It's back to business for council 'Challenges, opportunities' ahead

Nick Perry, Special to the Post

In his address at the inaugural meeting of the newly-elected city council Monday, Mayor Rob MacIsaac spoke of the unique challenges facing City Hall. For the next three years he promised an emphasis on bringing a post-secondary campus to the city in order to draw more professionals and provide educational opportunities. Continued waterfront development, challenging the mid-peninsula highway proposal and taking the province to task over growth management and transportation planning were among some of the other items MacIsaac included on council's 'to do' list.

Dec 5, 2003 - Dennis Smith - The Burlington Post

A flash of colour and a call for new ways of thinking marked the start of city council's new term Monday.

Wearing familiar 'redcoat' uniforms, several Burlington Teen Tour Band members led council and senior staff in for the inaugural meeting.

Superior court justice the Honourable C. Raymond Harris swore in Mayor Rob MacIsaac and councillors Rick Craven (Ward 1), Joan Lougheed (Ward 2), John Taylor (Ward 3), Jack Dennison (Ward 4), Mike Wallace (Ward 5) and Carol D'Amelio (Ward 6). All are returning from last term.

MacIsaac said he's excited and committed to working with councillors during the 2003-6 term.

"A number of challenges and a number of opportunities are ours to seize together," he said. "It matters that we set the bar high."

MacIsaac said trends at several levels will impact the city.

"There have been massive changes in the world economic order," he said. "The 21st century will be different from the 20th century. The rules have changed."

As an example, he cited a commercial retailer's comment that their product manufactured for $21 per unit in Burlington can be made in China for $2, including shipping.

MacIsaac said a transformation in thinking is needed, as well as innovators and creators.

He believes attracting a post-secondary campus would enhance Burlington's quality of life and draw " professionals, educational opportunities and a new focus."

MacIsaac said Burlington has a great downtown; he'd like to see a national retailer and a four-star convention hotel there. "And we will continue to develop the waterfront as a great place for people," he said.

But core values must survive and residents want natural features and the environment preserved, said MacIsaac.

There will be continued pressure to build the mid-peninsula highway and vigilance is vital on that issue, he said.

MacIsaac said suburban 905 communities' needs are important. He said the provincial government has failed in growth management and in linking land use and transportation planning.

He plans to pursue the latter two issues. MacIsaac also noted Burlington is transforming from a suburban to an urban community.

Preserving General Brock High School parklands, supporting a performing arts centre, strategic planning, realigning ward boundaries, updating the Official Plan, watching the budget and keeping taxes affordable were cited by MacIsaac as other key tasks.

Burlington Fire Department chaplain Terry Clark and Hussein A. Hamdani of the Burlington Mosque led prayers and stressed the importance of council members' leadership.

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