June 2, 2014
Burlington Progress Report: May 2014
Committee and Council Meetings
Information on the most recent standing Committee meetings is available online, including agendas, minutes and videos.
- Development and Infrastructure Committee: May 26, 2014
- Community and Corporate Services Committee: May 27, 2014
- Audit Committee: May 28, 2014
Our next Council meeting is on June 9.
I have continued to report on the transition of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation as this continues is one of my key areas of focus. As mentioned last month, we established a plan for a new business corporation – BEDC Inc. – with an expanded mandate and purpose.
I am pleased to report that there has been a great deal of progress made over the last month as the city moves forward in creating BEDC Inc. More particularly, the BEDC transition team, lead by Patrick Sugrue, has recruited a new Board of Directors for BEDC that will also form the basis of the Board for BEDC Inc. once that entity has been incorporated. Council has endorsed the list of board candidates who were introduced at the BEDC Annual General Meeting held on May 29, 2014.
As well, an implementation plan that sets out the next steps for the creation of this new corporation has been approved by Council and will serve as a roadmap for the new Board of Directors. One of the first objectives the Board will have is to hire a new president and together, define the new operating model and business plan for the organization. We anticipate that we will have a clearly defined structure and operating model in 2015. In the meantime, BEDC will continue to provide economic development services to the City during this transition that continues to meet the needs of our business community.
The new BEDC Inc. represents a vital step forward in meeting the objectives of the City’s strategic plan, our long-term sustainability and our economic prosperity goals, including creating more jobs resulting in more Burlington residents having the opportunity to not just live here, but work here as well. I would like to acknowledge and thank the transition team for their efforts thus far and I look forward to working with the new Board at BEDC Inc. to achieve the city’s economic prosperity goals.
More information is available online. Please click on Agenda item 7 and open the Supporting Materials files located on the right side of the page.
Earlier this month some information appeared in the Burlington Post regarding discussions between the City of Burlington and McMaster University about the potential for expansion of their academic programs within our City.
The City of Burlington and McMaster University continue to enjoy a great partnership and we are committed to exploring and discussing opportunities that would extend the presence of McMaster in the community. Both The Ron Joyce Centre at the DeGroote School of Business and the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre have become important parts of our community that focus on education and health.
I believe that educational institutions contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of a community. These educational institutions provide opportunities for academic enrichment to the community and have a definite and positive economic impact to the City.
We have invested a significant amount of money, energy and time protecting our rural heritage which has been important component to the sustainability of our unique 50/50 urban/rural split. I believe there is great merit and potential to further look at whether we should be creating a Heritage Cultural District on Mount Nemo as part of the continued protection of our important natural assets.
The City hosted two public consultation meetings for the Mount Nemo Heritage Land Study (information is available online). Council heard from many residents about the work undertaken and some have expressed concern about what a Heritage Conservation District means; they have indicated an anxiety about possible constraints and encumbrances on their properties. I want to be clear that our objective is not to focus on the physical structures of anyone’s property; rather, our focus is on the protection of the natural heritage features.
For further information and my perspective, please read the blog post.
Parking Bylaw Changes
Council has approved that the 3 hour on-street parking regulation, which has existed in the City for many years, will change to 5 hours. As usual this is from 6:00 am to 1:00 am (not overnight). For more information about parking changes and to view reports visit www.burlington.ca/parking. These changes take effect June 1, 2014. Please read the media release.
Additional On-line Services Available
In conjunction with the e-Government program, the City has launched additional on-line services, along with the Pothole Repair request. Traffic Signal, Traffic Sign and Street Light Maintenance requests have now been added to the City website. I have always believed that making the best use of technology for better customer service and increased efficiency just makes sense for the City of Burlington and our residents.
Access the tool online to report a service request.
Burlington Community Foundation Hosts Mental Health Roundtable
On May 1, I attended the first of the Mental Health Roundtable Series hosted by the Burlington Community Foundation.
Burlington is a great place to live, to work, to raise a family and to enjoy leisure time. We have so much to be grateful for: high standards of living, highly educated population, strong spirit of volunteerism and a remarkable environment, on the shore of Lake Ontario, and to the Niagara escarpment within 10 minutes’ drive of one another. We are a community of compassionate people.
When I read Burlington Community Foundation’s Vital Signs reports, both in 2012 and 2013, I was struck by the fact that we are a city of contrasts. MoneySense magazine continues to rate us as one of the finest cities to live in across the entire nation; yet Vital Signs tells us that there are people living in Burlington who are really struggling: seniors, children, youth and families living in poverty, newcomers struggling to transition to live here, and growing mental health challenges. This is why the Mental Health Roundtable Series is such an important initiative, why I believe the City of Burlington should be an active participant, and why I was so pleased to attend.
