January/February 2019

Wow! The first 60 days have been filled with excitement, learning and big decisions! Thank you for keeping up to date with your community and our City. There is so much happening as we continue working towards a Burlington we can all be proud of.

This newsletter is just one of many ways to be in contact with my office, we have social media, in person Ward 2 Updates, and as always you can find me in the community as your feet on the street!
Budget

 The proposed operating budget results in a 3.99% increase to the city’s portion of the tax bill, including:

  • 1.97% to maintain services

  • 1.25% for infrastructure renewal

  • 0.77% for service enhancements
When combined with the estimated regional and education tax levies, the increase for a Burlington homeowner is 2.45% or $19.99 per $100,000 of assessment . For example, homeowners with a home assessed at $500,000 would pay an additional $99.95 per year or $1.92 per week.

Read more at Budget .
Budget priorities important to you?

Hospital Levy reallocation to Infrastructure Levy

Clarity about the Joseph Brant Levy. There is some discussion out in the community that, "I agreed to the Joseph Brant Levy , but now you're using it for Infrastructure without asking". I would agree that with the recent announcement that the $60 million fundraising target (matched by $60m from the City) was exceeded for the Hospital expansion, it would appear that this levy would be finished.

But there is more to the story.
  • The commitment of $60m was approved by previous Council through tax increases which began in 2010, payable through $4.8m/year in tax levy to repay a combination of cash payments and debt that was raised.

  • 2019 is slightly different as the amount allocated to the Hospital is not $4.8m, it is $3.1m. The difference this year is $1.7m. Previous Council voted that as the amount of the hospital levy decreased, the difference would be reallocated to fund infrastructure needs of the City through to 2026 when the levy ends. This strategy closes the gap on the infrastructure funding gap of $126m between now and 2026.

My perspective: I support this strategy as there is an infrastructure deficit of $136m that has been accumulating from the 0% tax increases of the 1990's. Without a one-time major funding injection, this dedicated and fiscally prudent approach will both stabilize and support the infrastructure requirements for many terms to come.

Tax Rate Reduction to 3% or lower?

The process to prepare a budget draft occurs through the City's Finance department. This work resulted in a 3.99% proposed tax rate for 2019.

The task at hand for Council is to review the Operational and Capital proposals and set forth any Action Requests (add, delete, modify). To bring the proposed tax rate closer to 3%, the following removals are open to community feedback:

1. Elgin Promenade (4th Phase) - $680,000 savings; -0.43% tax impact; removal of $6.8 M from
the 10 year capital program

2. Right hand turn lane on Brant - $314,000 savings; -0.20% tax impact; removal of $3.14 M from
the 10 year program

3. Civic Square renovation - $70,000 savings**; -0.04% tax impact; removal of $700,000 from 10
year program
**other funding from senior government, community benefits, etc

4. Drone (Fire Department) - $50,000 savings; -0.03% tax impact; removal of $500,000 from 10
year program

5. Leaf Collection operations - $450,000 savings; -0.28% tax impact

6. Downtown Street Sweeper - $125,000 savings; -0.08% tax impact; removal of $1,250,000 from
10 year capital program
 
With the removal of this complete list, there is more than one full percentage point that could be reduced from the 2019 Tax Rate Assessment. Many of the above have been identified by Finance as directed by Council to propose adjustments that deliver further reductions.

My Perspective: The final number of the tax rate takes into consideration the Regional, City and School Board portions. It is important to our community to maintain or enhance our quality of life through the services provided by the City. Also, it is very important to maintain the highest level of safety. The proposed cuts directly impact both of these, the community feedback will guide my decision on supporting and bringing forward the proposed cuts.

A 4% tax rate is well below many neighbouring municipalities and in my opinion, while it is above inflation, it is still below the average. Overall, I have heard that in general, residents are satisfied with the services and investments delivered by the City of Burlington.

My focus is on efficiency and prudent use of funds, as well as strategic financial planning for tax stabilization. For me, it is not a big win to drop the rate if it results in higher costs in the future.

