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Mayor’s Mailbag – May 2022 Roundup – Twin City Agreements; LaSalle Park Community Marina; & Hydro Companies Removing Vegetation

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Mailbag – May 2022 roundup.

The Mayor’s Monday Mailbag is a weekly initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at mayor@burlington.ca or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Mailbag – May 2022 Roundup

TWIN-CITY AGREEMENTS

QUESTION:

“What is the City of Burlington Mundialization Committee and why do we have twin-city agreements with Apeldoorn, The Netherlands and Itabashi, Japan?”

ANSWER:

The definition of “mundialization” is the act of a city or local authority declaring itself a “world citizen” and being aware of global issues with a sense of shared rights and responsibility. The concept involves the twinning of cities from around the world, in the belief that peaceful cooperation depends on mutual trust and appreciation among peoples of different nations, races, cultures and systems. Mundialization encourages citizen connections as a way of fostering world peace and global understanding.

Burlington’s Mundialization Committee was formed in 1984 to pursue twinning with another country. In 1985, a bylaw was passed at the city to declare Burlington a “World Community” dedicated to international cooperation (mundialization) and that the City of Burlington, as part of its Mundialization program, proceed: (a) to undertake a twinning program with a municipality in another country, and (b) to fly the United Nations flag with the Canadian flag from City Hall at all times.

The Burlington Mundialization Committee reports to City Council through the Enviroment, Infrastructure & Community Services Committee and encourages community understanding of different cultures global issues by:

  • Maintaining our twin city relationships in accordance with the agreements;
  • Promoting activities that celebrate our similarities and respect our differences;
  • Organizing a celebration of the United Nations Day each year around Oct. 24;
  • Providing advice and assistance on twin city relationships to Burlington City Council;
  • Developing achievable annual action plans with assistance of City Staff; and
  • Presenting an annual report to Council with assistance of City Staff.

The City of Burlington has two twin-city agreements — one with Itabashi, Japan and one with Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.

On May 12, 1989, Mayor Roly Bird signed a twinning agreement with Mayor Keizo Kurihara of Itabashi, Japan.

On May 6, 2005, Mayor Rob MacIsaac signed a twinning agreement with Mayor Godefridus Jan “Fred” de Graaf of Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

On Saturday (May 14), the City held two Mundialization events for Canada Netherlands Friendship Day (May 5) and the Sakura Festival (when our Sakura trees at Spencer Smith Park bloom).

Our nation’s special relationship with the Netherlands extends back to the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces during the Second World Ward and we were fortunate to have some of our amazing veterans at the May 14 event including:

  • Burns McLeod, who is President of Branch 60 of the Royal Canadian Legion and who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army;
  • retired Sgt. Dan Lauzon, CD, SSM, who served in the Gulf War with 1 RCR in 1991 and in Somalia Africa in 1992 and 1993 with the Airborne Regiment; and
  • retired Sgt. Robert Graham who served in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo.

We are grateful for the service of these veterans and all of Burlington’s veterans — including those who are with us and those we have lost.

Since the end of WWII, our connection has grown into so much more over more than 7 decades. The City of Burlington and Apeldoorn, The Netherlands communities are tied together in an important twin-city mundialization relationship that officially began in 2005.

The Sakura trees at Spencer Smith Park were generously donated by Kan Naka-Zawa, a resident of Itabashi, Japan who considers Burlington his second home, and are a treasured tradition for our community to enjoy as we welcome spring and the season of renewal.

The cities of Burlington, Ontario and Itabashi, Japan are tied together in an important twin-city mundialization relationship that officially began more than 30 years ago, in 1989.

Our annual celebration of the gift of these Sakura trees and our ability to enjoy them year after year is a reminder of our ongoing connection and our shared appreciation for nature, our planet, and each other.

Members of the cities of Burlington and Apeldoorn, and Burlington and Itabashi have visited one another over the years, we have stayed in touch throughout changing leaders and world events like the pandemic, and we fully embrace what mundialization is all about: the belief that learning about people of different nations, races, cultures and governments encourages connections that foster world peace and global understanding.

World events that are going on right now are a great reminder of how important it is to build strong relationships that create connections with each other all over the world. Events like the ones on May 14 help us all focus on what binds us together and what we have in common.

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LASALLE PARK COMMUNITY MARINA UPDATE

QUESTION:

“What is the City of Burlington doing to assist the LaSalle Park Community Marina to have a 2022 boating season?”

ANSWER:

ADMINISTRATOR’S NOTE (MAY 30, 2022 UPDATE): At its May 17 meeting, Burlington City Council voted in a 6-1 majority to approve directing staff to look into the City temporarily assuming operations of the LaSalle Park Community Marina for the 2022 season.

The Mayor’s Office has heard from many residents regarding the LaSalle Park Community Marina and the boating season this summer. Council is committed to doing what we can to ensure residents can access the public boat ramp, slips and docks this season.

At the May 5 Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services (EICS) Committee meeting, committee heard from delegations and staff about issues the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) was experiencing with regards to the upcoming 2022 sailing season. After much discussion, committee unanimously supported a motion from Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith for the City of Burlington to temporarily take over marina operations, extend our insurance and get boats in the water no later than June 15 — while the City considers options for the long-term operation of the marina.

Council will vote on this May 17.  Residents can send correspondence and/or register to delegate (speak) at that meeting by emailing clerks@burlington.ca or calling 905-335-7600, ext. 7481. Scroll further down for the full motion.

Here is the staff report received at EICS Committee: RCC-09-22 Update on Marina Operations.

