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C&CS Feb16: Council remuneration; grass sport fields rates & fees; public art projects; 374 Martha St; OPA/Rezoning for 4853 Thomas Alton Blvd

The following items will be discussed at the Community & Corporate Services Committee Feb. 16, 1 pm & 6:30 pm, at City Hall.

  • Remuneration and expenses paid to Council and appointees for 2015. Increase of .98% for 2016
  • Changes to grass sport fields rates and fees.
  • $140,000 for Public Art Program projects for 2016 – 2017
  • Update on the development applications for 374 Martha Street. (See article elsewhere in this newsletter)
  • Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications for 4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard, to permit a redevelopment of 691 units,  increasing density from 185 to 343 units, height from 10 to 19 storeys, and allowing townhouses in an apartment zone.

These items are discussed in more details below. A full agenda listing is below.

C&CS includes all members of council. Recommendations from this meeting go to City Council for a final vote Mon. Feb. 29, 6:30pm at City Hall. Residents can Register as a Delegation to speak at both 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.

coinsRemuneration & expenses for Council & appointees:

The municipality is required to report each year on the earnings of council members, plus their expenditures. Remuneration for citizen appointees to local boards must also be reported.

In 2015, each Councillor had a budget of $9,000 to cover expenditures such as meetings, printing, mileage, newsletters, postage, professional development, telephones and advertising. The Mayor had a budget of $26,535 to cover similar expenditures to those listed above, excluding the costs of leasing a vehicle for business use.

See chart including all councillors: Council & Appointee Remuneration

This chart also includes remuneration paid to the citizen appointees on the Committee of Adjustment, which makes decisions on variance applications.

My Take: As your Ward 2 councillor, I earned $68,911 in salary and benefits include amounts paid for base salary, OMERS, Standard Life, EHT, CPP. I do not have a parking spot at City Hall so am not charged for the parking taxable benefit. My expenses were $8,465. Council members also receive a stipend from Halton Region. That is reported separately.

Council remuneration for 2016:

Council has the option to increase salaries up to 0.98% on the City portion of their salaries. If the full amount is implemented effective April 1, 2016, the city portion will be adjusted as follows:

• Councilor salary: from $53,785 to $54,312

• Mayor salary: from $123,257 to $124,465

The Region of Halton formula averages the Ontario Consumer Price Index and the Toronto CPI figures. The Regional adjustment took effect Jan. 1, 2016 at 1.65%, resulting in a salary of $48,060.

The formula for adjustments to council salaries requires that they must be equal to the average annual change in the “All Goods” Ontario consumer price index (CPI) for the twelve month period October to September with following provisions:

  1. Any increase cannot exceed 65% of the calculated Ontario CPI percentage;

  2. No increase can be granted in the event the calculated Ontario CPI amount is less than 1%;

  3. Any increase cannot be greater than the increase determined for budget purposes for non-union staff compensation;

  4. When no increase is taken in a year, the amount cannot be carried over and aggregated in future years (i.e. no carry-over of forfeited increases from any year to another);

  5. Overall Council may adjust the calculated increase to a lesser amount than that determined while meeting the provisions stated.

My Take: I support the increase as reasonable and prudent, based on sound rationale and formula.

brant hills parkChanges to grass sport fields rates and fees.

Staff had proposed to re-classify the grass playfields from a two-tier system: primary and secondary to a three-tier system; Class A, B and C. Staff also proposed to align the categorization of our customers similar to other facilities: adult (not-for-profit), youth, non-resident and commercial. Based on comments at Committee and Council and in conversation with playfield organizations staff is proposing to stay status quo in 2016 with a two-tier classification system and stay status quo with the categorization of customers: youth and adult only, until a playfield service standards review is completed.

Reverting back to the 2015 pricing structure gives the customer a year’s notice of the forthcoming change for commercial and non-resident groups.

For this year, in order to close the gap between adult and youth rates, and move towards the youth organizations receiving a 20% subsidy compared to adults, (the gap between adult and youth rates is currently 53%) as well as start the contribution to the capital reserve surcharge, staff is proposing to

  • increase the youth rate by 2%
  • reduce the reduce the adult base rate by 5%
  • shift the base rate reduction from adults to be a 5% contribution to the capital reserve surcharge.

This approach will close the gap between youth and adult base fees by 7%, and start the contribution to the capital reserve surcharge fund with negligible impact to the net operating budget. If approved, the change will take effect March 1. In the event that a not-for-profit organization requires financial assistance, the Parks and Recreation department has the community investment fund which could assist with transitioning to the proposed fee structure.

