Barrie City Council Highlights

City of Barrie Council: Meeting Highlights – January to March 2024

Subject: This week @ Council: Ward 10 Highlights (Jan 17th)

Happy New Year! Hope you all enjoyed the holiday season😊

Council was back in session last week to discuss the Affordable Housing Strategy. Staff will bring forward an implementation plan and report back to the Affordability Committee by June 2024.

What to expect this week:
– Partner Budgets! You may recall in December, council approved an operating/capital budget with no increase to property taxes on the city portion, but this zero increase did not include budget requests for the city service partners. On Wednesday evening council will receive presentations regarding the proposed 2024 budgets requests from the following partners – Barrie Police Service, Barrie Public Library, and The County of Simcoe. Presentations are available online (City of Barrie – Calendar (legistar.com)). If you have any specific questions or comments you would like me to provide, please get them to me prior to Wednesday evening.

Have a great week,

Bryn


Subject: This week @ Council: Ward 10 Highlights (Jan 24th)

Hi all,

Council is back at it this week with General Committee meeting taking place tonight to approve the partner budgets (presented last week). Here’s a recap:

The 2024 service partner base budget requests require a net increase of $9.1 million to the tax levy which represents an increase to the Service Partner budgets of 9.0%, and a tax rate increase of 2.85% or $134.72 for a typical home.

I have a couple of amendments to put forward based on tonight’s dialogue:

  • I’d like community safety committee to work with BPS to identify 3-5 performance goals reflecting key strategic objectives and report back in 6 months time to support improved transparency and accountability of public funds.
  • I’d like finance committee to work with the library to do same as above
  • I’d like to request an external value for money review to support constructive discussion between the city and the county of Simcoe, to ensure city investments are targeted and managed as effectively as possible, and to support improved transparency and accountability of public funds. Report back to Finance Committee in 6-8 months time.

Each of these amendments are in efforts to support more effective oversight by utilizing a scorecard type approach with SMART goals and KPIs. I believe this to be the best way to hold ourselves and partners accountability for the public tax dollars they receive.

Any feedback, input, thoughts or constructive criticism is welcome as always!

Have a great rest of week,

Bryn


Subject: RE: This week @ Council: Ward 10 Highlights (Feb 28th)

Hi everyone,

With budget dialogue behind us, we are back to our regular agenda and activities.

A few things to note for this weeks General Committee Meeting (Feb 28th):

Community Safety Report (Feb 6th)

  • If approved by General Committee this week, this will include some additional road safety measures along Hurst Dr by Gables Way and a new crosswalk at Toronto & Park St. Based on the outcome, this may give me some leverage to push for the crosswalk on Hurst & Bruce Cres (common crossing for kids to go to school and also for the convenience store). Staff have conducted some traffic studies here but the need for a crosswalk hasn’t been prioritized…yet. Let’s keep this on our radar.
  • As discussed previously, I brought forward the motion for staff to investigate options to regulate and enforce Short Term Rentals in order to curtail some of the issues such as noise, waste and weekend parties. I anticipate this getting approved by General Committee this week.
  • Representatives from the Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School board attended the last safety committee meeting to discuss kiss n ride programs, road safety, traffic concerns around school, etc. It was a good initial dialogue, but no formal actions were identified. On a positive, there was a commitment to meet again to further explore solutions and opportunities for improvement.

Finance and Responsible Governance Report (Feb 7th)

  • General committee is being asked to approve the I’m not sure how supportive I am of this. Given the experience in Brampton – they instituted a bylaw ban on fireworks – there was no change in behaviour as the ban is almost impossible to enforce. I’m not how sure helpful public feedback will be, if we can’t enforce a ban. Open to your thoughts!

Staff Reports

  • Flagging for you a staff report that impacts ward 10. I’ve attached DEV006-24 that recommends a change to the speed limit along Mapleview Drive East. Based on staff investigations they have recommend the maximum posted speed limit of Mapleview Drive East from Huronia Road to east of Yonge Street increases from 50 km/h to 60 km/h. Staff also recommend the maximum post speed limit of 60 km/h east on Yonge Street to the east City limit be maintained.