The budget is a balance between 'need to have' and 'must have' - I can say that I've heard with confidence that staff are maximizing and stretching our investments to the fullest. The above cuts represent projects that may be re-assessed once downtown construction has completed and/or identify more cost effective solutions. I am asking for your feedback on the value these represent to you so that we can make recommendations with Resident's Voices at the forefront. I'll send out a focused BUDGET Newsletter before February 11th with more information.

I have heard that environmental initiatives are of great value to our community, to that end, I will be asking for funds and exploring funding opportunities for a Pilot SoBi Bike Share Program. This Program is being explored for Wards 1 and 2 and more information is coming forward. We hope to have stations between Aldershot and Downtown.
Burlington Asset Management Plan

At the City of Burlington, the Asset Management service provides the overall framework, leadership, direction and co-ordination to all infrastructure asset categories and works with the Financial Management service to establish, update and champion the long-term asset management financial plan. The city takes a life-cycle cost analysis approach to managing assets that exceed $2.9 billion in replacement cost. 

In response to the forthcoming legislative requirements, the Asset Management Steering committee will report back to Council in 2019 with a work plan and a Strategic Asset Management Policy for Council review. This work plan will include what assets need to be replaced now and what can wait. I will keep you posted. For more information, visit Asset management Plan and read the Asset Management Program report .

HAVE YOUR SAY!

Register to speak to City Council at the Feb. 7 meeting of the Committee of the Whole.

Listen & ask questions during the 2019 Telephone Town Hall, hosted by Mayor, on Feb. 7 from 7:30-8:30 pm.

Attend the Budget Town Hall on Feb. 11 from 2-3:30 pm at Central Arena.

Development & Growth
Official Plan Update

At my January Ward 2 Community Update Meeting, residents shared concern about the adopted-at-the-city but sent back-by-the-Region 'Grow Bold' Official Plan.

To deliver clarify and ensure we're all on the same path in navigating planning matters, Mayor Meed Ward will bring forward a motion at the Feb. 5 P&D meeting which will prescribe:

  • ”Grow Bold” immediately discontinued
  • Full legal force and effect of the existing Official Plan
  • Re-assertion that growth targets do not require over-intensification to be met
  • A plan to address how the current City Council will send back a comprehensive plan to the Region
  • Re-set the evaluation framework for new applications that do not rely on the Adopted 2018 plan.

To read the complete motion, visit the AGENDA.

What does this mean?
I continually hear two very strong themes from the community, " I chose Burlington ” and “ We can grow, but in a better wa y”. The Mayor's motion will set the stage to address where and how growth Burlington will be welcomed into the Region and GTHA area.

The community has said that character and compatibility is important, as well as gentle intensification. Transit, housing affordability, employment, innovation hubs, green space protection, sustainability, among many other quality of life indicators are your priority.

Our job, as Council, is to deliver this to our community. This motion is the first step to get there, together.
Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc.
2069-2079 Lakeshore & 383-385 Pearl
Project:   Application for a 29-storey mixed-use building with 280 residential units & 675 sq. meters of ground floor commercial, fronting Lakeshore Road & Pearl Street.

Status:   The Neighbourhood Public Meeting occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 7 pm at the AGB.
Visit 2069-2079 Lakeshore for more details.
"Show of hands if you do not support his development" photo above
taken at the Jan. 29/19 Public Meeting.
My Perspective: Residents were very clear in not supporting the proposed application. Issues of over-intensification, lack of infrastructure, traffic congestion, access to the lakefront, parking, shadowing, wind impact, incompatibility, Official Plan and Zoning compliance, height, density, character, design, setbacks, community benefits, affordability, unit mix, green-space, and commercial space were communicated at the Neighbourhood Meeting as well as a high volume of emails to my office and the Planner on the file.

I will not be supporting the Application as currently submitted. I would encourage the community to continue emailing Lisa.Kearns@Burlington.ca with feedback.

