Thanksgiving Stuff A Bus A HUGE Success

Release from the Town of Milton

NEWS RELEASE

October 16, 2012

Milton Transit’s Thanksgiving Stuff-a-Bus collects over 1,700 lbs of food donations

Milton Transit held its Thanksgiving “Stuff-a-Bus” on Saturday, October 6, 2012 where over 1,700 lbs of food were collected, including some cash donations for the Salvation Army food bank in Milton.

“On behalf of Milton Transit, I would like to thank our generous Milton community and the many volunteers who helped make this year’s Thanksgiving Stuff-a-Bus such a great success,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “A special thank you also to Metro food store in Milton for their support and assistance during the event.”

Milton Transit will hold its next Stuff-a-Bus event during the Milton Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, November 18, 2012.

For more information on Milton Transit, visit www.milton.ca, e-mail transit@milton.ca or call 905‑864-4141.

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For further information, please contact:          Paul Cripps – Director, Engineering Services

AMO Update – Post Ottawa

Over the next couple of days, I will get a more detailed accounting of what Milton councillors did on our 3 day conference in Ottawa.  I promise 🙂

For those that don’t know, myself along with a number of Milton Councillors attended the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference in Ottawa.  This gives local elected officials an opportunity to meet, discuss ideas that are important to their constituents, attend workshops and seminars as well as network with provincial government officials as well.

Last year a number of councillors went to the conference in London Ontario to meet with the infrastructure minister as well as the provincial health minister to stress the importance of the expansion of Milton District Hospital.  At that point we were armed with over 6,000 plus fresh signatures from the Grow Milton Hospital campaign as well as the previous Friends of Milton Hospital’s 35,000 plus signed cards from residents to let them know the number one issue in our town was the hospital.

You’ll remember that shortly after that (and a looming provincial election in the coming weeks MIGHT have had a LITTLE something to do with the announcement /end sarcasm) we received word that the expansion was going to move forward.

This year there were a number of issues that face Milton as we continue to grow in leaps and bounds.  Unofficially our population ticker is over the 100,000 mark and headed even higher.  There is a lack of schools being committed in Milton, which is one of the main reasons that our Halton District School Board Trustee Donna Danielli attended the conference for this meeting.

We were originallytrying to meet with the Education Minister Laurel Broten, but given the high pressure of the teachers negotiations, she was nowhere to be found in Ottawa (same as the finance minister oddly enough 🙂 ) but we ended up with Deputy Education Minister instead.

The deputy minister knew of Milton’s needs well before we got there as we are one of many municipalities that are facing these school shortages.  Donna was our “point person” during this meeting as she faces these issues on a daily basis, hearing from residents about when new schools will be ready, why there are 30 portables in each location and when will it stop.  Milton council members don’t have jurisdiction in this at all.  I got emails from folks telling me that we shouldn’t be bothering since we have no control.

Its true.  We dont have an official say in this and our presence there was mainly symbolic.  But it did make a point to every minister we met that Milton meant business.  If you follow the news at all, you know there is a lot going on right now with the education ministry and the “negotiations” with school boards and teachers, which was probably the reason she didnt make it to the AMO conference.  I am confident that we will be hearing some good news soon regarding some of our much needed schools in Milton, after everything else is being dealt with.  So stay tuned for that news.

That wasn’t the only meeting myself and the other councillors attended in the 3 days.  There were a number of meetings with government ministers to discuss items like slot revenues, the horse racing industry and MPAC issues we are having. 

As outlined by Kim Arnott in the Milton Canadian Champion recently, we could be possibly facing an issue of property tax increases here in Milton and other areas due to MPAC being delayed in their reassessment of homes.  Here’s the article.

Assessment issues could impact Milton property taxes

A “hair-raising” property tax increase could be in the works for Milton as a result of assessment issues that are beyond the Town’s control.  A combination of delayed assessment updates and resolved assessment appeals could result in a property tax impact of as much as $2 million, or a six to seven per cent increase on local property taxes.When combined with education and regional taxes, the result could be an increase of two to three per cent on the combined tax bill that’s mailed to local residents.  

“It’s making the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” said Councillor Mike Cluett. “This is very important.”A report delivered to council last night by Milton treasurer Linda Leeds outlined the challenges for the coming year.  The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), the provincial body responsible for assessing properties and assigning values for taxation purposes, will be conducting a province-wide reassessment next year.

