Few, yet interesting, items on Monday's Community & Operations and Safety & Facilities Committee Meeting Agendas
Although there are very few items on Monday's Community & Operations Agenda and only one item on the Safety & Facilities Agenda, they present some very interesting issues.
Imo, there are three that may may generate good discussion, leading to these questions:
1. Will Council members support a homeowner paying for snow/ice melt cable in the sidewalk in front of their home?
2. Will the Committee members support a deeper look into speed cushions on a rural Oshawa road where 85% of the residents on the 1km stretch of road between Thornton and Simcoe just north of Hwy 407 have requested this. More consideration should be given not only to the fact that Clarington has them installed on rural roads with good success. (see picture below taken last spring) and Whitby has them on arterial roads like Robert Attersley and Garden St. (btw speed cushions have an opening for fire truck wheels)
3. Will the Committee support an investigation into implementing Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras on Oshawa local roads?
Note: I support all three.
Enjoy these 2 Fun, Smile Inspiring Festive Events this week in Oshawa!
On Thursday Nov 16th 5-9 PM the BRIGHT & MERRY MARKET
with its Live Entertainment, Crafters, Artists, Food Delights, Trolley for free ride around the downtown,
plus THE CITY TREE LIGHTING @ 7pm!
On Saturday Nov 18 the annual SANTA PARADE OF LIGHTS starting at the Oshawa Centre at 6 PM
Looking forward to both!
I am encouraged how, now, finally, it seems focus will be given to finding solutions for the serious safety issue around the Greenhill Ave/Jack Glenn St intersection with its logjam of pedestrians/vehicles/school buses/kiss 'n ride traffic and parking problems.
When attending outside Elsie MacGill elementary school at dismissal time on Thursday November 9th with Mayor Carter and Senior City staff, they agreed to investigate options to improve this nerve-racking 'accident-waiting-to-happen' situation.
Please email me email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to share any ideas for improvement you may have.
Imo the issues are similar to how the City took action when Tim Horton drive thru line-ups were snarling traffic on arterial roads. Now they are required have two order-lanes and/or longer turn areas in place to prevent customer line-ups on the road. Also, some are accessible by Right-in/Right-out road lane turns only. But the school zone traffic problems should be considered worse, since children, in a hurry to arrive at school on time or get home quickly, are involved.
Imo Council could pass a firm new policy to ensure compliance of parking regulations around schools, including having:
Below are pictures of Mayor Carter helping with the bus traffic by moving the pylons.
SIDENOTE: Checkout the rectangular red & white sign a business posted overlapping the NEW All-Way Stop sign at Greenhill and Clearbrook, a couple hundred feet west of where the Mayor, City staff and I were standing on Greenhill Ave and Jack Glenn St.
Some may think it an effective location, but really, how could anyone would think this acceptable?
I took it down and called Service Oshawa to remove other signs randomly placed on Greenhill Ave boulevard in contravention of the City's by-laws. I've also asked if City staff call the phone numbers on these signs for more compliance.
This morning's Remembrance Day Service at the City of Oshawa War Memorial, Memorial Park, was very well attended. For good reason. It is truly a most remarkable and special event.
A big thank you to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 and Branch 637 and the many who gave assistance. Please see the Program (below) with names of those participating and Acknowledgements to supporters.
Col (Retired) Bob Chapman, after his, once again, superb job as Master of Ceremonies, is pictured below with Councillor colleague Derek Giberson.
Likewise deserving compliments is Rev Richard Parker, Chaplain Branch 43 RCL and Columbus Community United Church Minister who was camera shy after the ceremony, but kindly allowed me to copy his Prayer and Benediction, reproduced in the first comments below.
Honourable mention also goes out to Cadet WO Emma DiLoreto who gave an exceptional speech representing the youth of Oshawa.
The ceremony, the parade, the music, the military museum tanks circled around the park, and the prayers, were all impactful to see and hear. Also, however, being present with so many fellow Oshawans gathered solemnly to mark the occasion brought feelings of warmth and strength, especially when singing the words in the hymn 'shine through the gloom and point me to the skies'.
Rev. Richard Parker's PRAYER:
Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict and ask that God may give us peace;
For the service men and women who have died in the violence of war.
