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Burlington Council Endorses Mayor’s New Speaker Series

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At our April 16 meeting, Burlington Council approved by a majority to endorse the Mayor’s new speaker series “A Better Burlington: Innovation to Action” being officially launched next month.

The inaugural event is on May 27 and being co-presented by myself and Deputy Mayor for Business and Red Tape Reduction Councillor Kelvin Galbraith and features renowned urban planner Jennifer Keesmaat for a discussion on housing, community development and growth.

This dynamic series is aimed at inspiring positive change and practical solutions within our city through innovative approaches and tangible actions. Details are still being finalized — for more information, please visit burlington.ca/mayor

See the approved full motion from Council, My Take, and the associated motion memorandum below — as well as additional background information further down this post.

APPROVED MOTION:

  • That Council endorse the Mayor’s Speaker Series.

MY TAKE:

The Mayor’s Speaker Series, first announced at my State of the City address in January, will bring community and speakers together to inspire ideas and practical solutions and actions to make our city better. Held twice per year, spring and fall, the series will focus on the key issues facing our city, as outlined in our strategic plan and other documents. So, it is fitting to kick off the series discussing our housing crisis, what the city is doing on affordable and attainable housing, and hear ideas for innovative actions and solutions. Deputy Mayors will be welcomed to participate where the topic aligns with their Deputy Mayor with Portfolio, and I’m pleased that Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, Deputy Mayor of Business and Red Tape Reduction, and a member of our Pipeline to Permit Standing Committee, will be joining me for the housing event, to address how we are speeding our process to enable shovels in the ground. The series represents a significant opportunity for us to engage with our community on the key issues we face, and hear your ideas first hand.

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To read the staff report and related supporting documents, please click/tap the links below:

BACKGROUND:

As announced at the State-of-the-City address in January 2024, Mayor Meed Ward is initiating a Speaker Series this year called ‘A Better Burlington: Innovation to Action’. The goal is for two sessions per year focused on the key challenges we face and fostering tangible ways to improve Burlington and engage residents in the process.

Each Speaker’s Series will have a clear theme with a relevant speaker. The first session will be on Monday, May 27 at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and will feature Jennifer Keesmaat, who will present on discussing housing, community development and growth. Deputy Mayors will be invited to be participants in these series, where relevant to their portfolios. Councillor Shawna Stolte, in her capacity as Deputy Mayor of Housing, is part of the planning team for the inaugural event on housing. The team includes staff from relevant departments, including events, finance and communications.

The Speaker’s Series will be free. This is to encourage as much participation and engagement from Burlington residents and city staff as possible. Costs associated with the series will be secured through corporate sponsorships and the Mayor’s Office budget. Upon the recommendation of the Integrity Commissioner, sponsorship shall be secured through the City following its standard process, and will be separate from the Mayor’s Office to avoid perceived or potential conflicts of interests. In keeping with the Council Code of Good Governance, sponsorship will not be accepted from anyone with an active application before the City.

The Integrity Commissioner also advised seeking Council’s endorsement of the Speakers Series, which has prompted this motion.

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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