Facebook Live Q&A – Part 2

For your convenience, I decided to separate the Facebook Live Q & A into two sections.  The previous post focused on snow clearing, mobility hubs, traffic, transit and cycling.

This post will host questions regarding affordable housing, property tax, Meridian quarry, hydro wires over Burlington beach, electric vehicles, outdoor hockey rinks and my family’s Christmas traditions.Some answers have been expanded to include additional information.

If you missed my Facebook Live on Tuesday evening, you can watch it by going to my Facebook Page.

How do we plan on assisting older adults to remain in their downtown neighbourhoods? Is there a potential plan for co-housing?

One of the things I started was the Mayor’s Seniors’ Housing Task Force. We continue to have discussions on how to improve and promote processes to encourage more secondary dwelling suites in the city. Also, there are discussions in the community that would look at involving the not-for-profit sector to help facilitate seniors’ housing in the community for those who can’t afford the current prices in Burlington.

What are your plans for bringing affordable housing?

In our Mobility Hub plans, we have an opportunity to put in special community improvement plans that would encourage rental housing once we get some definition around the mobility hubs, the official plan designations, the area-specific plans and what the zoning bylaw will say.

We have received development applications for Georgian Court, which is in the Surrey Lane and Warwick Court area. Currently, there are 280, 2-3 bedroom condo units on the property. The application is for 1,450 rental units on that site. To be an inclusive city, we need to have more rental housing.

I don’t have a definitive thought on this project yet.  There is a lot to consider, and our staff is taking a look at the proposal in great detail because there are some issues to address before we determine anything.

What can you or will do to reduce our property tax?

It is unrealistic to think that property taxes can be reduced as that would result in a reduction in services. The reality is that we have a city that needs to be funded properly.  We need to have inflationary type increases maintain our services and our infrastructure. The proposed operating budget for 2018 has a 4.19% increase which includes increases in funding for: the base operations of the city; Provincially legislated employment standards impact; Transit Sustainability; Arbitrated Fire Settlement; capital infrastructure renewal and a new business case of Sports field Maintenance Enhancements.

Overall, when we factor in the Education Tax and the Region of Halton increase, our overall increase in property taxes for 2018 will be in the range of 2.49%.

 As a Tyandaga resident, I am very concerned about the health and environmental impact of the proposed clear cutting of 35 acres in a residential area for a shale quarry.  Will you endorse a request for review for the permanent protection of this green space?

This has been an active file in my office since the beginning of 2016.  This is not a simple issue.

I’ve had many meetings and discussions about the quarry with the Minister of Natural Resources, MPP Eleanor McMahon, Meridian, residents and I’ve attended the two Meridian information public meetings.

I believe we need more information than what we have now. The information shared so far by Meridian is insufficient, and clearly does not address the area residents’ concerns. We will continue to put pressure on the province and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to confirm their regulation process and give us some definition and input on how they will accept a site plan East cell that Meridian will be expanding in to.

I also met with Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner, who gave a presentation to the Tyandaga Residents back on November 16th.  I couldn’t attend the community meeting due to a previous commitment but met with Gord to see and hear the presentation he prepared.  His suggestion is for the residents to file a review with the Environmental Commissioner under the Environmental Bill of Rights. This is a legitimate avenue that I am respectful and supportive of.

What kind of things do you and your family like to do over Christmas time?  Any fun family traditions?

I’m married to Cheryl.  She has 4 daughters, and I have 3 daughters. Christmas is a very important time for our family to get together. We typically get together on Christmas Eve.  My wife has a tradition of buying all the girls new pajamas; they all try them on and gather around for a nice group photo. We have five grandchildren including one granddaughter who now will be part of that tradition.

One of the special times for me is on Boxing Day. I’m a graduate of Nelson High School, and at noon on the 26th my childhood buddies and I get together to play touch football.  This is something I look forward to every year.

What are your thoughts on Burlington being chosen to have a Cannabis store?

The decision to place a retail outlet in Burlington is one made by the provincial government. The city will work as closely as possible with our provincial counterparts to ensure we have input into the location. It is the city’s expectation that the province will follow the city’s zoning bylaw. The City of Burlington has information at www.burlington.ca/cannabis to provide links to helpful information, including to the provincial and federal information.

Can we get some outdoor hockey rinks?

Yes! The city has a program that will guide you on ways to develop an outdoor hockey rink. The city will help facilitate and provide you with some equipment to put it together.  They won’t construct the rink for you, but they will guide you through it.  Here is the Neighbourhood Rink Application

 Will the hydro wires along the beach be removed within the next 10 years?

That is the plan!

Halton Region is investing about $50m over the next 20-25 years to:

  • Move the hydro towers to the other side of the skyway bridge.
  • Buy some homes along the beach way. We’ve already acquired 12 out of 27 homes, and we expect to acquire more in the New Year.  They were all willing sellers; no one is being forced out.
  • Improve the Burlington Beachway Park and make it an attractive natural area that attracts people from the broader region.