My Take: I support the overall goal to reduce the youth subsidy and set money aside for capital renewal, as well as keeping 2015 rates roughly the same. This delays any potentially significant increase until after the playfield service standards review is completed, as requested by the public, and allows sports groups time to set budgets and alert their members in time for an increase adjustment in 2016.

At the Freeman Station with mural artist Claire Hall, Brian Aasgaard, president of Friends of Freeman Station, and Mayor Rick Goldring.
At the Freeman Station with mural artist Claire Hall, Brian Aasgaard, president of Friends of Freeman Station, and Mayor Rick Goldring.

Public Art Program projects for 2016 – 2017

The following Public Art Program expenditures are proposed for 2016-2017. Expenditures come from the Public Art Reserve Fund established exclusively for public art purposes. As of Dec. 31, there was an uncommitted balance of $684,000 in the reserve fund:

  • $75,000 to support the commissioning of public artworks for “cultural nodes” such as parks, trails and other public areas, through consultation with the public and other stakeholders. In Phase 1, the selected artist will work with City staff and key stakeholders to implement at least three art-based community outreach activities, and associated temporary artworks. Based on the recommendations from the community consultation, a permanent public artwork will be commissioned for a cultural node. The Cultural Action Plan notes the following locations as primary areas of focus for cultural nodes: Lowville, Alton, Burloak and Brant Hills (neighbourhood and community identity building); Downtown and waterfront (building on recommendations in the Core Commitment and Downtown Vision and Action Plan). The artwork would be installed by October/November 2017.
  • $35,000 to support the commissioning of two murals for 2016 as part of the Burlington Mural Program, featuring local artists in the following proposed locations: Downtown Parking Garage, Tansley Woods. The program will continue its focus on professional development by offering: free workshops (open to all local artists), application assistance / portfolio review, one-on-one mentorship of selected artists. It is proposed that the Burlington Mural Project becomes an annual program that commissions 2-3 murals per year. The mural installation would take place in Sept/Oct 2016.
  •  $30,000 to support the commissioning of public artworks for park entrances. There are currently 21 parks and pathways listed in the Public Art Master Plan as potential sites for public art that do not have current or planned public art projects. This list will be a starting point to engage in public consultation to select the sites for Year One of the program. The program will also provide professional development opportunities in a variety of formats: workshops, application assistance / portfolio review, online resources, etc. The artists selected for a commission will be paired with experienced fabricators to assist with project development. Two artists will be commissioned in Year 1 of the program and it is proposed that this program recurs annually with 1-2 sculptures being installed per year. The first sculpture would be installed by June 2017.

My Take: I’m pleased to see a focus on developing local artists, and getting resident input into locations. I look forward to seeing more art in the downtown, and around the city. The reserve fund was established to create public art; let’s use it to beautify our community, support our local artists, and get residents talking about and involved in art.

Update on the development applications for 374 Martha Street.

See article here: ADI revises application to 26 storeys; OMB hearing March 14

thomas alton location mapOfficial Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications for 4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard.

ADI Development Group has applied for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments to permit a redevelopment at 4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard (between Thomas Alton Boulevard and Palladium Way, east of Appleby Line) of 691 units, consisting of  consisting of 12 back-to-back townhouse units, 21 (traditional) townhouse units, 160 stacked townhouse units, and 498 apartment units. The proposal includes two (2) 19 storey apartment towers connected by a 5 storey podium at grade, located at the northeast corner of the site. The proposal also includes 4 levels of underground parking.

The subject property is designated Residential – High Density. alton townhouses The general policies for this designation permit a range of building forms including street townhouses and stacked townhouses, back to back townhouses, attached housing and apartments (ground or non-ground oriented housing units) with a density ranging between 51 and 185 units per net hectare (uph). Additionally, residential – high density development within the Alton Community is subject to a site-specific policy which limits apartments to a maximum height of 10 storeys.

The Official Plan Amendment requests an increase in the maximum permitted density (from 185 to 343 uph) and height (from 10 to 19 storeys).

The site specific Zoning for this area limits the built form permitted on the subject property to apartment buildings, with a density range from 100-185 units per net hectare, and a height range from 4 to 10 storeys. The Zoning By-law Amendment seeks to expand the permitted building forms to include varying low-rise, townhouse forms and high-rise apartment buildings, increase the maximum allowable density and floor area, and introduce site-specific performance standards for each of the proposed building forms (e.g. reduced amenity area, parking, and yard requirements).