It is most helpful to identify:
  • questions
  • what do you like/not like
  • how does this application affect you
  • what would you like to see
TRG New Guelph Inc.
2421-2431 New Street

Project: Building 1 (west) 223 units - seniors retirement of various care levels, and Building 2 (east) 139 units are planned as residential condo. There was clear interest from the younger crowd for availability in this development.

Status:    Statutory Meeting held January 15, 2019 at the Planning & Development Committee at City Hall.  Planning staff are working with the application for their next resubmission.

Visit  TRG New Guelph Inc. for details.
You asked … what is the status of the contamination on this site?

The applicant advises that the source of the contamination is likely coming from the old dry cleaner formally located northeast TRG’s site. Before TRG will be able to start development, a remediation plan will need to be put in place and approved by the City, Halton Region and most importantly the Province of Ontario. This plan will need to be completed before they will be able to gain building permits.
 
TRG will be submitting a Risk Assessment (RA) to detail how they will be protecting future residents. The RA is a standard approach to assessing risks that may be posed to the future development as a result of the impacts, and mitigating those risks, if any. TRG has hired EXP, who are qualified professionals in contamination management, to undertake studies and ensure that all Provincial standards are met.

To date EXP has prepared Phase 1 and 2 Environmental Site Assessments, Geotechnical Reports and Hydrogeological Studies. They have also installed monitoring wells to understand the levels of contamination which will help structure the type of mitigation needed.

The next steps include submitting the Risk Assessment to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for review and approval. Once complete, they will then file a Record of Site Condition with the MECP to support the residential use of the Site. EXP is currently working with the City, Region and MECP on the RA. It is expected that this process will be completed mid-2020.
DVLP Property Group Inc.
Project:     Redevelopment – combination of standard townhouse units and back-to-back townhouse units, for a total of 38 units.

Status:    Resubmission is under review.
Request:   Accessible suite(s)

for more details. 
Spruce Partners Inc. and Amico Properties Inc. (Amica)

Maple residents of Ward 1 are pleased to have the un-official representation of both myself Councillor Galbraith. I attended the Neighbourhood meeting on January 9 to hear residents ask questions and provide comments to the application below.
I would encourage your further input by email on this application - to date 45+ communications are presented in the comments section of the Planning file:

Project  S eniors’ living campus, consisting of 17-storey, 12-storey and 
11-storey buildings; in total 475 suites.

Previous Status   Public Information Meeting held on Jan. 9, 2019.
Statutory Public Meeting Feb. 5, 2019. View the Meeting Notice .

Current Status: A Statutory Public Meeting (Receive and File - no recommendation)
to consider the proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning by-law
Amendment application will be held:

February 5, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Council Chambers, Level 2, 426 Brant Street

This is a statutory public meeting and you do not have to register
in advance in order to speak.
Visit 1157-1171 North Shore Blvd . for more details.

What's Happening in Ward 2
& in our City?

Maple Avenue Construction

 Minor reconstruction has been underway on Maple Avenue, Ontario Street, Richmond Road and Maple Park. Anticipated completion is for Fall 2019.



Beaver Street

This winter, Halton Region will be rehabilitating wastewater sewer mains, laterals and maintenance holes on Beaver Street, from Frist Street to 125m south of First Street. the works is required to maintain Halton Region's wastewater infrastructure and reduce the risk of basement flooding.

Construction is expected to be completed by the summer 2019. For more information, view the notice .
Burlington Transit Detour due to Construction

Detour Area: Ontario St. between Maple Ave. and Nelson Ave.

Detour Dates: Feb. 4, 2019 to June 2019

Route 3 - Proceed to stops on o n Maple Ave. and on Ontario St. east of Nelson Ave.

Stops not in Service:
  • 765 – Ontario St. at Maple Ave.
  • 766 – Ontario St. at Brock Ave.
  • 775 – Ontario St. at Nelson Ave.

For more information, visit Burlington Transit .
Cannabis

Should we allow bricks and mortar stores
selling cannabis to operate in our city?

Jan. 14/19 - Burlington City Council voted YES to allow retail cannabis stores in our city.

