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Brampton – 2040 Vision – Doug Bryden

The weekend workshop involving professional planners from here and beyond, dedicated City staff, and a group of talented and dedicated public contributors of their ideas and opinions, was a most worthwhile and thought provoking event. Discussions revolved around and focused on the following categories:

Environment

Transportation

Historic Downtown

Social

Arts and Culture

Economic Development

Bramalea

Community Character

 

At this event, CFBB spent a significant amount of time working on the Historic Downtown focus group, working with planners to incorporate some of our ideas which are well known in the community. Success was measured, but discussions on our input were respected, appreciated and recorded. We shall have to wait and see in early February next year whether we were able to convince those responsible for information assembly, analysis, and summarizing, that our focus, for example, on a pedestrian focus downtown and outer and inner ring road traffic controls will be considered of merit. It would appear that our desire to have the proposed University located downtown in the Rosalea Park area, and attached to the long awaited Riverwalk Etobicoke revitalization project, was supported by a number of other people. But, of course, the site location is really up to the University and other levels of government.

Takeaways from the weekend workshop:

1) The focus tended to interpret “Future Ready” as what we would like to see Brampton look like in 2040. So there was no real emphasis on a shorter time frame for the future – in other words discussing ideas and comments that could be implemented in the short term.

2) As we have been touting for the last three years particularly, the completion of the Riverwalk and the revitalization of the Etobicoke Creek from Church Street to Nanwood and beyond would unlock the redevelopment of the downtown by removing the flood plain threat and its restriction on meaningful construction and growth. The good news is that we learned that engineering plans are now moving quickly on Riverwalk and costing estimates are underway for a hoped for presentation to Council next March. And, the TRCA have been positively involved in the discussions.

3) The 77-23 imbalance of the Residential/Commercial assessment base, something that CFBB has had much to say about since our founding 5 years ago, is clearly recognized as a problem requiring a specific strategy in the short term to overcome its negative impact on the community. Brampton must focus on attracting commercial office development which in turn will provide work opportunities and jobs for Bramptonians who reside here but are employed elsewhere. Clearly, obtaining and providing excellent, fast and convenient transportation is essential which will allow Brampton to be seen as a legitimate alternative location for satellite, branch and head office facilities. GO upgrades, track electrification, and removal of freight traffic restrictions are absolutely key to any strategy to enhance our competitiveness.

In simple terms, Brampton must integrate all its social, economic and marketing thinking on less acceptance of “here there” (live work, the present status quo) to more “here here” in order to start to correct the assessment imbalance. And that appears to be recognized as a must focus.

4) As shown time and again over the weekend workshop, the resilience, the energy, the level of discourse, and the ideas and opinions expressed indicated an amazing enthusiasm for the future of Brampton as a local, Canadian, indeed international hub for innovation, education and opportunity. There was seemingly a melding of cultures focused on respect and a certain “constructive impatience” to get down to work, and make a difference.

Doug Bryden Co-Chair


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CFBB’s response to Minister of Health announcement- November 9th, 2017

 

We are always pleased to hear when Brampton’s healthcare needs are being addressed.  However we need to acknowledge that if it wasn’t for Andrea Horvath leader of the Provincial NDP party, taking on Brampton’s dire healthcare situation, conducting  FOI’s to reveal the shocking #’s for lack of beds, the number of hallway patients and funding shortfalls at both BCH and PMC, we would probably not be seeing this “knee jerk” reaction by the Liberal government in full damage control from last week’s news headlines.  They are trying to fix a problem that they created, ignoring the warnings from many. Quite frankly this is too little too late.

The additional 37 temporary beds is more realistic than the 6 beds announced by the Health Minister just a few short weeks ago, angering many and was regarded as an insult to one of the most under-serviced cities for healthcare in Canada. Thankfully, we will now have a more responsible number of temporary beds to help cope with the upcoming flu season.

