Ward 2
Community News
Lisa Kearns l Councillor l Burlington.ca/Ward2

December 2019

Hello Everyone!

This will be a brief newsletter focusing on two major matters we will be discussing at Committee and Council:

  • Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown Concept; and
  • Burlington Proposed Budget 2020.

There are hot topics coming to Committee this month:
  • Climate Action Plan is tabled for review.
  • Recreation Framework for Parks & Rec gives more opportunity for more to play.
  • Free transit for high school students and for children under 12.
  • Downtown traffic safety including pedestrian controlled crosswalks (no more 'wait for gap') at:
  • Brant Street at Pine Street
  • Brant Street at Elgin Street
  • Brant Street at Maria Street
  • Section 37 Benefits for the recently approved development at 2421-2431 New Street.
  • Affordable housing - up to 6 dwelling units to Halton Region at Fair Market Value, with the understanding that Halton Region will make these units available for geared-to-income rental housing purposes.
  • If the negotiation results in an intended Agreement of Purchase and Sale, the community benefit will be used to reduce the cost of the transaction by $400,000.
  • $300,000 in community space & $200,000 in streetscape enhancements.
  • Local input into the Region of Halton’s Integrated Growth Management.
  • Development pre-application policy improvements.

Please contact my office if you would like more information on the above.

Over the last 11 months, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of you. The number one role as your councillor is to always listen, understand, and work to ensure your voice is at the forefront of decision making.

Your feedback and thoughts - whether provided at my regular community update meetings, Official Plan "Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown" pop-ups, various functions and events to our local coffee shops, and through e-mail and phone conversations are important to me and our community. I truly believe this is your city and I am here to serve our constituents.

Best regards,

Committee Agenda cycle is in full swing next week with a whopping 32 agenda items for committee consideration (some of these items are listed above). The following week, we step into Budget Workshops where Council determines the 2020 Budget with a focus on funding infrastructure, investing in our workforce, Vision to Focus workplan priorities and the many initiatives that keep our City the number one community to live in. For a complete listing of the upcoming agenda items, visit the City's Calendar .
What's Happening at Committee and Council Meetings?

Committee begins at 9:30 a.m. and if required continues at 6:30 p.m., we first hear delegations by our residents - the people we serve at the morning or evening time options. I stand by reviewing the delegation process from the bottom up and commit to an open line of communication that gets the value of citizen led input. City meetings are live web-casted, giving everyone the option to attend in person or view online. At a glance, here's what's happening for December:
Committee of the Whole
 December 2nd, 2019 - 9:30 a.m.
Planning and Development Committee
December 3rd, 2019 - 9:30 a.m.
Planning and Development Committee
December 5th - 9:30 a.m.
Committee of the Whole - Budget
 December 10 and December 12, 2019 - 9:30 a.m.

At time of writing this newsletter, the Budget agenda is not yet available. Clerks Department advises it will be available the week of December 2nd. You'll be able to view on the city's Calendar .
Regular Meeting of Council
  December 16 - 6:30 p.m.
The complete Standing Committee Agend as can be found here .
Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown Concept Discussion
In early 2019, Council directed staff to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan related to the Downtown. 

In Phase 1 of the project, engagement focused on identifying what is important to the community about Downtown. The work of Phase 1 confirmed the vision for the Downtown and provided guidance to help inform the development of, and evaluation of two alternative land use and built-form concepts or, the “concepts”.

In Phase 2 of the project, engagement has been focused on two alternative concepts for discussion as presented in the document titled “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: Themes, Principles and Land Use Concepts” Report PB-89-19 .  

The purpose of the discussion on December 5th is to:

  • Provide a project overview including the work plan, scope, givens (Major Transit Station Area, Urban Growth Centre, and Mobility Hub), and process;
  • Provide the consultant the opportunity to present the report titled “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: Themes, Principles and Land Use Concepts” (Appendix A);
  • Share the preliminary analysis of the feedback received to date;
  • Share direction, based on what staff have heard to date, regarding the development of a preliminary preferred concept plan; and
  • Provide an opportunity for further discussion and input from the public, stakeholders and Council on the concepts.

Strategy/process - No decisions are being made as a result of this discussion on December 5th. This is an opportunity for staff to hear from Council and a further opportunity to hear from the public and stakeholders related to the land use concepts presented in Appendix A , released in late October. This meeting forms another layer of engagement on the two concepts.

You are welcome to attend the meeting and certainly speak to Committee. Note that registration is required - you can register here .

My comments: Frustrations are high to say the least about the two concepts proposed for the downtown. Tension about the 'givens' which drive the growth numbers are leaving residents feeling helpless about their role in shaping the downtown they want to preserve our unique quality of life. My response is don't give up, your voice is needed now more than ever.

