Council Meeting Highlights from February 27, 2023 and March 8, 2023

Please note that in accordance with the City’s Procedure By-law, Council passed a resolution to recess the February 27, 2023 Council Meeting at 12:52 am on February 28, 2023. The Meeting reconvened on March 8, 2023 at 7:00 pm to consider the remaining items of business on the Agenda.

The City of Pickering approves sharing casino revenues with the Region of Durham

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) opened Pickering Casino Resort on July 26, 2021. OLG makes payments to host communities under the Municipality Contribution Agreements. OLG has issued non-tax gaming revenue payments totaling $20,253,780 (up to December 31, 2022) to the City of Pickering for hosting the Pickering Casino Resort.

The City of Pickering has publicly proposed that a percentage of gaming revenues at full build-out of the gaming facility be directed to the Region, and further, that a portion of the revenues shared be directed to Social Housing and or other social programs.

Based on an annual estimated Pickering Casino revenues, in the amount of $16 million, the following allocations will be made:

  • City of Pickering will retain $13 million per year and the Region will receive $3 million per year.
  • Over the term of the agreement ending 2026, the City of Pickering will retain $52 million and the Region will receive $12 million.

Subject to Council’s approval of the annual budget, the annual allocation of Pickering casino revenues by the City of Pickering will be substantially dedicated to capital projects and a portion to community grants.

Council Members presented with a Long Standing Service Certificate

The Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, M.P.P. Pickering-Uxbridge presented the Long Standing Service certificate to Councillor Brenner & Councillor Pickles. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing provides a signed certificate to recognize municipal elected officials who have served for at least 25 years.

The Pickering Anti-Black Racism Taskforce (PABRT) 2022 Year End Report and Proposed 2023 Work Plan was received for information

Staff reported on PABRT’s 2022 work plan which included activities like:

  • Powerfully Informed Series to support awareness, education and engagement around the 2022 Municipal Election, and promote civic engagement among Black residents.
  • Youth Academic Engagement Strategy to support Black youth in their pursuit of postsecondary education
  • And more – read details on page 114 of the Council Meeting Agenda.

The current Taskforce members are nearing the end of their term and the City is preparing to launch the next term of the PABRT.

As such, a number of 2023 work plan initiatives were presented, with the understanding that those appointed to serve on the next term of the PABRT will decide on how to proceed with initiatives for the remainder of the year and allocate the remaining budget accordingly.

Council approves Green and Inclusive Community Building Fund Application

Council permitted staff to submit an application under the Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Building (GICB) program for the retrofit of George Ashe Library & Community Centre.

The George Ashe Library & Community Centre currently has planned retrofits and repairs over the next five years totaling $3,684,000 in capital costs. The Green and Inclusive Community Building Fund is currently accepting applications for retrofit projects, funding up to 80% of costs up to $10,000,000, where retrofits will result in a minimum of 25% energy improvements.

Overview provided of financial impacts to the City of Pickering regarding Bill 23 More Homes, Built Faster Act

In collaboration with the Region of Durham, and Durham lower-tier municipalities, a financial exercise was undertaken to apply to some degree, a consistent approach as it relates to the costs associated with Bill 23. The estimated revenue losses to the City of Pickering associated with Bill 23 is expected to be at least $22.8 million over four years.

Council approves new Electric-Kick Scooter By-law

On January 1, 2020, the Ministry of Transportation introduced a five year pilot program to permit Electric Kick Scooters (e-scooters) on Ontario’s roads. Under the five year pilot project, the MTO has provided municipalities the ability to regulate the use of devices on roads, paths and other property under their jurisdiction.

The Region of Durham has already enacted a by-law regulating the use of e-scooters on Regional roads. Council Resolution #982/22 directed staff to undertake a public consultation and report back to Council in February, 2023.

Staff considered feedback received during the public consultation period and the Region of Durham’s by-law when recommending the City’s draft By-law for approval. The Durham Regional Police Service will enforce provisions of this By-law related to sidewalk and roadway use. Municipal Law Enforcement Services will enforce the use of e-scooters in parks under the authority provided in the City’s Parks By-law.

Council approves Community Safety and Well-Being Initiatives

Council approved two agreements that would support residents experiencing homelessness in the community.

These included:

  1. A revised agreement with Christian Faith Outreach Centre to operate the overnight Warming Centre at Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex (1867 Valley Farm Rd.) for the period of March 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024. The overnight Warming Centre is currently operating at the East Shore Community Centre, however the new proposed location would be more appropriate, considering it already operate as a Warming Centre during regular business hours.
  2. An agreement with DARS Inc. (Dedicated Advocacy Resource Support - volunteer nonprofit organization in Pickering) to operate the outreach shower facilities initiative at Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex Arena Dressing Rooms for the period of March 1, 2023 to September 30, 2023.

The facilities had previously been operated by the Christian Faith Outreach Centre but they are no longer able to support the continuation of this program. DARS Inc. has offered to continue the program and will provide onsite staff supervision, and towel and hygiene packages. The dedicated useable space will be accessible every Wednesday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. 

FGF Brands

Council approved a draft plan of subdivision application and a Zoning By-law amendment application submitted by Caplink Limited (FGF Brands) to permit a food manufacturing facility consisting of 3 manufacturing plants and a distribution centre on the southwest corner of Highway 7 and Whites Road, north of Highway 407 in Pickering's Seaton area. Caplink Limited (FGF Brands) is a food manufacturing business.