 

We also had the Minister of Health make an announcement to commit funding for Phase 2 of PMH, something that CFBB have been advocating for several years now. A vague announcement for “well over 100 beds” with no start date, no dollar amount and most importantly NO Emergency Department.  He even commented that he felt he was “designing this facility” when making his announcement.  It sure sounded like he was still designing most of his plans and funding commitments!  Is there a coincidence to the timing of yesterday’s healthcare motion put forward by Mayor Jeffrey and today’s surprise announcement?  Interesting to see how some negative media headlines and community backlash on social media gets the wheels in motion for commitments that should have been made years ago?

 

What we really need is for Peel Memorial to become a full service hospital that will cater to our growing needs. 100 – 130 beds is simply not enough for a city of our size and growth.  CFBB will continue to advocate for Phase 2 to be built with a minimum of 250 beds and a second ER department.  Plans need to be fast tracked through the Infrastructure Ontario process without further delay.

 

As well the announcement for a 3rd healthcare facility is something that Brampton Council, WOHC and the Central West LHIN have already been working together on to allocate the necessary lands for this future facility. Again no time lines or funds were announced today to help get this project moving forward. 

 

And finally, lets’ not forget that the property tax payers of Brampton have already been contributing $20 million towards Phase 2 of Peel Memorial.  This announcement makes no mention of this fact.  Once again an announcement that promises much, but is short on actual details for funding and timelines. 

  • We need to immediately address the $25 million shortfall in funding  at both Brampton Civic and Peel Memorial.
  • We require Phase 2 for Peel Memorial to be fast tracked through Infrastructure Ontario’s development process with plans for a minimum of 250  patient beds and a 24/7 Emergency Department.
  • We also need immediate funding commitments to begin the design process for a third healthcare facility to be located in N/W Brampton.  A facility that should be fully functional within a 15 year time frame.

Chris Bejnar and Doug Bryden

Co-Chairs CFBB


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Citizens for a Better Brampton

June 14, 2017

Corporation of the City of Brampton,

2 Wellington Street West,

BRAMPTON, ON L6Y 4R7

Attention: Mayor Linda Jeffrey & Members of City Council

CFBB Brampton Vision – Worth a serious review

Here are some thoughts that are generally not new, but nonetheless have not been given adequate discussion regarding their individual merits, in our opinion.

As an introduction, Brampton’s growth is exploding, and greenfield land availability is in short supply. The emphasis is on residential construction which only worsens our reliance on residential assessment (now at 77%) to fund our municipal operations and local infrastructure capital needs. Brampton has long been a bedroom community for Mississauga and Toronto, reinforced by improved transit options like LRT and GO transportation connections to the commercial offices of those centres. The hope is that with improved connections, it will allow Brampton to become attractive for the commercial development that we so badly need.

As well, Brampton’s diversity in culture and population is making relationships with other emerging market countries like India a splendid opportunity for growth if we take advantage of it.

Negatives holding back commercial office growth development in Brampton:

1) Little market demand because of strength of demand in Mississauga and Toronto particularly (Brampton considered a bedroom community).

2) Slow improvements in frequency of ALL DAY 2 WAY GO service to Toronto.

3) Insufficient higher level government infrastructure funding commitments.

4) Inadequate commitment to funding hospital needs.

5) Poor and questionable Municipal leadership at political and administrative levels, and the overhang of a major lawsuit against the City over the handling of the “competitive dialogue” procurement process and the implementation of the City Hall expansion project.

6) Flood plain exposure and controls impacting entire downtown and its redevelopment.

7) Neanderthal thinking at the TRCA and their compunction to just say no to creative use of valleys and ravines.

8) Brampton bypassed for HSR (High Speed Rail) station stop that will connect Toronto to Windsor and the Innovation Technology Corridor.

9) Lingering negative reputation of cultural diversification.

 

Positive aspects driving community forward and countering negatives:

1) Exponential growth in population – 9th largest City in Canada and 3rd largest in the GTHA.

