Oakville focuses on becoming the most digitally connected GTA community

Friday, February 3, 2017 – for immediate release

Oakville focuses on becoming the most digitally connected GTA community

Council approves new strategy to guide digital transformation

A new corporate digital strategy focused on making Oakville the most connected community in the Greater Toronto Area was approved by Council on January 30, 2017.

“In today’s digitally driven world, it’s more important than ever to be strategic in the way we provide online services to our residents,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “This strategy will be our digital roadmap as we continue to invest in technology and embrace innovation.”

Engagement with citizens is at the core of the digital strategy. This spring, the town is introducing a beta website as a testing ground for new digital services as they are being developed. The beta site will give citizens a unique opportunity to test new online services and provide feedback at different stages of development. By engaging the community from the start of the process, they become co-designers with the town to ensure that new services are easy to use and designed from the perspective of the user.

The strategy also focuses on using the extensive data the town produces to improve services, and fostering an organizational culture that embraces digital innovation to meet citizen needs. The town will establish partnerships with leading academic institutions and private sector companies to better respond to emerging digital opportunities and attract new knowledge-based businesses, head offices and skilled workers to the community.

The Town of Oakville is well positioned to become a digital leader in the public sector with $22 million of technology investments already planned in the 10-year capital forecast, including piloting new digital tools in a wide variety of areas, from energy management to making it easier to get online permits.

“The digital strategy establishes a clear focus and direction for these investments and aligns them toward a common goal,” said Colleen Bell, commissioner of Community Services. “By actively engaging our citizens, we will deliver relevant and better designed services that meet their needs and expectations.”

For more information, review the staff report in the January 30, 2017 Council Agenda.


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Oakville focuses on becoming the most digitally connected GTA community

Province to hold land use public open house in Oakville on July 7, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016 – for immediate release

Province to hold land use public open house in Oakville on July 7, 2016

Provincial land use plans set future growth targets that shape our community

The Province of Ontario is inviting the public to provide feedback on its proposed changes to the four provincial land use plans (Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan). The four plans work together to manage growth, build complete communities, curb sprawl and protect the natural environment. Ministry staff will be at Oakville Town Hall on Thursday, July 7, 2016, from 5 to 8 p.m. to answer questions about the proposed changes to the plans. No registration is required.

“As a municipality our ability to control growth and protect green space is determined by provincial requirements and growth targets,” Mayor Burton said. “It’s critical that residents come out to provide input and learn about potential changes to those requirements.”

Oakville currently meets provincial requirements and growth targets through its Livable Oakville Official Plan, which sets out the mix of residential, employment, recreational, natural and cultural land uses necessary to create a livable and sustainable community.

The province initiated a coordinated review of its four plans in 2015 with extensive input from the public, stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and an expert advisory panel chaired by David Crombie. As a result, the province is recommending numerous changes to its plans.

Proposed changes include:

Providing more guidance on achieving complete communities and requiring municipalities to plan for sustainable and livable communities.
Increasing the intensification target in the Growth Plan to a minimum of 60 per cent of all new residential development occurring annually in the existing built-up area.
Increasing the designated greenfield area density target in the Growth Plan to a minimum of 80 residents and jobs per hectare (excluding certain non-developable natural heritage features, such as wetlands and woodlands, rights of way for certain infrastructure, and “prime employment areas”).
Requiring municipalities to plan for density targets around major transit stations which support that type of transit.
Supporting the development of community hubs by encouraging public services to be located together in existing facilities near strategic growth areas, accessible by active transportation and transit.
Establishing stronger environmental, agricultural and planning criteria in the Growth Plan for settlement area boundary expansions.
Requiring municipalities to identify and protect prime employment areas. New policies would serve to improve transit connections for employment areas.
Requiring the province, through direction in the Growth Plan, to establish a standard methodology used by all municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe for assessing land needs.

The province is inviting members of the public to submit their written comments and feedback on the proposed changes by September 30, 2016.

For more information on the province’s Coordinated Land Use Review or to see dates for other open houses, please visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website.


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Province to hold land use public open house in Oakville on July 7, 2016

Open data gaining momentum in Oakville

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 – for immediate release

Open data gaining momentum in Oakville

More datasets, new community partners and growing interest from developers

The Town of Oakville’s online data catalogue was expanded last week to include datasets on cemeteries, coyotes, and energy consumption at town facilities — part of an ongoing initiative to support local economic development and government transparency through open data.

The town’s data catalogue now contains 40 datasets. The newly-released energy consumption data was specifically requested by the developer community and includes overall usage data and building area-specific detail.

“I’m pleased that the town can facilitate the growing open data usage taking place in our community,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “Our partnership with Silicon Halton is expanding the conversation about the great things we can accomplish together when developers get creative with the town’s open data.”

