September 2023 eNewsletter

I would like to take a moment to thank you for subscribing to my
eNewsletter and being a part of the conversation. Your comments and concerns are meaningful to me, and I enjoy forming connections with all of our wonderful residents, in this beautiful city we call home!

I love to hear from you and chat about new ideas and changes you would like to see in our community. Should you wish to reach me, you may use my contact information provided below in the "Stay Connected" section of this eNewsletter.
Back to School - A Note to Crossing Guards
I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the invaluable work you do each day, ensuring the safety of our children as they make their way to and from school. Your unwavering dedication and commitment to this important role are truly commendable.

As crossing guards, you play a vital role in our community, helping our children navigate busy intersections, cross streets safely, and arrive at school or home without harm. Your presence brings a sense of reassurance to both parents and students, knowing that there is someone watching out for their well-being.
Your job is not an easy one. Rain or shine, in freezing temperatures or scorching heat, you stand at your posts, diligently guiding our children across the roads. Your patience, alertness, and ability to handle unexpected situations are truly remarkable.
You are more than just crossing guards; you are trusted protectors, mentors, and positive role models for our children. The care and attention you show towards their safety does not go unnoticed. Your friendly smiles, kind words, and the genuine interest you take in their lives make a lasting impact on their daily routines and their overall well-being.
I want you to know that your efforts do not go unappreciated. The work you do helps create a safe and nurturing environment for our children to grow, learn, and thrive. You provide peace of mind to parents and contribute to the strength and unity of our community.
So, on behalf of parents, students, and the entire community, I extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. Your dedication, commitment, and selflessness are truly inspiring. Please know that your work is valued, and your presence is treasured.
Thank you, crossing guards, for everything you do!
Strong Mayor Powers
Mayor Ashe will be exercising his right to use his Strong Mayoral Powers to Exclude Council from the 2024 Budget Drafting Process. I see several problems with this. With the Mayor having sole authority over budget drafting, there is an increased risk of personal biases or political considerations influencing financial decisions. Council members are elected to represent the diverse interests and needs of the community. If we are not involved in the budget drafting process, the perspectives of different segments of the population may not be adequately considered, leading to an imbalance in resource allocation, undermining fairness and impartiality of budget allocations. My personal opinion….This is undemocratic.

Click on my YouTube video link where I share some powerful insight on the Strong Mayor Powers.
Discussions on the Greenbelt

"Keeping promises and upholding morals is crucial as it reflects our integrity, builds trust with others, and guides us towards making ethical choices in distinguishing right from wrong."

To review my full comments on the Greenbelt, visit my YouTube video.

A recent article by reporter Kristen Calis with Metroland Media Group’s Durham Region Division was published on September 1, 2023. Read the full article here.

Development Concerns:
375 Kingston Road and
720 Granite Court
(375 Kingston Road Rendering) ------------------------------ (720 Granite Court Rendering)

I'd like to discuss a matter of utmost importance – the dangers of building high rises on the only two entrances into a subdivision (SoRo), particularly in the face of a potential dangerous event.
First and foremost, it is crucial to recognize that the safety and well-being of residents should always be paramount when planning and constructing any community. High rises, while impressive architectural feats, can pose significant risks if not carefully integrated into their surroundings. Placing such structures on the sole entry and exit points of a subdivision can have far-reaching consequences, especially during times of emergencies or perilous events.
Imagine, for a moment, a scenario where a dangerous event unfolds within the subdivision. It could be a natural disaster like an earthquake, a devastating fire, or a security threat that requires swift evacuation. In such critical situations, the presence of high rises obstructing the only routes out can quickly escalate the level of danger and jeopardize lives.
One immediate concern is the potential for overcrowding and panic. Picture the chaos that could ensue if residents are forced to evacuate through narrow, congested passageways constricted by towering structures. The very purpose of an evacuation route is to ensure a safe and efficient escape in times of need. By allowing high rises to dominate these routes, we not only compromise the flow of people but also increase the likelihood of stampedes, accidents, and injuries.
Moreover, placing high rises at the entrances of a subdivision hinders the arrival of emergency response teams. When faced with an emergency, every second counts. The obstruction caused by towering buildings can impede the prompt arrival of fire trucks, ambulances, or law enforcement, delaying their ability to provide crucial aid and assistance to those in need. The consequences of such delays can be dire, potentially resulting in further loss of life or worsening of injuries.
Let us also consider the impact on the psychological well-being of the subdivision's residents. Living in close proximity to high rises on both entrances can instill a sense of vulnerability and unease. The constant reminder of potential danger can create unnecessary stress and anxiety, which can adversely affect the mental health of individuals and families within the community. It is our duty to create environments that foster a sense of security and peace of mind for all residents.
In conclusion, it is imperative that we carefully evaluate the risks associated with building high rises on the only two entrances into a subdivision. We must prioritize the safety and security of residents above all else. By ensuring unobstructed and efficient evacuation routes, we can mitigate potential dangers and protect the lives of those living within these communities.
Let us work together, as responsible planners, architects, and community members, to create harmonious and secure environments for all. By doing so, we can build a future where safety and well-being are at the forefront of every decision, and where our communities can thrive without compromising the lives and happiness of its residents.
Committee & Council Schedules
Meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to follow along. Details are posted on the City of Pickering Council Calendar, found here.
FGF Brands Site
Pickering, ON, April 17, 2023 – The City of Pickering and Province of Ontario have recently completed the sale of 151 acres of provincial lands in Pickering’s Innovation Corridor to FGF Brands, for the development of a high-tech, food manufacturing campus, which will be known as the Wonderbrands Innovation Business Park.