Can you elaborate on Burlington’s plan to introduce vehicles to the grid (V2G) and distributed energy resources (DER) with mobile electric self-driving vehicle infrastructure – EV Charge Infrastructure?

I have great belief that electric vehicles are a great way for us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Burlington has approved the installation of 20 recharging stations over the next five years at our public parking lots in downtown. I think we should do more to encourage and accommodate electric vehicles and we will do more over time.

After the floods of 2014, what did the city do to make sure this is minimized in the future if we get that type of downpour again?

The City of Burlington and the Region of Halton have committed approximately $130M to address stormwater issues as well as wastewater issues.  The money is to optimize the wastewater sewer system throughout the region.

There is Enhanced Basement Flood Prevention Subsidy Program that offers financial support for residents who are making the improvements to their home.  Information on available subsidies can be found here.

The City of Burlington in partnering with Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo launched The Home Flood Protection Program.  It offers residents a complete 50 point visual assessment of potential sources of water entry into the home for $125.  Burlington was the pilot city for this program, and due to its success, it’s now being rolled out in communities all over Canada.

After the storm, Burlington City Council committed another $20M to the stormwater infrastructure within the city.  We need to build bigger bridges with wider openings, so the water doesn’t get trapped behind the bridges. We’re also looking at all the creeks to make sure that there is no debris build-up that blocks the flow of the water.

Beachway Park, Waterfront, Affordable Housing, Inspire Burlington and more: October 2013 Progress Report

 

October 18, 2013

Upcoming Committee Meetings

Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan

At the September 23 council meeting City Burlington BeachwayCouncil approved several recommendations for the Burlington Beachway related to the 30 homes on the Beachway and Regional plans for a waterfront park. There were several recommendations approved by Council regarding the Beachway. I encourage you to read my blog where I have detailed the specific direction from City Council and include links to the staff report. There is also a brief outline available in the press release online.

The next step will be made at Regional Council on October 23. The outcome of that meeting will be sent as a separate update after that time.

Section 37 Community Benefits / Carriage Gate Development

I have heard from several residents who have expressed concern about the reduction in affordable housing as part of the community benefits of the development by Carriage Gate in downtown Burlington.

This is a complex subject. I believe it is necessary to provide some perspective and information about Section 37 Community Benefits.
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Burlington Beachway Park: Update from City Council

 

September 24, 2014

Burlington Beachway Park Burlington Beachway

This week City Council approved several recommendations for the Burlington Beachway related to the 30 homes on the Beachway and Regional plans for a waterfront park.

This has been one of the most complicated matters to deal with since I have been on City Council. Land on the Beachway is owned by 3 different public agencies and many private property owners. City of Burlington zoning contradicts with the Halton Region Official Plan. There are encroachment issues, wastewater issues and property standards issues that have not been dealt with while the greater plans and vision for the Beachway have been under consideration.

I have met with several of the current beach residents and heard from many others who have expressed concern over the long-standing goal of public ownership along the beach strip. I have also heard from many residents across Burlington who feel passionately about the Beachway.

Over the past few weeks we have heard from many of the Beachway residents and from many delegations over two days of Committee meetings. Emotions have run high, and that is understandable as we are dealing with family homes and residences in this discussion.

I want to thank you all for taking the time to connect with me. This is a very complex and difficult issue and it is not resolved yet.
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June 2013 Progress Report: Burlington Airpark, Beachway Master Plan, The Pier, Downtown Parking Changes and more…

July 5, 2013

Upcoming Committee Meetings

Burlington Airpark

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:

Photo by Riziero Vertolli - Burlington Post

Photo by Riziero Vertolli – Burlington Post

This is a challenging situation as there are complications with jurisdiction that remain unresolved.
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April / May 2013 Progress Report

May 31, 2013

Development and Infrastructure Committee: June 17, 2013
Budget and Corporate Services Committee: June 18, 2013
Community Services Committee: June 19, 2013
Committee of the Whole: June 20, 2013
City Committee Highlights

Council Decisions
The Big Move and the City of Burlington’s Transportation Master Plan
We have a close relationship with our neighbours – we share an economy, we share a work force, and we share our transportation corridors – the challenges of congestion and gridlock effect us all. Gridlock is one of the most important issues facing us today. This is not just a Greater Toronto Hamilton Area issue, gridlock effects all of Ontario.  Traffic congestion effects our quality of life, increases the cost of moving people, goods and services, and has a significant impact on public safety, our health and the environment.

We have seen and heard metro-bannermuch in the past several weeks about this topic in conjunction with The Big Move and I have been involved in several recent events with this focus in mind. I have posted a recent blog with more information and video links. Metrolinx has just released their Investment Strategy with their recommendations on funding tools for The Big Move.

As we discuss The Big Move, we are also discussing local transportation. The City is in the process of reviewing Burlington’s Transportation Master Plan. More information is available online. Please see the article further down about a special Encore Inspire Burlington presented in conjunction with the Transportation Master Plan Review.TMP_Header
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