Getting Ready For AMO


This years AMO conference is coming up after this weekend. I've mentioned before it's a chance for councillors from over 400 plus municipalities to meet and discuss issues, attend workshops and potentially meet with Ontario government ministers to being up specific issues affecting their town or city.

Normally at this time we get a list of the meetings we're going to be attending at the conference with ministers and after getting the list of confirmed meetings, I'm left a little disappointed.

In the past 2 of the 3 day conference is filled with meetings with different ministries that usually leaves us exhausted from walking back and forth between all the rooms and hotels. This year there aren't many meetings at all.

Specifically missing is a meeting with the Minister of Health Dr Hoskins, Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter, and Minister Charles Sousa from Finance. Through Regional Chair Gary Carr's office many requests were made to meet with these three ministries as Halton Region needs answers.

Health and Finance to address the continued shortfall of funding for many of our health programs, costs that have been downloaded to the Region to the tune of $9.7 million in 2017. This has equated to the equivalent of a 4% tax increase for a Halton residents and there are still no answers on the horizon. This doesn't include the improvements that are needed for Halton's paramedic services and we require the delivery of new technology and triage tools for the Mississauga CACC.

The list for education demands gets longer by the day as in different areas of Halton there are differing needs. Schools closures in Burlington and the ever increasing demand for new schools, especially secondary schools in Milton to meet the ever increasing – and provincially mandated – growth in Halton.

These are just of the questions and requests we were coming to AMO to have addressed but sadly, no meetings scheduled.

Does this mean we give up? Heck no!!! But it's just another disappointment for those of us who represent this growing area in the provinces Places to Grow.

We will be meeting with the Minister of Transportation to discuss a number of issues affecting Halton and Milton including 2 way all day service, parking improvements for our main GO Station and the acknowledgement that we will need another GO station for Milton immediately in the Derry and Trafalgar area as well as off Tremaine Road. We will also be asking for some action on the proposed CN Intermodal issue as well. The province needs to continue to be at the table as the CEAA/CTA process moves along and recognize Halton's unanimous opposition to this location.

As the conference moves along, I'll be doing my best to update everyone as the meetings happen. Will we get definitive answers to these questions? Probably not right away but this is another opportunity for us at the Region and Town of Milton to get our concerns aired and hopefully some action taken.

We've done our part when it comes to meeting all the guidelines for Places to Grow and Milton's growth plan. It's now time for the province to step to the plate and lend us a hand. Hopefully with the ever looming date of a provincial elections, ears will be listening and action will be taken to have Milton and Halton's needs addressed.

Will keep you posted. Until then….

Heading to the AMO Conference

It's that time of year again. The time where many municipal councillors travel to one location to share experiences, pass along advice and get an opportunity to speak one on one with provincial government ministers.

There are many different workshops scheduled for this year in Ottawa that spans over a 3 day period. Some of the topics will include new design and planning for today's housing needs, increasing participation in municipal issues, cannabis legislation & impacts on municipal / regional government.

Of course one of the main items I personally look forward to is our one on one meeting with provincial government ministers. This is where we get a chance to speak with them directly about important issues in Milton. More schools, better infrastructure funding, fixing then downloading of health services on to Halton Region. Chair Gary Carr and many if not all of the Halton area councillors will go from meeting to meeting and present to them OUR solutions.

No guarantees about what we get, if anything during these meetings but we still state our case and why we need what we need.

If you could sit down with one provincial government minister, who would it be and what questions would you ask? Let me know either in the comments here or email me mike.cluett@milton.ca

Downtown Milton Condo Proposal

Much has been talked about recently with the proposal for a condominium development in downtown Milton.  Recently the Town had held a Public Information Centre (PIC) to discuss it as well as get feedback directly from Milton residents.

I, along with a number of town councillors, attended both sessions which had over 80 people come out both times.  The Milton Canadian Champion has done a good story on the development today, so please have a read.

There will be public meetings held at Milton Town Council in the future, so stay tuned to my social media feeds to find out the details.  We want to hear from residents not only in the downtown core, but from all over Milton.  One of the biggest issues we face as a municipality is the development and improvement of our downtown core.  Recently Milton Town Council has also finally launched our Downtown Improvement Study to address these very concerns.  What will our downtown look like in the future?  How can we improve the quality of life in downtown?  We need to address a number of concerns to help breath life into our downtown core and public input is vital towards that process.

I think we can agree that something needs to be done in our downtown core.  Where the challenges lie is in the details.  Opinions range from total opposition to any kind of development in the downtown core to those who would like to see these kinds of changes made.  This is where we as a community need to come forward and have our say.

When council approved the recent downtown study several weeks ago, I remarked that we have to go about this with an open mind.  We all agree something needs to be done.  Business owners tell me that downtown Milton needs “feet on the street” to become vibrant.  We as a town and as a community need to come to a compromise and set a plan and move forward.  This will be very challenging and decisions wont be made hastily.  But we need to do something so I hope that everyone in Milton will take part in these discussions.