Prior to the completion of that reassessment, an attempt is currently underway to resolve outstanding assessment appeals from prior years, with a focus on commercial and industrial properties.  However, that means that assessors are involved in hearings and not available to undertake assessments of new properties so they can be added to municipal tax rolls.

This is particularly problematic for rapidly-developing municipalities like Milton. The assessment and addition of new properties throughout the year — known as supplementary assessments — allows the Town to begin collecting taxes from those properties.  A delay in adding new properties to the municipal tax rolls means the Town needs to finance the expansion of services to accommodate new residents and business while it waits for the cash to come in.

In the 2012 budget, taxes from supplementary assessments were anticipated to be $2 million. However, so far this year MPAC has assessed only 116 of more than 800 new residential properties, for a total of only $77,413 in property taxes.

Staff is particularly concerned with the possibility that new commercial and industrial properties – which typically carry large tax bills – may not be assessed in a timely fashion.  The attempt to rapidly resolve outstanding assessment appeals could also impact on the town’s finances.

When property owners appeal their assessments, they are required to pay the full assessment until a decision is made on the appeal. If an appeal is successful, the Town issues a refund for taxes paid.   

As the 2012 budget was established prior to the announcement of the plan to try and resolve outstanding appeals, only $230,000 was budgeted for refunds arising from successful appeals.  However, with 94 individual non-residential properties in Milton combining for 591 appeals (some dating back to 2001), the town could easily be on the hook for refunds that far surpass the budgeted amount.While the town has no direct control over MPAC, councillors did pass a resolution to ask MPAC to undertake the necessary supplementary assessments, and resolved to bring the issue to the attention of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

One of the seminar/workshops that AMO had this week was an update from MPAC by Chair of the Board Dan Mathieson and Antoni Wisniowski, the new CAO and the status of a number of things, and whats to come.  Needless to say it didn’t have a lot of answers to questions during the presentations, but they did do a Q&A with attendees afterwards.  As you would expect, Regional Councillor Colin Best was right up there for the questions and highlighted many of our concerns raised in that motion Milton council passed.

From what we were told at the conference, the slides and possibly video of some of these sessions might be available so if and when it does, I will post here on my site.

I will get into more detail soon regarding the different sessions myself and members of council did attend.  We were there en masse and we tried to spread ourselves out to maximize our numbers but there was still some overlap in some of the sessions.

If you have any questions or want some specific information on sessions I attended on behalf of the Town of Milton, either post a  comment or send me an email Mike@MikeCluett.ca

Cycling Event Donates $478,000 to Milton Velodrome

NEWS RELEASE – August 8, 2012

Cycling Event Proceeds of $478,000 Donated to Milton’s Velodrome

 The Town of Milton is honoured to be the recipient of more than $478,000 for the Mattamy Cycling Centre – Home of Canadian Cycling. The funds have been raised from the eighth annual Tour de Bleu, Mattamy’s annual cycling fundraiser, to be held on August 12, 2012.

“On behalf of Milton Council, I would like to thank to all of the Tour de Bleu participants and Mattamy Homes for their support,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz. “The funds raised during this event will greatly help us with our fundraising goals for the new Mattamy Cycling Centre.”

A total of 40 riders, including professional cyclist and 17-year Tour de France veteran George Hincapie, are participating in this year’s event. The cyclists will take one of three routes, a 100-, 150- or 200-kilometre route from Muskoka to the finish line in front of Milton’s Town Hall West (Victoria Park, 150 Mary Street).

Spectators are invited to cheer on the riders along the route and at the finish line which cyclists are expected to cross at approximately 4:00 p.m. 

“I am so excited that this year’s Tour de Bleu will benefit the new Mattamy Cycling Centre in Milton,” said Peter Gilgan, Founder and CEO Mattamy Homes.  “Our vision is for the new velodrome to become the premiere home of Canadian cycling in Canada and benefit the people of Milton and all of Ontario.  Hopefully one day a young rider in Milton who will train at the new centre will become a world champion.”

