I wish everyone a great summer, our youth are finishing their school year and many residents will be outside enjoying the weather and our city facilities and amenities. Please take extra care driving and be aware of construction activities... yes it’s that season too! I hope you enjoy this e-Newsletter, which includes information on our waterfront and ongoing improvements and continuing work across the city to improve our infrastructure and services through this year’s budget consideration and approval.

I hope you enjoy celebrating the Canada Day weekend with family and friends!
The 2023 City Budget Approval - Investing in our Neighbourhoods
Investment in projects and services is paramount in providing a great community in which to live, work and play. We need to continuously build new facilities, infrastructure, parks, etc., while replacing and refurbishing old ones to satisfy the needs and wants of residents. It is always a balance to keep up with demands while keeping costs/taxes down. But a balanced budget must be passed by Council. This is one of the key responsibilities of Council and Councillors. If you don't vote for the budget you have not voted for the important services and projects in the City. The City or Region must have a balanced budget, unlike the Federal and Provincial governments that can run deficits.

With a 6-1 vote, Council approved the City’s 2023 Capital & Operating budgets, prioritizing key investments in service, program, and infrastructure needs of our growing community.

  • The approved Current Budget is $82,162,832
  • The approved Capital Budget is $58,899,668

The City’s portion of the residential property tax bill will increase by 2.44%. This increase, when combined with the Region of Durham and School Board increases, results in an average increase of 5.3% on the total property tax bill.

Budget Highlights
  • Expansion of the senior’s snow removal program from 500 to 750 registrants
  • Increase in seniors property tax grant from $525 to $535
  • Expanded Automated Speed Enforcement program
  • New events at Millennium Square
  • Staff to support a new Office of Affordability
  • Funding for the implementation of a digital strategy that includes website redevelopment and customized client portals
  • Major 2023 Capital Projects: construction of the Pickering Heritage & Community Centre ($40 million total budget), new pickleball and futsal courts at the Pickering Soccer Centre ($902,000), Walnut Lane extension ($2.0 million) and various asphalt resurfacing, reconstruction and culvert replacement projects ($4.6 million)
  • Funding for the development of a new Corporate Strategic Plan as well as updates to the Parks & Recreation, Fire and Library Master Plans
  • An increase of five positions for front line firefighting staff (Seaton)

Streets slated for road resurfacing improvements include:

  • Alder Court
  • Eyer Drive
  • Chapleau Drive
  • Heathside Crescent
  • Vistula Drive
  • Victoria Street
  • Chiron Crescent
  • Listowell Crescent
  • Dellbrook Avenue
  • Jomar Avenue
  • St. Martins Drive
  • Linwood Street
  • Stonehurst Road
  • Joseph Street road reconstruction and drainage improvements
  • Gwendolyn Street Asphalt Resurfacing - Rouge Valley Drive to Fawndale Road
  • Petunia Place Asphalt Resurfacing - Gwendolyn Street to North Terminus
  • Falconcrest Drive Asphalt Resurfacing - Dunbarton Road Rambleberry Avenue
  • Fuschia Lane Asphalt Resurfacing – Grenoble Boulevard to Modlin Road

Recorded City Council vote for Current and Capital Budgets:

Councillor Brenner
Councillor Butt
Councillor Cook
Councillor Nagy
Councillor Pickles
Mayor Ashe

Councillor Robinson
Waterfront Refurbishment Project
Like many residents my wife, Brenda, and I have enjoyed visiting our waterfront. It is also the destination of some of my bike rides where I meet many people from all over the City who have come to take in the lake, beaches and amenities. The high water levels and storm damage destroyed many of our amenities like the board walk, so we are designing and building it back, to be better and more resilient and accommodating to the natural environment.
Beachfront Park:
The detailed design work for the reconstruction of Beachfront Park is proceeding through 2023 with construction forecasted for 2024 pending Council approval. Proposed work includes the construction of an elevated walkway with separate pedestrian and cycling lanes, viewing nodes, and accessible access to the beach area. 
Rotary Frenchman’s Bay West Park:
The new comfort station opened in early June. It includes three universal, non-gendered, self-contained washrooms and a staff area for park maintenance equipment storage. The building has been constructed to allow for year round operation.  
Phase 2 construction work along the west spit is progressing well and is scheduled to be completed by late summer. Work includes the reconstruction of the main pedestrian path with pedestrian level lighting, a fishing node, shade structure, site furniture, dune restoration and plantings, accessible beach access, and an accessible canoe/kayak launch and dock.
Sandy Beach Road Update
I don't think I have ever made a social media post about the waterfront without a response regarding the condition of Sandy Beach Road. Yes, it's bad and yes Council has taken action. However, it is a complex and costly project that must be done in phases. The reconstruction of Sandy Beach has been approved. It will be widened and have an urban cross section (curbs), it’s not just repaving. It will have a sidewalk on one side and a multi-use path on the other side. To date utilities are being located and the City is in discussions to purchase the needed additional lands for widening on the east side. Elexicon will move the hydro lines which will be a major project. The box culvert for the stream under the road needs to be replaced and should occur this year. All this needs to be done before the road paving which we hope can take place next year.
Lights, Cameras, Action!
I had a tour of TRiBRO Sudios - Pickering with one of the three brothers, Steve Apostolopoulos. The photos include the stage door and inside one of the large sound proofed studios. The film business in Pickering and Durham is large and growing. Pickering recently hosted a session on work and supply opportunities in the film business.
New Fire Station and Headquarters
I was pleased to drop by the new Fire Station and Headquarters with Fire Chief Boyd. It is a very functional station and provides a necessary new facility to provide safety to the community.