FGF Brands is a technology company that bakes. They have become a global leader by replacing low-tech equipment with robotics, integrated AI systems, machine learning, and supply chain innovations.

FGF Food Manufacturing Campus, also known as the Wonderbrands Innovation Business Park, is a proposed industrial and office development on the southwest corner of Highway 7 and Whites Road, north of Highway 407 in Pickering's Seaton area.

Construction has started and the first facility is expected to be operational next year. FGF expects to bring 2,000 jobs in Phase 1 and 3,000 jobs in Phase 2.

City to explore the implementation of an Urban Farming Pilot Project

In an effort to support sustainability and access to food, the City will be exploring a new pilot project that will permit backyard egg production (chicken farming) and vertical farming. Currently, the City’s Exotic Animal By-law prohibits chicken raising. Staff will report back on the matter with details identifying the pilot locations, engagement opportunities, health, safety, and inspections.

City to create an Office of Affordability

Staff will create an Office of Affordability (OA) within the City Development Department.

The role of the OA will include researching and recommending a definition for housing affordability in the City of Pickering, acting as the subject expert/resource for all available programs/funding opportunities from all levels of government that can assist developers/builders to achieve affordability, and reviewing and commenting on all applications to the City Development Department under the affordability lens.

The Notice of Motion regarding an Opposition to a Pickering Airport and Utilization of Resources was deferred to the April 24, 2023 Council Meeting.

The notice of motion under consideration is:

Based on KPMG’s conclusion that a sound supply-and-demand business case could not be made for a Pickering airport up to 2036, and based on the City’s declared intention to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the Council for The Corporation of the City of Pickering does not support an airport on the Pickering Lands; and that no further resources and/or funds be utilized to promote an airport on the Pickering Lands; and that the City of Pickering continue to endorse support for a High Frequency Rail option with a station located in Green River as the preferred transportation network.

North East Pickering Carruthers Creek Watershed – Seeking an Agreement from the Town of Ajax

Council passed a motion to engage with the Town of Ajax to ensure its concerns pertaining to the Watershed on Carruthers Creek, related to North East Pickering development (Veraine), have been satisfied.

Durham Meadoway Enhancements and Amendments

The Durham Meadoway is a proposed pedestrian and cycling route and linear park that will connect people to destinations across more than 27 kilometres of Durham Region. The route will connect Rouge National Urban Park in the City of Pickering to Simcoe Street in the City of Oshawa.

The Region of Durham engaged the City of Pickering, and Council proposed a number of enhancements to be considered, including lighting, rest stations, and an artificial ice surface skating trail.

Past highlights shown below.

Council Meeting Highlights from January 23, 2023 

Council approves $100,000 investment in The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre

Council heard from Lorrie Hagen, Executive Director, and Serge Babin, Board Chair, The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre, who requested the City consider an investment of $100,000 (to be paid over a four-year period) that would support the expansion of the organization’s current site.

The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre services patients and their families from all of Durham Region. By expanding the site, the Centre will be able to provide additional patient counselling space and increase its expertise care.

Council unanimously approved including the $100,000 investment in the 2023 Budget process.

Council against issuing a Minister’s Zoning Order at 3060 Highway 7 at current time

Council received correspondence from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing, regarding a request they received to issue a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) under s.47 of the Planning Act at 3060 Highway 7 in Pickering.

The purpose of the MZO is to facilitate a 128-bed long-term care home along with ancillary institutional, commercial, and residential uses. The correspondence requested the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing be advised that the City does not object to the issuance.

Council recognizes the need for more government-funded long-term care facilities, but could not support the granting of an MZO at this time for the following reasons:

  • there has not been any consultation with the First Nations People, Mississaugas of Scugog Islands
  • there are potential environmental impacts on abutting rivers and/or tablelands
  • there is insufficient infrastructure such as roads, water, sanitary sewers and other such infrastructure

Council supports staff recommendation to not comment on Envision Durham

The Region of Durham has requested further input on its Draft Settlement Area Boundary Expansions and Area Municipal Growth Allocations, as part of its Envision Durham project.

City staff feel that it is premature to comment further on the Envision Durham reports at this time. Council supports staff recommendations to refrain from providing further comments.

Council approves budget to purchase new equipment for Pickering Fire Services

Council provided pre-budget approval for the 2023 Capital Budget for the purchase of new portable radios for Pickering Fire Services staff. This $500,000 investment will be funded from a five-year internal loan.

2023 Interim Tax Levy approved

Council approved the City’s 2023 Interim Property Tax Levy Instalment due dates, which will be February 27, 2023 and April 27, 2023.

Council orders review of existing Boards & Advisory Committees

Council directed staff to conduct a review of all Boards & Advisory Committees, and that the review include the creation of three new Advisory Committees:

  1. Waterfront Visionary Advisory Committee (to advise on best practices to preserve the Nautical Village marine theme and restore a waterfront that is environmentally sustainable and accessible).
  2. Community Safety and Wellbeing Advisory Committee (to be responsible for the creation of a Homelessness Task Force that will work in partnership with Regional staff to look at how to best address the needs of the homeless population).
  3. Local & Small Business Advisory Committee (to advise on impacts of City policy implications and the measures that will assist businesses impacted by the intensification along Kingston Road).

If you enjoyed this month's Council Highlights, feel free to check out the video recordings of full-length Council Meetings on the City's YouTube channel

Please note, this is not an official record of the Council Meeting.  A link to the minutes will be shared on the website calendar, and will also be available through Corporate Records.