Amendments to the draft new Official Plan

Planning & Development Committee Meeting. Tue., Jan. 23/18

It has been a busy week for both residents and Burlington City Council.

It was just over a week ago that I held the Reverse Town Hall, which was a great opportunity for me to hear from the community on the future of downtown Burlington. There were many perspectives shared, and it helped me prepare for the Planning & Development Committee meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, where we considered the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan. Thank you to everyone who attended, you made a difference.

The concerns from residents that I heard at the Reverse Town Hall and from delegations at the Committee meeting included: building height, parking, public engagement, defer the Official Plan until after the 2018 municipal election, growth targets, downtown mobility hub and urban growth centre, and the need for balanced growth.

Many of your concerns resonated with me. I reviewed them closely, and I consulted staff to gain insight into the implications and potential opportunities.

I am pleased to provide you with a Committee update.

We listened and acted and made important amendments to the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan.  I believe these changes significantly improve the plan and are reflective of much of the public feedback that was provided.

Downtown Precinct Map

Here is a summary of the amendments to the Proposed Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan:

  • Amend the proposed Downtown Core Precinct as follows:
    • Development shall be a maximum of 12 storeys; or
    • Development may be permitted additional storeys, subject to a site-specific zoning by-law amendment, to a maximum of 17 storeys subject to the following:
      • One additional storey for every 150 sq metre of office/employment floor space provided; or
      • One additional storey for every 8 public parking spaces provided in an underground parking structure

NOTE: I brought this motion forward because I heard loud and clear the importance of moderating the height in the area South of Victoria St. as well as the need for more parking in the east end of downtown

  • Change the north-east corner of Brant Street and Lakeshore, located in the Cannery Precinct to the Downtown Core Precinct with conditions as listed above.
  • Increase minimum tower separation requirement for tall buildings within the Downtown Mobility Hub from 25 metres to 30 metres which will create a greater feeling of openness around the buildings.
  • Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings based on square footage preserved. (I am very supportive of this. I look forward to staff providing details on how this can be implemented)
  • Direct the Director of City Building to include policy encouraging consideration of public-private parking partnerships in the Official Plan
  • Direct the Director of City Building to prepare mid-rise (6-11 storeys) building guidelines by the end of Q3 2018
  • Place targets for 2-3 bedroom units in residential buildings to accommodate families with children
  • Add the north-west corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Rd. to the special planning area to match the north-east corner.
  • Direct staff to work with the Region to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.
  • Change the rezoning application requirement for a housing impact statement for more than 200 dwelling units and add a percentage target affecting mid and high-rise residential to achieve affordable, assisted, and special needs housing, as defined in Halton Region’s Annual State of Housing report.

I also want to respond to the residents who said that approval of the Official Plan should be deferred until after the municipal election.  Council decided against this idea and here is why.

There are significant benefits to having a Council approval decision sooner rather than later. This will actually better address the significant public concern and interest for establishing greater certainty in the planning process.

A new Official Plan means we can move away from a site by site negotiation and instead bring more certainty to the application process.  This is what residents have been very clear about.

Staff confirmed that the City will be in a better position to plan within a clearly defined framework with an updated Official Plan that can be defendable by today’s standards.

Staff will be able to use the new Official Plan when working with developers even though the Official Plan won’t officially be approved by the Halton Region until some time likely in 2019.

Staff will continue to develop a detailed Downtown Area Specific Plan which includes matters such as transportation, parking and servicing.

I believe that it is not only important for the reasons I have outlined, but a responsibility of this Council to bring as much certainty as possible to our downtown planning.  Our current council has the necessary understanding of the development of the Official Plan.  It’s important that this Council complete the process.

The draft new Official Plan, with the above amendments, will be presented to the Planning and Development Committee on April 4, 2018.

September/October 2016 Progress Report

Mayor Rick Goldring, Burlington Foundation President and CEO Colleen Mulholland, Burlington Foundation Board Chair Ron Foxcroft and TSN's Michael Landsberg at Inspire Burlington on Oct. 5. The next Inspire Burlington event is set for Nov. 14, 2016 at 7 p.m. Register today: burlington.ca/mayor.

Mayor Rick Goldring, Burlington Foundation President and CEO Colleen Mulholland, Burlington Foundation Board Chair Ron Foxcroft and TSN’s Michael Landsberg at Inspire Burlington on Oct. 5. The next Inspire Burlington event is set for Nov. 14, 2016 at 7 p.m.

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.

Burlington City Council – Monday, Oct. 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Committee of the Whole – Thursday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.

Community and Corporate Services Committee – Monday, Nov. 7

Development and Infrastructure Committee – Tuesday, Nov. 8

Burlington City Council – Monday, Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Applicable Learning from Sweden and Denmark

Västra Hamnen – the Western Harbour – is one of Malmö’s largest residential construction projects. When complete, it will have 20,000 residents and a roughly equivalent number of workspaces. Once a declining post-industrial area, the Western Harbour has been transformed into an attractive and sustainable modern dockland development.

Västra Hamnen – the Western Harbour – is one of Malmö’s largest residential construction projects. When complete, it will have 20,000 residents and a roughly equivalent number of workspaces. Once a declining post-industrial area, the Western Harbour has been transformed into an attractive and sustainable modern development.