The same growth policy 'givens' are applied to cities of various sizes across all of Ontario, from Toronto to Timmins - Burlington's Official Plan is our safety net that is the last stop in considering planning permissions. Our obligation is to create a defensible Official Plan that balances growth with our infrastructure and our residents' position on where and how we will grow.

Just because there are designations such as the MTSA (John Street bus terminal), Urban Growth Centre (UGC), and the Province's Places to Grow numbers (which we have met up to 2031), it does not mean that we cannot hold firm to height and density permissions. Responsible and sensible growth is the priority of our community and that is what we will achieve through this re-examination process.

There is great resilience in our community and a tremendous amount of informed, engaged and passionate residents that have committed to pushing the community voice forward to help council meet our commitment to City Responsive City Growth. We will do this. I am so thankful to the many many people of all parts of our community that have stopped to talk with me at my dozen of OP Pop Ups at the library, mall, seniors centre, churches, and over coffee - the pulse of the community still demands a city that rejects over-intensification.

The December 5th Planning &Development Meeting is an opportunity to hear a full summary of the feedback that was delivered alongside the preliminary recommended concept (I hope it is neither concept 1 or 2 as neither are reflective of our community values and both represent exceeding the 200 people or jobs per hectare in the downtown UGC).

This meeting will include a description of how the feedback was used, and if it was not used, why did it not inform the development of the preliminary recommended concept.

Delegations are an important part of this meeting and I strongly encourage you to tell your neighbours to pack the chambers as this will form another layer of engagement on the two concepts. You will hear a high level overview of the feedback received to date on the two concepts.

I acknowledge that residents are frustrated with "why do I have to do this again?" and I couldn't agree more; this month marks my first delegation to the City at the time on behalf of Engaged Citizens of Burlington to express concern about the Adopted Official Plan. I have felt the weight on my shoulders - uplifted by the community - on changing the direction our City was on. I committed to better planning for intensification and bringing a process to address unwanted over-intensification.

As a community, we have already made great strides; the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) gave pause to plan with purpose, the opportunity to review other areas of the adopted official plan following the Region's notations on incompatibility and importantly, the re-examination of the downtown policies planning study. We now rally toward the end of this process with a view to bringing an official plan to the Region and lifting the ICBL in early 2020.

The Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designations are a concern in the downtown. Earlier this year, council directed staff to review those designations following the completion of the scoped review of the OP.

We're almost there, my message to you is, Let's do this, Together.

You are welcome and encouraged to come and speak to this matter at the
Proposed Budget 2020
The proposed 2020 budget consolidates the city’s operating and capital budgets and is presented in a service-based format, identifying the revenues and expenditures by City services.

Key areas of focus for the proposed 2020 budget include:

  • Providing strategic investments aligned to the City’s four-year work plan, Vision to Focus, and Burlington’s 25-year Strategic Plan;
  • Maintaining existing service levels;
  • Ensuring City assets are maintained in a good state of repair;
  • Making key investments to address climate change impacts; and
  • Managing risk and addressing corporate priorities while ensuring competitive property taxes.
The 2020 proposed budget strikes a balance between identifying efficiencies, leveraging non-tax based revenue sources, revising service levels, and continuing to build towards long-term financial sustainability through additional investment in infrastructure renewal. Overall, the 2020 budget ensures the city’s strong financial position is maintained and residents receive the programs and services they value.

So far the overall tax rate is posted at 2.44% (City + School + Region) - with the proposed City portion at a tax rate increase of 4%.
Proposed Capital Budget
The proposed 2020 capital budget is $85.8 million, with a ten-year program of $809.7 million. Some highlights of the proposed 2020 capital budget include:

  • Revitalization of the Skyway Community Recreation Centre
  • Resurfacing of New Street, between Walkers Line and Burloak Drive
  • Road reconstruction of the Coldstream Drive area
  • Upgrades to Tuck Creek and West Aldershot Creek.
Proposed Property Tax Impact for Residents

When combined with the estimated Halton Region and education tax levies, the overall projected tax increase for a Burlington homeowner is 2.44% or $19.38 per $100,000 of assessment. For example, homeowners with a home assessed at $500,000 would pay an additional $96.90 per year or $1.86 per week.
Budget Pressures for 2020

Some of the pressures impacting the city’s 2020 budget include:

  • Labour Market and Workforce – Challenges related to attracting and retaining the human resources Burlington relies on to deliver the range and quality of services that residents expect, as the result of: eligible retirements; competing job opportunities within a one-hour commute of Burlington; and a compensation system that is less competitive within the market.

