A Message From The Mayor
A progressive vision
Burlington expects 10,000 new jobs in next decade, as recreational and environmental infrastructure advance
Overlooking pristine Lake Ontario, with 23 kilometres of uninterrupted shoreline and the Niagara Escarpment as our backyard, Burlington is gaining notoriety as one of the top cities on the Great Lakes—a place where values and vision drive progressive planning. It’s why MoneySense magazine ranked us as the best city in which to live in the GTA and fourth best in Canada.
Our strong local economy continues to outperform both the national and provincial economies. Building has begun on the McMaster University DeGroote Centre for Advanced Management and our new Performing Arts and Civic Centre. And many of our companies, such as Cogeco, Westlake Industries and L3 Westcam, continue to grow, adding new jobs to the local economy and providing economic and educational opportunities, as well as enhancements to our cultural vitality.
We’re also committed to preserving our environment. Together with our community leaders we are setting high standards for green solutions by meeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards in new and renovated facilities, while our hydro utility is an industry leader with its GridSmartCity initiative.
Access to improved sport facilities and recreation programs remains a priority. Eight new artificial-turf playing fields are being built and two new hockey and specialized figure skating ice pads will be completed in 2010. And our Cycling Master Plan will interconnect our entire city with new and upgraded bike and walking paths.
Burlington is thrilled to be hosting the 2015 Pan American/Parapan Games for soccer—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that brings federal, provincial, municipal and private funding to enhance our sports infrastructure. It means more jobs and long-term benefits to tourism and recreation.
Our focus is growing the companies we have, drawing new businesses and attracting world-class talent that fuels innovation and prosperity. We’ve set an ambitious target to add 10,000 new jobs over the next 10 years, most of which will be in knowledge-based companies, such as financial services, life and earth sciences, information technology and advanced manufacturing sectors—jobs that are perfectly aligned with the skills and experience of our highly educated residents. The city is already a regional service centre for the western GTA and Hamilton/Niagara area. Last year, BDO Dunwoody consolidated its regional offices here. In 2010, the U.S.-based AmerisourceBergen, a giant in medical services, establishes its Canadian headquarters locally.
As Burlington grows and diversifies, it is fostering an inclusive approach to civic programs and services (35 residents have volunteered their time over the next eight weeks on a special Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Committee to develop innovative recommendations on how council can encourage broader participation and improve the way local government communicates with its citizens). The report will be ready by April.
We are confident our future success will be secured by our willingness to let our citizens shape an energetic city driven by innovation, collaboration and efficiency.
Pan Am Games, LRT, refurbishing of downtown core and cooperation are keys to Hamilton’s future
With 2010 well under way, Hamilton looks forward to progress in many areas, among them the promise of expanded rapid transit and GO service, downtown and waterfront renewal (which will include the 2015 Pan Am Games), renewable energy initiatives and the arts and culture.
The City’s $1 billion dollar proposal for new light rail transit promises to create and attract jobs through new economic development opportunities. The Pan Am Games, meanwhile, will provide a unique chance to renew our major sports facilities, including Copps Coliseum, as well as the addition of a multi-purpose stadium, a world-class velodrome and a 50-metre pool. In all, the City will invest $60 million in sport infrastructure for the Games, leveraging a minimum of $150 million.
From being ranked third among large North American cities for quality of life, to an ongoing effort of engaging the community to promote Hamilton as a prime location in Canada in which to invest, our momentum continues. That includes the downtown area, as investors gobble up properties along the emerging James Street North arts district, helping to solidify it as a vibrant cultural, dining and entertainment destination. Investment in residential development, partially funded through the City’s financial incentive programs, has created more than 750 new units in the downtown core, which has attracted a number of young professionals.
Improvements to play areas in the downtown will come via the Gore Master Plan, with additional plans for a park near Rebecca and John streets. A greater sense of security, cleanliness and overall beautification will generate further momentum.
In addition, the second phase of revitalizing and renovating the Hamilton Farmers’ Market and Central Library has begun as part of an ongoing plan to renew the downtown core. With the work scheduled for completion in Fall 2010, we look forward to infrastructure enhancements to the streetscape of York Boulevard between Bay and James Streets.
Investing in our economy is about laying the foundation for a progressive future and creating the types of jobs that will provide opportunities for generations. There is no better example of this than the relocation of CanMet to McMaster’s Innovation Park. We expect over 100 new jobs—more through spinoffs inherent in a project of this magnitude.
But a catalyst for continued growth is economic development in Hamilton—a one-stop shop for site-selection assistance, information and research, coordination of city services, brownfield redevelopment, industrial land development and small business creation.
A key to success is collaboration with members of the community, including the Chambers of Commerce, the Poverty Reduction and Immigration roundtables and the people of Hamilton. It’s one of the reasons we’ve managed to keep unemployment and job loss figures below the regional average. Another vital player is the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative, which has a mandate to create a partnership with leaders and “do-ers” throughout our community, including newer Canadians who have chosen to call Hamilton home.
We have the best people working to move the city forward, and we have a clear vision: “To make our city the best place in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities.”
Town stays focused on enhancing environment and economy while managing future growth
As we enter a new decade, it’s natural to wonder what the next 10 years will bring. But in Oakville, we have a clear vision: to become the most livable town in Canada. In 2009, we took a big step toward this goal by adopting “Livable Oakville,” the town’s new official plan. We created the plan with unprecedented public consultation to be sure that our vision of land use in Oakville is what our residents want. It will be in full force and effect after disposition of the appeals we’ve received, which we are confident will be addressed this year.
Our commitment to livability is accompanied by a commitment to obtaining maximum value for every tax dollar spent. By the end of 2010, Performance Based Program Budgeting (PB2) will be fully implemented. Oakville will be a leader in Canada in municipal budgeting and fiscal management. (PB2 measures both outcomes and value for all programs and services.)
Livable Oakville includes Ontario’s first municipal Natural Heritage System (NHS), an area of preserved woodlands and green-space larger than High Park, Stanley Park or even Central Park. The Oakville NHS will be an integral part of the community north of Dundas Street. The Region of Halton’s newly adopted and enhanced NHS, which connects to Oakville’s NHS and runs north of Oakville, extends this groundbreaking municipally protected greenspace system.
Construction of the first few hundred houses in Oakville north of Dundas also begins this year. And a new quad-pad arena on Neyagawa Blvd. will open in September 2010. The new communities north of Dundas will be walkable and transit-friendly, and will include residences and businesses. Integrating employment lands into that community will add 35,000 jobs over the next 20 yearsEconomic development will be an area of continuing focus for Oakville in the coming decade. The town will attract knowledge-based industries to increase high-quality local job opportunities. We are planning to foster a life sciences-based business park to surround Oakville’s new state-of-the-art hospital, to be constructed at Third Line and Dundas. This will help Oakville attract world-class organizations and provide residents with excellent professional employment opportunities.
We will also continue to create and maintain the facilities, roads and transit system needed for residents to be active and successful in Oakville. Construction will begin on the future QE Park Community Centre, a unique multipurpose recreation, arts and culture facility, and the new Clearview library branch will open this fall.
Achieving our vision to become Canada’s most livable town may take more than a decade, but we’ve started down the path to achieve our goal. Council and staff will continue to focus on enhancing the sustainability of our environment, economy and infrastructure. I expect that 2010 will be Oakville’s greatest year yet, and I encourage you to follow our progress through our town-wide newsletter, Let’s Talk Oakville, or online at www.oakville.ca/m-accomplishments.htm, as we work to make Oakville an even more satisfying place to live, work, play, raise a family or retire.