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.

July 2016 Progress Report

 Mayor Rick Goldring joined Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff, Burlington MP Karina Gould, and Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon (not pictured) for Canada Day celebrations in Burlington. Many activities are being planned for next year's special celebration of Canada's 150th birthday in Burlington.


Mayor Rick Goldring joined Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff, Burlington MP Karina Gould, and Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon (not pictured) for Canada Day celebrations in Burlington. Many activities are being planned by the city for next year’s special celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday in Burlington.

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Community and Corporate Services Committee – Monday, Sept. 12

Development and Infrastructure Committee – Tuesday, Sept. 13

Burlington City Council – Monday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Continue reading

June 2016 Progress Report

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Mayor Rick Goldring joined Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Provincial Environment Minister Glen Murray and Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger to speak at the June 17 update on the Randle Reef sediment remediation project in Burlington Bay. The project will reduce the amount and spread of contaminants through the harbour, significantly improving water quality. Continue reading

November/December 2015 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Improved Storm Resilience for Residential Dwellings and Public Infrastructure

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Mayor Rick Goldring’s Nov. 20 workshop on improved storm resilience for residential dwellings and public infrastructure included case studies from other municipalities and their responses to severe storm incidents. The panel featured Allan Magi, Executive Director, Capital Works, City of Burlington; Martin Powell, Comissioner, Transportation & Works Department, City of Mississauga; David Kellershohn, Manager, Water Infrastructure Management, City of Toronto, and moderator Scott Stewart, General Manager of Development and Infrastructure, City of Burlington.

Since August 4th, 2014, when Burlington was subjected to a deluge of 191 millimetres of rain in a single day, the City of Burlington and Halton Region have moved forward on plans to better protect ourselves both as homeowners and managers of the municipal infrastructure.

In previous newsletters, I have reported on measures taken by the City of Burlington and Halton Region to upgrade rainwater drainage and run-off through better maintenance, upgrades and new construction. Meanwhile, we have been engaged in dialogue with the insurance industry and other levels of government on the need for overland flood insurance to protect homeowners against financial losses from such catastrophes. Continue reading

Improving Storm Resilience for Residential Dwellings and Public Infrastructure

IMG_5544

Mayor Rick Goldring’s Nov. 20 workshop on improved storm resilience for residential dwellings and public infrastructure included case studies from other municipalities and their responses to severe storm incidents. The panel featured Allan Magi, Executive Director, Capital Works, City of Burlington; Martin Powell, Comissioner, Transportation & Works Department, City of Mississauga; David Kellershohn, Manager, Water Infrastructure Management, City of Toronto, and moderator Scott Stewart, General Manager of Development and Infrastructure, City of Burlington.

It has been almost a year and a half since approximately 191 millimetres of rain fell on parts of Burlington in a matter of hours, causing significant flooding and damage in parts of the city.

As many of you recall, roads, highways and more than 3,000 homes were flooded.

While the City of Burlington and Halton Region have moved forward on infrastructure investment plans to lower our flood risk, we have also been continuing the dialogue with the insurance industry and other levels of government on overland flood insurance.

Overland flood insurance was not available in Canada until it was introduced in Alberta earlier this year. This meant there were many residents who suffered financially in the aftermath of the 2014 Burlington flood.

On November 20, I convened a workshop focused on improved storm resilience for residential dwellings and public infrastructure, which featured perspectives from local government and the insurance industry.

The meeting brought together approximately 50 people, from elected officials and staff from municipalities across Ontario to representatives of the insurance industry.

There were several important takeaways from that meeting:

  • There is a need to continue the dialogue, through workshops like the one held here in Burlington, as well as regular and frequent year-round contact, about effective overland flood insurance. Both municipalities and insurance companies are here to serve the best interests of our residents.
  • Addressing the infrastructure gap that affects communities across Canada in a timely manner is essential. However, municipalities do not have the financial resources to do this alone. We are looking to the provincial and federal government to serve as partners.
  • There is great potential for both the insurance industry and municipalities to inform homeowners about what they can do to mitigate the risks of overland flooding.
  • According to Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), some insurers are now providing residential overland flood coverage in parts of Canada, and within the next 12-18 months it is expected to become available through a number of different companies representing 40 per cent or more of the market.

I will continue to work with our government partners and the insurance industry on overland flooding. There is a lot of work left to do, but the latest meeting shows there is great potential in connecting with residents and the insurance industry to put our residents’ best interests forward.

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The Nov. 20 workshop also featured a discussion on insurance and overland flooding among a panel of Rob Wesseling, Co-operators; Lapo Calamai, Insurance Bureau of Canada and Mazdak Moini, Aviva Canada, with moderator Mayor Rick Goldring.

Please connect with me by phone at 905-335-7607, email at mayor@burlington.ca, on Twitter @RickGoldring and on Facebook at Mayor Rick Goldring. Subscribe to my monthly digital newsletter by emailing mayor@burlington.ca.

This column will appear in the November 27 edition of the Burlington Post.