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Burlington City Council Passes Recommendations from Sept. 10 Planning and Development Committee Meeting

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If you missed our Burlington City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, here are some of the highlights of what we did — for a full recap of all the recommendations carried by Council from the Sept. 10 Planning and Development Committee (P&D), please click the links: Post-Meeting Minutes – Planning and Development Committee_Sep10_2019 / Post-Meeting Minutes – Regular Meeting of Council_Sep23_2019

• RED TAPE RED CARPET TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS Mayor’s Office report moved by me

Direct the City Manager to begin implementation of the 22 recommendations as listed in the Mayor’s Office Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force recommendations report and develop an implementation dashboard with task, point agency and timelines, providing progress updates to council each month. (Click the link for the complete list of 22 recommendations.

MY TAKE:

I am thrilled to see these recommendations passed by City Council unanimously and have full confidence that we will see positive and lasting change as a result. The Red Tape Red Carpet initiative was a truly collaborative journey, bringing together the feedback, ideas and insights from our valued business community, internal staff, and external partners. I am grateful to everyone who contributed their time and energy over the past eight months. Their willingness to explore the ways we can improve and evolve how businesses engage with City Hall will create an environment where we can truly remove unnecessary red tape and roll out the red carpet for business growth here in Burlington. I look forward to seeing these recommendations implemented over the coming months and keeping you informed of our progress and results.

NEW SKYWAY COMMUNITY CENTRE (Item referred from Sept. 9 COW meeting) Moved by me

Direct the Executive Director of Capital Works and the Director of Parks and Recreation to report back on the Class B1 costing for the new Skyway Community Centre based on the conceptual design as outlined in report capital works department report CW-48-19; and

Direct the Executive Director of Capital Works to review the new Skyway Community Centre project for inclusion in the 2020 Capital Budget based on the estimated costing; and

Direct the Office of the City Manager to seek any additional senior government and other funding opportunities for the new Skyway Community Centre should they arise.

MY TAKE:

For more details on this item and my full MY TAKE, click the link: Burlington Committee Moves Ahead with Design and Costing Plans for New Skyway Community Centre.

RAINBOW CROSSWALK (Item referred from Sept. 9 COW meeting) Moved by me

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to work with Council in determining the most suitable location(s) to install rainbow crosswalks in the City of Burlington in recognition of Pride and inclusivity; and That the first installation be completed prior to Pride Month 2020.

Click the link for the full Rainbow Crosswalk Staff Direction.

MY TAKE:

The installation of rainbow-coloured crosswalks painted at controlled intersections is one way numerous municipalities are showing their support for the LGTBQ2IS+ communities. Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith brought a joint motion to committee and council, explaining this is an important public statement of welcome and inclusion that can be available year-round in our City. I’m thrilled that we as a Council unanimously supported this.

The fact the initial discussion around Rainbow Crosswalks took place on Sept. 10 is fitting as it is also the same day during the Second World War, in 1939, that Canada declared war against Nazi Germany who was, at the time, persecuting those whose sexuality didn’t conform to expected societal norms — forcing them to wear a pink triangle (sewn onto their clothes to publicly display their orientation) in concentration camps so they could be easily identifiable and targeted, as well as in an effort to shame them. The symbol has since been reclaimed and embraced by the gay community as a symbol of pride. We continue the legacy of freedom and inclusion for all residents that our troops fought for with our Rainbow Crossings.

The first of our Rainbow Crosswalks is expected to be installed in spring of 2020. Staff will be in discussions with Council and the community to determine the best locations for our Rainbow Crosswalks.

PANHANDLING ON STREETS IN THE CITY OF BURLINGTON Moved by Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan. Staff report: CM-19-19 Addressing Panhandling; Previous posts on this item: City of Burlington Media Statement: No Bylaw or Staff Direction for Ticketing Drivers Giving to Panhandlers in Burlington and Panhandling in Burlington and the Safety Concerns Around it

Earlier in September, there was a lot of attention given to some misinformation published by the local and larger media outlets related to what exactly Burlington Committee and Council were looking at in ways to address panhandling in the streets of Burlington. Below is the staff direction of what was passed at Committee and unanimously passed at Council.

Direct the City Manager and the Director of City Building to:

  • Continue to work with the Halton Poverty Roundtable (part of the United Way) as part of their broader communication to residents about poverty; and
  • Update the city’s website to provide information on how residents can assist those in need including donating money; and
  • Prepare communication material for ward-specific newsletters with information for residents; and
  • Continue to work with the Halton Regional Police to monitor panhandling on streets in the City; and

Create a social media campaign to provide information to the public that will link to the information on the City website; and

Provide information in an issue of the City Talk newsletter with in the next year that will also provide a link with how to get more information on the City website; and

Report back to the Planning and Development Committee by Q3 2020 on what initiatives have been completed and what impact they have had.

