Wednesday, July 15 at 6:30 pm.

Update on my Five Priorities for Burlington

This January, I set out five priorities I believed we could make traction on in 2015, including: intensification engagement, climate change adaptation, economic development, service based budgeting and the Community Energy Plan.

Climate change adaptation

On May 21, I spoke at a conference of municipal governments on preparing for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. This November, I will be hosting a similar conference here in Burlington. While the insurance industry in Canada is beginning to offer previously unavailable overland flood insurance, there is much to be done by municipal governments and residential property owners in order to mitigate risks from overland flooding that is associated with extreme weather events and our changing climate. The session in Burlington that I will be hosting will bring together speakers with expertise in key areas to help homeowners and our city to learn about and observe best practices available such as stormwater handling capital improvements proposed in Burlington and Halton.

Intensification engagement

I have often spoken about the importance of managing growth in Burlington in order to maintain the qualities that are best about our city – its intimacy, walkability and its natural beauty. In the early days of my second term as mayor, I spoke of intensification — the greater concentration of people living and/or working in a defined area – as the mechanism to best manage this growth and maintain comfortable living standards for present residents while ensuring opportunities and high standards in employment, housing, recreation, transportation and other areas for future generations and new arrivals to Burlington.

In discussions with residents of the city, I am finding increased interest and understanding of intensification.

To encourage further dialogue, I also hosted two Inspire Burlington meetings this spring about intensification, the first on April 28 at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and the second on May 28 at Tansley Woods Community Centre to a smaller but no less enthusiastic group of residents.

The intensified redevelopment and growth in Burlington – downtown and along the transportation corridors – will be thought through carefully and I will NOT support growth just for the sake of growth.

We have the tools to manage our growth in a responsible way in conjunction with community engagement. I will work to foster a made-in-Burlington approach to growth, creating a sustainable, healthy and walkable city for generations to come.

Economic development

The Burlington Economic Development Corporation has projected up to $5 billion in growth over the next five years in the ‘prosperity corridor’ which consists of 3,000 acres of employment land on the QEW corridor between Guelph Line and Burloak Drive. BEDC envisions 30,000 new jobs in this area over the next 25 years.

I am encouraged by the enthusiasm for the plan that was shown by potential outside partners at a workshop hosted by the City in April 2015 where I spoke about the Burlington-QEW prosperity corridor. Transportation will of course be a part of any such discussion so it is no coincidence that the lands in question encompass our mobility hubs adjacent to the Burlington and Appleby GO stations.

Meanwhile, I have initiated discussions with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to address any regulatory hurdles and related to intensification along the QEW corridor.

The Bay Area Economic Summit took place on June 2 at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Given that the RBG straddles the border between Burlington and Hamilton, this was an appropriate setting for a conference highlighting the economic, cultural, environmental, transportation and tourism links between the two cities.

The Summit addressed many common areas of interest including transportation and growth planning, waterfront development, protection of green spaces, creative industries and innovation. In the months and years to come, I foresee much collaboration between our two cities in these areas, led in the short term by the joint Greater Bay Area sub-committee composed of the Mayors, City Managers, two Councillors from each city and senior staff from the two cities.

Service based budgeting

Service based budgeting is now in place for the 2015 budget. Service based budgeting is the allocation of financial resources according to the service provided by the City rather than by department. The overall goal is to ensure citizens are getting good value for their tax dollar. Burlington’s first service based budget was passed by City Council in February 2015. We will continue to fine tune our budget process for maximum transparency and to help staff in providing improved service delivery.

Community Energy Plan (CEP) – Progress Report

The Burlington Community Energy Plan was endorsed by Council in January 2014. The plan includes five goal areas related to Energy Conservation and Behaviour Change; Energy Efficiency; Energy Generation and Security; Land Use; and Transportation. Each goal has related objectives with a total of 55 actions.

Overall implementation of the plan is coordinated by City and Burlington Hydro staff. There are three active task groups overseeing actions related to Energy Efficiency, Energy Generation and Sustainable Vehicles.

Progress has been made on the Community Energy Plan in several areas:

Feasibility Study – Integrated Community Energy System Opportunities

City staff recently submitted a funding application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for funding under the Green Municipal Fund to complete a feasibility study to look at the opportunities of implementing integrated community energy systems in Burlington, such as district energy, renewable energy, and/or energy storage. District heating provides heat for multiple buildings from a single heating plant. Hot water or steam is distributed to these buildings through underground piping. This is an efficient source of energy as district heating systems operate at higher efficiencies than individual heating systems in buildings.

Burlington Hydro Micro-Turbine Cogeneration Demonstration Project:

Burlington Hydro, through its affiliate, Burlington Electricity Services Inc., has installed a portable natural gas micro turbine cogeneration plant at its head office in Burlington as a demonstration project. Cogeneration involves the production of electricity and heat simultaneously from a single fuel source, a more efficient process as the heat produced through conventional electricity generation is generally wasted. The unit produces 90 kW of electricity and sufficient heat for most of the building.

