Four years ago, Rob Burton became the Mayor of Oakville. On September 20th, 2010 Mayor Burton presenting his 4th Annual Town Status Report. So, how has the town been doing? According to Burton, it’s never been better. After the implementation of the Unanimous Four Year Strategic Work Plan the council set aside their political affiliations to work towards the improvement of the community.
Burton recognized a list of all the council members who had won awards from the Lifetime Achievement Award to the Prince of Wales Award.
Burton then discussed all the improvements the town has had over the past few years and where it needs to continue to develop. The transit system will become more effective to serve the elderly, the young, and those who rely on the system to get to work. The GO Station on Trafalgar will undergo construction of a 2000-vehicle parking structure. As well as the bus system being improved to accommodate the public when it is needed while also cutting down hours when it’s not necessary. The new transit facility cost $45-million and is still on budget and on time as it nears completion. From a transportation perspective Oakville has and will improve significantly.
The council has also aimed to preserve employment lands. Such spaces provide jobs for citizens and generate tax revenue and ultimately drive the economy. 100 square hectares of land can created up to 5,600 jobs. Oakville has maintained one of the lowest business taxes in the GTA.
Town Debt & New Hospital
The Town’s debt also decreased from $24-million to $22-million in four years, where the previous term before it had increased from $10-million to $24-million. The Town could borrow up to $250-million.
Regarding the new hospital, Burton explained that although the town was asked for $230-million they declined and instead agreed to pay up to $130-million after initial funding was over and construction is complete. Burton’s plan for Oakville Trafalgar will be rented back to the province in 2015 to become long-term care for seniors, but the final decision will be made in the future.
Burton also briefly discussed the ongoing battle for a future power plant, but outlined the steps that would need to be taken for the town to agree to its construction. The plan would have to be revised to include cleaner air bylaws as well as the option to employ rooftop solar panels that have proved to be a viable option.
In Burton’s four-year term the town of Oakville has seen some serious improvements and is on the verge of many more. The GO station will receive a much needed parking structure. The transit system has been revamped. Employment lands have been preserved and will continue to create jobs for the town’s residents, a new hospital is expected in 2015, and the power plant will require serious improvements before construction is given the go-ahead.
Mayor Burton’s Annual Town Status Report summed up what according to the town council was a very successful term and a very promising future.