Happy New Year! I am excited about the New Year.
I’m excited because of Mississauga’s strong position and the potential for our city in 2018.
Together, we are moving Mississauga forward toward a bright and promising future.
2017 was a milestone year for Canada and Mississauga. Mississauga joined all communities across Canada to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of our respected and peaceful democracy.
Many of you joined us for the year-long festivities that took place across Mississauga.
During our 150th year, Canada has emerged as a beacon to the world. As other countries close their borders and sow dissent and division, Canada remains a strong democracy where people of all faiths, cultures, colours, and creeds, can find a home and flourish.
Our commitment to welcoming people from around the world, celebrating – not just tolerating – the faiths and cultures of our people, and doing our best to ensure that every Canadian, no matter if you came here 150 years ago or 150 days ago, has an opportunity to succeed, sets us apart.
As a City, Mississauga is a localized representation of this Canadian vision.
We are home to people from every country on Earth, speaking over 200 languages.
Yet our great diversity does not divide us; it unites us. Our diversity is our strength.
We’re changing as a City – for the better.
The Mississauga of the first 40 years will look much different from the Mississauga of the next 40 years.
Yet, we would not be in the position we are today without the strong foundations laid by those who came before us.
As we look ahead, we reflect on where we came from…my vision for Mississauga is one that is diverse, dynamic, welcoming, and inclusive.
It’s a Mississauga made up of livable, walkable, affordable communities, where people can raise a family, and see their grandchildren grow.
It is communities connected by transit, where people can get where they need to go quickly, affordably, and seamlessly.
We are investing in transit to connect our residents and communities to the wider GTA region.
We’re building affordable housing, reshaping our communities to be more livable and walkable while at the same time protecting our environment…
We are making our city smarter by investing in new technologies and connecting our businesses and residents.
And, we are building critical infrastructure to improve our already high quality of life and our local economy…including parks, trails, community centres, roads and bridges, and so much more.
At the same time, we remain fiscally prudent, keeping tax increases at around the rate of inflation and providing good value for tax dollars
For the 14th straight year, Mississauga retains its Triple-A credit rating.
Like the private sector, we’ve built the Lean process into the City of Mississauga’s corporate DNA to ensure we look for savings and more efficient ways of delivering services.
Budget 2018 projected savings of over $3 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money – totalling $52 million over the past decade.
We secured new foreign-direct investment opportunities from our international Economic Development Office investment missions including Tohmei Industries, a renowned Japanese aerospace company.
And BioLab, a $56 million investment that will create new high-value-added jobs.
And in 2018, there is more to come.
With over 88,000 businesses and an unrivalled commitment to supporting business growth, we are becoming a magnet for new investment.
We are on track to get construction underway in 2018 to build the fully funded Hurontario Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.
We recently opened the Renforth Gateway, the most eastern station on the Mississauga Transitway and the final stop on the 18-kilometre, 12-stop Transitway.
There are over 100,000 jobs along this line alone.
At the same time, we invested in our local MiWay transit to create an additional 46,000 hours of service in 2018.
We also continue to advocate for all-day, two-way GO on all Mississauga corridors, in particular, the Milton line – the second busiest line in the GO network.
It remains a top priority as Mississauga is now a net importer of jobs and in need of service both ways, all day.
In our efforts to make government work better and be more transparent and accountable to taxpayers, we introduced recorded votes for all Council votes.
We’ve also put more of our services online to make it easier for consumers to do business with the city.
We are pressing ahead with a sustainable social procurement policy that considers social, ethical and environmental factors in the purchasing process, along with price, quality and service – the entire cost of a product of service.
And for the first time, we are developing a Climate Change Action Plan to protect our environment for future generations.
And, I am particularly proud that Mississauga has officially joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, joining the major cities of the world in the fight to protect our planet.
This year we also launched – Making Room for the Middle – Mississauga’s bold new housing strategy to increase the supply of housing for middle income earners – the workforce that drives our local economy.
It’s critical to our growth that people can both live and work in their community and not be priced out of the market – where families can stay close together and commutes are manageable.
We continue to press ahead and implement a series of community consultation plans that are shaping neighbourhoods throughout Mississauga, including: Vision Cooksville, Inspiration Lakeview, Inspiration Port Credit, My Malton, the Ninth Line Lands, Dundas Connects, Britannia Farms and Downtown21 Plan
Mississauga is growing and building new communities connected by transit and trails; home to parks and community centres, public spaces, and an unrivalled quality of life.
While we have so much to be proud of, we must not lose sight of what more we have to do.
When 15 per cent of our residents live in poverty. There is more we can do.
In 2017 Mayor’s City-Wide Food Drive, we raised $225,409 and collected 265,611 pounds of food.
Since we launched this important initiative in 2015, we have raised an astonishing $431,857 and 634,486 pounds of food for The Mississauga Food Bank and its member agencies.
At the same time, food bank usage continues to rise and shockingly, children make up over 50 per cent of users.
When more than 30 per cent of residents are spending more than 35 per cent of their income on housing and families are forced to live further and further apart, we have an affordability issue. There’s more we can do.
As we enter 2018, I challenge you to ask yourself: “Is there more I can do or actions I can take to make my City and my community a better place to live?”
Is there a way I can do more to help others?”
Small, random acts of kindness can go a long way to making the lives of others better. I challenge all of you to commit a small, random act of kindness each day.
As we look ahead, there is much more to be done. We’ve only just begun.
In 2018, let’s continue what we’ve started
Our future is bright, but only if we work together.
Here’s to 2018. Happy New Year!
Mayor Bonnie Crombie
Visit www.mayorcrombie.ca/mayor-crombies-2018-new-years-levee-remarks for Mayor Crombie’s full speech.