2) Although not providing any new hospital beds or a second ER, the opening of the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, with an Urgent Care Centre, will hopefully take some of the pressure away from Brampton Civic, one of the busiest ER’s in the country.

3) Breadth of the dynamics of cultural diversification and opportunities presented in emerging markets around the world.

4) The close proximity to Pearson International Airport, a world class hub facility catering to airlines around the world with convenient, frequent and direct flights to destinations far and wide.

5) The recent announcement of a new University planned for Brampton, situated close to downtown and adjacent to the Innovation Corridor.

6) Environmental Assessments approved and underway regarding alternative routes for the extension of the LRT to the Brampton Downtown GO station from the Gateway Terminal at Steeles Avenue.

7) Political alignment of all three levels of government representation

 

CFBB (Citizens for a Better Brampton) Vision for Brampton

(CFBB, formed 6 years ago because of the concern about the misadventures of the Municipal government and the City Hall expansion project)

1) Downtown Brampton has a rich history of successful entrepreneurship and agricultural pursuits which are still evident today in its inner core, with retail facades and heritage structures abounding reflecting its early and vibrant life, first as a farming and mill community, blossoming with the advent of rail connections and eventually now, as the municipal and administrative heart of the wider community, with government, museum, art gallery and theatre facilities. Its growth outside the inner City has been dramatic, and has assumed a modern somewhat atypical urban appearance of residential subdivisions, shopping centres and Malls, and the usual fast food establishments kept alive by the car and sprouting condominium towers nearby. Roads in grid pattern crisscross the landscape and the integration of highways show our commitment to high speed connections and the busyness of society today. Convenient rail and transit connections and frequencies are a constant topic of conversation, as efforts are made to wean us off the reliance on the car – with limited success, even with the much promised guarantee of infrastructure funding.

This picture of our urban landscape, thankfully punctuated by ravines, valleys, and flowered parkettes, is not dissimilar to many Canadian towns across the country. But what is perhaps different, is our simple, now less vibrant inner core, waiting all too patiently for the sound of renewal and refreshment, and excited voices carrying labelled bags scurrying from stores and shops, cafes, bistros and restaurants that provide animation and purpose. And, perhaps the sight of those who bring with them the elan of youth from a nearby university of innovation and creative thinking, mingling with the erstwhile visitor, the destination shopper, and the downtown resident simply undertaking the weekly trip for groceries and servicing needs, will recharge the batteries of yesterday’s heritage, the backbone – indeed the foundation – of earlier downtown Brampton. And together with architecturally sensitive and integrated new development and renovation, our inner core will once again be the attraction that it once was, but this time focused on the pedestrian, safely sequestered from the conflict with buses, cars, and delivery trucks, gridlock exhaust fumes, but easily served by convenient parking in all four quadrants of the downtown.

Yes, this is what our downtown Brampton could become, capitalizing on its heritage to provide the foundation for innovative development of hotels, residences, and destination and service shopping both streetside and sheltered galleria between City Hall and the Downtown GO Mobility Hub, along with environmentally designed and functioning offices for small and creative business for fledgling entrepreneurs and already successful enterprises.

 

And how could this happen?

1) Create a Downtown Redevelopment Committee or Tsar to oversee all aspects of the renewal, renovation, and refreshment of the Inner core, reporting directly to the City Councillors, with City Planning representation.

2) Ensure that the City will instigate the availability of expropriation procedures to encourage potential property holdouts to be reasonable in sale for the greater good.

3) Prepare an overall Plan for the area which would include developer and architectural inputs, public consultation, and appropriate involvement by all property owners, with appropriate City Hall approvals with time schedule respect and commitment

4) City Hall commitment to a schedule for implementation of basic catalytic public investments, including funding from other levels of government if possible and available

5) Municipal approval of a fair and standard procurement process for calling for private proposals for the development of various land uses as outlined in the Plan, such as hotel, condo, rental apartments, office, parking and retail opportunities

6) Instigate a ring road concept that would encourage non-inner core traffic to circumvent downtown by using an outer ring route – Steeles, Kennedy, Williams and McLaughlin and back to Steeles, thus reducing the gridlock occurring downtown at present

7) For those destined for the inner core and immediately surrounding area, because they live, work, want to shop, or visit, instigate an inner ring – Wellington, Chapel, Nelson, George and back to Wellington – for bus and car traffic, with convenient car parking in underground garages in all four quadrants (three are already built and operating), and one hugely expanded parking facility at the Downtown GO Mobility Hub.

