Helping Build a Stronger Community – Habitat Halton

 

April 16, 2014

Appeared in the Burlington Post, April 16, 2014

Habitat Halton

You may have read the front Habitat Halton April 2014page story of a recent Burlington Post edition entitled “Habitat Halton hands over keys to 19th, 20th homeowners”.  That article covered an event I attended that was deeply moving and humbling as I watched the longtime dreams of two families become fulfilled, thanks to the efforts of this organization and countless volunteers.

Unfortunately, too many families find this dream elusive. Continue reading

Ice Storm, Budget 2014, Infrastructure Update and Parking: Burlington Progress Report: January 2014

 

January 10, 2014

Burlington Progress Report: January 2014

Upcoming Committee and Council Meetings

The first cycle of the new year has some very weighty issues to discuss including:

  1. Report regarding the Official Plan Review and a preliminary study of the heritage character of the Mount Nemo Plateau.
  2. Report providing information on the feasibility of implementing an Interim Control By-law in the Roseland Community.
  3. Report requesting a zoning regulation review related to the commercial production of medical marijuana.
  4. Report regarding the rezoning application for 5000 & 5014 New Street. (South east corner of Appleby and New – staff are recommending rezoning to allow a roof top patio for a restaurant.)
  5. Report recommending endorsement of the Burlington Community Energy Plan. (more on this in my next update)
  6. Report(s) providing an overview of the 2014 budget and resulting tax rate increases.

You can access agendas, minutes and videos for Standing Committee meetings and the meetings of Council here including the reports listed above.

  • Development and Infrastructure Committee: January 13, 2014
  • Community and Corporate Services Committee: January 14, 2013
  • City Committee Highlights: December 9, 2013

Snow Control Burlington Snow Winter Control

It’s early January and so far, we have been experiencing a real Canadian winter – unlike some winters of recent memory in Burlington.

The weather conditions have presented some real challenges for travel around the GTA and much of Ontario.  Our Roads and Parks Maintenance crews have been working very hard to ensure that our roads and sidewalks are cleared, safe, and up to service standard. This has not been easy due to the extreme cold temperatures we have experienced along with the consistent snow we have received.

During a winter weather event, check the Snow Control website for regular updates here.
Continue reading

New Horizon Development Re-Zoning

May 22, 2012 

I would like to thank everyone that called and sent me emails with regards to the Falcon Boulevard re-zoning. During this process I visited the site and met with a group of local residents that were strongly opposed to the change.

At Council, a number of residents and the developer also presented their thoughts on this issue. This was a challenging issue and after due consideration I decided to support the proposed re-zoning at both Committee and Council.

On one side of the issue is the clear intent that we have to increase residential density in certain areas of the city. The Plains Road corridor is an important part of this plan. We have chosen to make Plains Road far more active and the Plains Road Village Vision supports this. We would like to see more residents in this area and see an increase in services available in Aldershot.

The concern that I heard from residents against this change was that this development was a threat to the balance of the neighbourhood. That the traditional nature of Aldershot might change as a result of the decision and that new forms of residential development would work their way across and down Falcon to other areas.

Given these two competing positions I supported the proposal on the basis that:

1.    The project meets the intent of the Official Plan to increase density on the Plains Road corridor.

2.    The development will continue to be accessed from Plains Road. Resident access will be through  the underground parking which will be shared with the Phase 1 element of the development. This is  probably the biggest single issue to me. If the access point was falcon I would not approve this proposal.

3.     The parking proposed for Falcon, visitor parking, will result in a minimal traffic impact.

4.     The developer has made changes to the development which is consistent with many of the suggestions from the public. The proposed façade will have an appearance and mass very similar to a row of townhouses however the proposed layout will not have the parking and traffic issues that townhouses may have presented.

5.    The landscaping also showed change and improvement and significant effort was being made to have an attractive property.

6.     I do not believe that this development is a threat to the existing neighbourhood. We are always going to have a transition from one type of housing to another as we see development on arterial and collector roads. A four storey building with a three storey façade is a very reasonable transition.

In my years on Council I have had the opportunity to see the development process in action many times. There are often many concerns about the impact that a development will have. There is a tendency to be concerned for the very worst but not to put any weight on the benefits. Some of the benefits of this project: affordable new residences for our community, new neighbours, homes with access to public transit and increased commerce for local business; are all positives which in this case make this project an overall positive addition to our community.

 

In Our Backyard

This column appeared in the Burlington Post, March 20, 2012 and is available online.

March 20, 2012

Part of building a city is the challenge of different ideas about what shape the city is taking.

Development ideas often seem great until they are happening right next door and in our backyards. Over the past 30 years Burlington has grown significantly. Most of this growth has been in “greenfield” areas; new communities and developments built in open areas.

Growth in neighbouring communities  Oakville and Milton will continue to be this type of greenfield development for the near future, with lots of open green space still to be developed. Burlington’s future is different. Our growth will be within existing urban boundaries.

We are committed to protecting our rural area north of Dundas Street.  This is defined by greenbelt legislation and also in our city planning. Our growth will create  opportunities to create vibrant neighbourhoods across the city while we protect traditional neighbourhoods. Part of creating vibrant neighbourhoods is creating more local employment opportunities so that more residents can work in the community they live in. We will have increased density in both residential areas and employment areas.

As we work through these changes over the coming years, we will face several challenges together. How do we plan for residents that will be here in the future? What will their needs be?

How can we, as elected representatives and city officials, keep the plan in front of residents so that everyone knows which direction our community is headed in? How do we keep residents interested in planning the future of our city?

The process of planning for land use is called the Official Plan. Official Plans are formal documents done at both the city and regional level which define the layout and land use for the future. They take into account residential needs, employment needs and infrastructure needs. In this way, we define what we want our city to be in the future. The process is ongoing.

Right now Burlington is starting an update to its Official Plan to identify plans for the city through 2031. This process will take three to five years to complete.

There will be many public sessions that I invite you to attend.

In support of this process, I have invited Ken Greenberg to Burlington to speak on Wednesday, April 11 about city planning as part of the Inspire Burlington series. He is a highly-respected visionary on city planning and will share some of his ideas with us to consider as part of our Official Plan update.

I know our planning staff is excited about his visit. For anyone interested in the future of our city’s development, this is a great opportunity.