It’s recently been reported that 21 businesses have left downtown Burlington since January. In the same period of time, 23 businesses have come to downtown Burlington. Some of these businesses have closed; others have relocated for a variety of reasons (including elsewhere in downtown). What does this tell us about the state of the downtown, and more importantly the role each of us can play to make the downtown better, including City Council, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, businesses and residents?
Shaun Pennell of Burlington Hive describes how our downtown offers great amenities, with the energy that’s helping his company attract entrepreneurs and startups.
Learn the (not so) secret formula to creating a successful crowdfunding campaign at HalTech’s seminar Wednesday July 16th from 9 – 11 a.m. Indiegogo is the leading global platform for crowdfunding, empowering anyone, anywhere, to raise money for anything. Not only is crowdfunding ideal for raising funds, it’s also a great way to validate your idea, raise(…)
Great things are happening downtown, thanks to a team effort by many groups and individuals. It’s been a privilege to participate as councillor for the downtown. Here’s a snapshot of the work we’ve been doing together, and an overview of some of the long-term projects. More events, free parking This summer, Fit in the Core(…)
Insite Design together with Centro Garden are hosting a Makers Market : http://www.mkrsmrkt.ca/ on July 18th in Centro parking lot on John St. The concept of this retail exposé is to reveal the hidden economy of world class creative “maker” entrepreneurs within our city and the surrounding area. Says Barry from Insite: We’re doing this(…)
Why we should celebrate residential buildout, and focus on attracting jobs You’ve probably heard Burlington is running out of land for residential growth – something called “buildout.” What you may not have heard is that’s a good thing for our bottom line. Residential development costs about $1.40 to service for every $1 in tax revenue(…)
A proposal is currently on the table for the Burlington Economic Development Corporation to become an incorporated for-profit organization that would have the ability to buy and sell land for commercial development. Adding land management could facilitate economic growth by speeding approvals, controlling development activities, offering preferential financing and other advantages. An incorporated BEDC will(…)
Council and staff recognized two years ago that attracting new businesses and creating jobs for Burlington residents is the city’s “burning platform.” Council directed the Burlington Economic Development Corporation to shift away from being a self-described “social club” to actively wooing businesses to Burlington, and set aggressive job targets. But progress has been glacial. While(…)
Burlington Chamber Announces Business Excellence Awards Finalists After months of meetings and interviews, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce has announced the finalists for its 2013 Business Excellence Awards. The Chamber has named 17 local organizations as potential winners of awards in a variety of categories. Award nominations are based on overall business excellence and the(…)
Following a court appearance on Oct. 4, the judge is prepared to rule on whether the city’s site alteration bylaw applies to the Burlington Executive Airport.
The Airport maintains the city has no jurisdiction because their infilling activity is related to expansion of the airport and runways, which is federally governed.
The city maintains that not withstanding federal control of aeronautics, local and provincial laws apply, including the site alteration bylaw.
Residents have expressed significant concerns about the amount, location, height and quality of landfill, particularly after an environmental report found it did not meet provincial standards.
Without an aggressive strategy of job creation, Burlington residents will see their property taxes spike, services cut or development expand into rural areas.
Here’s why: Providing all of the services required for residents – community services and infrastructure for example – far exceeds the tax revenues collected. By contrast, the “industrial, commercial, institutional” tax class – or “ICI” -pays more than double the residential property tax rate, but only costs a fraction of that to service. There can be as much as an 80% profit on industrial taxes, versus a 40% loss on residential taxes.
A balance between residential and ICI tax revenue is critical to municipal health, yet currently, residential taxes account for 82% of Burlington’s tax revenue, versus 18% from the commercial/industrial sector.
Non residential growth has essentially flatlined in Burlington over the past 15 years, while residential growth has almost tripled. Burlington used to see double digit employment growth; now, 2% annual growth is “optimistic.” When residential growth outpaces economic growth, the city is left with three unpalatable choices: cut services, dramatically increase property taxes, or expand development into the rural area.
I’m concerned about the delay in refocusing the BEDC structure to meet the targets set by the city for economic development. We must keep driving the momentum forward. Yes, it is important to plan then act – ready, aim, fire, as the expression goes. But let’s ensure that doesn’t become “ready, ready, and more getting ready to get ready.”
Tax breaks, office attraction, supporting mid-rise developments to meet growth targets, partnering with developers to build parking, and bringing a farmer’s market downtown are just some of the recommendations from the Downtown Task Group to improve the vibrancy of the heart of the city.
There are steps we can take, both large and small, short term and long term, that will preserve what we love about the community, and make changes that will make our city even better
In January, staff are holding a workshop for city council to explore development options for Lots 4 & 5 in downtown Burlington. Lot 4 is on Elizabeth/John St, facing Village Square. Lot 5 is on Brant Street, facing the Queen’s Head pub.
My Take: I’m pleased we are revisiting the potential for these lots. Lot 4 in particular has potential for office and underground parking development, which would bring much needed jobs, and foot traffic to the downtown, during the day, year round. This would help our local businesses and bring economic benefits to all residents of our city.