This column appears in the February 2015 edition of Snapd Burlington.
The new year is a time for setting priorities.
I have developed five priorities I believe we as a city can make traction on in 2015.
These five priorities, in no particular order, include intensification, climate change adaptation, economic development, service based budgeting and the Community Energy Plan.
Intensification is an issue I hear about regularly from Burlington residents. People want to know why our community is seeing more residential units being built, particularly in the form of mid-rise and high-rise condominium buildings.
My goal this year is to further engage the community on this topic.
I will be speaking about intensification at every opportunity, as well as inviting feedback from the community. It is important to share with residents the federal and provincial policies that are driving intensification, and how Halton and Burlington are managing these pressures.
Climate change adaptation and education is another priority for 2015. The ice storm of 2013 and flood of 2014 have shown our climate is changing and we need to be prepared.
Currently, municipal and regional staff is working on ways to mitigate flood risks with our stormwater and wastrwater systems. Reports with recommendations are expected this spring.
I will also be hosting a climate change symposium in Burlington in fall 2015.
Economic development also remains a priority, as it was during my first term as mayor. The Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) has been restructured, with a new executive director and board. The BEDC recently released its updated strategic plan. I look forward to seeing the resulting data in 2015.
Service based budgeting is now in place for the 2015 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 will be watching closely to ensure service based budgeting is the right approach.
The city, in partnership with Burlington Hydro, and with the assistance of a group of community stakeholders, has developed a Community Energy Plan for Burlington.
The plan will help us identify areas where conservation and efficiency measures can be focused, as well as assess the potential for local generation, particularly through renewable energy, and the use of smart grid technology.
I invite residents to connect with me by phone at 905-335-7607, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @RickGoldring and on Facebook at Mayor Rick Goldring.