March 2015 Progress Report

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Committee and Council Meetings

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

Upcoming Meetings

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

Community & Corporate Services Committee: Tuesday, March 31 at 1 p.m. and reconvening at 6:30 p.m. if required

Committee of the Whole: Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m.

Burlington City Council: Monday, April 20 at 6:30 pm.

2015 Budget Approved Budget 2015 banner[1]

Last month, city council approved the 2015 operating budget, which saw a 3.64 per cent increase in the city’s portion of property taxes.

When combined with Halton Region and the boards of education, the overall property tax increase is 2.06 per cent or $18.08 for each $100,000 of residential urban assessment.

Among the highlights of this year’s budget are:

  • Aligning existing service delivery costs with inflation.
  • An additional $1.75 million of funding dedicated to the renewal of the city’s aging infrastructure.
  • $4.5 million of funding for flood mitigation measures.
  • $900,000 to expand transit service and increase support for heritage, the Sound of Music Festival and the Art Gallery of Burlington.

This was an important year as it was our first service based budget. This is budgeting by service delivered, not by organizational department.

The overall goal is to ensure citizens are getting good value for their tax dollar.

I am pleased with what I believe to be a more efficient way of looking at how we invest in various services.

Councillors, sitting as a budget committee, were able to work through the 2015 operating budget for approval in three and a half hours. This process has often taken significantly longer in the past.

We also received positive feedback from the public that the service based budget resulted in a clearer understanding of where tax dollars are invested.

In regards to the tax increase itself, while the overall property tax increase of 2.06 per cent is lower than the most recent Toronto average CPI figure of 2.5 per cent, I feel we need to reduce the city’s increase. We want to maintain a high quality of life, but within reason. I will be looking for a lower city tax increase next year.

Staff Recommends Refusal of Proposed 28-Storey Building on Martha Street Martha1___Content[1]

City staff has produced an extensive and thoughtful report recommending council not approve the 28-storey mixed-use development for 374 Martha Street.

This has been a controversial application from the start. There has been strong opposition from the neighbourhood. During the public meeting held in council chambers at city hall in January, members of council voiced their opposition to the project.

Our planning staff recommend not approving this project for a long list of reasons.

As stated in the staff report:

Staff has reviewed the proposed applications in accordance with applicable provincial, regional and municipal planning policies and guidelines. Staff finds the applications propose an inappropriate level of intensification on a very small parcel at the periphery of the downtown core without consideration of the adverse impacts on adjacent properties. It is staff’s opinion that, because of the size of the lot and the magnitude of the proposed building, the development does not provide adequate setbacks and buffering along the northerly, easterly and southerly boundaries; does not provide an adequate landscape buffer along abutting residential uses; does not provide sufficient resident or visitor parking; does not provide adequate amenity space; and does not mitigate the negative noise, odor, light and air quality impacts on adjacent properties. The proposed density, measured in both units per hectare and floor area ratio, is too high for this small property and is indicative of the overdevelopment of this site. The height, density and massing of the proposal is not appropriate for this site and does not fit with the existing and planned context for this area. The overall proposal does not conform to the City’s Official Plan, does not achieve compatible intensification, represents overdevelopment of the site and does not represent good planning. Staff therefore recommends refusal of the applications to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law.

I fully support staff’s position and commend them for their due diligence on this application.

The report is on the agenda for Monday’s Development and Infrastructure Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m.

More information on the application is available on the city’s website here.

Strategic Plan 2015-2018 Engagement Opportunities 15-055-CM Strategic Plan Mindmixer Graphic

Our strategic plan determines where our city will be going over the next four years and in the future, how we will get there and how we will know if we were successful.

The process involves a review of the city’s vision and the setting of priorities and goals.

I am asking you, the community, to be engaged in updating our strategic plan for 2015-2018.

Our online and telephone surveys are complete, but there are more ways to get involved. The workbook for planning the future of Burlington will be available online soon . This can be done at home or as a group with a facilitator from the city.

To request a facilitator, receive more information or request a hard copy of the workbook(s) be sent by mail, please email strategicplan@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7600, ext. 7378.

There will also be an opportunity for feedback when the draft plan is presented to the public this spring/summer to ensure we got it right.

The final version of the draft strategic plan is expected to go to city council for approval this summer.

Learn more and connect with us at www.burlington.ca/strategicplan.

James Ridge Starts As New City ManagerJames_Ridge[1]

It is my pleasure to announce that James Ridge, former Deputy City Manager with the City of Vancouver and Chief Administrative Officer with the District of North Vancouver, joined the City of Burlington on March 23 as our new city manager.

James brings a wealth of municipal management experience to Burlington and has held progressively responsible positions in his career.