In September, Halton-based technology community Silicon Halton hosted a meetup to brainstorm about open data and the opportunities presented by the town’s 12-month pilot project. The event drew more than 85 developers and data enthusiasts representing the education, government and business sectors as well as communities across the Greater Toronto Area. The next day, the town had the highest number of downloads to-date from its data catalogue.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Town of Oakville’s open data pilot project,” said Chris Herbert, co-founder of Silicon Halton and chief marketing officer of Mi6. “Silicon Halton is an important community platform that can engage groups to help shape the evolution of the open data initiative. Our members are already using the data to produce useful demonstration tools.”

Check out what one Silicon Halton member has created using the town’s data on town trees treated against Emerald Ash Borer.

Engagement with developers and the open data community will continue to be an important part of the pilot project. Where possible, the town will continue to develop new datasets with a focus on what the data community has requested.

Silicon Halton is a grassroots high tech community focused on technology, community and growth. The organization offers a platform — online and in person — to help members connect with the high tech community in Halton and create opportunities for business growth and partnerships. For more information on Silicon Halton, visit the Silicon Halton website.

Open data is defined as information that is available in a format that can be read by a computer, and is made available for anyone to use, transform or republish without restriction. The Town of Oakville is joining municipalities around the world by proactively opening up its data to see what’s possible when government and the community collaborate. Anyone can join the open data conversation on Twitter at @openoakville or sign up for the project’s RSS feed. For more information, visit the open data page.


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Town releases 2013 Economic Development Annual Report

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – for immediate release

Town releases 2013 Economic Development Annual Report

Annual report themed “Oakville is opportunity”

The Town of Oakville released its 2013 Economic Development Annual Report at the April 16, 2014, Special Planning and Development Council meeting. The annual report provides an overview of business highlights and investment activity from 2013.

“One theme that is present throughout the report is the opportunity for success that exists in Oakville,” Mayor Burton said. “Oakville continues to be a priority destination for new investment as an attractive place to live, to work, and to do business.”

Oakville continued to be well-positioned to attract new office and commercial investments when compared to other communities in the Greater Toronto Area. While the previous two years saw significant growth in office development, 2013 was characterized by growth in the commercial sector with over 900,000 square feet of new commercial development occurring throughout the year. Several high profile companies moved into their new space in Oakville in 2013, including PwC and Manulife Securities, resulting in over 900 new jobs in the community.

“Our economic development focus in 2013 was on connectivity and outreach,” said Dorothy St. George, director, Economic Development for the town. “Alongside Mayor Burton and Council, we initiated several projects in 2013 to support, advocate and provide connections for Oakville businesses, including hosting the Ontario Auto Mayors’ Roundtable and the Oakville-China Business Forum.”

The 2013 Economic Development Annual Report is available on the Economic Development page.

The Economic Development department at the town is open to help you with your business. Contact us for assistance at econdev@oakville.ca or 905-845-6601.


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Former TREB President Runs for City Council

Former Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President, Cynthia Lai, has announced she is running for City Councillor in Ward 39 – Scarborough-Agincourt.  Ms. Lai is a founding broker owner of a real estate brokerage in the GTA and boasts an impressive 32 year career in Toronto’s real estate market.

Her passion for affordable home ownership and commitment to her community is clear in her continued involvement in numerous charitable and community organizations, including: the REALTORS® Care Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Toronto, CICS Immigrant Resource Centre, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the United Way of Greater Toronto, the Spirit of Life, the Mon Sheong Foundation and the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation.

Toronto’s municipal elections will be held this October. OREA congratulates Ms. Lai on her decision to run and we wish her and all city council candidates the best of luck on election day.

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Former TREB President Runs for City Council

Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel Releases Final Report

Earlier today the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel (TISAP) announced their recommendations on how to fund transit expansion across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA). Premier Wynne appointed the panel back in September to review the revenue tools proposed in the final Metrolinx report, The Big Move, and consider other options to fund public transit.

The TISAP report, Making the Move: Choices and Consequences, outlines a diversified approach to transit funding, including: new revenue tools, existing government revenue, and a modest debt. More specifically, the report recommends an increase to the corporate income tax (general) rate, an increase to the current gasoline and fuel tax, a reallocation of the HST, and a land value capture strategy. The Panel echoes the concern of the public in recommending that all revenue raised for funding public transit go into a dedicated fund. Furthermore, the panel recommends that only the portion of the revenue stream attributed to the GTHA be invested in the region. Revenue from outside the GTHA should be allocated accordingly across Ontario.

In a statement issued by the Minister of Transportation, Glen Murray, the government announced it will review the panel’s recommendations and propose their plan in the spring.

OREA has been monitoring the GTHA transit debate closely. Ontario REALTORS® are happy that a municipal land transfer tax was not a recommended revenue tool in either the TISAP or Metrolinx reports.