For civilian women, children and men whose lives are disfigured by war or terror, calling to mind in penitence the anger and hatreds of humanity;
For peacemakers and peacekeepers, who seek to keep this world secure and free,
For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership, political, military and religious;
Asking for gifts of wisdom and resolve in the search for reconciliation and peace; O God of truth and justice, we hold before you those whose memory we cherish, and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.
As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future for you are the source of life and hope, now and forever.
Rev. Richard Parker's BENEDICTION:
We remember today all those who have come before us and given the greatest gift to our democratic nation - their lives.
Their duty, their honor and their lives are precious gifts that must be given to the future of our country and our families.
The duty of our veterans past and present is the fiber of the word Freedom and is stronger by our recognition of service and sacrifice.
We honour that service and sacrifice today and should carry it forward for our children to honour.
Freedom and democracy are the result of all of the most honourable things our country has produced.
Today we stand to remember the most honourable amongst us and we must continue to carry the burden of their sacrifice, lest we lose sight of what true Freedom is.
Today is for remembering - stand in honour of them, walk in their path of duty, remember the cost, and hold in your heart the cause of freedom.
Yesterday Council was presented with a proposed 2023 Budget. Mayor Carter & senior staff outlined their goals and department new hires and explanations for budget variances.
The recommended tax rate increase for 2024 is 3.95%.
The Mayor said it started much higher and where it is at now there is no wiggle room left.
Here is the link to the presentation, the Capital and Operating Budgets: https://www.oshawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.aspx...
Mayor Carter instructed members of Council to have their budget questions submitted in writing by 4:30 p.m. Nov 23, 2023.
$48.9M for new Capital Budget projects
$208.8M revenue for Operating budget
Total Gross Expenses included in the operating budget are $215,336,400
Oshawa currently has $34.7M principal outstanding external debenture debt
A new debenture $8.5M and a new Inter Fund Note $271K are proposed to be added which will result in, by the end of 2024, the City's external debt being $38.5M
$1.1B infrastructure deficit forecast for next 9 years (which does not include the TCC ($9.5M for HVAC, elevators, arena, improvement requirements)
$13.57M to Reserves (an increase of $1.74M over the 2023 budget).
There are budget cuts to the Tribute Community's Centre and the OSCC of 2%, other cuts include the City's Advisory Committees
On December 1st Council will meet again on the 2024 Budget to consider amendments. Mayor Carter indicated he will decide within 9 days subsequent whether he will veto any amendments Council proposes. Then, should Council have any proposed resolutions to override any budget items vetoed by the Mayor, a final 2024 budget meeting will be held on December 15, 2023.
There are 4 applications on the Wednesday Nov 15th 6 p.m. C of A Agenda. Included are 2 for accessory apartments with reduced parking (one being for tandem parking). Note the application for a convenience store to be added to the gas station property at the s/w corner of Simcoe St and Bloor St will also be subject to site plan approval.
Happy to report that last week the long awaited stop sign on Greenhill Avenue, between Wilson Road and Harmony Road at Clearbrook Drive was installed.
Last year I personally surveyed the corner property owners at Chilliwack, Clearbrook and Jack Glenn about the need for a stop sign. Staff advised Clearbrook Drive was the best location. However, there is still a serious concern about the safety of children crossing Jack Glenn St where the other east end of the school entrance/exit is located and where the school buses make the pedestrian crossing at school start and dismissal times especially problematic. City staff have agreed to attend at the intersection to inspect the situation again next Thursday around the 2:30 p.m. dismissal time. It seems a pedestrian crosswalk would make it safer! Feel free to reach out with any comments or questions at my city email email@example.com or phone 905 436-5615
Recall the unfortunate vandal incident this past summer when a tree was chopped down in Coldstream Park? Well, happy to report this week some good news —Coldstream Park will soon have new trees planted thanks to Oshawa being a recipient of the CN Stronger Communities Fund Grant.
TWO more Public Information Centres (PICs) are being held concerning the BUS RAPID TRANSIT ON SIMCOE ST in Oshawa:
Monday, October 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. Jubilee Pavilion Banquet and Conference Centre, 55 Lakeview Park Ave, Oshawa
Wednesday, November 01, from 6 to 8 p.m. Oshawa Golf and Curling Club, 160 Alexandra St., Oshawa
The Region received around $6M from the federal government to investigate and present a supportive rapid transit service strategy that will maximize infrastructure investment along Simcoe Street and the Initial Business Case (IBC) that will support future funding applications.