Local Improvement Charges and On-bill Financing

The provincial government has amended the legislation for municipalities to utilize local improvement charges to support energy efficiency initiatives by providing low interest loans to homeowners. Also, the province has directed utilities to consider using on-bill financing as another option to finance home energy retrofits. The Energy Generation Task Group is monitoring progress in these areas by other jurisdictions. Toronto is currently piloting a program and Guelph has one under development.

Renewable Energy

City Council approved a new Municipal Blanket Support Resolution to provide priority points for rooftop solar PV projects in Burlington for the next FIT (feed-in tariff) application process, expected in June. According to information provided by Burlington Hydro, there is just under 4 MW of installed renewable energy in Burlington, implemented through the MicroFIT, FIT, and net metering programs

Sustainable Building and Development Guidelines

City staff members are revisiting the Sustainable Building and Development Guidelines to encourage buildings are built to more sustainable and energy efficient standards. A report will be submitted to council as part of the Official Plan Review later in the year.

CEP Task groups:

Energy Efficiency Programs

Burlington Hydro and Union Gas continue to implement energy efficiency programs for homeowners and businesses for existing buildings and new construction. For instance, Burlington Hydro delivers the saveONenergy retrofit program for businesses, where businesses can earn up to 50% of the project costs. They also deliver the saveONenergy small business lighting program where qualifying businesses can get up to $1,500 in incentives. Burlington Hydro has found that direct calling of customers is the most successful way to achieve uptake of programs.

For those homeowners completing a home renovation project and improving energy efficiency, Union Gas provides up to $2,500 as an incentive to assist with project costs. Union Gas also provides a number of incentives to businesses.

Sustainable Transportation

City staff members are pursuing implementation of two electric vehicle charging stations in the parking garage in downtown Burlington to meet a growing demand for public charging stations. Currently there are some public stations available in Burlington, including Mapleview Shopping Centre, Appleby Village and Burlington GO station.

The City currently supports environmental policies through its official plan, urban forest management plan and community energy plan.

A report tabled at committee last month outlined how the city’s energy management efforts led to a 12% cost reduction in 2014 compared to 2013.

Overall, those efforts resulted in a 460-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, or an 8% decrease. I commend our group of leaders and stakeholders for the guidance that they have shown in achieving these benchmarks.

The Community Energy Plan has a twenty year time horizon, to be reviewed and updated every four years. Data for monitoring community energy usage is based on consumption data from Burlington Hydro and Union Gas.

Burlington City Council Joins the Blue Dot Movement 

Burlington City Council joins the City of Hamilton and nearly sixty other cities in supporting the Blue Dot movement of the David Suzuki Foundation. In 2014, the Foundation launched the national Blue Dot movement asking communities across this country to issue citizens’ declarations of the right to a healthy environment. The movement seeks to enshrine this right to a healthy environment in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


My office has received a number of complaints in recent weeks about coyotes in Burlington. City staff remind us this past spring has been denning season for coyotes and during this time, coyote sightings in the community tend to increase.

“In the spring, coyotes are out actively seeking a den where they can raise their pups,” said Dave Lake, supervisor of animal control. “Coyotes adapt to their surroundings and will look for secluded locations along stream banks, ravines or sandy ridges to use as a den, and often use the former den sites of foxes and groundhogs.”

The city is encouraging residents and pet owners to be aware of the seasonal behaviour of coyotes and to take note of the following safety tips when walking in city parks or green spaces.

  • Keep your pet leashed at all times
  • Do not allow pets to chase, harass or corner a coyote
  • Never feed a coyote
  • Never approach a coyote, its den or pups
  • Dispose of all food items from picnics and cooking areas in designated bins
  • Avoid walking at dusk and dawn, which are high activity hours for coyotes

If approached by a coyote:

  • Stop. Pick up small children and pets
  • Stand still
  • Make yourself appear larger by waving your hands in the air
  • Make noise by shouting “GO AWAY,” clapping your hands or blowing a whistle
  • Use hazing techniques, such as popping open an umbrella, shaking your keys or throwing an object near the coyote
  • Slowly back away. Never run from, or turn your back on, a coyote
  • Share your experience by reporting the coyote sighting to www.burlington.ca/coyote
  • If you feel you are in danger, call 911.

“Coyotes are very timid animals that prefer to avoid humans but they may put on warning displays if they perceive a threat to their pups or den site,” said Lake. “For this reason, I would caution dog owners to keep their dogs on leash at all times.”

To report a coyote sighting, visit www.burlington.ca/coyote or call 905-335-3030. The City of Burlington has posted signs in parks and along trails where coyotes are known to frequent. More signs will be installed as needed.

For more information about living with coyotes, visit www.burlington.ca/wildlife or the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/preventing-and-managing-conflicts-coyotes-wolves-and-foxes.

Sound of Music Festival

The 2015 Sound of Music Festival welcomed some 200,000 Burlington residents and visitors to our city last month for nine days of music and shopping while indulging on a wide variety of food and beverages at Spencer Smith Park and other points across the city. I am asked increasingly about this signature Burlington event when I am outside of the city.