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Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel Releases Final Report

Council endorses in principle Metrolinx strategy for transit funding

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – for immediate release

Council endorses in principle Metrolinx strategy for transit funding

Town remains opposed to funding transit costs through property taxes

Town Council has unanimously approved a motion to support in principle the investment strategy put forth by Metrolinx to help fund major transit expansion across the Greater Toronto Hamilton area (GTHA). Metrolinx released its strategy identifying new transit funding tools on May 27, 2013, and sought feedback from municipal governments across the province.

“Council recognizes that improving transit across the GTHA is essential to ensuring our quality of life,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “At the same time, we want to ensure a fair return for the public’s investment in transit and it is important Metrolinx strive to match funding sources with those who will benefit most from the transit improvements.”

While the motion unanimously approved by Council supports in principle the Metrolinx investment strategy, it also encourages Metrolinx to better match funding sources with those who benefit most, and advises Metrolinx that the Town of Oakville opposes any impact on property taxes by capital or operating expenses of the Big Move projects. Council also asked that the province and Metrolinx work together to bring further clarity to municipalities on key elements of the recommended strategy, including the funding for the operating costs of new transit initiatives.

“Ultimately it’s up to the provincial government to decide which investment tools it will implement to ensure long-term sustainable funding for transit and we encourage all parties to work together to find a solution to the costly traffic congestion that plagues the GTHA,” added Mayor Burton.

For more information on Metrolinx’s investment strategy — Investing in our Region, Investing in our Future — and the Big Move project, visit the Metrolinx website.

For more information:

Jane Courtemanche
Director, Strategy, Policy and Communications
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3038
jcourtemanche@oakville.ca


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Council endorses in principle Metrolinx strategy for transit funding

Town invites residents to learn about energy conservation

Friday, May 17, 2013 – for immediate release

Town invites residents to learn about energy conservation

Oakville Conserves Energy Fair set for May 25

Easy ways to conserve energy is the theme at this year’s Oakville Conserves Energy Fair set for Saturday, May 25, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Town Hall. This annual community event showcases green energy information, services and products from companies, groups and agencies from across Halton and the Greater Toronto Area.

“The town is committed to conserving energy when and wherever possible. Our Corporate Energy Management Plan focuses on optimizing energy usage while minimizing energy costs at all town facilities,” said Cindy Toth, director, Environmental Policy for the Town of Oakville. “This event is our way of sharing great energy conservation information with the community in a way that’s fun and educational.”

Over 15 exhibitors will be available in the South Atrium at Town Hall to offer advice and demonstrate their products. Oakville Hydro and Union Gas will offer tips on how to conserve energy at home, Solar Ontario Ltd. will showcase solar thermal heating for pools and you’ll get a first-hand look at the latest energy efficient technology such as an electric car designed and built by Sheridan College students. There will be something to appeal to all ages and interests.

Residents will also have an opportunity to learn about energy conservation at two free workshops:

10 to 11 a.m. — Learn about Oakville’s ecological footprint and the town’s energy conservation initiatives.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Qantas Building Science’s Shawn Good offers money-saving energy conservation tips you should know before renovating or purchasing a home.

Giveaways will be available to all fair participants.

If you’re looking for a bargain, the Oakvillegreen Community Garage Sale will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the same day in the Town Hall parking lot.

For more information on the Oakville Conserves Energy Fair, visit the Energy Conservation page.

Media Contact:

Mary Jo Milhomens
Senior Communications Advisor
Town of Oakville
905-338-4244
mmilhomens@oakville.ca


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Town invites residents to learn about energy conservation

Residents give town top marks for service

Confidence in local government reaches new heights

The 2013 Citizen Survey results are in! According to the results of the survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, 85 per cent of residents believe that Oakville is better than most areas in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) when it comes to overall livability. The survey also revealed that 87 per cent of residents are happy with their municipal government, showing significant increases in satisfaction levels since 2011. The town conducts a survey every two years to track overall performance.

“Our goal is to ensure that our residents are receiving excellent value for their tax dollars,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “The results tell us that our strategic priorities and key areas of focus are in line with citizens’ top of mind issues.”

During his presentation to Council, Craig Worden, senior vice-president of Public Affairs for Pollara Strategic Insights noted that the results were vastly positive. “Oakville performs high on satisfaction ratings overall, as well as on programs and services delivered to the community. Residents are clearly satisfied that the town is on the right track in addressing and managing the local issues that they care most about.”

Residents were asked to rate 11 services provided by the town. Eight of the 11 key service areas received satisfaction levels of over 80 per cent, while satisfaction for parks and green spaces, recreation fields and facilities, and public library services exceeded 90 per cent. The most noticeable increases were in satisfaction with managing tax dollars and satisfaction with public transit, both up seven per cent to 74 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. While satisfaction with winter road and sidewalk maintenance was down 11 per cent from 2011, this result is closer to the long-term average and reflects the comparative severity of this past winter.

