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Burlington Successfully Holds Virtual Special Council Meeting and Announces Modified Schedule for Transit Starting Sunday, March 29

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*Please see the media release below issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — March 25, 2020 — In a continued effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while working to provide essential services to the community, the City of Burlington held two virtual special City Council meetings yesterday. The meetings were used to discuss essential, time-sensitive business, including an amendment to a procedural bylaw that will allow virtual participation and remote voting at electronic City Council meetings, a remuneration report and Burlington Hydro’s operating line of credit.

Due to COVID-19 and public health concerns, no members of the public were permitted at the meeting and all Council members participated remotely, with the exception of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward who was in Council Chambers along with the Clerk/designate and an information technology technician.

Members of the public can view virtual Council meetings remotely using the City’s existing web streaming tool at www.burlington.ca/calendar. While no delegations are currently permitted, written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk by email at clerks@burlington.ca. Received written submissions will form part of the public record and be distributed to members of Burlington City Council.

The virtual meetings will be used for any Council or committee meetings scheduled in April. The regularly scheduled Council meeting for March 30, 2020 is cancelled.

Next Council meeting and property tax relief

At its next Council meeting, City Council will consider temporary changes to provide relief for the April 21 property tax installment to help residents and businesses experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The temporary changes being proposed would mean that for the months of April and May 2020, with additional extensions being considered on a monthly basis:

  • No penalty will be charged for the April 21 installment for all property owners
  • No month-end interest will be charged for all property owners
  • No non-sufficient fund (NSF) fee will be charged by the City for any returned tax payments
  • Pre-Authorized tax payments will continue to be withdrawn. Please note: individuals on a pre-authorized payment plan that are unable to make payment can temporarily suspend their withdrawals from their account by emailing pap@burlington.ca. To suspend your withdrawal, the City requires notification at least three business days prior to the withdrawal date.

Taxpayers who sent a postdated cheque to the City for their April tax installment and can no longer make payment are asked to put a stop payment on the cheque at their bank.

We encourage taxpayers to make payments where possible during these unique times. Tax inquiries can be sent by email to propertytax@burlington.ca or by phone to 905-335-7750.

Province of Ontario – Mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces

The Ontario Government’s emergency order mandating the closure of at-risk workplaces and encouraging non-essential businesses to find ways to help their employees work from home, came into effect on Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending the order as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

The province has launched a toll-free, Stop the Spread, information line at 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5 p.m. A complete list of essential services is also available on the Government of Ontario’s website.

Burlington Transit Modifies Schedule

With social distancing measures in place, Burlington Transit will reduce its service and operate on a modified schedule beginning Sunday, March 29. The new schedule will provide transit service for essential travel only.

With the modified schedule, Burlington Transit will operate Monday to Saturday, from 5:50 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and on Sundays from 6:14 a.m. to 9:55 p.m. A complete schedule is available at www.burlingtontransit.ca/schedules and Burlington Transit customer service can be reached at contactbt@burlington.ca, 905-639-0550 or on Twitter @BurlONTransit.

““We are asking riders to use transit for essential travel purposes only. This is not a time to ride transit for entertainment. In order to maintain distance between riders, we are asking those using transit to go to the grocery store or pharmacy to make these trips outside of rush hour, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. During peak commuting hours, if there are specific trips that are busy, new buses and drivers will be added to that route to help maintain social distancing best practices.” — Sue Connor, Director of Transit

A reminder that:

  • Bus fares are not currently being collected
  • Customers are required to board and exit buses from the rear doors
  • To provide space for social distancing, customers should use alternate rows and choose seats away from other customers.
  • Burlington Transit’s downtown Terminal is closed.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that will be updated as new information becomes available.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

I would like to applaud our local business that voluntarily closed before being mandated to do so by the Province and thank them for putting the public’s interests first. I want to also thank those essential services that are continuing to provide the goods needed by our community and placing additional measures to keep their staff and the public safe — things like plexiglass screens, increased cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, particularly at our grocery stores.

For the foreseeable future, our Council and Committee meetings will operate a little differently. We are taking extra precautions to protect staff, the public and council, while doing our best to ensure transparency and accountability to the public. While no members of the public will be allowed in Chambers, they’ll still be able to submit written delegations to the clerk, and any councillor who has questions can follow up directly. Anyone physically in Chambers will be keeping a physical distance of at least 6 foot (or 2 metres), and all surfaces will be cleaned before and after the meetings.

I continue to urge people to stay home, engage in physical (social) distancing – don’t congregate together outside or use playground equipment. If you don’t need to use public transit, don’t. Keep the buses safe for those essential workers who need to get to work or those who are out for groceries. I know this is a difficult time for us all, but I urge residents not to become complacent and continue to follow the advice of our medical professionals. We will get through this as a community.

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Constituent Assistant: Hannelie van Niekerk
905-335-7600, ext. 7689