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C&CS Dec8: Nelson pool repair; citizen engagement charter; community investment policy; Epipens in city facilities

The following items will be coming to the Community & Corporate Services Committee  Dec. 8, 1pm and 6:30pm, Room 247, City Hall. The C&CS includes all members of council. Recommendations from this meeting go to City Council for a final vote Dec. 16, 6:30pm at City Hall. Residents can Register as a Delegation to speak at any of these meetings.

Complete agendas and minutes for previous and upcoming committee and council meetings, including webcasts, are available on the city’s Agendas and Minutes page.

nelson poolStaff recommend replacing Nelson Pool with smaller pool (Dec 8)

(NOTE: This item will be discussed at 6:30 p.m.)

City staff are recommending that Nelson outdoor pool be replaced with a smaller 25m pool. Nelson pool pool did not open for the 2015 season because the annual pre-season inspection revealed significant structural damage due to two severe winter seasons back-to-back.  Originally, the tank was scheduled for replacement in 2019. Staff now expect the pool will be closed for both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The city currently operates four indoor pools, two outdoor swimming pools, and one wading pool. Based on annual usage, once Nelson reopens the six pools will meet current demand.

An online survey was conducted to provide feedback on how residents use City pools and to address the closure of Nelson Pool. The survey received 1,795 responses: 79% prefer to swim in outdoor pools during the summer season; over 90% of respondents indicated Nelson pool should be replaced; 57% felt that replication of the original 50-metre pool was the best option; 33% felt a smaller lap pool with adjoining leisure pool and amenities such as splash features and diving board would be preferred.

Staff reviewed three options for Nelson Pool:

  1. Rebuild the original 50-metre pool, increasing lanes from the current seven to eight to meet competitive swimming requirements. Cost: $4.6 – $5.2 million
  2. Reduce the pool to six lanes and 25 metres. Cost: $3.7 – $4.3 million
  3. Permanently decommission the pool and reinstate the site to a basic park level. Cost: $450,000 – 500,000

The staff report recommends Option 2, the 6-lane, 25 metre pool. Existing usage at the pool is 93% recreational, which includes lap swimming, swimming lessons, recreational swimming, and waterplay leisure activities for young children and short course training for swim clubs. Recreational uses can be accommodated in a smaller pool, which would also be more economical.

Nelson Pool – staff report

The estimated cost and timeline to replace the pool per Option 2 (25m) would be as follows:

  • 2016: Detailed Design, Demolition, and Site Servicing: $ 700,000
  •  2017: Construction $3,300,000
  • TOTAL: $4 million

In order to fund the work at Nelson over 2016 and 2017, two projects (one in Ward 5, one in Ward 2) would have to be delayed: Skyway Arena, originally budgeted for 2017 would be bumped to 2018; Central Arena originally scheduled for 2018 would be bumped to 2022.

Should council prefer Option 1 (50m), additional projects would need to be deferred, and reserves or debt financing may be needed.  Staff would recommend deferring the following 2016 projects: Arena Revitalization detail design ($685,000), Iroquois Park Revitalization ($298,000) and Palmer Park Improvements ($220,000). Upper level grants, sponsorship (naming right opportunities) and partnership with user groups could also be explored for funding opportunities.

My Take: So far the feedback I have gotten from residents is unanimously in favour of the 50m option. I give considerable weight to resident input before voting on community matters. I will also consider discussion among members of council at the committee meeting, and staff input. At this point, I am leaning toward Option 1, the 8-lane, 50m replacement option.

Your Take: Which option do you prefer? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or emailing me at marianne.meedward@burlington.ca

Supernova arts & culture event received city funding in 2015.
Supernova arts & culture event received city funding in 2015.

Staff recommend new $133k Community Investment Fund (Dec 8)

Staff are proposing the creation of a Community Investment Fund worth $133,270 annually, to provide funding for community-led initiatives that enhance neighbourhoods.

