Burlington Sustainable Development Advisory Committee Meeting


Meeting #:
Room 247, Level 2, City Hall

Carolyn Barnes, Dave Rokosh, Tim Park, Mathew McAuley, Michelina Longo, Susan Mattine, and Councillor Paul Sharman

Lynn Robichaud (staff) and observers: Fran Fendelet (TEC) and Gareth Williams

Dave Bourns, Mitchell French, Peter Cookson, and Hashem Hosseini-Mousavi, Chris Maynard, and Sarah Burjaw

Carolyn welcomed members and guest speaker Vince Fiorito

Requesting support to review the City's Property Standards By-law with a biodiversity/nature-based solutions lens.

Vince started by providing some history of the Friends of Sheldon Creek. He started by organizing creek clean-ups as his property backs onto the creek and he was concerned about its condition. He supports climate action plan but recommends the city also declare a biodiversity crisis and develop a strategy. He noted that there are 48 endangered species in Halton Region. Environmental toxification is another issue with varying sources including industry; roads/salt; lawn and agricultural fertilizers, among others.

He is recommending that the SDC review the property standards by-law. The definition of naturalized areas needs to be reviewed. It would be helpful to have a program to review and approve naturalized gardens (vs properties that are neglected). Standing water definition is another issue to review as its restricts wetlands on private property. Vince is only available to help until April.

He noted that there is lots of expertise in the community, including the RBG. Friends of Sheldon Creek has received a Watershed stewardship award from Conservation Halton for its work.

Vince also spoke about the importance of urban agriculture, noting that Burlington does have a community garden program. He sees lawns as opportunities to grow food. He showed the City of Philadelphia as an example where they have a community supported farm and market to grow food on private property and sell the food at a market.

He mentioned that Lorraine Johnson, a Toronto author (100 easy-to-grow native plants; City Farmer) has offered to help the city improve biodiversity. He noted that the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects has a document called "Grow me instead". Lynn noted that Lorraine has already been contact offering to help. 

Follow-up discussion by SDC members: the committee agreed that these issues are important. There were questions about what is already happening in the community and the need to avoid duplication of efforts. Does the SDC have the resources right now given it has been unable to recruit new members due to the advisory committee review. It's possible that Awareness could work on some education initiatives. 

Action: it was decided that the request would be referred to both sub-committees for review. P&D for the perspective of whether to review the property standards by-law and awareness for the perspective of taking on education/awareness raising initiatives.

All items on the consent agenda were approved with a minor amendment to both the comments on James Street and Queensway Drive. Moved by Tim P; seconded by Mathew.

Councillor Sharman provided an update on the Interim Control By-law and the implications of the Major Transit Station Area designation in the downtown. The city expects that there will be a lot of appeals. Need to approve the new OP this not expected to happen too soon.

With respect to the Downtown OPA, there does not appear to be a method to remove the urban growth centre designation. Discussed the history of the city trying to animate the downtown to attract people and employers (perhaps too successful). Investors were attracted to build higher (residential). It's expected that the OPA will be challenged, such as the setback requirements.

The tree by-law has been approved but questions whether it was rushed. There is requirement for one tree replacement for every 10 cm diameter removed. Council has approved a 35% canopy target in the Vision to Focus document.


Year end reports and 2020 objectives - a reminder for the chairs of the sub-committees and COW to complete the year end reports and 2020 objectives. Carolyn has already shared a copy of last years report to Tim and Susan. 

Action: Sub-committees to work on their reports in February and target March for COW approval.

Advisory committee review, there was concern expressed that the citizen review committee did not engage the SDC about their work. Tim and Susan will attend the January 23rd meeting at City Hall to hear the presentation and discussion about the review and recommendations for the advisory committee review. Tim has compiled a list of questions that the committee members have.

Carolyn provided an update since Susan was not in attendance at the last meeting in November. The fall library event on climate change with staff presentations was considered a success. Some 'give away' items that the committee had ordered for special events have been received and a deposit for the Plug 'n event has been paid.

Susan has assumed the chair of the Awareness Committee since Katie has resigned. 

The next library event in May at Central Library is entitled 'Could your next car be electric? There will be a presentation by Plug'n Drive and then time for test drives. Councillor Sharman noted that Plug'n Drive offers $1000 rebate for used EVs but purchasers need to test drive an electric vehicle and attend a Plug'n Drive information session. Would this qualify? Will Plug'n Drive keep track of attendees and test drives?

Sarah Phillips and Joe Nethery from Halton Region attended the meeting for a discussion on affordable housing. Brynn Nheily from the city's Planning Department also attended. There will be a de-brief at the Feb. meeting as they ran out of time to finish their discussion. 

Action: Tim will invite Brynn back for the follow-up discussion.

Year end report and 2020 objectives are in progress. The committee is involved in reviewing the new downtown concepts as well as the Climate Action Plan. Use of the centralized drive system is in progress and committee members are working to improve it. 

Lynn advised that she has recieved comments from approximately 36 residents through the GetInvolvedBurlington online survey as well as direct comments from groups and some individual residents. Comments have been provided to the consultant for review. The final plan is scheduled to be presented to the March 9th Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee.

Carolyn noted that the council submitted comments to Burlington on the Climate Action Plan. There is an event on February 25th on climate change (information above) at Mohawk College and a shuttle service is planned from Burlington. Mathew will attend the next BACCC meeting in Carolyn's place on Feb 18th at Burlington City Hall in room 247. Action: Carolyn to forward the calendar invite to Mathew.

No update other than the event on climate change that is being hosted by HEN (information above)

Discussed under Councillor Sharman's update

Discussed under Councillor Sharman's update

Lynn and Carolyn noted that they will be away for the next COW meeting. Tim will chair the meeting in Carolyn's absence and Lynn will request a clerk to assist with the meeting.

Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:05 pm

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