In addition, Council recently approved FGF Brands’ (Caplink Limited) draft plan of subdivision application and zoning by-law amendment application to permit the food manufacturing campus. The first phase of development will consist of three manufacturing plants and a distribution centre, with an overall gross floor area of over 1,000,000 square feet and the creation of 1,000 new jobs, with another 2,000 jobs coming in the second phase. Once full build-out is complete, the business park will be the largest food manufacturing campus in the GTA, as well as one of the largest employers in Pickering with its 3,000 new jobs.

FGF Brands is the largest producer of fresh breads, rolls, croissants, fully baked muffins, and sweet goods, in North America, and has become a global leader by replacing low tech equipment with robotics, integrated AI systems, machine learning, and supply chain innovations. Some of its brands include Wonder Bread, D’italiano, Country Harvest, Stonefire, ACE, and Casa Mendosa.

FGF Brands’ acquisition represents the largest transaction to date on the Seaton employment lands owned by the Province through the Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI). The Seaton employment lands is a dedicated area of more than 800 acres of prestige employment land, ready to support the development and creation of high-tech industries and jobs. Infrastructure Ontario (IO) completed the transaction on MOI’s behalf. The community of Seaton will eventually have a population of 70,000 residents, with approximately 35,000 jobs, offering a range of housing types, employment lands, and land densities.

“We are thrilled to announce this landmark investment, and applaud MOI, IO and FGF Brands for their efforts in realizing our shared vision. This is truly an exciting time for our city as this deal represents just one of many that will bring jobs, prestige, and economic strength to Pickering. We are committed to investing in partnerships and economic development initiatives that will attract as many jobs as possible for our residents now and into the future, and that is why we’ve been aggressively marketing our Innovation Corridor as a prime opportunity for research and innovation. Pickering’s superior logistics have made the available prime development land within the City even more desirable. Its transportation options include Highways 401, 407 and 7; CN Rail, CP Rail, GO Transit and Durham Region Transit, and three airports all within an hour’s drive. 
- Mayor Kevin Ashe
 City of Pickering
"This is a historic announcement for the people of Pickering. This land transaction represents the largest sale of the provincial Seaton employment lands to date. This milestone means that FGF Brands will become one of the largest employers in Pickering. Our government will continue to be proactive with surplus properties province-wide to advance provincial priorities.”
- The Honourable Kinga Surma
  Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure
“We are thankful for the support we have received from the City of Pickering, and share in the excitement to help build a next generation, high tech manufacturing campus in Pickering that will not only create jobs of the future for the community, but will also help bring another level of growth for the entire community”.
- Ojus Ajmera, Co-Founder & Head, Sales & Marketing
  FGF Brands
Please see a video of Mayor Ashe’s recent tour of the FGF Brands’ Headquarters and Manufacturing Facility to get a sneak peak of what’s coming to Pickering here.
Porsche Experience Centre
Construction of the first urban version of the brand’s worldwide concept begins in Pickering

Eight months after announcing that it would build its first and very own Porsche Experience Centre (PEC), Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. officially broke ground on the project during a ceremony held yesterday in front of a group of more than 100 attendees including city and province officials.

As the tenth in the world and third of its kind in North America after Atlanta and Los Angeles, the future Porsche Experience Centre Toronto will be located on a dedicated, 20-acre site at the “Durham Live” development in Pickering, Ontario. A casino and luxury hotel are currently operating, and the site will include a concert venue and more than 400,000 square feet of retail space. The future PEC Toronto is slated to open in 2024.

“The kick-off to this construction project represents the culmination of years of dedication and planning by teams on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Marc Ouayoun, President and CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “More than a circuit, the future Porsche Experience Centre Toronto will represent a unique, exhilarating, and memorable place where visitors can fully immerse themselves in the brand and its products.”

PEC Toronto will be a brand park and major tourist destination where visitors can experience vehicle dynamics, technology, and emotion first-hand with expert guidance from Porsche instructors through various driving modules all year long and within a 30-minute drive of downtown Toronto. This domestic and international tourist destination will include a driving circuit over 2 kilometres in length, designed by Tilke Engineering to highlight the technological prowess of the Zuffenhausen brand’s two- and four-door sports cars – in their ideal playground. This will allow customers and fans to immerse themselves in the world of Porsche regardless of whether they own one or not.