James was most recently Principal and Chief Executive Officer of the University of British Columbia’s Vantage College. He previously served as Associate Vice-president with UBC.

James held leadership positions with the City of Toronto between 2000 and 2003, as Acting Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services and as CIO/Executive Director of Information and Technology.

James began his career with the Canadian Armed Forces, rising to the rank of major before entering the municipal sector.

He holds a graduate degree in public administration from Queen’s University, a master’s degree from the University of Manitoba and a certificate in corporate finance from the London School of Economics.

Throughout his career, James has been known as an inspiring leader who successfully transforms public service, builds engaged and enthusiastic teams and creates and sustains partnerships with key stakeholders.

He has earned a reputation for being a strategic thinker who can implement the policy directions of decision-makers.

City of Burlington Receives $1.16 Million from the Ontario Ice Storm Assistance Program

The City of Burlington recently received good news from the province that we are eligible for a first installment of $1.16 million in relief funding through the Ontario Ice Storm Assistance Program.

The ice storm that arrived in Burlington on Dec. 21, 2013 caused significant power outages and damage throughout rural and urban Burlington, as well as across the Greater Toronto Area.

The city’s total claim for the ice storm assistance was $3.3 million.

I am pleased the province has committed to this first installment, which is a sign of good faith that more ice storm relief assistance will come to our city.

Proposed CN Terminal in Milton

A recommendation is scheduled to go to the Development and Infrastructure Committee on Monday asking our staff to report back with additional information on the potential impact of a Canadian National (CN) intermodal and logistics hub in Milton.

CN is looking to build the $250 million intermodal and logistics hub adjacent to its main line in the Town of Milton.

We understand at this time the expansion is for consumer goods only.

The hub is proposed to be located between Britannia Road and Lower Base Line.

CN will submit a complete project description of the planned Milton hub to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for review.

My office co-ordinated a March 17 conference call with staff and Sean Finn, Vice President, Executive Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer of CN, to hear an update firsthand.

According to CN, the hub will serve four trains per day (two in/two out). Each train has the capacity to move 280 truckloads of containers.

Mr. Finn indicated they anticipated generating 650 to 1,000 truck trips daily (total inbound plus outbound) at the facility. He said CN’s preference would be to have the trucks travel on Tremaine Road to/from a new interchange on Highway 407.

Early investigations of this option by CN have indicated there would be significant hurdles to overcome – including the relocation of the existing truck weigh stations west of Tremaine. Therefore CN intends to have the trucks exit the site by heading east on Britannia Road to Highway 407 to access other provincial highways.

A complete traffic impact study will need to be generated by CN as part of the Environmental Assessment review in order to address the following areas of interest to Burlington:

  • Net truck volumes generated by the site (initial and ultimate) that will travel through Burlington.
  • Which roadways will carry the truck traffic – what roadway infrastructure and mitigation measures would be required? How would truck routing be controlled and how would residential areas be protected from the impacts?
  • Additional train traffic that will be generated on the CN Halton subdivision through Burlington – would this trigger the need for a grade separation of the Mainway crossing?

I believe we need a greater understanding of the impact of this project on our community.

Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance

I am pleased to formally announce I’m one of five new regional board members for the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA).

As the member representing Halton, I will support the GTMA’s ongoing initiatives to attract foreign businesses to the Greater Toronto Area in order to contribute to the economic growth of the region.

The four other new board members include Toronto Mayor John Tory, Pickering Mayor David Ryan, Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey and Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li.

The GTMA promotes the GTA internationally as an investment location for businesses looking to break into the Canadian and North American markets.

I believe we all benefit when we can increase investment in our local economies. There are regional spinoffs for economic development, and I look forward to ensuring Halton is a strong voice at the table when we are looking at initiatives. A strong 905 means a strong 416, and vice versa.

Nominations Open for Burlington’s Best Awardsburlington-best[1]

Do you know someone who has made Burlington a better place?

I encourage you to nominate a resident or local organization for a Burlington’s Best Award.

There are seven categories of Burlington’s Best, including: Citizen of the Year, Junior Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year, Environmental Award, Arts Person of the Year, Community Service Award and Heritage Award.

Nomination forms can be completed online at www.burlington.ca/best or by picking up a nomination form at the clerks department at City Hall, 426 Brant St.

The deadline for nominations is April 7.

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

Report a pothole

The City of Burlington is asking residents to report sightings of potholes on city streets at www.burlington.ca/pothole.

City of Burlington crews are on the road every day looking for potholes, but we appreciate residents assisting us in helping to identify problem areas.

Pothole service requests can be submitted through an online form at www.burlington.ca/pothole.

Residents can also download an app from this website for this service to their iPhone or Android.