To read supporting documents from the applicant, as well as the staff presentation and applicant presentation from the Dec. 1 public meeting, visit the city’s webpage for this project here:

4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard

My Take: I share the community’s concerns about the significant increase in density and height, in terms of compatibility, aesthetics and privacy impacts on adjacent properties.  I look forward to hearing more from the community, and the applicant’s rationale, at the public meeting. We know from other projects that intensification doesn’t mean “anything goes.” Projects must meet the tests of good planning and community compatibility, among other criteria.

Complete Agenda:

CONSENT

  1. Report providing the City’s financial status as at December 31, 2015. (F-04-16)
    Pages 1 to 16
  2. Report providing information on remuneration and expenses paid to Council and appointees for 2015. (F-06-16)
    Pages 17 to 20
  3. Report recommending approval of the 2016 grass sport fields rates and fees. (PR-02-16)
    Pages 21 to 26
  4. Report recommending approval of Public Art Program projects for 2016 – 2017. (CM-02-16)
    Pages 27 to 38
  5. Report regarding Mayor and Council remuneration. (HR-01-16) Pages 39 to 42

REGULAR

  1. Memorandum from Councillor Dennison regarding the naming of off-road multi-use paths.(CCS-02-16)
    Pages 43 to 44
  2. Report providing an update on the development applications for 374 Martha Street. (PB-34-16)

PUBLIC MEETING

Statutory public meeting and information report regarding the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications for 4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard. (PB-27-16)

Note: this item will be discussed at 6:30 p.m.

CONFIDENTIAL

  1. Confidential legal department report regarding the Ontario Municipal Board Hearing for 374 Martha Street. (L-05-16)
    Pages C1 to C8
  2. Confidential verbal update regarding a Fire Labour Relations Matter

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.

4 Comments

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  1. Please excuse in advance my long diatribe about the ADI proposal for Thomas Alton Boulevard, but this having an impact on my neighbourhood of the Orchard plus the inspiration provided by Brent Toderian’s recent visit to the city I have a lot to say on this topic.

    I don’t believe that we are focusing on the right conversation here.

    In this context it is not a question of height and density. It is a question of quality. Quality not just in terms of design aesthetics and materials, but in terms of how the building interacts with its neighbours, the public realm surrounding the building, the mobility options that residents have available to them, and the local amenities that are in place.

    My preference would be for a taller urban building in this location. To me, this would support a much greater quality of life for nearby residents than even a 6 story building that is just thrown into the current conditions. This means that we must also make a determined effort to improve these conditions in the event ANY development in this location is to succeed.

    Appleby Line is a very recently developed corridor, especially north of Upper Middle Road. In this corridor we have not only made the same mistakes we made in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, we have doubled down on them. While telling ourselves that we are planning a more walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly community, we have designed the community in such a way that these modes are unpleasant, dangerous and inconvenient.

    In theory, this should be the ideal location for a high quality urban development. All the boxes are checked. There are sidewalks, bike lanes, new schools nearby, transit available at the Wal-Mart plaza, a Tim Hortons and a Starbucks within 500 metres, 2 grocery stores, soon to be 2 fitness centres, Lowe’s, lots of restaurants, LCBO and Beer store not far away, etc. In the Region’s plans, Appleby Line is to be widened to 6 lanes in 2023, the vision being one of this being a major transit corridor. However the actual provision of transit leaves a lot to be desired, and based on the way the Region builds roads, the 90km/h design speed will do more to prevent walking and cycling nearby than anything we could do to encourage it.

    We have to understand the market for this type of housing – primarily younger people, millennials who are likely on their first job, starting out a family, or trying to launch a start-up business venture. This is a good thing for the city – we need to support a mix of demographics in order to ensure that the city has a viable future. Increasingly the younger demographic is looking for options that do not compel them to own and always use a car for transportation. To them, a car represents more of a burden than freedom. Attractive housing for this generation is one where they can walk to a nearby coffee shop with wifi, or the pub to meet friends,. Having the neighbourhood school in walking distance. Feeling no hesitation about hopping on a bike to get to transit or a local shop. They want access to carshare when they need to go for a ski vacation or visit friends & family outside the city. Easy and fast transit access to a train that takes them to jobs & clients in the financial centre of Toronto. This location can offer all of those things if it is developed to make that possible.

    I’d list the following as minimum conditions for success of the Thomas Alton Blvd. area as an urban development.