There were over 50 participants at the first Roundtable, including healthcare professionals in the public and private sectors, civic leaders, educators and individuals with life experience who shared their knowledge and personal experiences with mental health. Large and small group discussions were facilitated to identify core values common to all, as well as some emerging trends in mental health. Information gathered at this Roundtable will be used at the next Roundtable where the focus will be on developing a shared vision and goals.
I commend the Burlington Community Foundation for taking the initiative to bring all these resources into one room. The Mental Health Roundtable Series will facilitate greater outreach and connectivity amongst community members working in the mental health field and will be a contributing factor in Burlington remaining a healthy, prosperous and sustainable community. I look forward to the next meeting in June.
Colleen Mulholland, the Executive Director of the Burlington Community Foundation, recently made a presentation to Council which is available online; please click on item 1 from the agenda and open the supporting materials on the right and watch Colleen’s delegation on the video.
Burlington’s Best Awards
I had the great pleasure of attending Burlington’s Best Awards this month – a celebration to honour the 29 nominees and seven award winners who have been recognized by their friends and colleagues for their extraordinary efforts to make Burlington a better place.
The thousands of volunteers who commit their time and talent to our many organizations are the backbone of our community and add tremendous value to Burlington. It is one of my favourite events.
- Jean Longfield, Citizen of the Year
- Maggie Wheeler, Senior Person of the Year
- Chad Buisman, Junior Person of the Year
- Les Armstrong (posthumously), Heritage Person of the Year
- Selina Jane Eckersall, Arts Person of the Year
- Trent Schwartz, Community Service Award
- Paul Toffoletti, Environmental Award
For more information on the award winners, please read the media release online.
Information about Election 2014 is available online, including a list of registered candidates which is updated regularly, along with information on how to vote. A number of updates have recently been added, including how to confirm you are on the voters list.
Are you eligible to vote?
MPAC has launched Voter Look-Up, a province-wide tool for residents to check if they’re on the municipal voters list. Using this service, electors can ensure that their information is correctly reflected for the upcoming municipal and school board elections. For more information visit www.voterlookup.ca or contact MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation at 1 866 296-6722.
Transit Intelligent Transportation System
During the 2010 capital budget process, Burlington Transit identified a need for additional technology in order to improve operations and customer service and to meet the upcoming Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities act requirements.
This project, recently approved by Council, represents a significant change to both our conventional and para-transit service and with a number of goals established. Some of these goals are to provide public access to real time bus information through the Burlington Transit website; improved service information via telephone access; electronic audible and visual on-board destination and stop announcements; digital outdoor departure and arrival display screens at key locations; and an improved trip planner on the website. Further information on the additional identified goals is available in the full report online; please click on item 2 on the agenda and read the supporting materials on the right.
Acquiring a Transit Intelligent Transportation System will have a significant impact on our Transit operations with improved service delivery and efficiency, and provide better customer service to Burlington Transit riders.
This month, a delegation from Burlington travelled to our twin-city Itabashi in Japan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our twinning relationship. While I was unable to join the delegation, I look forward to welcoming the delegates from Itabashi, including Mayor Sakamoto and Chairman Shigeno when they, in turn, visit Burlington during the Sound of Music Festival in June. A number of activities are planned for their visit and I encourage you to check online for more information.
I look forward to reporting in June on our delegations and providing some photos.
There have been many coyote sightings in Burlington this spring, particularly in the area of the Paletta Mansion and surrounding streets. Animal Control and RPM staff have actively been working with the community to address their concerns around coyotes in Burlington. Councillor Dennison and a representative from the Ministry of Natural Resources, in addition to staff, recently held an open house for residents in the area to provide information and facts around coyotes and coyote management.
Currently, staff are working to update our website to allow residents to report sightings of coyotes, allowing the city to monitor the activities and locations of coyotes. This in turn, has lead staff to searching for alternatives to trapping and removing coyotes from the area which often does not have a satisfactory result. Wildlife relocation is regulated in Ontario under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. If an animal is captured, it must be released unharmed in close proximity to the capture site (within 1 kilometer).
Coyote Watch Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and research about the Eastern Coyote. Coyote Watch advocates positive human and wildlife experiences through wildlife protections, conflict resolution, field observations, data collection and community based education and conservation awareness initiatives about coexisting with the coyote.
This week, Coyote Watch will begin what is known as “Hazing” at Paletta Park and in some of the other den locations. Hazing is a method that makes use of deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourage an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain a coyote’s fear of humans and deter them from backyards and play spaces. There are a variety hazing tools available; hazing is demonstrated in this coyote hazing video.
