CFBB welcomes the announcement from CAO Harry Schlange that a significant restructuring of Brampton’s City Administration and concomitant personnel reduction will take place immediately. We have long believed and in fact, suggested that a change in culture was absolutely essential in order to improve operational performance and individual behaviour at the City.
We are hopeful that these changes, endorsed unanimously by Council, will have the positive impact intended to enable this fast and exciting City to reach its full potential to the benefit of all taxpayers, investors, residents and business entrepreneurs.
We wish to express our thanks to all those departing and hope that other each and every one will find other opportunities in the near future.
Chris Bejnar and Doug Bryden co-chairs
CFBB – September 7, 2016
CFBB’s Brief Outline for Terms of Reference- Alternate LRT Route studies – Kennedy and McLaughlin
These two routes have been determined by democratic decision of Council to be the only two routes to be studied by staff, carrying out the Environmental Assessment of each route so as to allow direct comparison clearly and reasonable debate thoroughly by Council. The staff report should be prepared and presented within a 6-8 month period from Council agreement on terms of reference, and regular process reviews are mandated by Council of staff to assess progress being made.
As a note, it is understood that complete accuracy of information is based on reasonable assumptions by reasonable professionals and not an end in itself, thereby allowing recommendations to be forthcoming from staff and the public within the proscribed time period to completion.
Here are some terms of reference that CFBB would like to be included for review.
1) Comparisons are to look at the viability and cost of providing at grade, above grade and below grade installations, and combinations of each as deemed appropriate.
2) Comparisons must take into account existing infrastructure impacts, such as water and sewer lines newly required or existing and in need of replacement, bridging conflicts, and potential use of discontinued rail rights-of-way.
3) Comparisons must have investigated whether the routes are to be contained in existing roads and rights-of-way, or whether road widenings and property acquisitions will be needed and guesstimates on the cost of such purchases or expropriations included, and assumptions used on intensity and preferred densification.
4) Based on 3) above, comparisons should include some projection on ridership potential that will arise from station location, and include assumptions on employment and type of development occupancy.
5) Comparisons must include accessing the Downtown GO station efficiently, taking into account the potential of mobility hub development, clearly show how alignment will interface with a potential Queen Street LRT line, and future LRT expansions to the Caledon border.
6) Comparisons must include the impact of changes in bus transit routing which will act as feeders to the LRT at chosen station nodes.
7) Comparisons on time for the trains to go from Steeles and the presently committed terminus of the LRT line, to the Downtown Brampton GO Station.
8) Comparisons on costs required for each line, including station design and signalization.
9) Comparisons that reflect potential traffic congestion and conflict on each route, and an outline of potential safety challenges and ridership convenience requirements.
10 Comparisons must include potential and optimal assessment increases which would improve the tax base.
11) Comparisons must include inventory of potential development sites that would be considered for intensification. (Office, institutional, residential)
12) The TPAP for the Main Street alignment was completed in a 6 month time frame following the format below. The TPAP was endorsed by Metrolinx and was sufficient to receive full funding from the Province. It is our recommendation that we follow the same TPAP timeline for both the McLaughlin and Kennedy routes.
Main Street TPAP Process:
TPAP will take six months and will examine impacts to transportation and utilities, socio-economic, natural and cultural environments.
The information gathered will be publicly released in June as an Environmental Project Report (EPR).
The timeline for the TPAP includes:
- 120 days for consultation on positive and negative environmental impacts and preparation of the EPR;
- 30 days for public/government agency review and comment on the EPR;
- 35 days for the minister of the environment to decide if the project can proceed, or if more work is needed.
During the TPAP, work will continue on the design of the project. Brampton and Mississauga councils will be updated after the 120 days of consultation.
Doug Bryden & Chris Bejnar Co-Chairs CFBB
CFBB Comment – July 6, 2016 – Approval of the June 20th Planning and Infrastructure Committee Report (McLaughlin and Kennedy EA’s)
CFBB applauds the decision reached at the last Planning and Infrastructure Committee to accept the staff recommendation to proceed with Environmental Assessments on the two remaining LRT routes – up McLaughlin or Kennedy to arrive at the Brampton Downtown GO Mobility Hub. Ratifying that decision by approving the Minutes of the Committee meeting at Council on July 6th now allows staff to focus on moving these two projects ahead, quickly and in a well- organized fashion. Regular and frequent progress reports to Planning and Council and to the public will be essential to ensure the directive from Council is both respected and honoured in a timely manner. It is our belief that both studies can be completed within an 18 month period as to allow THIS Council the opportunity to finally determine what alignment choice is best.
It is not a secret that, in CFBB’s opinion, the history of this file has not been exemplary, and on critical review, it should provide instruction for future significant infrastructural incursions by higher government levels. Of utmost importance is that decisions relating to major infrastructure commitments and their local impact should rest entirely with the Municipal government and their elected representatives.
The announcement by Metrolinx on their proposed LRT route through Downtown to the GO station, “fully funded” and on a “take it or leave it basis”, was a surprise to Council and the community, for the route had been overwhelmingly turned down by the previous Council 10-1 . The present Council was simply “not ready” to approve the route without further study and analysis. Further, upon review, neither was Metrolinx ready, for there were too many unknowns and incomplete answers dealing with ridership projections, operating responsibilities for shortfalls, and potential capital cost exposures that would befall the Brampton taxpayer. It was clear that the announcement had been premature, and a rejection of the offer, along with the disproportionate amount that was projected to be allotted to Brampton (less than $400 million), was not only a responsible decision by Council, but a prudent one.
Subsequently, after yet another attempt by staff to put forward a tunneling option through Downtown at considerable cost, Council decided to have staff carry out complete studies and analyses on three alternative routes – McLaughlin, Kennedy, and through a small section of the Etobicoke Creek valley. It was expected that comparisons of all three routes would be presented by staff to Council at the June 20th Planning and Infrastructure Committee meeting, who would then fully debate the merits of each, hopefully make a decision, and have staff proceed to undertake an Environmental Assessment of the chosen route for comment and input from the public. That, of course, did not happen. Staff not only did not do the detailed comparisons of the three alternatives, but chose instead to remove consideration of the Valley route because of a negative reaction by the TRCA Board. If staff had completed a detailed report as instructed by Council on March 7th, proper debate and discussion could have had Council agreeing to move forward with only ONE route alignment. Instead, they recommended EA’s for the two remaining routes, doubling the cost to the taxpayer.
In order to move this LRT file ahead, prevent further wastage of time and money, and have a “shovel ready” Council approved project available for funding when the next tranche of transit funding from the higher level governments might be allotted, Council approved the staff recommendation. At least, both prospective routes avoid dealing with the challenging flood plain, which has brought so much grief and angst to Council and impacted communities in the past.
CFBB will be keeping a close watching brief on staff progress on these assessments, and will be prepared to comment on progress reports and the final debate when the detailed route studies are complete and presented.
Chris and Doug – July 6, 2016