These PICs will allow the Region to gather feedback from the public on the preferred rapid transit concept plan. The same information will be presented at both events for members of the public to drop in and learn more.
It seems the anticipated time and costs between 2 choices from the preliminary 10 km phase (from the planned new GO stop) to Winchester Rd. are:
1/ for 2 lanes designated solely for buses on Simcoe St. - $400M and anticipated to take 5 to 7 years
2/ for a 10 km gondola with 10 stops (one every 1km) - $500M anticipated to take 3 to 5 years
The Region of Durham is conducting a VIRTUAL PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRE (PIC) starting this week UNTIL NOVEMBER 23, 2023 reviewing the existing sanitary sewer infrastructure and capacity in north Oshawa & north Whitby to plan for any necessary system upgrades needed to handle increased flows from the planned new growth areas. The public can send feedback to Patricia Casco, Project Manager, Engineering Planning & Studies Region of Durham – Works Department 905-668-4113 ext. 3568 Patricia.Casco@durham.ca
For detailed info see Notice and 24 slides below or watch YouTube video here:
Virtual PIC - North Whitby and North Oshawa Sanitary Sewer Diversion Strategy Municipal Class EA - YouTube
Lots on the Agenda for the 1:30 pm and 6:30 pm Oshawa Economic & Development Services Committee meetings
Below is my 3 page summary of the 19 page EDS Agenda with its 189 pages of open plus 300 pages of closed Reports and here is a link to actual agenda https://calendar.oshawa.ca/.../9abeabf7-4b61-46e3-9366...
Also posting here my summary of the 9:30 am Oshawa Corporate & Finance Committee Agenda summary and here is a link with more details to it https://pub-oshawa.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx...
With the start of the new school year, there will be an increase in the number of children walking and biking near schools. For the protection of pedestrians and drivers, motorists are reminded to drive cautiously in school zones and to obey the posted speed limits, no parking, and no stopping signs.
Municipal Law Enforcement Officers will be enforcing no parking and stopping regulations and other violations in the vicinity of schools to ensure pedestrian safety. Please be aware of traffic signs and do not park in fire routes. Additionally, motorists are urged not block or obstruct sidewalks or driveway access.
No Stopping Zones
The Free, Popular & Fun Annual Kars on King event is happening from 3:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. TODAY in downtown Oshawa!
There's something for everyone - classic cars, live entertainment and a Family Zone.
Note that some road closures start at 1:00 p.m. and end at 11:00 p.m.
Note also that the Canadian Automotive Museum will be open FREE to the public from 4pm to 7pm today during the Kars on King event with the Livingroom Mobile Art Studio for crafting fun & face painting & balloon twisting in Family Zone @ Memorial Park.
Looking for more classic cars this weekend? Check out AutoFest at Oshawa's Lakeview Park on August 26 & 27 https://autofestoshawa.com/schedule/
Today I received the positive email below from one of my constituents who had called and complained about the problems with Oshawa's Swimming Registration on Tuesday:
“I just wanted to let you know I registered today for skating and another children’s sports program with no issues. I am very impressed by how quickly they found a resolution to the problem from swimming registration on Tuesday.”
It was good to hear about the improvement, how the general fall programs and winter holiday camps schedule that opened at 9 a.m. August 24th for arts and crafts, dance, music, fitness went much more smoothly.
To address the high demand for Fall programs, the City's IT staff implemented a queuing system for online program registration. Today, when visiting activeOshawa Online the process had community members placed in a queue to make the registration more quick and convenient.
Staff also clarified that:
1. The software registration application upgrade that went live earlier this month was not the cause of the Tuesday August 22nd swimming registration performance issues. "It was actually part of the proactive efforts to improve functionality and performance.
2. The Moneris issue was due to their automatic anti-fraud systems that were blocking transactions due to excessive volume and multiple card retries."
As stated previously, "staff are committed to identifying solutions and delivering improved customer service."
Below are pages 30 and 31 from the Active Oshawa Recreation Guide with examples of the fall and winter programs offered:
After hearing directly from constituents about the difficulties and frustration they encountered this morning, and then speaking with the City's top senior staff to understand what was happening, please be advised staff are working hard to get the issues resolved.