  • Fluctuations in the foreign exchange and changing economic conditions – Purchases made in US dollars for things like fire trucks and software maintenance are subject to fluctuations in foreign exchange. As well, many materials and supplies the City uses in construction are driven by market conditions and, more recently, higher tariffs. This results in the construction price index increasing higher than the rate of inflation, having a significant impact on the capital program.

  • Managing the needs of maintaining and renewing City infrastructure assetsForces impacting increasing costs for the renewal of City infrastructure include: escalating construction costs; reductions to capital funding made during the 2019 budget process; changing climate conditions impacting the lifecycle of City assets, such as roadways; and an increase in service and design standards, such as accessibility and environmental, when renewing infrastructure.
Competitive Property Taxes
Burlington’s residential property taxes remain below the average when compared to similar homes in municipalities across the Greater Toronto Area. In a comparison of property taxes in municipalities in the Great Toronto Hamilton Area, Burlington’s property taxes are the third lowest for a residential single-family detached home, after Milton and Halton Hills.

For more information, including an online copy of the proposed budget for 2020 visit burlington.ca/budget.
Planning + Development
For a complete listing of current development projects, visit Ward 2 Projects .
Community Events
Santa Claus Parade

Sunday, December 1
at 2 pm

Join us for the City of Burlington's annual Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, December 1 at 2 pm.

The parade will start at 2 p.m. at the corner of Guelph Line and Prospect Street and makes its way downtown along New Street. The parade then travels north on Brant Street and finishes at Caroline Street.

This year’s parade features 90 entries, including colourful floats, friendly mascots and a variety of different bands. The parade will include traditional favourites such as th e Burlington Teen Tour Band , the Junior Redcoats, Top Hat Marching Orchestra and the Halton Regional Police Service Pipes and Drums.

Of note:

  • Children are encouraged to bring letters for Santa, which will be collected by letter carriers from Canada Post along the parade route.
  • Spectators may bring non-perishable food donations, which will be accepted by the Burlington Teen Tour Band boosters for local food banks.
  • The Burlington Oldtimers Hockey Club will be collecting loonies and toonies to help support the operation costs of the parade.

For more information, visit burlington.ca/parade o r contact 905-335-7600, ext.7422.
Upcoming Events

Nov. 29 - Candlelit Stroll starts at 6 pm at City Hall
Nov. 29 - A Dickens of an Evening , Burlington Baptist Church
Nov. 30 - Christmas Market, St. Luke's Anglican Church
Nov. 30 - Lockhart Village - Frosty's Village - Love my Hood Event
Dec. 1 - Santa Claus Parade, 2 pm (as above)
Dec. 1 - Light up the Lake Santa Run , 6 pm at the Art Gallery of Burlington
Dec. 3 - Holiday Open House , 7 p m to 8:30 pm, Compassion Society
Dec. 6 - Jan. 5 (weekends) and Dec. 23, 30, Jan. 2 - Winter Lights at the Rock Garden , Royal Botanical Gardens
Dec. 7 - Santa 5k Run, 8:55 a.m., outside City Hall
Dec. 8 - Christmas around the world with the Harlequin Singers , 3-4 pm at Knox Presbyterian Church
Dec. 8 - Burlington Symphony - Christmas Spectacular !, 3-5 pm at Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Dec. 13 - Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime), 8-10 pm at Drury Lane Theatre
Dec. 14, 15 - KooGle Theatre Student Showcase , 2-3 pm at Theatre Burlington

Of Note:
Note: For a full listing of city meetings and events subscribe to the city calendar and receive a weekly email providing you with a list of what's coming up. If you belong to a community organization and would like to add an event to the calendar, quickly create an account and you're all set to start adding events. Visit the City Calendar to register your organization.
Closing Comments
Photo to the right is taken at a recent Breakfast at the Bistro at the Burlington Seniors' Centre. So inspiring to see our healthy and active older adults catching up and connecting with community! A great opportunity as well to hear what’s on our residents minds, with a special Official Plan pop-up.

Our community is better when we're connected! Forward this newsletter to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues so that they can sign up as well. 

CANCELLED: Note that the Ward 2 Community Update meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 5 has unfortunately been cancelled due to the recent scheduling of a P&D Standing Committee meeting on this very same date/time. The P&D Standing Committee topic is on the OP: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown (my comments are included above).

Mark your Calendars for the 2020 Ward 2 Community Update Meetings on a Thursday evening at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

  • February 20
  • April 16
  • June 4
  • September 17
  • November 19

Thank you for your support! It’s a pleasure to bring your voice forward as we work together to make our Burlington the best place to live, work and play!
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas,

Lisa Kearns
Ward 2 Councillor
City of Burlington & Region of Halton

E-mail: Lisa.Kearns@burlington.ca or Ward2@burlington.ca
Tel: 905 335-7600 x7588 
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