Residents clearly identified that the biggest challenge facing the Oakville community was controlling growth. Urban sprawl/rapid development was identified by residents as the most important issue facing Oakville today, although this was down from a high of 38 per cent in 2004. Controlling the rate and type of growth was ranked as the most important policy priority for the town.

“Responsible and sustainable planning is and continues to be a priority for this Council,” Mayor Burton said. “We are in the midst of updating the town’s comprehensive zoning by-law, InZone, under our Livable Oakville official plan to ensure Council is able to control where and how growth can occur.”

Online communications continue to be of growing importance. Sixty-four per cent of respondents identified oakville.ca as their preferred way to access town information. Program registration, bill payment and subscription-based eNewsletters were among the top online services identified as important by respondents.

As part of the citizen survey process, the town opened up the “What makes Oakville livable” Idea Forum to engage residents in discussion, and produced 25 ideas that were presented to Council. The forum will remain open for residents to share their ideas and vote on others on the Oakville Idea Forum website.

The 20-minute random telephone survey took place in late February and early March 2013 and asked 800 residents to respond to questions on service satisfaction, quality of life issues and priorities for action. This is the sixth citizen survey Oakville has conducted. The first town-wide citizen survey was conducted in 2001, followed by 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Findings are accurate to +/- 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Current and past survey results are available on the citizen surveys page.

For more information:

Jane Courtemanche
Director Strategy, Policy & Communications
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3038
jcourtemanche@oakville.ca


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Residents give town top marks for service

Town treats over 3,000 ash trees for Emerald Ash Borer in 2012

Total of 5,700 town trees treated over past two years

The Town of Oakville treated over 3,000 municipal ash trees this past summer with the biological insecticide TreeAzin™ to protect them against the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The town has now treated all of the 5,700 trees targeted under the town’s ambitious program to save ash trees located on town streets and in town parks. TreeAzin™ is a natural and safe bio-insecticide that provides two years of protection against EAB before it must be reapplied

“Oakville has the most aggressive EAB work plan in the country,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “We’re able to treat about 75 per cent of the ash canopy located on streets and in parks because we implemented an early detection program that enabled us to act quickly to fight against the infestation. Council will continue to work towards increasing our canopy cover over the coming years, and strengthening our urban forest’s capacity to deal with invasive species like EAB.”

This year is the tipping point for the EAB population in the Greater Toronto Area, with many untreated trees beginning to decline and die. According to Oakville’s EAB work plan, 25 per cent of Oakville’s public ash trees on streets and parkland must be removed because they are so heavily infested that they cannot be saved. Residents will see town crews continuing the culling and replacing of these trees on streets and parks. The town will begin a pilot project this fall to manage EAB in woodland parks.

“The town plans to replace dead or dying trees with a new species of tree to meet Oakville’s canopy cover objective of 40 per cent by 2057,” said Chris Mark, director, Parks and Open Space.

With most of the town’s estimated 180,000 ash trees located on private property, the town launched the Oakville Canopy Club, a community outreach program that encourages residents to save Oakville’s tree canopy. The club includes a Facebook page, Twitter account, dedicated email address and web pages.

“The town is committed to doing its part to protect municipal trees, but with the majority of treatable ash trees on private property, community support is crucial,” said John McNeil, manager, Forestry Services. “It takes awareness and action from our community to protect these trees.”

To help spread the word, the Oakville Canopy Club was at community events this summer, including Midnight Madness and Ribfest, teaching residents about EAB and encouraging them to hire certified service providers to treat their ash trees. Recently the Oakville Chamber of Commerce joined the Canopy Club and chamber member First Canadian Title treated ash trees on its property at Sheridan Garden Drive. The town also sent a letter in late June to all private residences in Oakville outlining options for managing EAB on private property.

“Feedback from residents on Canopy Club initiatives has been positive, and residents’ enthusiasm for taking steps to protect their trees was made clear through the large number of calls we received about EAB over the summer,” added McNeil.

As part of the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s registration approval of the natural bio-insecticide TreeAzin™ late August is the deadline to treat ash trees in 2012 from the threat of EAB. Residents who saw their public ash tree treated this summer will see town crews return in 2014. Next summer, the town will target the ash trees that were treated in 2011.

More information about managing EAB can be found by visiting the EAB page. Residents can also follow the Oakville Canopy Club on Facebook and Twitter.

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For more information contact:

John McNeil
Manager, Forestry Services
Parks and Open Space Department
905-845-6601 ext.3395
jmcneil@oakville.ca

Gisèle Shaw
Manager, Corporate Communications
Strategy, Policy and Communications
905-845-6601, ext. 3166
gshaw@oakville.ca


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Town treats over 3,000 ash trees for Emerald Ash Borer in 2012