There would be two steams of funding: 1. one-time funding for community capacity building initiatives, including events, programs and organizational development; and 2. matching funds for project-based initiatives, including community infrastructure (benches, public art). Preference will be given to initiatives that promote diversity, civic interests, place making, sports, recreational, arts and culture, or the environment.

The new Community Investment Fund would replace the existing Facility Fee Waiver  (which defrays costs of using city facilities, with some exclusions) and Community Development Fund (which covers such items as marketing or incorporation costs). Authority for dispersing the funds would be delegated to city staff.

Applications would be restricted to:

  • Not-for-profit groups (incorporated or not)
  • Burlington residents
  • A group that is not receiving funding from the City
  • A group that has not accessed the fund within the last five years

Existing funding for the Facility Fee Waiver and Community Development Fund ($25,000 and $28,270 respectively) would be rolled into the new Community Investment Fund, and topped up during the 2016 budget by an additional $30,000 for Ward based events, and $50,000 for matching grants.

Funding would be divided between project-based and community capacity building initiatives as follows:

Project-based initiatives (community matching fund): $50,000

Community Capacity Building initiatives: (one-time funding):

$53,270  (combined funds from former facility fee waiver and community development fund)

$30,000 (ward-based events)

Total Community Investment Fund: $133,270,

The “one-time funding” is lump sum funding, or funding that is phased out over a period no longer than three years. The community can only apply every five years for Community Investment Funding, meaning that an annual community program over five years could count on city support for up to three of those years, with funding coming entirely from the community for the next two years, before the ability to seek city funding again.

Under “matching funds”, the value of the community’s investment in a project of  volunteer time, gift-in-kind donations or funds would be matched by the city to a maximum of $5,000 in the initial phase of the program.

During last year’s budget, council directed staff to develop a policy on Ward-based events, such as Car-Free Sundays (Wards 3, 4, 5), Jane’s Walk (Ward 1) or Supernova (Ward 2), which all received funding in the 2015 budget. Staff propose that funding to support ward specific events would fall into the proposed Community Investment Model and staff would administer the funds.

The goal would be to spend the entire fund each year, but staff are recommending any unspent funds be put into a reserve fund for initiatives in future years.

Based on Council approval, staff will begin to formulate the process for administering community investment and develop a communication and marketing plan to be rolled out in Q2 2016.

Community Investment Fund – Report

Community Investment Fund Model

Community Investment Fund Bylaw

Community Investment Fund – Policy

My Take: I support the development of a consistent, transparent and community-led Community Investment Fund. The facility fee waiver and community development funds have not been widely publicized until recently; I didn’t know they existed until three years into my first term, so could not direct residents to apply to these funds. The new Community Investment Fund will be widely publicized and fairly administered, seeking annual and ongoing applications from community groups, and actively soliciting funding from areas where there haven’t been applications. I am concerned about limiting funding to “one-time funds” and have requested clarity on the policy, which defines one-time funding as “lump sum funding or funding that is phased out over a period no longer than three years.” However, the policy also states community groups can only apply to the fund every five years. Sometimes community initiatives need multi-year funding to become self-sufficient so I would support funding over a three year period, where appropriate. Subject to discussion at committee or new information emerging, I also support staff administering ward-based initiatives on a consistent, transparent and equitable basis. I will ensure that the community and my office engage with staff regularly to provide suggestions for initiatives.

EpiPens are injected into the thigh.
EpiPens are injected into the thigh.

Information sought on requiring EpiPens in city facilities, restaurants (Dec 8)

The C&CS committee will be asked to consider a motion directing staff to come back with a recommendation on making EpiPens available in city facilities as a one year trial program, potentially funded through the Tax Rate Stabilization Fund. The motion also seeks a recommendation from staff on the feasibility of implementing a peanut-free environment at all city facilities; a recommendation from the legal department on whether the city can require all restaurants in Burlington to have EpiPens onsite; and information from the legal department on the risks of having or not having EpiPens available in city facilities, as per the City’s responsibility under Duty of Care, the Good Samaritans Act and any other legislation.