Construction of the New Fire Station was completed in April of 2023 and was designed by Thomas Brown and Associates Architects, and constructed by Percon Construction, the new Fire Headquarters, Station 1 is a total of 21,000 square feet. There are 3 apparatus bays that house 2 Fire Apparatus and the Fire Services Command vehicle. The station has the capacity to house up to 9 staff at full complement.

The upper floor includes office space for the Fire Prevention division, Training Division, as well as the Administrative staff, and boasts a large capacity instruction/community space.
A public art piece commissioned by local artist Patrick Bermingham and titled “One Horsepower” stands proudly in front of the station facing Brock Road. The statue represents Pickering’s past and how the horse contributed an important role in the city’s development, as well as the its traditional ties to the Fire Service.
The Fire station is strategically located at the North west corner of Brock Road and Zents Drive, and its addition provides faster response times to the Seaton community, 407 highway, and surrounding area, in addition to providing a greater depth of response to the rest of the city.

Interesting to note, Zents Drive where the hall is located is named after Ray Zents, a Pickering Firefighter who passed away due to occupational illness in 2003. The road on the other side of Brock when you take Zents Drive eastward through the intersection is Rex Heath Drive. Rex Heath was also a Pickering Firefighter, who passed away due to occupational cancer in 2009.
One Horse Power
Public art is important to our communities. When people visit other cities, they often gravitate to the architecture and art, and of course, take selfies and post to social media. I often post photos of interesting places and art in our City, but we could use more and the City is actively procuring more art and amenities for the enjoyment of residents.
‘One Horse Power’ has been installed at Pickering’s new Fire Hall, located at the corner of Zents Drive and Brock Road.

Signage and landscaping are still being completed, and the artwork has been unveiled, as part of the Fire Hall opening this June.

Artist Patrick Bermingham created the proposal to pay tribute to the work horse, the original unit of power. Patrick reflects “with a single horsepower, so much was accomplished in a short space in time,” highlighting that the work horse represents a time when human and horse worked closely together in synergy.

The style of the sculpture is highly dynamic, not high realism. The artist intends for passers-by to feel the determination of the horse, conveying strength and beauty through perseverance. As the Seaton neighbourhood continues to grow, this steel guardian will remind visitors and residents of the power required to get the job done, back then and today.
We All Belong
The City of Pickering proudly recognizes June as Pride Month, which is dedicated to celebrating and uplifting 2SLGBTQIA+ communities (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and other sexual and gender diverse communities) all around the world.
Pride Month can be traced to the Stonewall Uprising that began on June 28, 1969, when police violently raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay and lesbian bar in Greenwich Village, New York City. The raid resulted in several days of protests as people mobilized to support the 2SLGBTQI+ community, ultimately becoming a catalyst for the 2SLGBTQIA+ liberation movement.
As the 2SLGBTQIA+ community continues to encounter various forms of prejudice and discrimination locally and internationally, we must remain steadfast in our commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Keeping in Touch
Thank you for taking the time to read this eNewsletter. I welcome your feedback and comments. You can reach me by email at dpickles@pickering.ca. To continue the conversation between eNewsletters, I invite you to visit my Facebook and website pages.

I also invite you to forward this eNewsletter to other Pickering residents. If they, or someone you know, wishes to subscribe to my eNewsletter or any other City related eNewsletters, visit pickering.ca/eNews to sign-up. eNewsletters are sent out a maximum of once per month and you can unsubscribe at anytime.