8) Choose to extend the LRT north from Steeles in the centre of Main Street to Nanwood, then tunnel the tracks below the Etobicoke Valley for 1.3 km to the Peel Memorial Centre at Queen, and then elevate the line along Queen West, (joining the future Queen Street LRT) and run it adjacent to the CN Rail line to stop at the Downtown GO Mobility Hub.

9) This LRT routing would have the benefit of serving the new University conveniently and directly if the new University chooses the Rosalea site. As well, the underground excavation through the Valley would produce the soil necessary to berm the sides of the Etobicoke diversion channel designed as a River Walk, and remove the downtown exposure to the flood plain, allowing economical redevelopment to occur in the inner core. And further, it would allow the removal of the garbage dump now grassed over in Centennial Park, with infrastructure improvements completed at the same time, assuming appropriate funding from senior levels of government is committed and available.

10) To preserve the historic look and the heritage properties within the inner core, it is important to redevelop the core with complete sensitivity architecturally, environmentally and technologically. Intensive development needs to be focused on the periphery, such as at the GO Hub or on the west side of George, or on the north side of Nelson, both east and west of Main Street. As well, high density, mixed use projects need to be concentrated at LRT stations so that ridership can be optimized. That suggests that major increases in commercial assessment will have to come from the areas immediately surrounding the LRT stations – at Steeles and Main, at Nanwood and Main, at the Peel Memorial Health & Wellness Centre at Queen and Centre, and at the Downtown GO Mobility Hub.

11) The re-enforcement of the downtown heart of Brampton with new development and renovation of existing structures for re-use will provide a western anchor for the Bramalea City Centre at Dixie and Queen Streets, which would become the eastern anchor of a heavily developed Queen Street corridor, already planned for intensification by City Planning. Increases in commercial assessment can be easily projected with a fair degree of certainty.

 

Conclusion:

Should Brampton choose to accept this vision to shape its future, the following would be accomplished:

1) Brampton would become a world leader in City building for its inner city renewal, reflecting and preserving its past and melding it seamlessly into a new and extraordinarily relevant present and future.

2) Brampton would have rejected trends for starting fresh in City building on open fields, and have recognized that cities are best to preserve their soul, their past, their heritage, their beginnings and use them to champion their future path, their completeness as an evolving urban area of changing attitudes and decisions, and reflecting the trials and tribulations, the good and the not so good for all to see and experience. In other words, showcasing the evolution of our City and its residents.

3) Brampton would be seen to represent a different urban experience at its core, one with character and interest, one that celebrates the pedestrian in the urban core, a sometime throwback to early Scandinavian and European examples that are a delight to the tourist today.

4) Brampton would be seen as a place which shaped its own future by making decisions which reflected the wishes of those who actually inhabit the place and understand how it works, its past, and what its future can be, not dictated to by the insensitive, unknowing and uncaring politicos who see Brampton as a dot on the map, to be connected to other dots on the map with little similarity or commonality by a straight line, spending recklessly taxpayer dollars over which they have stewardship but no responsibility, mortgaging future generations with gay abandon.

Wow! What a vision! Can it be accomplished? Yes, it can. But it will take the commitment of champions working in harmony, with funding and leadership capability to market the concept.