Click here for a related City of Burlington news release: LaSalle Park Community Marina and boat launch update.

BACKGROUND:

Recently, the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) advised staff that they received a non-renewal notice from their current insurer. The insurer indicated they are unable to offer renewal terms due to LPMA’s claims history (two outstanding claims) and changing market conditions. LPMA’s insurance has expired as at April 30, 2022 and based on their agreement with the City, they must have insurance in place to operate the Marina. LPMA’s broker has contacted numerous insurers but to date has been unable to obtain insurance for LPMA for the upcoming boating season.

The Burlington Sailing and Boating Club (BS&BC) provides winter boat storage and provides the boat lift-in and lift-out services. Boats that are stored in the compound cannot be lifted in until the Marina is operational. BS&BC and LPMA are separate entities but work cooperatively to provide a boating experience at the LaSalle Park Community Marina.

Both LPMA and BS&BC have advised their members that LPMA is unable to get insurance for the upcoming boating season and that the opening of the Marina will be delayed as they look for options.

Since the boat storage area takes up the parking spaces reserved for boat trailers, the public boat launch will remain closed for trailered boats until this situation is resolved.

Canoes, kayaks, and other smaller portable items can still be launched.

MOTION UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDED BY COMMITTEE:

Direct the City Manager and Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to undertake the necessary due diligence to identify and fully address the financial, legal, human resource and operating risk exposures to the City in order to operate the LaSalle Park Community Marina on an interim basis for the 2022 season based on a target date for opening of no later than June 15th; AND THAT

In completing the due diligence, City staff do so with regard to the following principles and requirements:

  1. The interim Marina operation must be a net zero incremental cost to the taxpayers of Burlington inclusive of City reserve funds; and
  2. The City maintains the ability to seek expressions of interest/proposal and/or investigate other options for the operation of Marina in 2022 and in the future in keeping with our Council approved Framework for Recreation which gives preference to a community partnership based operating model for recreation service delivery in Burlington; and
  3. Formal written confirmation of insurance coverage for the interim Marina operation be received by the City’s insurer; and
  4. The City can secure fully qualified Marina operations staff (i.e. certified Harbour Master) in keeping with all Federal and other regulatory requirements for the interim operation of a Recreational Marina; and
  5. The LaSalle Park Marina Association must continue to meet all its financial obligations to the City; and
  6. The LaSalle Park Marina Association and the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club must work cooperatively with the City in relation to but not limited to amending agreements, the City securing equipment required to operate and maintain the Marina, lift-in and lift-out of boats and transitioning all administrative and financial aspects of the operation; AND

Direct the Executive Director of Legal Services to preserve all City legal rights contained in its approved license agreement with the LaSalle Park Marina Association.

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to report back to City Council on May 17, 2022 and the June 9, 2022 Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee meeting to provide updates and current information regarding the La Salle Park Marina including potential risks.

•                    •                    •

HYDRO COMPANIES & LOCAL VEGETATION

QUESTION:

“Why is it necessary for hydro companies to cut down trees and remove shrubs/vegetation?”

ANSWER:

All utility companies are required by law through the Ontario Energy Board to maintain the area under hydro wires and ensure they are clear of any vegetation — that includes trees, shrubs, etc. This directive arose from the August 14, 2003 blackout that affected the northeastern and midwestern U.S. and Ontario. That blackout was caused by tree branches touching power lines, and further complicated by human error, software issues and equipment failures. It remains the worst blackout in known history.

Important to note, hydro suppliers are exempt of tree bylaws under Section 135 of the Municipal Act as their work falls under the provisions of the Electricity Act. The removal would have been done as a result of conflicts with the transmission lines (very high voltage).

No one wants to lose trees and vegetation — however, if they pose serious risks to power lines, they must be managed.

The Mayor’s Office, as well as Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith’s Office, has recently received communications from residents regarding the vegetation control along the hydro corridor in Burlington’s Ward 1. Counc. Galbraith has had several meetings with Hydro One including a site visit with their staff so they could highlight the necessary work of maintaining the vegetation growth along the Hydro One corridor from Joseph Brant Hospital to the lift bridge.

The clearing of vegetation is necessary to allow a safe zone around the powerlines that will facilitate access for crews and their equipment when maintenance or emergency repairs are needed. Noteworthy, is that Hydro One contributed $5,000 to the City’s Forestry Department for future tree-planting initiatives to support our commitment to expand the City’s tree canopy and support climate goals. Hydro One included these steps within the work performed as to what to expect.

Hydro One shared the below in regards to “What to Expect” in advance of its vegetation control project:

  • In advance of any work starting, they’ve put together a comprehensive community outreach plan to ensure local community associations, and residents are aware of the work and they have opportunities to ask questions. This plan included notice drops, signs and a virtual information meeting was held in November 2021. Please visit www.hydroone.com/waterfront where more information is available; and
  • Hydro One will take a considerate approach by staging the removal and trimming of trees and other vegetation to transition the corridor to a sustainable state over the next number of years. That work includes:
    • Removing or trimming mature trees that will pose a risk to the electrical system depending on their location in the corridor
    • Removing trees that are diseased, dying, or have structural defects if they pose a risk to the electrical system
    • Removing fast growing young trees or brush, including certain sections of thick vegetation of this type
  • Hydro One crews use hand tools, such as chainsaws and pruners, to complete their work, and support vehicles will be on site as needed. Herbicides will be considered to be applied to certain stems to prevent regrowth.

Further questions about vegetation management can be directed to HydroOne’s Community Relations at 1-877-345-6799 or community.relations@hydroone.com

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RELATED LINKS:

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

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

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600