The proposed Mattamy Cycling Centre, located near Louis St. Laurent Ave. and Tremaine Rd., will be a 250-metre oval cycling track with banked corners and 1,500 permanent seats that will house cycling events for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.  The new cycling centre will also provide residents with access to recreation spaces that are non-cycling related, including a gymnasium, walking track, fitness centre and multi-purpose space.

The Tour de Bleu, created by cyclist and philanthropist Peter Giglan in 2005, has raised over $4 million for community projects and initiatives, including the Trillium Health Centre and Sick Kids as well as other health, recreation and community charities. For further information on the Tour de Bleu, visit http://www.mattamyhomes.com/tourdebleu/About.asp.

For more information on the velodrome, visit www.milton.ca/en/townhall/velodrome.asp or call 905-878-7252, ext. 2581.

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For further information, please contact:  Jennifer Reynolds, Director, Community Services 905-878-7252, ext. 2180

Boyne Survey Moves Forward

With the approval of the Boyne Survey financial agreements, we are moving closer to adding another estimated 50,000 new people to the town of Milton.  I have some concerns about the estimated total however.  Municipalities have been burned in the past underestimating the number of people projected for each area, which can lead to under servicing of the area, not just by the town or region, but by the province of Ontario as well.

We don’t have to look very far in the Greater Milton Area (GMA) to see problems that the Region of Peel had to endure over the past several years.  There is a new reality to home ownership in many parts of Canada and Halton isn’t immune to this…multiple families per home. 

With the prices of homes on the rise, the cost of home ownership is also increasing.  There are families who have difficulty paying day to day bills in our economy with both parents working.  It is apparent that this new reality of home ownership will mean more people living in areas than planned for.  This can affect many services including water and waste as well as provincial services like education.

Its important to keep in mind our estimations going forward when site plans are submitted to council for review and approval.  When our reports state that 50,000 new residents will move into the Boyne Survey when its all said and done, I worry that it might be a lot more.  I would be more comfortable planning for a higher total in the range of 60-70,000 so that we can over estimate instead of under estimate when it comes to servicing of the new survey.

More on this to come, but here’s the story by Julia Le from the Milton Canadian Champion.

Council approves agreement to develop Boyne Survey

 

The Town of Milton is one step closer to developing 2,300 acres area of land bounded by Louis St. Laurent Avenue to the north, James Snow Parkway to the east, Britannia Road to the south and Tremaine Road to the west.

During a special meeting Monday night, councillors unanimously approved the Boyne financial agreement between the Town and the Boyne Landowners Group to develop the Boyne Survey Secondary Plan area.

It’s the third residential growth area located in the Milton urban expansion area. The other two growth areas are the Bristol and Sherwood surveys, which have been under construction for most of the past decade.

The Boyne Survey Secondary Plan area is planned to accommodate an additional 50,000 residents when fully developed. It’s intended to integrate with the existing urban area.

The report outlines the deal agreed upon by the Town’s negotiation team, which met with representatives of the Boyne Landowners Group over the past several months to iron out the details of the planning and financial requirements associated with developing the Boyne Survey.

The landowners group has agreed to pay a capital contribution on a per unit basis in addition to development charges when residential building permits are issued.

The contribution is expected to generate about $38 to $40 million, which will be used to finance infrastructure required to support the growth of the area. This in turn, will minimize the impact on property taxes and assist in keeping dept capacity within legislative and policy limits.

Town Treasurer Linda Leeds said the Boyne Landowners Group has also agreed to provide, at no cost to the Town, a total of 105 acres of parkland within the secondary plan area.  

“In addition, the landowners have agreed to acquire and transfer to the Town at no cost lands that are known as the CMHL (Central Milton Holdings) lands,” she said.

This additional 158.4 acres of parkland is located just outside the secondary plan area. The acquisition of the CMHL, located on the north side of Main Street, west of the CN Rail line and the 43.7 Ha (108 acres) of parkland known as the Jannock lands, is expected to be finalized now that council has approved the financial agreement. It will accommodate the community-scale facilities required to serve not only future residents of the Boyne Survey, but also the broader community.

“The CMHL lands are strategically located. They’ll be joining onto the Jannock lands that overall will create the largest urban park in Canada, which is a real legacy for this town council to be able to secure,” said Leeds.

Other agreements include the early dedication of lands so that the Town can construct roads and plan for the appropriate infrastructure in accordance with the Town’s capital program.