Here is the link to the article below from Melanie Hennessy at the Milton Canadian Champion.

Milton Canadian Champion

The downtown Milton skyline may soon look very different if plans for a twin tower condo are given the green light.

A group of numbered companies has put forward its plans for a condominium development consisting of an 18-storey west tower and 13-storey east tower with a combined 190 units on lands that front onto Mill and Main streets, west of Martin Street. The proposal also calls for almost 570 square metres of space for businesses that would be accessed from Main Street.

In order for the development to proceed, a number of approvals are needed, including one from Conservation Halton, as the lands fall within a regulatory floodplain.

The proposal was recently the subject of two public open houses, with each drawing about 80 people, said Town Director of Planning and Development Barb Koopmans.

“They were very well-attended,” she said, noting, “The purpose of the open houses was to make sure clear information is available on the proposal, not gauge public sentiment.”

Residents will soon have a chance to make their voices heard at a Town public meeting on the plans. A date has yet to be set, but it’s expected to take place this spring (details will be posted at www.milton.ca, and those who attended the open houses will be notified).

Following that, Town staff will complete its evaluation of the plans and comments received. They will bring a report to council with a recommendation to approve or deny the proposal.

The developer will also need to receive a permit and approval from Conservation Halton to proceed in a regulatory floodplain. The application will be subject to the Province’s “One Zone” concept, which treats an entire floodplain as one unit and restricts or prohibits development.

With two levels of above ground parking proposed for the base of each building, plus a mechanical penthouse on top of the structures to house equipment, the west tower will actually appear equivalent to a 20-storey building, while the east tower will look like a 15-storey structure.

To make way for the development, two Main Street and four Mill Street buildings would have to be demolished, including the Mill Street Coin Laundry, Bumpr’s Restaurant and the building located immediately west of the eatery, which is currently on the Town’s Heritage List.

The proposal comes at a time when the Town is undertaking a Downtown Study that’s examining the current state of Milton’s core and identifying opportunities for revitalization and redevelopment. Town staff is currently conducting a market analysis and anticipates bringing an interim report to council this spring.

“The completion of the study will be critical for the technical review of the (condominium) applications,” according to a fact sheet from the Town’s Planning and Development department.

The plans call for 190 parking spaces for those who live in the buildings, including 164 resident spots and 29 visitor spaces, spread over two storeys of above-ground parking that would be accessed from Main Street.

But the Town’s zoning bylaw currently requires a ratio of 1.5 spaces per dwelling unit, plus an additional 0.5 spaces for designated visitor parking. Based on this, the buildings would require 285 parking spots to service the residents, plus an additional 48 visitor spaces.

Public parking with access points on Mill Street and a total of 132 spaces has also been proposed.

The town must approve Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments before the project is given the green light. Current zoning of the lands permits a maximum building height of four storeys.

Along with its application, the developer has submitted a variety of studies to the Town, including reports on air quality, heritage impact, noise feasibility and traffic impact. The municipality is awaiting the submission of an urban design brief, shadow impact study and tree preservation plan.

For more information, including copies of the studies, visit www.milton.ca/en/Build/DMOldMilton.asp#MillStreet.

Milton Car Break-Ins

I have been a victim of this a few years ago. The best advice is to have all valuables hidden from view and better yet not in the vehicle at all. Make sure your windows are rolled up and all doors locked. This wont guarantee that you wont have your car broken into, but it will make it very difficult for thieves to take advantage of you.

Make sure you also keep an eye out in your neighbourhoods for suspicious behaviour and report it immediately to the police department.

Here is the link to the story from the Milton Canadian Champion.

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Well maybe not frightful, but over the weekend we were reminded that winter is on its way with the light dusting of snow we received.

I think with that its a good time to remind residents of Milton about the Town’s snow removal policies.

Here is the link to the Town of Milton’s page that will give you all the information you’ll need with the upcoming winter season.  This will be the time of year myself, along with other council colleagues, will be getting the most calls and emails throughout the year.  When will our street be plowed?  How long after the snow starts will plowing begin? Why are some streets done first and mine last?

This should help you answer these and many more questions you might have.  Stay tuned to my Twitter feed as during these storms I will be posting updates provided to us from our staff as to when things will begin when the real snow hits us.

One of the main issues I’ll highlight here is allowing the plow.  I know its hard for many of us with busy lives, picking up kids, heading to hockey, going out shopping and getting back and forth to work daily but we have to keep in mind parking on our streets.  When the big snow comes its imperative that we do our best to keep our cars off the street and allow for the snow plows to go through.  Many unfavourable situations can be avoided by allowing the snow plows access to the street to keep them on time and our roads as clear as possible.

The Town will announce via the website and social media instances where parking considerations will be suspended so that we can keep the plows moving through the night.  Again, follow me on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with those announcements.

Winter storms are not fun and we all want to ensure people can get in and out of their homes and have all the streets plowed as quickly as possible so if we keep some of the rules in mind, this will happen.

If you have any other questions, please let me know mike.cluett@milton.ca