Next Step In Regional Representation Review

Halton Region MapDuring the last election campaign I spoke to many residents in Milton about the importance of “Fairness For Milton.” You can read those ideas here.

Recently the Region passed a notice of motion to ask Halton municipalities (Milton, Oakville, Burlington & Halton Hills) to provide a report on their support for changes to the make up of regional council.

Right now the make up is as follows:

Oakville (7)

Burlington (7)

Halton Hills (3)

Milton (3)

The additional member is the Regional Chair Gary Carr and he is elected across Halton.

This coming Monday, Milton Town Council will be discussing a staff report ES 15-15 to review our ideas and options to bring to Halton Region.

You can find a link to that staff report here (its 15 pages long, but still an excellent read)  Milton staff report highlights a number of different options, including one to move to weighted voting where each municipality has a number of votes based on its population.  I’ll discuss more in a later blog.

Once this is approved by Milton Town Council, the report will be forwarded to Halton Region staff and await the other municipalities reports.  If 3 of 4 Halton municipalities agree that changes are needed, the process moves forward.

There is a time frame needed in order to make these changes before the next election.  If nothing is done or agreed to by Halton Regional council by 2017, it would be impossible to make the changes before October 2018 which is the next municipal election.

Have a look at the report and let me know what you think.

Good News Bad News Day for Milton

If you’ve been following the news recently, yesterday was a bit of a roller coaster for Milton.

downloadEarlier in the day we found out that CN, despite its assertions to the contrary, must apply to the Canadian Transport Agency (CTA) for approval of their proposed intermodal in Milton.

What does this mean? It means that it isn’t going to be smooth sailing as they thought it would be.  In the grand scheme of things it means it’s another hurdle CN must climb before anything is approved.

You can read about the decision here (Inside Halton/Milton Canadian Champion – Rachael Williams)  Further to that, there is a decision pending to see if CN has to complete a full environmental assessment with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) as part of their plans.  If this is ordered by the CEAA, CN will have yet another hurdle to overcome before anything happens with the intermodal facility.

Is it good news for Milton? Yes it is.  It goes with what Halton Region municipalities have been asking for since day one.  Follow the process any other developer would have to follow in Milton.  Is it perfect? Not at all, but it shows CN that they simply can not make assumptions and they do indeed need to follow a process.

There’s the “good news” for Milton.  Now, to the bad.

mevAfter close to 8 years of planning by the Town of Milton, Halton Region and Laurier University, the Province of Ontario made a decision for a new location of a university campus.  It wasn’t Milton.

The Province announced yesterday that the City of Markham (the municipality that tried for an NHL arena without a franchise) was the winner and approved a new York University / Seneca College campus beating out 12 others including Milton – which was considered a favourite – and Barrie.

You can read about this decision here (Inside Halton/Milton Canadian Champion – Rachael Williams)  Dr Max Blouw, who is the President and Vice-Chancellor of Laurier University, stated that they will indeed re-submit the proposal to the Province of Ontario in 2016.  The small sliver of a silver lining is that all is not done with new university campuses in Ontario.  They did say that in spring 2016 there will be another bid process opened up and the Milton Education Village has another shot.

I spoke of roadblocks earlier and this is one for Laurier University and the Town of Milton’s plans for the Education Village – located at Tremaine Road from Derry Road to Britannia Road – and potential economic development along with much needed job opportunities for Milton.  The Education Village, along with the Derry Green Corporate Business Park, is one of the keys to job growth and success in the Town of Milton.

In a press release by the Town of Milton (see here) we have committed to forge ahead with these plans and continue our advocacy with the Province to approve this campus.  Laurier University along with Dr Max Blouw willl press on and resubmit their proposal in the spring of 2016.

The question remains is this.  Why not Milton? Milton being the fastest growing municipality in Canada, is a prime location in the GTA for a university campus.  It has the full support of all parties involved including the Town, Halton Region and Laurier University along with their future partners.  The land is ready, available and serviceable.  There is also a facility in place that will be part of the campus up and running – a little thing called the Mattamy National Centre for Cycling which is now being prepared for the Pan AM Games in roughly 50 days.