Mid morning staff posted alerts on the City's social media sites about the delays. I am told the high volume of calls and certain issues that happened after a recent software upgrade impacted the registration software tripping the moneris payment software and caused connections to fail. This led to many attending City facilities to try and register in person where regrettably many experienced long lineups (see picture from Delpark around 11:00 a.m.)
I apologize on behalf of the City for the frustrations Oshawans experienced and the unacceptable amount of time lost trying to register.
The City's senior staff indicated to me personally that they are committed to a comprehensive investigation for improvements to be made that will ensure this will not be repeated!
Following the swimming lessons registration opening today, the Fall 2023 (September to December) General Programs & Holiday Camps registration opens this Thursday, August 24 at 9 a.m. For more information see here: https://register.oshawa.ca/
Modernized North Oshawa Park Opened Yesterday with New Accessible Path, Playground Equipment and Splash Pad!
Yesterday was a beautiful day for the official opening of the redeveloped Deer Valley Park with new splash pad! Expanding and improving the City's parks with splash pad was an initiative I've been keen about since my 2018 election campaign when I met with senior staff and showed them picture comparisons of Oshawa's vs. its neighbour municipality splash pads. Happy to say the City has advanced considerably on this issue in the past 5 years!! It is especially good to see the new tables with seating and shade covers! I expect more of them to be added especially to other parks in Ward 1 that are in serious need of seating and shade! Great enjoyable new park place to visit, located 2nd street south of Taunton west side of Thornton Rd.
This Affects Us All, Vandalism in Our City, Parks, Neighbourhoods, should not be allowed to escalate!
The above pictures of a 20 year old tree hacked down Sunday night, July 9, 2023 in Coldstream Park, with lots of neighbour comments about kids misdeeds and criminal activities, were posted Monday morning on a north-east Oshawa community social media group page.
Mayor Carter, only last month, with DRPS Inspector Saliba and members of Council in attendance spoke passionate words about the consequences for vandalism in a press conference at the Human Rights Garden in Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park (where the light posts were smashed and paint poured on the park sign). Two of the three perpetrators were charged.
I am hopeful a similar strong effort can be made to find whoever caused this damage to Coldstream Park. A repeat of the message needs to be spread that such bad behaviour as felling a live park tree and the wanton destruction of public assets will not be tolerated.
This large park between two schools unfortunately has little shade. For some reason the trees planted 20 years ago have been slow to grow and not well positioned. In 2014, years before I was elected, and again during the last term of council, residents made delegations about the need to improve this park due to its inadequate amenities for the large residential catchment area it serves.
I’ve previously messaged senior staff about the concerns related to misdeeds in the park and the level of neighbours' concerns. In exchanges with Oshawa Mayor, Parks staff and DRPS I expressed hope the response to this situation will reassure families that the City cares and is proactive.
Thank you to journalist Tim Kelly with Metroland Media for helping raise awareness of the situation: Here is a link to his article and the picture he took Tuesday evening at Coldstream Park with residents and Councillor Neal at the tree stump. The felled tree is behind them. Other residents watched saying they did not want to spoil the picture, which is fine, but great they were there because this affects us all!
I am hopeful the good that will come from this report is that residents will report criminal activity without hesitation. Offenders need to know the negative impact from their misdeeds will be not be tolerated, because Oshawans care about their neighbourhoods!
Please make note of the numbers for Durham Region Police non emergency 905 579-1520 and Service Oshawa 905 436-3311. It's worth the time to pick up the phone — reporting is key to preventing bad behaviour incidents from escalating.
The City and the Police track complaints to identify problem area hot spots. Instead of limiting neighbourhood complaints to Facebook, over the fence or around the BBQ, please call it in, or if you'd rather email, it would help to write a quick comment to me firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
City Parks indicated that due to the maturity of the felled tree it will be replaced on a 1 to 3 basis. I wish to thank the Park Ridge area residents for being proactive in speaking to the media and the police! They inspire others with their show of support for Coldstream Park and confidence that their neighbourhood deserves better than this!