Public Engagement - Council’s decision based on input from residents:
  • Online survey open from Dec. 4-13 where 65.4% of the 1926 respondents voted in favour of cannabis stores in Burlington.

  • At Mayor’s Dec. 12 town hall meeting where 82% of the 106 participants in attendance voted in support of cannabis retail stores.

  • In a second round of online engagement with same survey from Dec. 2018, additional 784 people completed the survey, with 56.8% in favour.

What does this mean?  

  • Bricks and mortar stores with an approved license from the ACGO can sell recreational cannabis in our city as early as April 1/19.  
  • 25 retail licenses for cannabis stores are available in Ontario
  • 6 of these are in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • To be determined if there will be an application for a cannabis store in Burlington.
My Perspective: Ward 2 residents polled with the greatest support for Opting-in at 71%. However, respecting that there are other interests to this very dynamic and complex decision I felt that taking the lead to create a Made in Burlington Solution would need to involve more consultation.

The Provincial Government set out only one zoning restriction - 150m from schools. I heard from our community that we wanted greater zoning control over clustering, distancing from sensitive use facilities (ie: recreation centers, addiction centers, daycare's) and especially distancing from parks & open green spaces.

In an effort to both support the Opt-In survey results and secure a Burlington portion of the $40 million provincial funding I brought an amendment forward to assist in directing stand alone retail cannabis in a way that reflects what Residents said was important. \

My amendment below was supported 7-0.
Direct the City Clerk and City Manager's Office to create a citizen task force with a terms of reference that includes bylaw recommendations and the creation of guidelines for future retail cannabis stores and report back in Q2 with next steps for a task force.

Next Steps: Please email me with the title "Retail Cannabis Task Force" if you would like to be considered for the task force and/or your suggestions.
Bill 66, Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2018
Council stands firm in its commitment to protecting our greenbelt from development and protecting our farm families and rural agricultural economy.  

Update:

Excerpt of resolution unanimously passed at the Jan. 28/19 City Council meeting:

We do not support the provisions in Schedule 10 in Bill 66 that amend, repeal or override the Clean Water Act, 2006, and the Greenbelt Act, 2005, and calls for their removal from the Bill.

Read the complete resolution here .

On Jan. 16/19, Halton Region Council also unanimously supported the motion.  


Safety in our Community

At the Jan. 9, 2019 Halton Region Council Meeting, I asked our Halton Regional Police Service Chief Stephen Tanner about a downtown local community outpost.

Safety is of the utmost importance in our community, I would welcome your thoughts on areas where we can achieve more.

Here's the Police Chief's response to my inquiry at the Region:
Provincial Offences Courts Relocation

The Provincial Offences (POA) Courts in Burlington & Milton will be relocating to one new courthouse at 4085 Palladium Way.

Open to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 5 and will begin hearing cases on Wednesday, Feb. 6.  More info at Halton Court Services .
Regional Government Review

The Ontario government is moving ahead with a review of regional government. The regional government model has been in place for almost 50 years in Ontario, and this review is to ensure that regional governments are working efficiently and effectively.

The review will examine Ontario's eight regional municipalities (Halton, York, Durham, Waterloo, Niagara, Peel, Muskoka District, and Oxford County), the County of Simcoe, and their lower-tier municipalities. Local residents and businesses will be consulted in spring 2019. Visit Regional Government Review for more information.

Burlington is already an efficient council, the smallest of Halton Region at seven members, and the smallest of any Ontario municipality of our size. The Region is also already efficient and effective: we enjoy being the safest region in Canada, a Triple A credit rating, high satisfaction on our services, and tax increases at or below the rate of inflation (with a number of years of no increases).

Stay tuned!
Winter
When does the city plow the roads?

Primary and secondary roads are plowed when snow accumulation reaches 5 cm (2 inches) and are also salted to assist in clearing the road to the bare pavement.