Apply for a Community Gardens Plotcommunity-gardens[1]

Residents looking to grow their own fresh produce and flowers can apply for a garden plot at one of the city’s three community gardens.

The community gardens, open for planting from May 1-October 25, are located at Amherst Park, Central Park and Francis Road Bikeway.

There are a total of 76 plots available, as well as six raised, accessible plots suitable for people with disabilities.

The cost to rent a plot for the season is $50. Water is supplied and all plots have full sun. Plots are allocated by lottery each year.

The deadline for applications is April 12.

This popular program will see the addition of a fourth community garden in 2016.

Community garden applications are available online at www.burlington.ca/communitygardens at community centres, the Seniors’ Centre, or City Hall, 426 Brant St., at the Service Burlington counter.

Mayor’s Office Staff in Place

I am pleased to announce my team for this term in the Mayor’s Office is now in place.

Brian Kelly is my new Chief of Staff. Brian comes to the City of Burlington from York University, where he worked out of the President’s Office as Advisor, Government Relations. He has more than 25 years experience working in the area of environmental and governmental relations both in the public and private sectors. Brian can be reached at brian.kelly@burlington.ca.

My new Administrative Assistant is Tara Thorp. Tara brings more than 15 years of experience in a wide variety of administrative roles, most recently with the Canadian Tire corporate where she served as an Executive Administrative Assistant. Tara can be reached at tara.thorp@burlington.ca.

Full contact information for my team can be found at www.burlington.ca/mayor.

First Anniversary for Insight Burlington

Insight Burlington recently marked its first year and I would like to thank the more than 650 participants who have taken part.

I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage others to sign up for this initiative if you haven’t already.

Insight Burlington is a secure, interactive online space for you to connect with the City of Burlington and others in the community.

As a member of Insight Burlington, you will have the opportunity to share your opinions, ideas and thoughts on a variety of topics affecting Burlington.

This is another way for you to be involved in the decision-making process at the city.

To learn more about Insight Burlington or to register, please visit www.insightburlington.com.

Bike to Transit Report

Donald Wiedman recently provided the City of Burlington with his Bike to Transit 2014 Survey Report.

Last summer, Wiedman spent several weeks in Burlington surveying cyclists connecting to Aldershot, Burlington and Appleby GO stations in our city.

The resulting survey of 100 regular cycle-transit users in Burlington, Pickering, Toronto and select other Greater Toronto Area communities conducted in the summer of 2014 shows that bike parking is about to get very tight, and in the coming years even tighter, in bike shelters and at bike rings outside transit stations across the GTA.

The report is available at: http://biketotransit.com/2015/02/24/bike-to-transit-survey-says-get-there-early/.

I would like to thank Donald for his research. The more we can understand residents’ habits towards cycling to transit, the more likely we are to find ways to increase the number of people considering alternatives to the car as a way to connect with public transit.

Operation RISCOperation RISCcard2015_Page_1

The City of Burlington is proud to support Halton Regional Police Service’s traffic safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of collisions at traffic intersections in Burlington.

Operation RISC (Reducing Intersection Safety Concerns) will run throughout 2015.

According to Halton police, the goal of this initiative is twofold: to deter drivers from committing the types of offences that increase the probability of a collision at or near an intersection and to educate drivers and promote safe driving habits. Last year, there were 3,789 collisions in Burlington. This equals an average of 10 motor vehicle collisions per day.

Halton police and the City of Burlington are committed to reducing motor vehicle collisions in an effort to provide a safer community.

I commend this initiative towards making our city even safer for our residents.

Region Updates

Basement Flooding Mitigation Report

A report entitled “Region Wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Study Update – Phase 1 – Wastewater Collection System Enhancements in Priority Areas” went to Halton Region’s Planning and Public Works Committee this week.

The report has three recommendations including:

  1. That council authorize the allocation of funding to an upset limit of $3.2 million (excluding applicable taxes), for the design, construction and contract administration of improvements to further reduce the potential for future basement flooding from sanitary sewer backup in the high risk areas as set out in Attachment #2 to Report No. PW-11-15, re: “Region Wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Study Update – Phase 1 – Wastewater Collection System Enhancements in Priority Areas”.
  2. That council authorize the allocation of funding in the amount of $1.65 million (excluding applicable taxes), from project S3042A for the development and implementation of a voluntary Downspout Disconnection Program, to disconnect downspouts from the sanitary and storm sewer systems as set out in Report No. PW-11-15.
  3. That council authorize the manager of purchasing services to prepare the procurement documents required to meet the modified procurement process as outlined in Report No. PW-11-15, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Finance and Regional Treasurer.

The recommendations were approved at committee.

A final report, including findings from Phase 2 of the study, will be provided to council in summer 2015.

