October 2015 Progress Report


Committee and Council Meetings

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

New Players in Burlington Following the Federal Election 

Like most of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, Burlington was swept up in the Liberal red tide that dominated voting in Ontario in the federal election on October 19th.

Following redistribution of electoral boundaries, Burlington now occupies all or part of three federal ridings.

I want to offer my congratulations to Karina Gould, the Liberal candidate and next MP for the riding of Burlington and also to the successful Liberal candidate in the new riding of Oakville North-Burlington, Pam Damoff. Congratulations are also in order for Lisa Raitt, who has been re-elected in the riding of Milton (which now includes rural North Burlington.)

I hope to meet with all of the MPs soon. I look forward to ongoing dialogue with all three of them on how we can work together to foster a vibrant and even more prosperous Burlington. Continue reading

September 2015 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Challenging Residents to Think Outside the Car


Mayor Rick Goldring, MPP Eleanor McMahon, Councillors Jack Dennison and Blair Lancaster, and students and staff at the launch of Think Outside the Car at M.M. Robinson H.S.

I am challenging Burlington residents to leave the car at home and choose active and alternative transportation during the Think Outside the Car Challenge between September 15 and October 30.
Many of the trips by Burlingtonians are within a very short distance, in fact, 50 per cent of them are less than 5 km. These are the ideal distances to cycle, walk or hop on a Burlington Transit bus. These alternative modes of transportation not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also save money on the cost of gas, parking and have very little impact on our air quality.

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Building Burlington: Where to Build in a City That is Built Out – Connecting with you about intensification

Tanya Hendriks - view from Kern Cliff ParkIntensification is a word we use at City Hall and around the community, but I have heard questions about what it means, especially as it applies to Burlington.

One of my priorities is engaging with residents on the topic of intensification.

To understand intensification, we need to understand what is driving our growth.

The Government of Canada has welcomed an average of 250,000 new immigrants per year since 2007.

Recognizing Ontario is a prime destination for many newcomers, the provincial government released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in 2006.

This serves as a tool for municipalities to plan for the projected residential and employment growth of an additional 3.7 million residents and 1.8 million jobs in the Greater Golden Horseshoe by 2031.

As a result of Places to Grow, Halton Region developed the Sustainable Halton Growth Management Strategy to manage growth for the anticipated 780,000 people and 390,000 jobs in Halton by the year 2031.

What does this mean for Burlington?

A key question is: What does this mean for Burlington?

Our population is almost 180,000. The City and Region determined it will grow to 193,000 by 2031.

In a city that is almost built out, where 50 per cent of our city is protected Greenbelt land, the next question is: Where do we grow?

One of the sites slated for intensification is the downtown core. This was established by the province as an Urban Growth Centre.

Our Official Plan also identifies other sites suited for intensification, such as Uptown located at Appleby Line between Mainway and Upper Middle Road.IMG_3307

We are also looking to Urban Growth Corridors, like Fairview Street and Plains Road.

As part of the Official Plan review, we are researching new opportunities for growth in the two provincially-designated mobility hubs, Burlington GO station and Downtown Burlington, as well as the two City-identified mobility hubs around Aldershot and Appleby GO stations.

We are also reviewing intensification opportunities at the city’s aging retail plazas.

It is important to remember why we are building within rather than sprawling out.

Council along with the Province through its Greenbelt Plan has been committed for decades to safeguarding our rural area, which makes up about 50 per cent of the land area of the City of Burlington. We are intensifying within Burlington’s urban boundary because protecting our rural land continues to be a priority.

What makes sense for Burlington?

Two questions I hear from some residents are, “Why do we have to grow? Why can’t Burlington stay the same?”

If we take federal and provincial policies out of the picture, what makes sense when it comes to residential growth for Burlington? Would we intensify regardless of growth policies?

I firmly believe shutting the door to growth through intensification is not a viable option for Burlington.

Since we are essentially at build out, halting residential growth within our urban boundaries means there would be little additional housing stock.

The low supply of housing could further increase residential real estate prices, making it even more of a challenge for our young people moving out on their own or our seniors looking to downsize to stay in the community.

Increased housing prices could lead to a decrease in the number of families in Burlington. This could impact school enrolment.

There could also be an impact on property taxes with little to no growth. Ten years ago we had three per cent assessment growth. Last year, we saw one per cent assessment growth and that is expected to fall to 0.5 per cent moving forward. As a result of a flat tax base, taxes could go up, services could be reduced or a combination of both.Plains Road Mosaic 02

We have the tools to manage our growth in a responsible way – in conjunction with community engagement. Let’s work together to continue to foster a made-in-Burlington approach to growth, creating a sustainable city for generations to come.

Engaging with you on intensification

As a result of a staff direction from city council, the City of Burlington is currently developing a communication program to provide community engagement, dialogue and participation with Burlington residents about why and how we will transition redevelopment in urban areas of the community.

An online survey was posted earlier this month, with more engagement opportunities coming soon.

I invite you to connect with City of Burlington about intensification through upcoming engagement opportunities that are part of our communication initiative. Learn more at: http://www.burlington.ca/intensification.

As mayor, I also welcome invitations from community groups, service clubs or organizations to come speak to you on this issue. Please contact me at mayor@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7607 with your requests.

What are some of the benefits of intensification?

  • Makes efficient use of scarce land resources.
  • Is a viable alternative to urban sprawl.
  • Fosters walkable neighbourhoods, decreasing reliance on the car and preventing increased traffic backlogs.Spencer_Ice108-8x12[1]
  • Increases the number of residents in an area, providing the population base for augmented transit service levels.
  • More efficient use of land can impact housing affordability by reducing land component of housing costs.
  • Brings new families into existing neighbourhoods, filling school classrooms and making use of existing park and playground facilities.

April 2015 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Upcoming Meetings

Development & Infrastructure Committee: Monday, May 11 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.*

Community & Corporate Services Committee: Tuesday, May 12 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.*

Committee of the Whole: Thursday, May 14 at 1 p.m.

Burlington City Council: Monday, May 25 at 6:30 pm.

*Times yet to be confirmed.

Hospital Groundbreakingshovelcropped1 Continue reading

March 2015 Progress Report

If you would like my monthly newsletter to appear in your email inbox, please contact me at mayor@burlington.ca to be added to the electronic mailing list.

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Upcoming Meetings

Development & Infrastructure Committee: Monday, March 30 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Community & Corporate Services Committee: Tuesday, March 31 at 1 p.m. and reconvening at 6:30 p.m. if required

Committee of the Whole: Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m.

Burlington City Council: Monday, April 20 at 6:30 pm.

2015 Budget Approved Budget 2015 banner[1]

Last month, city council approved the 2015 operating budget, which saw a 3.64 per cent increase in the city’s portion of property taxes.

When combined with Halton Region and the boards of education, the overall property tax increase is 2.06 per cent or $18.08 for each $100,000 of residential urban assessment. Continue reading