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Oakville Ward 3 Councillors Update 
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Feb 4, 2021
Letter From Your Councillors
It has been 25 years since Canada declared February as Black History Month.  ‘Black History Month is about honouring the enormous contributions that Black people have made, and continue to make, in all sectors of society. It is about celebrating resilience, innovation, and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada—a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish.’

There is a wealth of virtual events this month which we encourage you to explore. Our collective commitment to celebrating black culture and expanding our understanding of black history is important to our shared purpose of being the best Town to live in Canada.

Earlier this week the Groundhog advised that we would have an early spring. We will believe it when we see it. Frankly, the cold is benefiting our neighbourhood rinks and creating great fun during these difficult times.

We have included in this newsletter an update from Dr. Meghani and links to information on COVID and vaccinations, a recent Town Council decision on speed limits, as well as updates on public health, back to school details, neighbourhood ice rinks, Amazon, and other Planning updates, an energy survey, gardening webinar and the Taste of Oakville.

COVID reports show that the publics' efforts to respect the restrictions have reduced the number of cases. We await news of possible revisions to the modification of current restrictions, and the impact the variant may have on those restrictions. We are inspired by the number of online offerings now available to help us use this time to expand our knowledge, to keep us active, and distract us from our worries. Continue to share these great opportunities broadly. Your public library is a great place to start.

Stay safe and thanks for the hellos on our walks.
Janet and Dave
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COVID update
Here is the latest update from Halton Region’s Medical Office of Health, https://www.halton.ca/For-Residents/Immunizations-Preventable-Disease/Diseases-Infections/New-Coronavirus

The Provincial Government determines the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across Ontario (external link) and prioritizes who is eligible to receive them. Halton Healthcare received its first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech) and began vaccination in late December, focusing on priority populations as directed by the Province, including healthcare workers from long-term care homes, retirement homes and patient-facing hospital staff and physicians.
In early January, the Province approved the ability to move/transport the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. As such, Halton Region Public Health and Halton Paramedic Services has begun transporting the vaccine from Halton Healthcare and administering to residents at all long-term care and retirement homes, starting with long-term care.
Get the latest updates on the status of Halton’s vaccine program.
For information on the implementation of COVID-19 vaccines across Ontario, including distribution plans and identification of eligible populations, please refer to the Province’s three-phased vaccine distribution implementation plan (external link).
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School Opening and  Public Health input 
Education Minister Stephen Lecce has announced that Halton schools will return to in-person learning on Monday February 8th.
 
The government's decision was based on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, the unanimous recommendation of the Council of Medical Officers of Health, and with the support of local Medical Officers of Health. In the Public Health Units that are permitted to return to in-person learning on February 8; before and after school child care programs are permitted to resume on that day, therefore February 5 will be the last day for emergency child care.
 
To support the safe return of in-person learning, Ontario has introduced new measures to continue to protect students and staff against COVID-19 in the classroom. These measures include:
  • Provincewide access, in consultation with the local PHU, to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff;
  • Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and masking requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;
  • Providing 3.5 million high-quality cloth masks to schools as a back-up supply for Grade 1-12 students;
  • Enhanced screening for secondary students and staff;
  • Guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school; and,
  • Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism.
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Black History Month
This month, visitors can safely explore Oakville's early Black History. The Oakville Museum’s front windows and grounds will feature a new graphic display adapted from its permanent exhibit Freedom, Opportunity and Family: Oakville’s Black History. 
The display tells the important stories of many of the African-American families who settled here early in the town's history. This display will complement virtual Black History Month activities offered in partnership with the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton. Activities include themed Oakville Museum Facebook Live broadcasts, streamed documentary videos and virtual Black History walking tours.

Through virtual tours, digitized artifacts, hands-on activities, stories, and a live video interactive presentation, The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Freedom & Legacy Voices helps students immerse themselves into historical experiences that offer unique opportunities to experience our shared living heritage. Students will explore Oakville’s relationship with the United States in the context of the Underground Railroad. They will learn about how Oakville Harbour played a significant role in the journey to Canada for many freedom seekers. 
To register for “The Underground Railroad: Next Stop, Freedom & Legacy Voices”, and learn more about this month's activities visit, www.ccah.ca.
 

