Currently Browsing: The Issues

Mayor’s Task Force on High-Risk Offenders

Agenda for Council agenda on Monday January 11 includes a Staff report for a terms of reference for the Mayor’s Task Force on High-Risk and Dangerous Offenders.  I very much appreciate that Councillor David Boyd has volunteered to chair this committee.  Given the concerns identified in December I think that establishing this committee is very appropriate; and I like very much how it is very focused.

Draft 2016 Budget

At 12/14 Council the 1st draft of budget was presented and discussed.  Blended impact of the proposed property tax increases by York Region and King and assuming continuation of 0% increase on Education is an increase of 2.27% for King residents; impact on a property assessed at $664,000 is $142.  The specifics for the King portion are an increase of 2.95% which is $67 on the average property assessment of $664,000.  As I review further below, a couple critical gaps in the budget plan were identified and Staff has been directed to make some changes.  In addition there are some choices with which I am not comfortable.

Staff were directed to modify the budget to address the roads and sidewalks in the south west core of King City.  The draft budget showed this work being done in 2017 with a cost estimate of $1.4 million.    I believe the Council concurs that executing the work in 2016 is the right thing to do and as there are funds in our infrastructure reserve I anticipate this project being included in the budget with that funding strategy.  (Alternative funding would be to either drop other projects or augment the property tax (more…)

Review of Conservation Plans & Growth Plan

The much anticipated Report from the Advisory Committee for the co-ordinated review of the Growth Plan and the 3 conservation plans (Greenbelt (GB) , Oak Ridges Moraine (ORMCP), Niagara Escarpment was released in early December.  If you are interested in why the world you observe on day trips from King is evolving the way it is, the Report is a must read; and for sure if you wonder whether your grandchildren will have natural open spaces close to home, if your grandchildren will have access to local food this is an important Report. The review encompasses the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

To make a couple comments not related to the recommendations per se.  1st, its clear that the Panel really listened throughout their extensive outreach; as I read the Report I “heard” points that I had raised in my submissions; I “heard” comments made by others, including those not in agreement with mine.  2nd, the panel was cautious about not exceeding their scope and did not make recommendations beyond it.  But, when they had something of value to add, they did make “complementary recommendations.”  To me this speaks to their respect for the effort made by stakeholders to engage in the process.

Given this I feel very good about the process and as reviewed below there is much about which I am enthusiastic.  Now, we need to see what the Province does.  The Ministries have stated that they hope to (more…)

GTA West Project Suspension

Ministry of Transport (MOT) has announced that it is suspending the environmental assessment (EA) for Hwy 413 (GTA West Corridor.)  In the announcement MOT states that it is not a decision to cancel the new highway but that it is being reviewed.  Everyone is reading the tea leaves, including me; and given my lack of enthusiasm for the project I am of course seeing the “suspension” as an indicator that the arguments against the wisdom of this new highway have finally registered.  Having said that I recognize that a lengthy suspension of the EA and/or an outright cancellation does create a host of new issues in YR.  Knowing where the future Hwy is going to intersect with Hwy 400 has been identified as an important data point for York Region as it assesses alternative options for a east/west corridor.  And decisions about that could provide the answer to the long sought need of a King Road by-pass.

Here is link to the full announcement; below is the critical paragraph.  If I were to re-write the paragraph below I would use words/phrases indicating that the proposed new highway was old technology which would drive up green house gas emissions without solving the problem.

“Having the right transportation network in place that builds on our climate change commitments, our ability to embrace new and emerging technologies and the sharing economy, will help us plan for a flexible transportation system that adapts to our quickly changing landscape and positions our province for success for generations to come.”

Fines for Violation of By-laws

On the 12/14 Council agenda there is a Staff Report recommending introducing fines (or increasing for those few already in existence) for violations.  I am totally in agreement with the proposals.  There needs be some “pain” for breaking the rules.  As reviewed in the Staff report we seem to be the only lower tier municipality in York to be so gracious in accepting violations.   In addition, enforcement does cost the Township; surely there should be some cost recovery.