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

Opinion: Mayor Jeffrey’s second half of her term

 

We should all want to see Mayor Jeffrey improve her ratings as outlined by the Guardian and CFBB. Here are our suggestions of getting to an A or A+.

1) Settling the Inzola lawsuit hanging over the City. Any resolution to this matter should minimize the potential impact to the taxpayer.

2) Set up a Task Force involving citizenry to make a recommendation on secondary units which will finally recognize that there is a huge cost to the City in allowing property owners to have these unregistered units without receiving a contribution from them to defray the cost, and to have the recommendation approved.

3) Removing the secrecy around the Mayor’s personal staff by setting out their respective titles, salaries and benefit packages, their respective job descriptions and what they actually do each day, and have this detail included in the annual budget.

4) Show more outward enthusiasm for the job and the need to market and promote the benefits of Brampton wherever and whenever possible. That will involve taking a leadership role in organizing and landing an appropriately funded university offering educational courses in S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Environment, Arts, and Math). Additionally, the Mayor should become a steady and outspoken proponent of the Etobicoke Creek revitalization project which, when completed, will remove the flood threat in downtown Brampton, the single most and greatest obstacle to redevelopment of Brampton’s core.

5) Show that the Mayor is carrying the message of Brampton infrastructural needs to Queen’s Park and Ottawa by detailing growth projections, past unfairness and attention shortcomings. With Liberal majority governments in place and close relationships with the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario, expectations are great to deliver funding and infrastructure that Brampton finally deserves.

6) Put in place a new, well thought through procurement process that will serve as a model of municipal good governance procedures to which the private sector can respond with enthusiasm.

7) Spend specific time improving relationships with all on Council which will result in less adversarial positions and build consensus and confidence in supporting her leadership.

8) Be more animated and involved in contributing to Committee discussions with pertinent and creative ideas that show her interest in resolving issues and finding solutions for new initiatives that will benefit the taxpayer.

9) Perhaps, to engage and communicate with the public more effectively, the Mayor might consider having a weekly call in programme hosted by Rogers Cable 10, similar to the successful one that former Mayor Hazel McCallion had in Mississauga years ago.

 

CFBB

Linda Jeffrey – Comment on The Guardian’s Assessment of the Mayor after 2 years in office

 

Accountability: B      CFBB: B

We believe the Guardian rating to be reasonable. Although it was already suspected that the salary levels and numbers of City staff were bloated, the Mayor did retain the services of former Auditor General Jim McCarter to confirm the fact. It then awaited the retention of a new CAO to carry out the wholesale reductions a few months after he was hired. She can, therefore, take credit for the changes which were done under her watch. Her inability to move quickly on settling the Inzola lawsuit allowed this significant cloud to overhang her first two years in Brampton, and it still remains outstanding. Fairly or unfairly, she is now “wearing” it.

Transparency: C      CFBB: C

We agree with the Guardian’s assessment. It is not just that information that should be in the public eye was hidden; it is that there seems to be an attitude that the need to communicate and share information with the public simply doesn’t matter or isn’t important. The media should not have its questions and requests go unanswered.

Leadership: C      CFBB: C –

We believe that playing a leadership role at City Hall is not her area of strength. She appears to have difficulty building trust and across the Board loyalty, and consensus is all too often a victim. Her quiet demeanour and inability to promote important issues with energy and insight has not inspired.

Her specific performance on the LRT route through downtown to the GO station was surprisingly uninspiring and uninformed. She seemed unaware of municipal political process and the history of this file, and her vote in Council was confusing and unexplainable, even to the other Councillors some of whom were in support of her position.

She seems to desire anonymity regularly, protected by a cadre of paid staff in her office whose job descriptions and daily responsibilities are unknown. Her open door for the community all too often seems to be focused on a few groups who are in agreement with her positions.

Her criticism of Bill Davis and the University panel was unnecessary and not useful, and showed an annoyance which both surprised and angered.

CFBB would adjust the rating to a C –

Vision: B –  CFBB: B –

We would agree with the rating. However, the Mayor’s style and personality do not show excitement and enthusiasm for accepted and stated community visions for Brampton such as the potential “game changer” university for Brampton, or the Etobicoke Creek Rejuvenation project which, when completed, will obviate the need for the downtown development flood control restrictions. It has been a private group of Brampton business and community leaders called New Brampton which has initiated organizational and conceptual planning visions trying to move Brampton forward in the short term.

Public Engagement: B        CFBB: B

Again, we would agree with the Guardian. After a very poor start of public engagement involving the LRT project, the Mayor changed her position, and engaged the public in well attended sessions which helped immensely to reach a conclusion on the route. The public is now welcomed to make delegations at public Council meetings on items of community interest.

On the other hand, the Mayor is very selective in choosing where she will appear as a speaker, and too often does not even respond to invitations to address groups at their functions.  

Overall Summary Grade: B       CFBB: B –

We believe that an overall grade of B- would be more in line with our thinking. In our opinion, the Mayor’s halfway term has not been a failure, but she has been a disappointment, especially because of the expectation we had at the beginning of her term.

The good news is that there is reasonable room going forward to see and have positive progress for the last years of her mandate.

Saying goodbye to Ron Wicks

Ron Wicks

Ron Wicks

Photo courtesy of the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame

An event honouring and remembering the life of Ron Wicks is being held on April 15 between 2 to 4 p.m. at the Brampton Golf Club.

 Brampton Guardian  By  Frank Juzenas

A Celebration of Life will be held for Ron Wicks on April 15 between 2 to 4 p.m. at the Brampton Golf Club.

Wicks, 75, a long-time Brampton resident died on April 1 after a battle with liver cancer. Wicks spent 26 years as an official in the NHL He is a member of the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame.

Brampton Golf Club is at 7700 Kennedy Rd. Call 905-457-5700.