Council heard from delegate Glen Schnarr of the Boyne Landowners Group, who expressed his personal satisfaction with the agreement.

“In our minds since we conceived the notion of the off-site parkland dedication of the CMHL lands so close to the core of downtown Milton, at the end of the day personally I am very proud to be a part of that,” said Schnarr, president of land development consulting firm Glen Schnarr & Associates Inc. “I know that the landowners group feels it’s a monumental accomplishment and I believe through working with your staff what we have achieved if the agreement is approved this evening is a major moment in the history of Milton.”

Mayor Gord Krantz thanked the Town staff and the landowners for spending a considerable amount of hours pulling together the agreement.

He told The Milton Canadian Champion that growth should pay for itself and the town is well on track of making it happen.

Bill Mann, the Town’s director of planning and development, used the analogy of the agreement being the first domino in a set of dominoes ready to fall into place.

Now that the agreement has been approved by town council, he said secondary plan , with minor medications made, will go before them again in the fall. It will then be passed to Halton Region’s director of planning, the delegated authority to give final approval.

If all goes according to plan, the developers will then enter an agreement with the Region and be part of the Region’s infrastructure staging plan and allocation program. A part of this process will be the planning of subdivisions through the town. By 2014, the Town can expect to issue building permits for the expected 17,500 residential units to be built in the Boyne Survey area.

Mann said the Town is on the right track to building a balanced community within Milton.

“Non-residential growth is a direct result of residential growth,” he said, adding that big companies are looking for a local employment base that’s growing because of affordable housing.

Mann said the Town has been making a conscious effort at providing a full range of retail shops while maintaining the downtown core as the centre focus. With the anticipated addition of the CHML lands, Mann said residents can look forward to 1,200 acres of green space that connects to the Jannock lands, Kelso Conservation Area, Country Heritage Park and is a gateway to the Niagara Escarpment.

The town is in its third phase of residential and employment growth originally designated in the 1997 Official Plan. The plan anticipated Halton Region’s delivery in 2000 of ‘The Big Pipe’, carrying Lake Ontario water up from Oakville to Milton, and a population that would grow to about 165,000 people by 2021.  

Saturday Transit Pilot Project On Hold…For Now

New bus routes on the way – But Saturday busing proposal rejected

 Two new bus routes are coming to Milton, but Saturday is still not on the schedule.

On Monday night, town councillors approved a series of recommendations establishing new parking regulations around the GO station and new bus routes in the Scott, Harrison and Willmott neighbourhoods.  However, they voted against a recommendation to test demand for Saturday bus service by running a 10-month pilot project.

The proposal — supported by Town staff and the Transit Advisory Committee — suggested using surplus transit funds of about $80,000 to offer Saturday bus service between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The project was suggested to begin in September and run until early next summer, with buses operating on a schedule similar to weekday off-peak hours.

The idea was vigorously opposed by Councillor Rick Malboeuf, who noted that the $80,000 in surplus funds would only fund the project through the 2012 tax year, with an additional $120,000 required from the 2013 budget.  “There’s no major outcry among our residents for Saturday service,” he said, noting that the service would generate only about and estimated $400 a day, yet cost $5,200 a day.

Malboeuf added that councillors would be pressured to continue the service once it was established.  “Once you start something like this, it’s hard to back out. And it’s the first step to Sunday service.”

Other councillors appeared more sympathetic to the cause, but expressed concerns about timing and finances.  “My preference would be to hold off on this until we have the 2013 budget in front of us,” said Councillor Colin Best, who worried aloud about the Town’s financial fortunes in the coming year. “Let’s look at everything in its entirety.”

Councillor Mike Cluett added that it would seem sensible to complete the ongoing Transit Master Plan prior to making significant changes to the service.

The two new bus routes, which will begin running on September 4, will service the residential neighbourhoods south of Derry Road and west of Hwy. 25.

During last year’s budget deliberations, councillors agreed to purchase three new buses and add three additional routes through southwest Milton. However, slower than expected growth in the area meant that only two additional routes were needed, explained Paul Cripps, director of engineering services.  The $80,000 surplus in transit funding is a result of the third new route not being added at this time.

Councillors also approved a number of new parking restrictions around the GO station, which are required to accommodate the additional bus routes now running to the facility.