Between 1850 and 1860, approximately 400 Black people settled in Oakville, representing 20 percent of the town’s population of 2,000 people.  These free Black residents had escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, along with the 36,000 other Black fugitives who made their way to Canada, which had abolished slavery in 1834 as part of Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act.
James Wesley Hill was an escaped slave who crossed the Potomac River into Pennsylvania and then across the border in a packing box. His first earnings he sent back to his former owner as payment on his purchase price.  Hill first stayed with his friend Warren Wallace in Bronte. He became employed in Oakville by John Alton about 1850, to remove stumps and clear underbrush from a cleared wood lot. Hill rented a house from Alton and later rented the 100-acre Samuel Harris farm on 9th Line. He built a house which still stands today on Maple Grove Drive. His strawberry farm helped to make Oakville the one time strawberry industry capital of Canada.
TVO recently published Ontarians should know more about the Black history of Oakville’ By Genelle Levy – you may read about Oakville’s rich history at 
https://www.tvo.org/article/ontarians-should-know-more-about-the-black-history-of-oakville
As a society, celebrating our heritage and diversity is important as we work to ensure opportunity and justice for all.
 
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Amazon update
Town Council heard H&R’s Site Plan Application on 2175 Cornwall at a special public meeting this past week. The site plan process provides an opportunity to rearrange or redesign facilities within the limits of the permitted zoning, and impose conditions that assist in preventing or mitigating impacts of the proposed use. Unlike zoning by-law or similar applications, there is no such thing as a complete “refusal” of an application. Instead, revisions are made to the plans and drawings until approval is achieved.
 
At the beginning of the meeting Council unanimously agreed that new information shared with us in a confidential memo just days prior should be made public.  It could not have been shared without Council’s consent. We understand that is unusual, but it was important to us personally as we have worked with the community on this file. While Oakville’s Official Plan and Zoning By-Laws designate this area as Employment Lands, Legal Counsel reported that the Minister’s Zoning order has been in place since 1973 and only permits agriculture. The current building was built in 1998 and an application to remove or adjust the MZO was not made at that time. When and how this occurred, we do not know.  The Minister continues to have the responsibility to decide if the Ministerial Zoning order should be lifted, H&R’s application should be denied or if the MZO is adjusted to restrict future development and any other corrections he sees fit.  Ultimately, all issues related to the Minister’s Zoning order application are matters of provincial jurisdiction and responsibility.

 While we are waiting on the Minister’s decision on what to do about the MZO, Council still must address the appeal to LPAT and public settlement offer. The Minister could choose to lift the MZO and by then the opportunity to include key elements in the proposed settlement would have passed.  If the Minister does not lift the MZO, then the settlement is not valid. You can continue to let the Minister know your views by clicking here.  

The public portion of the meeting is linked here. The staff report is linked here.  
At the meeting and in the report the Assistant Town Solicitor spoke to what must be considered in regards to Site Plan. She explained the statutory authority of the Chief Building Officer and that zoning and zoning use could not be part of our decision nor would LPAT consider zoning concerns on a Site Plan application. Just saying no was not an option. Therefore, the decision Council had to make was how we achieve the best possible outcome for residents within the scope of the Site Plan section of the Provincial Planning Act.

We are grateful to the residents who spent considerable time and energy raising numerous questions and for the 6 delegations that articulated those concerns directly to Council. The many questions asked and replied to during the past 10 months were an integral part of informing Town staff of what needed to be addressed. The improvements made from the Jan 2020 submission to the November 2020 submission demonstrate residents made a difference. Concerns regarding traffic, noise, safety, light, and more were evaluated.  We were able to get additional reports including a more comprehensive Traffic study and the authorizing of a peer review of the Traffic study which helped highlight the traffic issues to be addressed. Town staff had an additional Noise study conducted demonstrating the need for better noise barriers and landscape buffers.  We have achieved agreement on needing turning lanes, drainage, architectural screening to rooftop mechanical units, preservation of the Kentucky trees, and an improved lighting plan to reduce any light spill to the surrounding neighbourhood and attention to pedestrian and cycling safety. We have ensured that a further review for a signalized exit is to be done before finalizing the Site Plan. Equally important there will be future protection from expansion through an agreement that the landowner cannot expand beyond the current footprint or parking spaces both to be in our Town zoning and we are requesting that the Minister include this in the MZO. This provides double protection should the landowner wish to expand.

 While not part of Site Plan controls, resident concerns caused Amazon to change their staff schedules moving the van arrival and departures off normal peak morning and afternoons. The settlement also highlighted to H&R that we want their best efforts to accommodate Electric vehicles, to route traffic away from Ford, and to use Beryl to go north on Winston Churchill, to seek a prohibition on drones, that internal traffic flow is improved to negate vehicles reversing and therefore reducing back up beeping and to encourage the tenant to avoid increased use of ‘flex drivers’ which adds to the number of vehicle movements.  These are issues we cannot force them to comply with but as good corporate citizens, we will continue to encourage them.