Respectfully submitted,
Doug Bryden – Co-Chair – CFBB

www.cfbb.ca

 


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Council Delegation on High Speed Rail/Advocating for Brampton – June 7, 2017

Good morning Madam Mayor , Councillors and staff, 

I am here today to add my voice to the growing  frustration and anger on the Provincial government’s snub of Brampton for the proposed High Speed Rail project , a crucial transit infrastructure investment and perhaps the largest in Ontario’s history!

I’m also frustrated with our Brampton  MPP’s and Mayor who all too often just accept what is offered by this government, never challenging publically , while watching billions of funding pour into adjacent municipalities  like Mississauga, Vaughan and Toronto for Healthcare, Transit and Infrastructure.

The recent by-pass of Brampton to be part of the High Speed Rail project connecting Windsor to Toronto demonstrates once again the disrespect  that Queen’s Park has towards Canadas ninth largest and third  largest GTA municipality. This is not the only time, as we have seen  the same pattern repeat itself over the past decade.  Let’s look at a few recent examples.  

Instead of a second full service hospital, we get an experiment, not since duplicated  elsewhere in the country. A healthcare facility that’s not addressing the critical overcrowding that has become the norm at Brampton Civic.  Overcrowding that is putting lives at risk at what is now Canada’s busiest ER.  Why hasn’t the Premier on her many recent visits to Brampton taken even 15 minutes to stop by Brampton Civic’s ER department to meet with the front line staff that are frustrated and overwhelmed by the overcrowded conditions and lack of beds?    

Instead of following through on what was to be one new western GTA university campus, we will now have two, with scarcely enough funds pledged for developing one.  In our opinion, The Town of Milton should not receive funding for a University campus at the expense of the City of Brampton’s long term university ambitions!  A city with six times the population, growing exponentially and Canada’s ONLY Top 10 city without one. 

Instead of negotiating and offering Brampton more funding to properly build a LRT that would actually have a chance to meet ridership,revenue, operational cost expectations and assessment intensification potential, we have been the only  municipality to get a threatening “take it or leave it” option that would see our Downtown forever altered and traffic gridlock created through our core with 5 signalized intersections from Wellington to Church, elimination of all street parking, elimination of 2 car lanes and even narrower sidewalks.

Instead of helping resolve our Downtown floodplain issues and the creation of a Riverwalk,  we have discussions and  studies that simply collect dust on the shelf.  Everyone  knows what needs to be done. Everyone knows that this project has the potential to  revitalize  our  Downtown , a designated Urban Growth Centre under the Provinces own Places to Grow Act. 

And once again with the recent announcement to bypass Brampton in favour of other municipalities  for the planned  HSR, our Mayor has stated that Brampton will benefit due to its “close proximity” to the Malton GO station to access the Innovation corridor. 

 Madam Mayor, for two years now we have been hearing that Brampton is to be “PART” of the Innovation Technology Corridor, not just in “CLOSE PROXIMITY” to it.  Will you be satisfied for Brampton residents to board GO stations in our city, head east to Malton or Pearson, (both within Mississauga’s border), transfer and then backtrack west again? Will this close proximity to the HSR be able to attract investment and jobs way from those cities that actually have a HSR station stop?  

When will our  Brampton  MPP’s and Mayor begin calling out this provincial government for not providing the required funding that our city so desperately deserves on major investments that can truly transform our city?   Other municipalities like Mississauga, Vaughan, Toronto, and Hamilton continue to receive a disproportionate amount of funding for their major initiatives and are gaining an unfair competitive advantage over our city.   

What we need is a joint effort of this Council, all of our Provincial MPP’s and even our Federal MP’s to unite with one voice  and present our demands to Premier Wynne and Prime Minister Trudeau.   We don’t need more photo opps and press conferences that all they seem to do is offer slogans and promises. 

Madam Mayor, it’s long past time for you to be totally transparent about the results of your many meetings with other levels of governments, and your persuasive successes at bringing new, “game changing” infrastructure investments by the provincial and federal governments to Brampton. Announced promises just don’t cut it anymore!

Thank  you.

 

Chris Bejnar & Doug Bryden

Co-Chairs CFBB


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