November 2017 Update

 421 – 431 Brant Street Rezoning Approved

Monday night, at the City Council meeting, the members of council voted 5-2 in favour of rezoning 421-431 Brant Street to allow for a proposed 23-storey mixed-use condo building to be built across from City Hall.

The Building would include 169 residential units, office space on the second floor and ground floor retail.  You can read the detailed staff recommendation here.

I was one of the two who voted against the proposal.

I want to thank the residents who took the time out of their busy lives to share their insight and delegated on Monday evening.

Proposed New Official Plan Open House

Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan is out for public review.

It contains additions, deletions and modifications to the draft new Officiall Plan that was released in April. Our staff received feedback from agencies,stakeholders and the public that guided in producing the new proposed OP.

We continue to ask for your input.  Please join city staff at  upcoming public meetings to review and discuss the proposed new Official Plan.  If you can’t make it ou to the public meetings, you can email newop@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7642 with your questions or concerns.

If you haven’t been following, click here for a refresher on the New Official Plan Project.

2018 Budget Overview

The Financial Overview of the 2018 Proposed Capital Budget and Forecast was presented to the Committee of the Whole – Budget Committee on November 9th.

The 2018 Proposed Capital Budget is approximately $68.6 million with a strong focus on infrastructure renewal projects reflective of the city’s commitment to the asset management plan and the Strategic Plan initiative.

Committee will review the Proposed Capital Budget on December 1, 2017, with Council approval scheduled for December 11, 2017.

The  Proposed 2018 Capital Budget Book is available now for public review.

Remembrance Day

I am proud and moved by the number of Burlington residents who joined me on Remembrance Day to show their love and support to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

We had a larger than normal crowd at the Sunrise Ceremony at the Naval Ships Memorial Monument in Spencer Smith Park.  Brant Street was packed with the young and old who came to pay their respects as our veterans made their way to the Cenotaph.

2017 is a special year of commemoration for Canada, including Canada 150, the 100th anniversaries of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Passchendaele, and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.

I am proud and honoured to be Canadian and thankful to all our veterans who risked their lives for our freedom.

Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign

I helped kick off The Salvation Army’s  Christmas Kettle Campaign with Major Bob and three-year-old Zoey this week.

Christmas Kettles are found in over 2,000 locations across Canada and funds donated will support the work of The Salvation Army during the Christmas Season.

Major Bob tells me that he is still looking for up to 100 volunteers to be the Kettle Bell Ringers in various locations across our city.

If you can give the gift of time, it would mean more low-income families will be able to spend Christmas with special meals and presents.

To become a Kettle Bell Ringer, contact Major Bob at 905-630-5212 or sign up online.

What’s Happening Burlington?

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

The next round of committee meetings begin on November 27th.

 

Community Garden Lottery

The City of Burlington had one community garden in 2012 with 30 plots.  Today, there are five community gardens with 167 plots including thirteen raised accessible plots for those with limited mobility.

If you’d like to claim a plot for 2018, submit an application before November 30th and you will be entered into a lottery draw on December 1st.   Good Luck!

Why I Voted Against the 23-Storey Development Proposal

421-431 Brant Street Development Rendering

On November 1st, the Planning and Development Committee approved a Planning staff recommendation to allow the development of a 23-storey building right across from City Hall at the North East corner of James and Brant Street.

The building would include 169 residential units, office space on the second floor and ground floor retail.

The Committee voted 5-2 in favour of this recommendation. I voted against this proposal.

Downtown Burlington is a very desirable area to live and work for obvious reasons.  There are great restaurants, unique shops and amenities including the Performing Arts Centre and proximity to the waterfront.

There are also great places to live, in existing modern high-rise buildings that were built over the last 20 years including 360 on Pearl, the Pearl and Pine Retirement Residence and the Baxter. None of these buildings exceeds 18 storeys.

In my view, our downtown has an appropriate scale of current development that provides an urban intimacy. The proposed 23-storey building across from the City Hall is not consistent with the present scale, and we should not approve it.

The development proposal is not consistent with the new Downtown Mobility Hub Draft Precinct Plan that was presented to council by Planning staff in October.

The Draft Precinct Plan called for a Special Policy Area at the corner of James and Brant that would allow building height of 17 storeys, assuming that certain public benefits could be achieved. I supported that plan and believe that this site is appropriate for a well-designed building that is either mid-rise or up to 17 storeys, not 23.

I understand the rationale for taller and more slender buildings, but a well-developed mid-rise or lower high-rise will fit the scale and form the character of our downtown that many residents have asked us to maintain. Planning staff have stated that a larger, wider and shorter 12-storey building can house the same amount of residential, office and retail space that the proposed 23-storey building would contain.

Our downtown, South of Caroline, can be shaped with well-thought-out buildings that are 17-storeys or lower that provide an inviting, pedestrian-friendly and attractive street.

Brant Street can improve without dramatically changing it.  The focus in our downtown should be distinctive and attractive design, not excessive height.

I am concerned about the negative consequences of this decision. We cannot look at this decision in isolation as there is reasonable planning rationale to mirror the same height and density on the opposite side of James Street.

I am concerned that this proposed development will have a considerable impact on the Draft Downtown Plan and undermine the confidence that residents are being asked to have for the City’s vision for future growth in the downtown.

Burlington City Council will make the final decision at our next meeting in the council chambers at City Hall on Monday, November 13th at 6:30 p.m.

If you’d like to have your voices heard, I encourage you to email the members of the council and me.  You can also register to delegate at the council meeting, which allows you to state your perspective publicly.

 

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

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