Last month, I travelled to Växjö, Sweden with a delegation from the City of Burlington. The purpose of the trip was to work with municipal and industry representatives to discuss a potential strategic partnership and share knowledge related to community energy, sustainable development and economic development opportunities.

The city delegation was in Växjö, Sweden on Sept. 26 and 27, 2016. The delegation also met with other municipal jurisdictions, including Malmö, Sweden (Sept. 28), and Copenhagen, Denmark (Sept. 29).

Delegation members included James Ridge, City Manager; Frank McKeown, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development Corporation and Paul Sharman, Ward 5 City and Region Councillor. Staff from the City of Burlington, Burlington Hydro and McMaster University also accompanied us.

Burlington is working towards the long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral, as stated in the city’s Strategic Plan 2015-40. Växjö, Sweden has the same goal. That city is a world environmental leader with a growing economy. In 1996, the city adopted a target for the community to be fossil fuel free by 2030. Greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by 48 per cent between 1998 and 2014 on a per capita basis.

Here at home, the Province of Ontario is expected to release its climate change strategy with ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This will likely significantly impact city operations, such as transportation and the use of thermal energy.

Among the noteworthy topics discussed were:

  • District energy: One of the main reasons we went to Sweden and Denmark was to learn more about district energy, as the City of Burlington is undertaking a feasibility study to investigate a potential district energy facility in our community. This direction is part of the Community Energy Plan. Sweden and Denmark have used district energy for many decades, and in some cases, for more than a hundred years. District energy plants have the potential to provide predictable and potentially cleaner energy. The focus of the feasibility work in Burlington focuses on downtown, as well as areas around the Aldershot and Burlington GO stations. We had many presentations on district energy and visited district energy facilities, including the Sysav facility in Malmö, Sweden, which uses waste-to-energy technology as a source for both electricity and heat for tens of thousands of homes. Continue reading

Improving 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.

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.

Building Relationships With a New Federal Government

Photo by Ottawa Tourism

Photo from Ottawa Tourism

 

Yesterday’s federal election saw a changing in the guard, with a Liberal Party majority led by Justin Trudeau.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Trudeau on his party’s historic victory. I also want to offer my congratulations to Burlington MP elect Karina Gould and Oakville North-Burlington MP elect Pam Damoff. I look forward to meeting with you both at the earliest opportunity to discuss how we can work together to foster a vibrant and prosperous Burlington.

I also look forward to continuing to work with Milton MP Lisa Raitt, who I had the chance to get to know during my first term as mayor. Congratulations on your re-election, Lisa.

Mike Wallace, who was defeated in a close race, also deserves our sincere appreciation for his many years in public service. Mike has served Burlington with distinction as a city and regional councillor, as well as our MP since 2006. Thank you for your commitment to our city, Mike. I know that you will continue your commitment to Burlington in a different way going forward.

I also want to recognize every candidate who ran in Burlington and the surrounding ridings. It is a significant undertaking to run for political office, especially at the federal level. I know firsthand the commitment it takes to knock on doors and prepare for all-candidates’ meetings. You have done your communities a service by putting your name, and importantly, your ideas, forward for a better city and country.

Looking forward, there are important discussions that need to be had between municipalities and the new Liberal federal government. As Chair of the Large Urban Caucus of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, I look forward to serving as a spokesperson on a number of key issues affecting our communities.

Some of the many topics I, as Mayor of Burlington, will be looking to make progress in partnership with Mr. Trudeau and his government include:

  • Infrastructure and transportation: Long-term, sustainable, predictable and reliable federal funding that flows year in and year out and will allow us to eliminate our infrastructure deficit within a generation. While municipalities are very appreciative of federal gas tax funding, we need additional meaningful and predictable federal funding that will assist municipalities in addressing infrastructure and transportation needs, lessening pressure on municipal taxpayers.
  • Economy: All leaders at all levels of government want our economy to be strong and growing with the highest possible employment and productivity. We will be looking for financial investment in an advanced manufacturing hub in Burlington, bringing jobs to our city and bolstering the local economy. During the election, Stephen Harper announced a re-elected Conservative government would create a new advanced manufacturing hub in Burlington. We respectfully request the Liberal government be receptive to investigating an investment in this initiative.
  • Social Housing: We are seeking a commitment of federal funding for social housing. This is a significant issue that needs that needs to be addressed. Investments in housing are also effective at stimulating economic growth and employment.
  • Climate change: We would like to see Canada become a leader by taking action on climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. As a City, we have developed a Community Energy Plan, among a list of other environmentally-sustainable initiatives. We are also looking to the new government to help protect our communities from the challenges of climate change and grow the economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure.

I am also buoyed by the voter turnout in yesterday’s federal election. More than 68 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in Canada, which was the highest turnout since the 1993 federal election. According to Elections Canada, the voter turnout in Burlington was 73 per cent and 69 per cent in Oakville North-Burlington. Democracy functions best when we take the time to become engaged, especially during elections.

What issues are priorities to you? Please connect with me at mayor@burlington.ca to share your ideas on joint municipal-federal initiatives you would like to see our governments foster. I look forward to hearing from you.

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.Large Urban Mayors' Caucus of Ontario

LUMCO’s key priorities for 2014 include gridlock and transit issues, the rising cost of emergency services, and job creation in Ontario. LUMCO Chair 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.