The motion is in part a response to the death of 12 year old Maia Santarelli-Gallo due to an allergic reaction at the Mapleview Mall food court in Burlington in March of 2013. Maia didn’t know she was allergic, and died waiting for assistance.

More information about the motion, the rationale behind it, and how other cities and organizations have handled EpiPens, click the link below:

Motion on EpiPens in city facilities

My Take: As the mother of a child who requires an EpiPen, and in respect of safety and care for all residents, I wholeheartedly support seeking additional information on requiring EpiPens in city facilities and restaurants.

Destination Downtown workshop
Destination Downtown workshop

Charter Action Team assesses how well city is doing on public engagement (Dec 8)

The city’s Charter Action Team (ChAT) estimates that public input has influenced at least 25 public policies over the last two years, including:

  • More money toward snow removal based on the level of importance and the lower level of satisfaction from the public
  • Preferred fencing around Bronte Creek trail
  • Name of a park
  • Selection of public art murals and installation locations
  • Location of new community gardens
  • Amenities in parks based on feedback from the public, such as water/splash features, accessible swings, leash-free areas, skate features
  • Changes to Downtown Parking
  • Changes to Community Connection – Route 300 (Burlington Transit)
  • On-street parking changes

Still, ChAt noted that based on the findings from the city’s statistically valid Community Survey, the public involvement journey has just begun and the city needs to continue to move forward. Among other things, the survey found:

  • 18% were aware of the Engagement Charter
  • the community perception is that its voice is not important, as City Council has already made a decision; and residents’ concerns are ignored

These findings were included in ChAT’s report to committee and council on how well the city is following the Community Engagement Charter and the Charter Action Plan. Their report also shares highlights of the city’s community involvement activities from 2014 and 2015.

ChAT provided advice to staff on 26 public issues  in 2014 through to fall of 2015; highest number of community responses were on intensification, on-street parking, food trucks, service-based budgetting and the strategic plan. ChAt was also involved in 17 public events, including 11 Love My Hood events.

ChAT has identified five goals for 2016 including:

  • Increase the number of people participating on the Insight Burlington Panel and Let’s Talk Burlington, our online tools.
  • Increase the number people that are aware of their rights and responsibilities in the Community Engagement Charter and are aware of public involvement opportunities

Cost for the ChAT are projected to be $6000 in 2016 and include:

  • Monthly data fees for 2 iPads to record public input at events
  • Outreach costs for special events
  • 2016 Staff Marketplace
  • Meetings expenses
  • Advertising

Charter Action Team – analysis & recommendations

Charter Action Team summary

The goals of ChAT are to promote the Community Engagement Charter (approved by city council in April 2013) and subsequent Charter Action Plan; make community involvement part of the city’s corporate culture; and build capacity through getting residents involved in decision-making. Increased involvement can take on many forms, such as more people volunteering with their neighbourhood, getting involved with a citizen committees or helping Council to make an informed decision on matters that are important to the community.

Additional reports coming to the Dec 8 C&CS include:

  1. Report recommending approval of the 2016 Interim Tax Levy by-law.
  2. Report recommending approval of the Temporary Borrowing by-law
  3. Report providing information regarding insurance litigation as of October 31, 2015
  4. Report providing information regarding expenses excluded from the budget.
  5. Report recommending appointment of Ombudsman for the City of Burlington. (The city approved the appointment of an Ombudsman at the Nov. 23 council meeting; this report selects ADR Chambers and establishes the enabling bylaw).

These reports are available on the city’s Agendas and Minutes page.

Confidential items (Dec 8):

  1. Confidential appendices A and B of finance department report  F-46-15 providing information regarding insurance litigation as of October 31, 2015.

11. Confidential finance department report providing the status of the reserve for contingencies as at October 31, 2015.

12. Confidential legal department report providing quarterly litigation update from August 1 to October 31, 2015.

  1. Confidential legal department report providing information on a real estate matter. (L-30-15)

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

What's your take?