Congratulations to the organizers for another successful event and thank you also to the supporting sponsors and the many volunteers who donated their time.

Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Update

The 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are quickly approaching. Burlington will be a host to a practice venue for soccer at City View Park. The Pan Am 2015 Torch Relay made its way through Burlington and the cauldron at Spencer Smith Park was lit by Olympic and Pan Am Games canoe and kayak athlete Mark Oldershaw at the Sound of Music Festival. The route was led by the Burlington Teen Tour Band. The Burlington Community Torchbearer was Dr. Ashley Worobec.

A second torch relay will be held August 3-7, 2015 for the Parapan Games.The Parapan torch relay will be coming to Burlington on Wednesday, August 5. The celebration site for this event will be Spencer Smith Park. All activities related to the relay will take place in the park and no road closures will be required. 

Live Video Feed

Staff has secured an agreement with CBC to televise the Games live on the video displays at Haber, Tansley Woods and Appleby Arena. We can show live feed of the Games as people are in our facilities for other activities.

Facility Development & Management

City View Park will be utilized as a practice venue for soccer during the games period. During this time from July 5 to 25, TO2015 will have exclusive use of the northwest quadrant of the park, including the three artificial turf soccer fields. 

Traffic management during Games

TO2015 in partnership with MTO has developed a Games Route Network for all venues including game and main practice areas. There are two game venues that will affect the traffic in the city: Hamilton Soccer and Milton Velodrome.

The City has one main practice venue and that is City View Park for Soccer. Transportation Services has met with MTO to review these routes, their potential impact and solutions to manage the traffic during the Games. During this period there will be minor adjustments made to signal timing on Dundas Street and Appleby Line to facilitate travel to venues.

The City is also coordinating traffic management plans with OPP, Halton Region Police and our Emergency Management Office. There will be direct communications with TO2015 and the City of Burlington to ensure minimal negative impacts to traffic, and to respond to any emergency that occurs on the roads during the Games.

Schedule Changes to the GO Transit West Line

GO Transit is reminding passengers of a number of upcoming changes to the Lakeshore West GO Train schedule:

New Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee Looking for Citizen Members

The City of Burlington’s newest advisory committee, the Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee (ITAC), is looking for residents to apply to be a member of the committee.

If you have suggestions on how we can improve transportation in our city, I encourage you to consider a volunteer role on the Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee.  Moving people and goods is something that affects everyone, every day. It keeps our city alive and our economy growing.

The new advisory committee to Burlington City Council will focus on all forms of transportation in the community including pedestrian, cycling, transit and driving (private and commercial).

The committee will meet four times throughout the year with the possibility of sub-committee work between meetings. Terms will vary from one to four years.

Volunteering on a local board or committee is a great way to meet new people, share your talents and input, address a common interest and make a real difference in your community. We are looking for people from across the city who want to make a difference.

Applications for ITAC will be accepted until July 9, 2015. For more information or to apply, visit www.burlington.ca/itac or call 905-335-7600, ext. 7481.

Burlington Vehicle Rescue Team Places First in Ontario Competition  

The Burlington Fire Department’s Firefighter Vehicle Rescue Team recently placed first overall in the All Ontario Vehicle Rescue Challenge hosted by Loyalist Township.

Teams from all over the province, as well as teams from Nova Scotia and Long Island, N.Y., competed in the two-day event that showcased firefighter skills and teamwork in a practical, competitive setting. Vehicle rescue teams use many skills, such as scene safety, vehicle stabilization, extrication and patient care. Live patients are placed into crushed vehicles in various positions of instability to simulate a real vehicle collision. Teams are given 20 minutes to safely get the patients out of vehicles.

The Burlington Fire Department responds to an average of 650 to 700 motor vehicle collisions a year. The vehicle rescue team includes highly trained men and women who use the latest extrication knowledge, training, proven rescue techniques and equipment.

Movies Under the Stars  

The City of Burlington is inviting residents to enjoy free movies under the stars, presented by Tim Hortons, every Thursday night until August 20.

The movies, which were selected by residents this spring via online polls, are shown on 25 by 14 foot outdoor viewing screen and begin at 9 p.m. on each on the following dates:

Thursday, July 9 at Nelson Park: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Thursday, July 16 at Aldershot Park: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Thursday, July 23 at Civic Square: Paddington Bear

Thursday, July 30 at Emerson Park: Big Hero 6

Thursday, August 6 at Kilbride Park: Finding Nemo

Thursday, August 13 at Mohawk Park: Maleficent

Thursday, August 20 at Spencer Smith Park: Home

Rain Date: Thursday, August 27 at Burloak Park. If one of the movie titles above is rained out, that movie will be shown on this date, in this park, instead.

The City of Burlington is encouraging residents bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a night of family-friendly fun. Washrooms and limited parking are available at each park.

For site maps, movie previews and weather delay or cancellation information, visit www.burlington.ca/movies or call the festivals and events hotline at 905-335-7766.

To subscribe to Mayor Rick Goldring’s free digital monthly newsletter, please email mayor@burlington.ca.

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