June 26, 2023 before summer break, 6 members of Oshawa Council voted to cancel the community-led, landmark ♥OSHAWA sign project. Many individuals in other city's like Hamilton and Barrie recently succeeded with creative fundraising efforts to install their City's name in lights and promote community spirit. The Oshawa Sign Project, led by Oshawa resident volunteers, under the guidance of an Oshawan with extensive marketing experience, and who was a key fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Canada, was a good initiative and I am hopeful a positive outcome could still prevail.
But meanwhile I wonder why some individuals seemed determined to derail a project that was led by community spirited residents who were working on gathering donations to fund an OSHAWA sign. When, at the same time, in fact at the same Council meeting Councillors approved a sign project costing $880,000 in development charges for 4 'NW' Northwood Business Park signs. It begs the real question, is this best use for this $880,000 development charge money, 4 signs to oddly mark where large corporations like Broccolini and Panattoni are building storage warehouses?? As a friend recently said, couldn't Oshawa Council just have put a Northwood Business Park rider on the Conlin Rd and Thornton Rd street signs at far less a cost. This could free up the DC $880,000 from reserves to pay for a new or redeveloped neighbourhood park with splash pad? I know the public is happy to stand behind the six Oshawa letters to celebrate their City, I can't say the same for the NW signs.
Besides 'marking' the Northwood Business Park could be done costing much less and more effectively with riders on the Conlin Rd and Thornton Rd. area street signs. That would free up the $880,000 in Development Charges Reserves for a new or redeveloped City neighbourhood park with splash pad, playground equipment and shade canopy over park tables and benches!
Meanwhile, it is embarrassing to think members of Council would renege on an agreement and staff recommendation to allow the dedicated community group to gather donations for an Oshawa sign to be placed in the King and Centre St. parkette.
13th Annual Canada Day in Columbus. A good time enjoyed by all!
Special Thanks to Liz and Jamie, Stephen, Sophia and Mary, Tracee, Genie, Judy and Rick, Rev Parker, Donna, Cheryl and her boys, Alex, Ed, Lou, plus the added bonus of Mark, Angi and Adele who spontaneously gave great assistance.!
Hats off to Will Surphlis whose music was super entertaining! Lots of drop-in well-wisher visitors at various times giving their Canada Day greetings and appreciation to the Columbus community, including Oshawa Mayor Carter who timed his visit well to see, in his very accurate words 'Oshawa's best kid's bike parade' :) followed by Region Chair Henry, MPP Todd McCarthy, MP Erin O'Toole, who gave his thanks and Good-byes since after 10 years July 1st 2023 marked his last day as Durham Riding MP. Mr. O'Toole indicated his office remains open with staff available to give assistance on federal matters.
It seems the Federal Durham Riding by-election will be anytime between Oct 2023 to Jan 2024. Pictured below he speaking to Durham Riding candidate Jamil Jivani who stopped by to give greetings, have conversations with Columbus and Raglan residents and help with the clean up. Thank you also to the artists and artisans and Grace Downer and her Plein Air group who joined in the fabulous art show inside the Columbus Community United Church. Also, Brendan and Sarah and for Kerry being the Parade Piper!
Today is the last Region of Durham Council meeting until September. On the Agenda is a report coming up on the Automated Speed Enforcement camera program. It includes a request that MTO consider some changes that would open up the program to consider sites beyond school zones and community safety zones and lessen some of the signage requirements.
The fact the Region now has produced this latest report bodes well for the City of Oshawa getting around to approving ASE program on Oshawa local roads. During the last term of Council, the Mayor and some Councillors were hesitant to have any discussion on speed cameras on Oshawa local roads, saying they wanted to wait until they had more information from the Region on its success and costs. Meanwhile Ajax and Pickering went ahead and installed speed cameras on their local roads.
Although I am not on Region Council, I learned from Region staff that prior to the report being on the Council Agenda today, the discussion took place during the June 14 th Region Committee of the Whole meeting, and the two recommendations were made by Clarington Mayor Foster. Here is the link to the video of the COW June 14 meeting https://www.eventstream.ca/events/durham-region ...looking into it you can hear the discussion which starts at 1:18 on the video... I listened for a bit, there were comments about maximizing this tool for public safety and that other municipalities are attempting to make the same changes.