Residential roads are plowed when snow accumulation reaches 7.5 cm (3 inches). Unlike primary and secondary roads, residential roads are NOT plowed or salted to achieve bare pavement and periodic snow pack conditions can be expected 
Reminders:

  • It is against the Highway Traffic Act to push or blow snow onto the road.
  • Keep roads and sidewalks safe by piling snow on our lawn.
  • During a snowstorm, on-street parking is suspended.


Visit  Snow Removal for more information about snow removal including Frequently Asked Questions, Subscribe to Snow Control Updates, and even access a map to see what has been plowed.
Upcoming Events
Arts & Culture Fund – accepting applications until Feb. 8 for grants to local artists, multicultural groups and arts & culture organizations.

Burlington’s Best Award – Do you know someone who has made contributions to the community, environment, arts, heritage or accessibility? Nominations accepted until Feb. 28, celebration follows in May.
Family Sunday Open Studio & P.A. Days (free) at the Burlington Art Gallery.

Joseph Brant Museum Expansion Update/ Information Session - Feb. 8 at the AGB

Taste of Burlington - Feb. 18 to March 10.

Family Day Winter Fun – Feb. 18 at Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Technology Fraud Night - Feb. 20 at Tansley United Church.

25th Annual Burlington Post Readers' Choice Awards - Discover new retail and business products in our community and vote for your favorites.

… and last but not least, Have you donated blood lately? 
Visit Canadian Blood Services to book your next appointment.
News Flash! Just heard that the Burlington Performing Arts Centre is offering the following show (during Spring Break) which is FREE for kids.

GANDINI JUGGLING: SIGMA - Friday, March 15 at 1 pm & 7 pm 
Adult ticket $39 (inclusive of all fees and tax)
KIDS FREE!
 
To learn more, visit Burlington PAC or call the Box Office at 905 681-6000.
Healthy Living
Do you have any Healthy Living New Year's resolutions for 2019?
Walk or cycle instead
of driving.
Air dry your laundry indoors
in the winter and outdoors in the summer.
Plant a tree this Spring.
Community - Winter Fun
Tobogganing

The city has designated six areas in the city that are safe for tobogganing. They include:
LaSalle Park
Tyandaga Park
Central Park
Brant Hills Park
Nelson Park
Lowville Park

Visit Tobogganing for details.
Skate Lending Program

Do you have gently used skates that you no longer need? 

Consider donating the skates for the lending program at Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond. 

This program is available weekends and school holidays from 10 am to 10 pm and on weekdays from 5 pm to 10 pm.
 
Drop your skate donations at city pools, arenas and community centres.
In & Around our Community
As your representative on Council, I've been busy in our community. Together with BurBear, the city's mastcot, we celebrated Central Arena's 50th Birthday! (photo on the top left)

Councillors Nisan and Sharman and I recently had a tour of our Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) hosted by Suzanne (photo bottom left).

The city is hosting the Active5 Challenge = all 5th graders can p ick up an Active5 pass to get FREE access into any City of Burlington recreational swim, skate or open gym time . (photo top right)

While at a Halton Region meeting, came across this mountain of blue boxes. Need a blue box? Visit Halton Region to learn how you can get one or just contact me. (photo bottom right)

Pleased to represent our community on the JBH Board. I had my first meeting this week. (middle photo) Interested in volunteering at our hospital? Attend an information session for volunteering at JBH on Feb. 5 at 10 am at JBH - Susan Busby learning Centre, Main floor, 1245 Lakeshore Road.
In Closing ….
Thank you for your support!

Our community honoured the amazing contributions of Mike Taylor (Walk off the Earth)
to Burlington’s recognition for arts and culture.
As City Council we are so proud to award the first Key to the City in his name.

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!

Contact my office at any time through email, telephone, social media
or by attending my monthly Ward 2 Update meetings:

Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Central Library - Holland Room
Thursday, March 21 at 7 pm at Seniors Centre
Thursday, April 18 at 7 pm at Seniors Centre
Thursday, May 16 at 7 pm at Seniors Centre

Lisa Kearns, Ward 2 Councillor
City of Burlington & Region of Halton
Lisa.Kearns@burlington.ca
905-335-7600 x7588
  
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