As growth continues mayor says Burlington unable to keep up with service demands


Published June 2, 2023 at 7:04 pm

Burlington is lagging in providing services for residents because nobody wants to pay for the population growth associated with increased housing.

That’s the message from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward who discussed the issues surrounding growth during a panel discussion on TVO’s The Agenda last night (June 1).

In the past, the mayor has argued that “growth should pay for growth” meaning that those responsible should have to pay for all associated costs. That is often not the case.

When it was suggested by host Steve Paikin that Burlington residents may not want growth, Meed Ward took the opportunity to examine the price that has to be paid that comes with increased housing.

“If all the community sees is traffic congestion, can’t get kids into programs, diminishing quality of life. They’re not going to be happy about growth,” she said. “We have to make sure that we’re building complete communities.”

Although development appears inevitable, especially under new mandates from the Provincial government meant to meet the influx of people into the area, the mayor pointed out that while the public watches the rise of tower communities there is dwindling financial support for the necessary infrastructure needed to sustain this kind of population growth. Still, the question remains, who is going to pay for it?

“The transit hasn’t kept up with growth,” she said. “The community centres haven’t kept up with growth, the libraries, the list of things that have not responded to population growth in every city is very long.”

She went on to say cities such as Burlington need help to pay for the services that go along with new development otherwise the costs will rest unfairly on local taxpayers

With the Provincial government threatening to stop municipalities from charging development fees — a system the City has relied on to build things such as roads, community centres and sustain transit — the situation will only get worse. Burlington said it will lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars if Queen’s Park goes ahead with the plan.

Meed Ward said Burlington is already falling behind but fears it will continue under the Provincial mandates that require more homes.

“When we accepted the housing pledge (to build) 29,000 units by 2031 (as mandated by Ontario), we said we’re not just building housing, and we need the province to help us with those big capital dollars for community centres for transit for parks.”

During the interview, the mayor took it a step further adding the Federal government also needs to assist with infrastructure funding because of policies that are attracting people to Canada.

“More than just dollars we need policy from the Federal and Provincia governments to help us to accommodate people or we are going to continue to see people that will just say ‘no growth, just none at all, don’t change a thing because my quality of life is going down.'”




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