Adrian Foster moved the motion and Granville Anderson seconded it. Then Ajax Councillor Marilyn Crawforth , the Mayor of Brock and Brian Nicholson spoke, as well as the Acting Commissioner of Region Works. It sounded pretty fair, the 'relaxing' of the areas where the AES can be located and reducing the 90 'WARNING" sign that the camera is coming seems reasonable.
DRPS does not issue 90 day warning that they are going to be enforcing the rules of the road and making public the days and locations where they will be handing out tickets, so why have a 90 day warning sign? Although the motion is to reduce the 90 day warning to no more than 10, some said why give any notice, if drivers fail to follow the speed in front of a school or run a red light do you think they have a right to complain that they didn't know the camera would be there?
The Commissioner said that clearly the problem with the system has to do with the logjam at the City of Toronto PROCESSING CENTRE. The City of Ottawa is now talking about having its own Processing Centre, which could help free up space at Toronto's.
As so many municipalities are wanting to double their cameras, in the future the Commissioner said Durham may look at having its own.
But, to keep the costs down and avoid a proliferation of these cameras, the simple answer is for drivers to follow the rules of the road.
The presentation at the start of the meeting was interesting. Melissa Hutchinson, Project Manager Region Health Dept. and Beth Brannon the Senior Director Mental Health and Addictions Lakeridge speaking to the complex issues and having broad approaches, including harm reduction (which is about keeping the person alive at the moment) and long term treatment for change, but said desire or being open to change has to come from the individual first. The overdose fatality rate is down. but still having 360 overdose calls a year, and each overdose costs $4,000 per call.
In closed session there were four delegations appealing to Council to permit the demolition of the Robert McLaughlin house at 195 Simcoe St. It has been a long time since the fire April 2019, and the owners not maintaining the property.
Council voted unanimously to support the original Heritage Oshawa decision and proceed to trial in support of the heritage context of the building and against a demolition.
* * *
Good to have some of my Notices of Motion approved.
The first one, seconded by Councillor Kerr was to improve the way the City addresses the high weeds and long grass problem on the City's 'unassumed roads'. This was approved to go to the Economic Development Committee for staff to investigate.
Whereas the city picks up waste and clears snow on unassumed roads, but does not cut boulevards and court circles; and
Whereas there are Oshawans living on unassumed roads in subdivisions for five plus years that have repeatedly called when the boulevard and court circle grass and weeds are so high the fire hydrants are not visible;
Now therefore, staff investigate the current process and the benefit of the cutting of grass on unassumed roads and being reimbursed by the developer.
* * *
Another one, seconded by Councillor Lee was concerning the excessive amount of dust and unfortunate lack of commitment to the Mud and Dust Control By-law by developers. Not only is the dust affecting the health of residents living in the vicinity, but also presents a danger to drivers along Conlin Rd. and Ritson Rd N. when finding vision impaired on the road by thick clouds of dust.
That staff investigate the Dust and Mud Control By-law to ensure there is a prominent section to ensure the City and various developers involved in Part II Plans have a signed comprehensive strategy plan in place for dust and mud control enforcement.
Those who have been negatively impacted by the excessive amount of dust flowing off the lands north of Conlin Rd that were stripped of vegetation last year may want to submit an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the September meeting agenda. This way the other members of Council can learn details about the problem. I understand from staff the policy is that when vegetation has been stripped from the land for more than a month steps should be taken for revegetation. For enforcement to be more effective and not so easily dismissed by the large scale developers, a clear commitment to a comprehensive strategy seems to be needed, especially since Oshawa North is going to have ongoing major construction with its Part II plans for some time.
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The third one, seconded by Councillor Giberson unfortunately was not approved by Council. Here is the simple, straightforward motion:
That PowerPoint presentations made at Council meetings or at Special Council meetings be added afterwards to the City website calendar.
Last month among some interesting power point presentations, example, Lakeridge Hospital's, and the Spark Centre's at the May 29, 2023 Council meeting, and another good one by Amanda O'Rourke, Executive Director of 880 Cities.org at the May 31, 2023 Special Council meeting. At the conclusion of Amanda O'Rourke's presentation, before Councillors asked her questions, the Mayor clearly said thank you for the 70 slide deck you have provided to us "I know the slide deck will also be made available to the public". But it was not added as an additional item like the PowerPoint slides presented at Planning Act Public meetings.