All the pieces are in place, yet brushed aside by the Province.  These questions will hopefully be answered over the course of time and between now and the next proposal date, I will continue to advocate to the Province of Ontario, our MPP and anyone else who will listen, that the Milton Education Village / Laurier University campus should be approved as quickly as possible.

Jobs, economic growth and not to mention the Province of Ontario’s long time promise of post secondary spaces are keys to success.  Maybe the Province thought that a few token announcement of a couple of additional GO Trains and a quick payment of ice storm funds would suffice for Milton.  Not in my opinion.

Its time the Province of Ontario sees this.  With Milton growing as fast as it is, at the behest of the Province itself, with close to 400,000 residents expected by 2041, the provincial government must recognize that this is a priority area and the right decisions need to be made at the first opportunity, not as an afterthought.

Milton Has To Wait For University Campus … again

Markham chosen by the Province of Ontario for new York Campus while Milton continues to wait….yet again.

Here is a press release from the Town of Milton today.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Town of Milton forges on with plans for a Laurier campus

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities announced that the City of Markham’s proposal for a combined York University/Seneca College campus has been accepted by the ministry’s capital expansion process. According to Minister Moridi, Markham’s is the sole proposal that will be considered at this time.

The announcement has deeply disappointed the Town of Milton and Wilfrid Laurier University. Since 2008, the two have been building a strong and determined partnership with the goal of bringing post-secondary opportunities to Canada’s fastest-growing municipality.

The Laurier Milton bid proposed a 150-acre university campus situated within a 400-acre Milton Education Village (MEV) on the southwest side of town, adjacent to the Niagara Escarpment. The MEV would be a purpose-built, fully integrated neighbourhood of multi-level education, research and commercialization, as well as complementary residential and commercial development.

“While I am thoroughly disappointed and saddened by this decision, it only strengthens our resolve to make the Milton Education Village a reality,” said Mayor Gord Krantz. “A university campus is key to building a complete community and we will continue to work closely with Laurier to bring that vision to life.”

During his announcement, Minister Moridi also mentioned that a targeted call for proposals for a postsecondary facility in Peel and Halton regions will be issued in the spring of 2016. The Town, along with Wilfrid Laurier and Halton Region will continue to move forward with conceptual plans for the MEV and will develop strategies to ensure that their bid is successful when the second call comes forward.

“Halton Region is committed to continuing to work with our community partners to help bring high-quality post-secondary education to the Town of Milton,” said Gary Carr, Halton’s Regional Chair. “The proposed Milton Education Village would fuel economic growth and foster community partnerships. We look forward to a successful outcome during the next investment by the Province in 2016.”

For additional information about the Milton Education Village, visitwww.milton.ca/en/townhall/miltoneducationvillage.asp.

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Rural Speed Review & Open House June 16th

70_kmAs many know, the Town of Milton has been taking some time to review speed limits in the rural areas of town.

There will be a report coming to Milton Town Council soon but we have arranged a couple of opportunities for residents in the rural area to get information on possible changes and provide their input on those changes.

Questions will be:  Do we move to a standard speed limit for rural roads?  Do we give the same consideration to rural residents as we do those in residential areas?

For residents in wards 1,6,7,8 (south of Derry) there is an open house scheduled for Tuesday June 16th at Milton Town Hall (Milton Room) starting at 630pm.

For residents in wards 2,3,4,5 (north of Derry) there is an open house scheduled for Wednesday June 29th at Brookville Hall beginning at 7pm.

Please let me know if you will be attending.

Deadline Approaching to Comment On CN Proposal

Just a quick reminder for residents that you have until April 27th to submit your comments on the CN Intermodal proposal.

For all the information you will need, please go to www.halton.ca/cn and read the FAQ’s.  There are links to where you need to go to submit comments and have any questions answered.

As always you can email me mike.cluett@milton.ca

Let your voice be heard!