I am pleased staff is making strides with this issue and look forward to further recommendations to help residents who were affected by the August 4, 2014 storm and subsequent flooding.

To view the full report, visit http://webaps.halton.ca/council/council_committee_documents/default.asp.

Conservation Land Investment

The Planning and Public Works Committee also approved giving $71,511 to Conservation Halton to help offset the costs of purchasing 10.7 hectares, or 26.4 acres, of conservation land in the City of Burlington.

The money comes from Halton’s Green Fund reserve.

Conservation Halton, Hamilton Naturalists’ Club and the Bruce Trail Conservancy partnered in the land purchase, which took place in September 2014.

The site, known as the Kallai Property at 625 Old York Rd. in Burlington, is currently vacant. The adjacent 80-hectares of land, known as the Clappison Woods Resource Management Area, is already owned by Conservation Halton.

Both properties are within the Clappison-Grindstone Heritage Lands of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, of which the City of Burlington is a partner.

The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a collaborative initiative to protect, restore and connect almost 1,900 hectares (4,700 acres) of natural lands at the western end of Lake Ontario. This is one of the most biologically rich areas of Canada, home to nearly a quarter of the country’s wild plants and more than 50 species at risk.

I believe this land acquisition is a big win in land preservation and rehabilitation for the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System and Burlington.

Halton Region Economic Review 2014

Halton Region has released its Economic Review for 2014. This document outlines some of the key numbers around our regional economy.

Among the highlights in 2014 were:

  • A 4.4 per cent unemployment rate in 2014, which was the lowest average unemployment rate in Ontario. According to the 2014 figures, the average unemployment rate was 8.1 per cent for the GTA, 7.3 per cent for Ontario and 7 per cent for Canada.
  • An AAA credit rating, as Halton Region has had for more than 20 consecutive years.
  • An increase of 8.9 per cent in the number of businesses since 2011. Total construction value increased by 13.7 per cent in that same period.
  • $177M in new industrial construction in 2014, with 915,000 sq. ft. of total industrial gross floor area built. Meanwhile, there was $299M in new commercial construction, with 1.15M sq. ft. total commercial gross floor area built.
  • The highest per capita construction value across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area in 2014.
  • A strong real estate sector, with an average house price in Halton in 2014 of $620,000.

The report offers the hard data that supports Halton’s reputation as one of the best places in Canada to live and work. Burlington, in particular, continues to be a prime destination in Halton with a high quality of life that serves as an incentive for new businesses to set up shop. A vibrant community attracts new businesses. Businesses looking to relocate to or expand in Burlington can connect with the Burlington Economic Development Corporation at www.bedc.ca.

Upcoming Events

15-097-MO-Inspire-Burlington-Ad

Please join me Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Studio Theatre, 440 Locust Street for the first Inspire Burlington event of 2015.

I will be the evening’s keynote speaker on a presentation called: Building Burlington: Where To Build In A City That Is Built Out.

Intensification is an issue that has captured the interest of many Burlington residents. People want to know why our community is seeing more buildings, particularly in the form of mid-rise and high-rise structures. Hear about the federal and provincial policies that are driving intensification and how Halton and Burlington are not just managing growth requirements, but finding a made-in-Burlington approach for responsible growth. Learn where we are growing, as well as innovative ideas we are investigating. Connect through questions and answers about intensification.

Admission is free. Please contact my office to reserve your seat by emailing mayor@burlington.ca.

On a related note, the City of Burlington is currently developing a communication program to engage residents about intensification. An online survey is currently available until April 6 and I encourage you to connect with us. There will be further engagement opportunities in the coming months. For more information and the survey link, please visit http://www.burlington.ca/intensification.

Spring Cycling Seminars

The Burlington Cycling Committee and Burlington Public Library are offering free cycling seminars this spring.

Pre-registration is required with the Burlington Public Library by calling 905-639-3611, ext. 1321.

Bike Safety Seminar Saturday, April 18 from 1 to 2 p.m. (Aldershot Branch); Saturday, May 2 from 1 to 2 p.m. (Central Branch); Saturday, May 16 from 1 to 2 p.m. (Alton Branch)

Bike Maintenance 101 Saturday, April 11 from 1 to 2 p.m. (Aldershot Branch); Saturday, April 25 from 10 to 11 a.m. (Central Branch); Saturday, May 9 from 1 to 2 p.m. (Alton Branch)

For more information about Burlington Cycling Committee, please visit www.burlington.ca/cycling.

Public Meeting on Parking

A public meeting about an on-street residential parking permit system is being held Wednesday, May 6 from 7-9 p.m. at Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way. For information on parking, visit www.burlington.ca/parking.

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