Stopping and starting a meeting video is not at all the same as clicking through PDF slides and sharing them with others. Last term Council approved my motion to make the slide decks presented at the Planning Act Public meetings available on the City website. Why not do the same with slide presented at all Council meetings?
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A couple other matters approved, and not approved by Council:
The extension of the City's partnership with the community led Oshawa Sign Project members regrettably was not approved.
Councillor Giberson, Councillor Gray and myself voted in support of the extension. I say it is regrettable considering how serious the team of Oshawa residents were about the project, facilitated by a individual with years of exceptional marketing, who piloted McDonald's fundraising for Ronald McDonald House in Canada in the early 1980s. I witnessed the support from others for a landmark Oshawa sign like the ones Toronto, Hamilton, Barrie and many other municipalities have. One Councillor claiming ‘taxpayers funding the $80K maintenance cost’ as his objection. However, this amount was something City Staff proposed and never considered an amount carved in stone. The Councillor's comments in my opinion were demeaning to a well-organized community initiative and especially hard to reconcile with the fact that all City assets require maintenance. In fact, only 2 minutes before he spoke against the OSHAWA Sign Project to be paid for bay gifted funds raised by volunteers, the Councillor and other members of Council in the same meeting chose to approve an extraordinary $880,000.00 for 4 signs marking the Northwood business park! ($880,000.00 from development charge funds which the City could have contributed to the Community Centre planned for the same area at Thornton and Britannia Rd. rather than glorifying a storage unit 'business' park (where Brocolini, Pantaloni and Martin Brower are constructing warehouse storage facilities.
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Note that on a positive note, Oshawa Council approved reduced recreation fees for seniors in Oshawa to come into effect at age 55 (currently set at age 65). This change aligns with other communities in Durham that recognize age 55 in their recreation fees and can help promote more Oshawa seniors using the City's recreation facilities and programs!
First, the Columbus Part II plan. 6 delegations shone a light on a lot of questionable background goings on. The delegations expressed their concerns about Report ED-23-117, which is the latest, very large growth plan coming to the prime agricultural zoned lands north of Hwy 407 in the City of Oshawa.
Soon to be added to the City's Official plan as Columbus Part II, it is planned for around 30,000 new residents, (coming on the heels of the 11 plans of subdivision in Kedron Part II (north of Taunton Rd, east of Ritson Rd. approved last term of Council which will see around 25,000 new residents added to Oshawa's expanding population.
The Positive: by a slim 4-3 majority the Columbus Part II Plan vote was deferred until the next Council meeting, which is October 2nd. (Councillor Nicholson and I had made declarations of interest so couldn't vote and the Mayor and Councillor Marks were absent for the vote)
The 6 delegations spoke against the Land Use and Road Plan the developers and City staff were expecting to have approved at the meeting.
Imo it is shocking and does not constitute good planning to learn how the developers, who own over 80% of the vast Columbus area have gone ahead and redesignated at least 5 private property owner'ss lands without consultation (see map below where I added dots to indicate developer owned land).
Adding Storm Water Management Ponds (SWM) to land that the developers don't own, imo is not only an erosion of property writes, but Not Good Planning considering it seems some of these developers are expecting the private property owners to sell to allow this. But when the private owner is unwilling to sell, (and two are indicating they can't be bought off) where do the SWM ponds go then? Answer: where they should be, on the developer's own property.
The map below where I've added the developers names and the dots, is the June 2023 Land Use and Road Plan Map showing all the Columbus property parcels delineated.
In my opinion, it is inexcusable that the public was not given this map showing the property parcels.
The map in Report ED-23-117 which Council was to pass at the June 26th Council meeting was from May, 2023 and shows NO property boundaries.
(I asked staff a couple weeks ago to add the property lines to the May 2023 map. When I received the new map last week I added dots to indicate the land owned by developers, and numbers indicating the names of the eleven developers.)
Note that the majority of the land North of Columbus Rd. South of Howden is owned by Sorbara/Tribute,
East of Simcoe St is Setcon, and Menkes
West of Simcoe St is Valley Mead -(current owner of the Columbus Golf Course),
Halloway Holdings, and
276 Columbus Rd. W.
South of Columbus Rd. are the others, including Setcon, G8 Investments, Oxford, Tercot, and Delpark Homes and Mykinder.