Circulation List (Feb 21)

  • Note the memo from staff regarding the Key Performance Indicators for Council’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. I think this is a great start to measuring how well we are achieving our strategic aims. That being said, without comparative or baseline data its still hard to really interpret. The indicators will be updated annually in February so will give us more information year over year. I will also be asking staff if there is a way to compare this data with other similar sized municipalities or provincial averages to give us a better sense of how Barrie is performing.

Thanks everyone,

Bryn


Subject: This week @ Council: Ward 10 Highlights (March 6th)

Hi all,

This week at Council looks pretty smooth, mostly approving General Committee report from last week. Brief update:

  • Fireworks: the request for staff to conduct a public consultation to obtain feedback on the restriction of fireworks in residential areas did NOT pass. It was felt that any further restrictions would be impossible to enforce (reminder fireworks are only permitted on Victoria Day, Canada Day and New Year’s Day, and for the duration of the Lunar New Year and Diwali. Barrie’s noise bylaw prohibits the detonation of fireworks after 11 p.m.). We’ll look at improving communication re. these restrictions and proactive enforcement of noise bylaw on these dates. This is pretty consistent with what I heard from ward 10 members.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s): I brought forward questions some of you raised re. setting targets and using comparative data from other municipalities. As a result, this report was referred to the Finance & Responsible Governance committee so we can further discuss and dive into.
  • Stakeholder relations:
    • Barrie Police and staff to provide 2 presentations per year to council on efforts to improve traffic calming, school zone cameras, etc
    • BIA be invited 2x/year to present on downtown issues and priorities
    • School boards be invited 3x/council term to build relations and improvements with school safety measures

Hopefully no other surprises this week😊 Of note, Mayor Nuttall had a personal surgery last week and will be off for the next month.

See you next week (agenda to come in next few days),

Bryn


Subject: This week @ Council: Ward 10 Highlights (March 27th)

Hi all,

Another council meeting coming at us this week on Wednesday March 27th.

The biggest item on the agenda is the PROPOSED CITY-WIDE AMENDMENT TO PERMIT FOUR (4) UNITS ON RESIDENTIALLY ZONED LANDS.

A couple of points on this item:

– In order to qualify for federal funding under the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) program, municipalities were directed to update their residential zoning by-law up to allow four (4) residential units on a property (this includes basement apartments and/or additional structures). Currently Barrie has approved 3 units on a property (for example, primary dwelling (1) + basement unit (2) + separate ‘coach house’ structure(3)), so this would change it to 4 units allowable.

– On March 14th it was announced that the federal government is giving us $25.6 million to fast-track and support the development of thousands of new homes in the City of Barrie. This funding is based on our action plan and includes permitting four ‘units’ on one lot.

– The city held two public consultations over the last couple of months with respect to the nine initiatives designed to streamline the housing development process to qualify for the HAF funding. I would say the most contentious has been the 4-unit conversation.

– While the city recognizes the majority of residents don’t necessarily want secondary structures in their neighbors backyard, we also know our funding is based on this requirement.

– To find a balance between the federal governments direction and input from residents, council is trying to implement appropriate setbacks for these secondary dwellings that would limit the impact to communities and neighboring residences  (ie. Lot sizes have to be an appropriate size to be able to do this)

– Last week council proposed allowing more lenient setbacks in the annexed lands to encourage maximal density in these new areas, as it was thought because these lands are undeveloped it wouldn’t impact existing residents.

– However, I will be bringing forward an amendment this week as we have 100’s of houses already built in these annexed lands and I don’t believe we should have a separate set of rules for them. I will suggest that staff look at undeveloped land only within these annexed boundaries and work with the development community on what is needed to maximize land usage for affordable housing (could be townhomes, 4-plexes, etc).

The other item I want to highlight is the request for staff to investigate the feasibility of updating the Parks Strategic Plan in 2025 (this was done in 2014 and not scheduled for an update until 2028). As we look at future developments in ward 10 and the new Rec Centre I think its going to be important to identify how we best utilize the park/field space (soccer dome? Cricket pitch? Etc). Hopefully a new Parks Strategic plan could inform future developments before its too late.

Lastly, Im attaching a memo re. the automated speed enforcement program (the speed cameras and data collected to date). Have a quick read if you can!

Please reach out with any questions, comments or concerns😊

Bryn