Staff have arranged for a public joint presentation with Coyote Watch on June 11, 2014 at 6:30 at Paletta Mansion and will continue to advise residents of activities in the area.
Spring issue of City Talk now in Homes and Online
The spring issue of the City of Burlington’s magazine City Talk is now in homes. Read about a variety of city matters, including updates from members of City Council; the 25th anniversary of the twinning of Burlington with Itabashi, Japan; and Burlington’s first community energy plan.
This issue also features an online customer service update and a two-page map of road works. To read this and other issues of City Talk, visit www.burlington.ca/citytalk.
Share your thoughts about City Talk by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 905-225-7600, ext. 7841.
From the Mayor’s Office
LUMCO invitation to Party Leaders
The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), of which I am a member, invited Premier Kathleen Wynne, Leader of the Official Opposition Tim Hudak, and Leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario Andrea Horwath to meet individually with the LUMCO membership, requesting that they, or their representatives, present their party’s Provincial Platform on the issues facing Ontario’s Big Cities.
LUMCO’s key priorities for 2014 include gridlock and transit issues, the rising cost of emergency services, and job creation in Ontario. LUMCO Chair, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, spoke for all Mayors’ when he indicated that the organization is working to advance the issues facing the majority of Ontarians in our large Cities. This Provincial election campaign provides us the perfect opportunity to find out where the leaders stand on our key priorities. We remain cautiously optimistic and hopeful that the important issues of infrastructure, transit and job creation will remain on the Provincial agenda, regardless of the election outcome.
A press release resulting from last Friday’s meeting is posted on my blog indicating where the parties have or have not addressed the issue put forward at the LUMCO meeting.
The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) represents 67% of Ontario’s population with Mayors of 26 communities over 100,000 residents. LUMCO advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
What is important to you?
Since I became Mayor, I’ve hosted an engagement and speaker series called “Inspire Burlington” to explore ideas, solutions and investigate ways to shift perspectives on issues affecting our community. New this June, I’m excited to be hosting a new-format Inspire event – Inspire Burlington: Millennial Voices
I want to hear more from you – the young adults of Burlington – who live here, work here, study here, and contribute to our community. We are laying the foundation for future generations to build upon and we need your input.
Step 1 ) Join me in an online dialogue on Facebook and Twitter by using #ChatWithRick. Share your ideas. Have your say. Let’s talk about what’s important online.
Step 2) Come out on June 25
Your tweets and comments #ChatWithRick will help us to generate a conversation for a very special Inspire Burlington event at the Burlington Hive where we will get together for an interactive, collaborative conversation.
All are welcome but space will be limited so please register now for the focus group on June 25.
So let’s start the conversation online and understand what we need to be talking about in #BurlON.
#ChatWithRick so that your diverse and informed points of view can help me and Council make decisions that are right for the future of our community, our city and you.
“When it comes to cities, it’s your ideas that will drive change, your talent that will make it happen. Your creativity will generate economic growth and enable the development of cities.” ~ Dennis Walsh & Glen Hiemstra, Millennial City – How a New Generation Can Save the Future
Inspire Burlington: Millennial Voices
June 25 | The Burlington Hive | 6:30 to 9:00 pm
(429 Elizabeth Street)
This week I had the fantastic opportunity to participate in the YouthFest Leadership Conference – a one-day event held for local grade 9 and 10 students. There were hundreds of students that participated in discussions and break-out sessions about leadership. I had the pleasure of taking my Inspire Burlington series to the conference and co-hosted with YouthFest key-note speaker, Rob Dyer of Skate4Cancer.
Rob Dyer’s message was inspiring – it was all about using your passion and your unique skills and talents to contribute to your community: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” A great message.
The event and YouthFest continues to encourage students to volunteer their time to community organizations and a number of social service agencies and charitable organizations were on-site to provide information.
I believe we must continue to engage our youth and include them as contributor to our social and charitable agencies in our community. Thank you YouthFest for letting me share your event; it was a great Inspire session.
TVCogeco was also present and have recorded a small segment of YouthFest.
Community Connections with Mayor Rick Goldring
Working with TVCogeco, I have been hosting a new show called Community Connections. This is an opportunity for me to bring forward what’s going on in Burlington and feature members of our community, organizations, and Council and City staff in a conversational-style program.
The final show will air on June 10 and 17 on TVCogeo at 7:30 pm and we will be discussing Heritage in our community.
Communication from our Office
During 2014, a number of communications-related changestake place as a result of the 2014 Municipal Election.
Next month will be the last Progress Report that I am able to publish until after the election on October 27, 2014.
My social media links have been removed from the City’s webpages. This does not mean my blog or my social media accounts are discontinued. You will still find me at burlingtonmayor.com and also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Google+. Please connect with me in whichever manner you choose.