We ensured the Town staff understood your concerns as well as our Council colleagues. As observed by the very long in-camera session it was a lengthy discussion after the delegations. We had to weigh the public settlement offer as well as the significant improvements gained over the past several months, knowing that LPAT does not refuse a Site Plan but looks purely for compliance with Section 41 of the Provincial Planning Act.  Saying no is not an option available to members of the Council when dealing with Site Plan applications.

Council’s decision ensured critical concerns that could be addressed in a Site Plan application were. We will continue to follow through with Town staff as they finalize the technical details including the important Traffic egress issues, storage lanes, location of the turning lanes, and the design of the noise barriers.  
 
We await the Minister’s decision on how he will address MZO on the property including the current building. You can continue to let the Minister know your views by clicking here.  
 
 
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Planning and Development
To review the Planning and Development Agenda for Feb 8 2021 check out the Town Hall, Agenda/Minutes on the Town web page.
We have been informed that the applicant for the Official Plan and Zoning Application at 358 Reynolds filed an appeal to LPAT.  We will update the local neighbourhood on next steps as they are provided to us.
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Town Council endorses moving forward with 40km on local and minor collector roads
Traffic calming and enforcement has been a concern for many residents for many years. On January 25th, 
Council directed staff to prepare an implementation plan to move all local and minor collector roads to a 40 km.speed limit. 
This is to be combined with an education plan and complemented by the introduction of Automated Speed Enforcement. In addition, we have requested Halton Police report on their enforcement efforts and know they are keen to support speed reduction.  We will receive this plan in September. We continue to ask everyone to do their part to respect the posted limits and to slow down.  You can make a difference in the safety of our community.

The motion is below:
  • That the report entitled “Neighbourhood 40km/h Speed Limit Pilot Studies” from the Engineering and Construction Department dated January 12, 2021, be received.
  •  That the existing neighbourhood 40 km/h zones in the West River and Heritage Way areas be retained and that complementary measures aimed at speed reduction be investigated and implemented in these areas.
  • That Council endorses a 40 km/h speed limit on all local and minor collector roads.
  • That staff develops an implementation plan to establish a 40 km/h speed limit on all local and minor collectors roads across the town of Oakville, in conjunction with a comprehensive education program, working with the HRPS and any other complementary measures deemed necessary.
  • That staff report back on a two to three-year implementation plan in September of 2021.
  • That the implementation of the residential street speed conversions and education plan be funded through reserves
  • That, in anticipation of the Minister including ASE fines within the AMP legislative framework, staff be directed to design and install all necessary infrastructure required for the implementation of four semi-fixed ASE cameras, by the end of 2021 within existing Community Safety Zones.
  • That funding from the Capital Reserve in the amount of $75,000 be approved to fund the above-noted design and infrastructure installation
  • That staff be requested to report back in Fall 2021 on the status of these locations as well as the overall ASE program
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Outdoor Rinks
Ward 3 outdoor rinks are up and running at Aspen Forest Park, Clearview Park, and Wallace Park. Current Provincial Regulations do not allow team play or scrimmages (details below). Youngsters that are learning to skate are permitted to use sticks to help with their balance. Thanks to all those that are assisting with shoveling and maintenance. Your community thanks you!
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Taste of Oakville
This culinary event showcases some of Oakville’s many wonderful restaurants, with the purpose of creating a unique experience for guests to try new menu items from their favourite restaurants and discover new places they haven’t tried before. Due to COVID 19 restrictions, this year we will be focusing on delivery and take-out options, where you can enjoy all the delicious dining options safely from your home!
Thank you for your ongoing support of downtown Oakville businesses and we hope that you will be part of making this a very successful event!
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HEN is seeking input from local homeowners about energy efficiency through a brief, 3-minute survey. The results of this survey will be included in assessing the feasibility of a social purpose organization to support home energy upgrades (also known as deep energy retrofits).  The survey is confidential, but they will share statistics back with the community.  It will remain open until February 14, 2021
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Halton Garden Week
For further information or to reserve your space please visit
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/halton-garden-week-all-access-pass-tickets-133098167201
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Conservation Halton has always provided outdoor education programs but this year we were forced to find new ways of teaching our community about nature.
 

With the generous support of YourTV Halton, we produced our first season of Conservation Kids, and we are proud to announce that all of the segments are now available online!
 Click here to watch. There are 16 educational and fun videos for children of all ages to enjoy!  
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Councillor Contact Information

Town Councillor Haslett-Theall:

Email:    janet.haslett-theall@oakville.ca
Phone:   289-837-3923

Regional & Town Councillor Gittings:

Email:   dave.gittings@oakville.ca
Phone:  905-844-5513

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Your Ward 3 Councillors,
Dave and Janet
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