Vote October 6
Funding for Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital, a highway through the escarpment in North Burlington and uploading social costs previously downloaded to the property tax base are emerging as three key issues in the provincial election Oct. 6. Though there are many issues in the election, including education funding, tax increases, jobs, and the environment – these are the main concerns facing the municipality and Burlington taxpayers.
In August, the government announced funding for JBMH’s redevelopment, and we will expect whoever is elected Oct. 6 to honour that commitment.
Regarding the highway, a coalition of residents, civic leaders and government officials at the municipal and regional level are seeking assurances that whoever is elected will not run a portion of the Niagara to GTA highway through our escarpment, a world biosphere. Both Burlington city council, and Halton Region council have passed resolutions opposing such a highway.
Continued uploading of social costs is critical for Burlington’s financial health. Halton Region has saved $40.2 million in uploaded costs since 2007; $13.7 million of that are the savings for Burlington taxpayers.
When all uploading costs are completed by 2018, the net annual benefit for Halton Region is expected to be $22.5m , with Burlington’s share being $7.4m. If those costs are not uploaded, Burlington will have to fund these items, at a time when we are facing a significant infrastructure gap. Staff recently told council our infrastructure deficit is $250-300m, with additional annual expenditures of $3-5m needed.
We need the uploading to continue so we can direct the savings to core infrastructure costs.
Halton Region and AMO advocacy
Halton Region developed a questionnaire asking all local candidates how they would resolve critical issues facing Halton. Read the responses here:
here. To read the Region’s advocacy platform A Strong Halton for a Strong Ontario – Partners for the Future, outling key issues in the provincial election, click here.
To find out where you vote, visit Elections Ontario here and key in your postal code or address.
My Take: The highway, hospital and municipal downloading will have significant impact on property taxes and quality of life for Burlington residents. Ask each candidate where their party stands, and make sure to get out and vote on Oct. 6.
Join our Cogeco panel for election night coverage
Tune in for our panel discussion on Cogeco after the polls close, to discuss the implications of the vote for Halton Region, and Burlington. I’ll be joining host Don McMillan, a long-time volunteer for TVCOGECO and previous election night host, and fellow panellilsts Mark Carr, host of The Queen’s Park Report, The Ottawa Report, and Local Matters, and Bill Perras, former mayor of Oakville. Coverage begins at 9pm. Check schedule here.