MY TAKE:

It is so important for our media to be in this room with us. I want to thank them for being at City Hall and reporting on what happens in Chambers. Some people can’t be here and rely on the media for their reports. The media got it wrong in this case. Although there was a discussion of road safety and a possibility of ticketing drivers as an option to deal with this, that option was voted down. The headline and the article said the city was seeking ticketing. That was wrong.

However, what this did was open a conversation across this country. I was interviewed by news agencies in Vancouver about this. This is specifically about the activity of panhandling happening on and in our streets. This City decided to go ahead with a communications plan. We’re not ticketing drivers and that’s not what came out of Committee either. I remain concerned about the potential safety risks. In photos, you will see individuals go across multiple lanes of traffic to get change and then going back to the safety of the median.

This communication plan is also to spread awareness of where to go for help and supports in our Region and how they can be accessed. What message are we sending to the community if we say, in order to get the help you need, you have to walk into traffic. We have to do better — we must do better and we will.

DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE GUIDELINES Moved by Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns. Staff report: PB-62-19 Downtown Streetscape Guidelines; Appendix: PB-62-19 Appendix A – draft Downtown Streetscape Guidelines.

Approve the Downtown Streetscape Guidelines, using Option 3 amended to modify the heritage theme for the Mixed-use Commercial District from Burlington to Martha, included as Appendix A to department of city building report PB-62-19 dated July 2019; and

Direct the Director of City Building to proceed with the next steps outlined in department of city building report PB-50-19 including updating the engineering / urban design detail standards to implement the Downtown Streetscape Guidelines; and

Direct the City Manager to report back on the development of a multi-year downtown public realm infrastructure revitalization plan including opportunities for funding from the other levels of government; and

Direct the Director of Capital Works to explore the opportunity of a shared or flex street as part of the civic square renewal project,
including consideration of the of unit pavers.

Amend the recommendation from building report Downtown Streetscape Guidelines (PB-62-19) by replacing the recommendation with the following paragraphs:

  • Approve the Downtown Streetscape Guidelines included as Appendix A to Department of City Building report PB-62-19 dated July 2019, and using a modified Option 3 from the staff report where the theme for the Mixed-Use Commercial District includes the portion of Lakeshore Road between the western edge of Burlington Avenue to Smith Avenue.

MY TAKE:

My heart was with Option 2 — I think that’s where we should go, but I supported Option 3 because design is subjective. I do understand that design sends a message, that’s it’s heritage, walkable, small-scale — everything we want our downtown to say. The modernized treatment of Lakeshore is saying this is a place more for cars, harkening to our highway heritage not our future as a walkable downtown district. My intent with Option 2 was to send a message of design — to send a message this is a walkable district, connect the downtown to the waterfront through Lakeshore. The extension of the geographic boundaries gets us there.

STAFF DIRECTION REGARDING NELSON QUARRY moved by Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan (Memo to Chair Members of PD re Nelson Quarry)

Direct the Director of City Building to report back to the Planning and Development Committee on the land use development application and review process related to the proposed Nelson
Quarry expansion, including but not limited to the following:

  • summary of the process including decision points;
  • anticipated timeline for process steps;
  • roles and responsibilities of review agencies;
  • a summary of process and outcomes of the previous proposal for expansion; and
  • a summary of any new provincial legislation related to aggregate resources.

MY TAKE:

This is for staff to give us more information and a process to deal with this application, which has not been submitted yet, but will be pending, we’ve been told. This staff direction was carried unanimously. We’re also going to be looking at a formal communications plan around this project to keep residents informed and make sure we are sending out the correction information to the public.

AMENDMENT TO NUISANCE AND NOISE BYLAW and results from Halton Regional Police Service’s pilot project to stop noisy moving vehicles Mayor’s Office report moved by me: MO-11-19 – Staff direction re noise by-law

Direct the Director of City Building to amend Nuisance and Noise By-Law 19-2003 to include language that prohibits the use of air horns at all public events; and Direct the Director of Transportation, in partnership with Halton Regional Police Service to report back on the results of the Halton Regional Police Service’s blitz on excessively noisy moving vehicles this summer/fall.

MY TAKE:

This amendment to the bylaw is to eliminate the use of air horns in our public spaces. We’re not breaking new ground here — most municipalities have already done this already. There are lots of ways to show your support and fandom without the blowing of an air horn. I’d like to extend our current bylaw to 24-hours, not just the overnight. We learned we didn’t have the tools to deal with it during the daytime and when we tried to encourage sport users not to do this, it wasn’t effective. That’s why we’re going the route of a bylaw.