“Porsche is one of the world’s most iconic and prestigious brands, and we are thrilled that the PEC project will bring thousands of visitors to our city as they seek new, visceral, and memorable experiences, all within minutes of downtown Toronto,” said Dave Ryan, Mayor, City of Pickering.

Visitors of the PEC Toronto will also be able to admire current and historic exhibition vehicles, stop by the café, and browse the Porsche shop.

“Durham Live is an entertainment playground built for diverse demographics, thrill seekers, sports car aficionados, or the culinary connoisseurs; we look forward to having the upcoming PEC Toronto as a fundamental component of our experience,” said Steve Apostolopoulos, Managing Partner and President of Pickering Developments, the owners of the Durham Live district.

For the full article visit their website here.

Pickering Casino Revenue
Pickering, ON, August 11th, 2023 – The City of Pickering was proud to mark the important economic and community benefits of being a host gaming site through a cheque presentation at today’s opener of the Pickering Food Truck Festival.

Since Pickering Casino Resort opened in July 2021, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has issued non-tax gaming revenue payments, totaling $24,484,059 (up to March 31, 2023), to the City of Pickering for hosting the facility, as part of its Municipal Contribution Agreement with Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation (OLG).

The City is reinvesting these revenues in the community to support local programs, initiatives, and infrastructure. The organizers behind the Pickering Food Truck Festival are just one of the many community recipients to benefit from the agreement, receiving funds to support the 3-day food truck festival that is expected to welcome 25,000 visitors.

“These critical revenue payments are making a real and meaningful impact in our community,” said Mayor Kevin Ashe. “As well as supporting a broad array of municipal services, programs, events, and infrastructure investments, the success of Pickering Casino Resort, and the greater Durham Live destination, has seen tremendous tourism and economic spin-offs – this is a win win for all.”

“This partnership enables the City of Pickering to invest in vital projects and services that enhance the quality of life for all Pickering residents,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “It drives economic growth, creates tangible improvements, and supports the community's well-being.”

“OLG is proud to be a vital part of the City of Pickering and we look forward to continuing to build on that support”, said Kathleen Devine, OLG’s Senior Municipal Relations Manager. “Each and every year, 100 per cent of OLG profits are reinvested in Ontario to support provincial priorities. From critical infrastructure to important local programs, to community festivals, OLG’s profits are hard at work in Pickering and all across our province to build stronger communities. We also appreciate the contribution of gaming site employees at Pickering Casino Resort who are making life in Pickering that much better. When you play at an Ontario casino, you play for Ontario.”

To date, Casino revenues have been used for the following Current and Capital Budget items:
  • Funding for 19 community groups as part of the City’s Community Grants Program
  • Consulting for Naming Rights and Sponsorship Evaluation Strategy for City facilities (including City Centre)
  • City Centre project-related planning activities and design costs
  • Gravel lot parking upgrades (behind Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex)

The 2023 Capital and Current Budget includes over $10 million of projects to be funded by casino revenues, including the Bay Ridges Kinsmen Park soccer turf replacement, Beverly Morgan Park track replacement, various pedestrian signal upgrades, various fire station hall upfits, and the snow clearing program for senior citizens.
September 30, 2023:
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On September 30, we gather to observe Truth and Reconciliation Day. It is a day of reflection, remembrance, and action. A day to acknowledge the painful history and ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is a day to listen, to learn, and to commit ourselves to the path of healing and reconciliation. Together we can build a future where truth, justice, and reconciliation guide our actions and shape our collective destiny.
What's Happening In Pickering This Month
Back to Business
As the summer season draws to a close, we find ourselves shifting gears and preparing to dive back into our work. The carefree days of vacation and relaxation are behind us, and it is time to refocus our energies on the important tasks at hand. Summer may be over, but my commitment to progress and productivity remains steadfast.
The Council is back to business.
Over the past few months, while many of us enjoyed some well-deserved time off, we cannot deny that the world around us continued to evolve and present new challenges. Issues that require our attention and dedication did not take a summer break. And so, let me renew my commitment to serve our community, to address these challenges head-on, and to work tirelessly for the betterment of all.
The return to business means that we must re-engage with the needs and aspirations of our constituents. It is a time to listen, to gather feedback, and to understand the pulse of our community. We must actively seek out the voices of those we represent, ensuring that their concerns and priorities are at the forefront of our decision-making process.
As we resume our work, let us also remember to foster a spirit of collaboration and unity. We are a Council, a team, with a shared purpose. Our diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is our strength. By harnessing this collective wisdom, we can develop innovative solutions, make informed decisions, and create positive change.
The challenges that lie ahead may be daunting, but together, we are capable of overcoming them. Let us approach our work with determination, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Let us strive for transparency, accountability, and integrity in all our actions.
As we bid farewell to summer, let us embrace the opportunities that lie before us. Let us seize this moment to make a lasting impact, to shape a future that is brighter, more inclusive, and more prosperous for all. The Council is back to business, and I have no doubt that, together, we will achieve great things. 

“Strength does not lie in the absence of fear but in the Courage to face it head-on and rise above it” – Lisa Robinson, August 2023
Questions or Concerns? 
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