    • Sufficient density to make public transit workable. Continue the pattern started in the Uptown node from Corporate Drive/Ironside Drive up to Palladium Way. High frequency and direct route to major destinations (e.g. Appleby GO). Transit priority signals and conversion of traffic lanes to transit only use during peak times. Stops are sheltered from elements, designed attractively and well-maintained.
    • A public realm that prioritizes walking between Thomas Alton and the shops and services at the 4 corners of Dundas & Appleby, with wide sidewalks, street trees, benches and direct priority access to the plazas.
    • Plan for eventual conversion of the plazas to a more pedestrian oriented format. Make the walk from Thomas Alton & to the Tim Hortons on Dundas delightful. Shops should be oriented facing the street, not inwards towards the parking lot. Patios, signage, plantings should be focused on the pedestrian. Street trees and interesting things to look at to fill the empty spaces like the hydro corridor. Future buildings mixed use with terracing and eyes on the street to increase feelings of safety.
    • Slow down the traffic. The intersection is presently signed at 60km/h, and is designed for 90 km/h!!! Both major streets are designed to serve primarily as freeways. This is an extremely hostile environment to anyone on foot or on bicycle. Lanes need to be narrowed, pedestrian islands need to be provided at crossings, traffic waiting areas should be moved back and corners bumped out to slow turning traffic and reduce crossing distance. Coming over the hill towards this corner at present, the design automatically tells me as a driver that it is appropriate to increase speed.
    • Bicycle lanes that are protected from high volume and speed of traffic by a solid buffer that prevents automobile entry. Design intersections that ensure people on bikes are visible to auto traffic well before starting to turn. Only the hardcore will use the bike lanes there currently, and even hardcore cyclists are extremely uncomfortable in this environment. Convenient bicycle parking is available at all shops and major transit stops. The lanes connect to a network that includes major nearby destinations – parks like Bronte Creek, Appleby GO station, stores & restaurants at the Uptown node, the Centennial bikeway, etc.

    Walking & biking, even if its only to the transit stop and back, keeps us healthy, which is something residents of any generation need and strive for.
    It also ensures that we contribute less in the way of carbon emissions that cause climate change. The future will not be about moving more cars faster if we truly want to uphold our responsibility to limit its impact on our children’s ability to thrive here.

    If we don’t create a public realm that prioritizes people walking to the Wal-Mart, the coffee shops and the nearby stores and services we will fail. If we don’t plan to put in protected bicycle facilities down to the GO station, we will fail. If we don’t plan to have efficient, effective transit along Dundas / Appleby that reflects the main priority destinations of residents we will fail. If we plan for more and more car traffic volumes and gridlock by paving more and more wide spaces, residents’ fears and concerns will certainly come to fruition, regardless of how tall or how short the development ends up being. All of these things need to be in place when the building(s) are completed, yet only the road widening is in the capital budget. Based on our current plans, we will be creating a nightmare for residents, even if we stick with the 10 story height limit under the current zoning.

    I recognize, Marianne that you’re reflecting the conversation that you’re hearing from the community – one which is largely based on concerns about height and density. These concerns are real. But if we are serious about growing “up and not out”, we certainly need to change that conversation to one of how can we get the quality urban development that contributes positively to the neighbourhood and provides a catalyst for more high-quality development along this corridor, which can be built to handle many multiples more density than it has today and still be an asset, not a liability to nearby neighbourhoods such as Alton and the Orchard if we do it right.

    • That is a very well-thought-out letter, which you should send to all of council. You make very good points about planning for the future and the younger demographic, etc. The area you mention does sound like a perfect place for this model, if done properly as you suggest. (Of course it’s easy for me to say that as I moved away from the Orchard just before Alton arrived and settled downtown ten years ago, but I’m well out of that “younger” demographic now 😀 )

  2. My comment is in respect to the Public Art Program. Quite a bit of response in the Burlington Post was made at different times over the past few months about the “waste” of money on a statue bought last year from this program. Its funny that there is in excess of $600,000 in this fund & yet when it comes to supporting programs in the city regarding the POOR – such as the plea from the Compassion Society for funds because Trillium provided them with no operational funds for 2016 – the city is SILENT & expects others to step up & keep organizations like this afloat. Its the same old story, even the mayor’s meeting at the end of last year regarding the Syrian Refugee Relocation ONLY made mention about what the COMMUNITY could or would do about it, NEVER about what the CITY might or could do!!! When it comes to the arts community in this city money always MUST be provided but helping or recognizing the POOR in this community is SWEPT under the rug as the city looks upon this as a blight which should NOT EVER be mentioned!

    • Charlie, I agree we need to do more for people living in poverty in our community. Just as a side note, the city staff in Burlington are partnering with a downtown church to sponsor a refugee family. All funds are being raised from private donations by city staff and the community. It’s a great initiative, made possible by individuals who care about people who are struggling in our community and beyond.

What's your take?