I’m not concerned over the use of whistles — the concern is air horns. We’ve had complaints about this consistently come in over multiple Sundays at different venues. Air horns are not necessary and our community will adapt to this. Some folks may not realize the use of air horns is damaging to their hearing, so we have an obligation to protect our community members. This is not breaking new ground, this is simply catching up to what other municipalities have done.

GREEN PARKING LOT DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR NEW PARKING AT JOHN AND CAROLINE STREETS AND FUTURE BUILDS (Item referred to the Sept. 23 Council meeting) Mayor’s Office report — MO-12-19 Staff direction re parking lot design-guidelines

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to review the newly built parking lot at the corner of John Street and Caroline Street with the goal of developing and implementing design changes providing more greenspace, trees, and a seating area;

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to review the safety of pedestrian movements at the intersection of Caroline Street and John Street;

Direct the Director of Transportation to review the practices of other municipalities on parking lot design, and report back to committee and council with draft green parking lot design guidelines;

Direct the Director of Transportation to consult the City of Toronto’s “Design Guidelines for Greening Surface Parking Lots” as a reference on future parking lot designs, rebuilds or resurfacing in Burlington until Burlington guidelines are approved by Council;

Amend the recommendation from mayors office report green parking lot design guidelines for new parking lot at John and Caroline Streets and future builds (MO-12-19) by replacing the first paragraph with the following paragraph: “Direct the Director of Transportation Services to review the newly built parking lot at the corner of John Street and Caroline Street with the goal of developing and reporting back on design changes and costing providing more greenspace, trees and a seating area.

MY TAKE:

We have passed a climate emergency declaration, we are looking at ways to mitigate floods. We know that trees along roadside extend the life of asphalt. I am not critical of staff in regards to this as they were asked to build a parking lot and they gave us one. But we need one of a better design. This area is the most desolate — it is parking lot after parking lot. This is not an ask to do the entire lot over again but to see what we can do to that corner at John and Caroline and perhaps add some greenery, add a bench.

We have no approval, no funding, nothing in our capital plan to say we are going to build something there in the next 10 years. This is not going to change any time soon. We are stuck with this parking lot for conservatively a decade, so let’s fix it.

FREEMAN STATION STEAM LOCOMOTIVE AND RAIL CARS (Item referred from Sept. 9 COW meeting) Mayor’s Office report moved by me: MO-15-19 FOFS (002)

Direct the Director of Finance to provide a funding commitment of $150,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund to acquire and relocate a vintage steam engine and 2 passenger cars, with the expectation that future fundraising by the Friends of Freeman Station for this project be used to fully repay the city’s funding commitment; and

Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to write a letter confirming the city’s funding commitment to be included in the Friends of Freeman Station’s application package to the St. Lawrence Parks Commission to receive and relocate these items; and

Request that the Friends of Freeman Station report back to Committee on the outcome of their application and associated fundraising plans; and

Direct the City Manager to report back on a long term sustainable business plan for the Freeman Station and associated Rail assets.

MY TAKE:

If we can secure these additional assets, it will help put us on the national and international stage — giving folks outside our border yet another reason to come and visit the City of Burlington.

STATUTORY PUBLIC MEETING FOR APPLICATION AT 2085 Pine Street moved by me: PB-63-19 – 2085 Pine Street

At our Planning and Development Committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, we received a preliminary staff report on a development application at 2085 Pine Street. No decision has been made on this file as this was only a receive and file report. As well, as the City of Burlington is still under an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) — and the site of the development falls within the boundaries of the ICBL — the Statutory Public Meeting for the application is as far as the file will go until the ICBL expires in March 2020.

For more on this application and my full MY TAKE, click Burlington Committee Gets Initial Feedback on 2085 Pine Street Development Application.

STAFF DIRECTION REGARDING AIRBNB’S moved by Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte and unanimously carried by Council.

Direct the Director of City Building to report back to the Planning and Development Committee meeting of October 8, 2019 with options to regulate operations related to Short-Term Accommodation rentals, including immediate, medium term and long-term options.

MY TAKE:

The issue here isn’t short-term rentals — the issue is that people are having weddings, parties or more than 100 people at these events in these locations that end up creating traffic, washroom, fire-code and noise issues. I think this is also cutting into the business of our venues dedicated to event-hosting. It’s bigger than a noise and nuisance problem. I think a potential to deal with this is regulating occupancy as a minimum, limiting the number of people that can be in a short-term rental.

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