The five pillars of the city’s Strategic Plan – move, belong, connect, prosper and green – are all well represented in 2019 business plans and their related budgets. Many Mississauga initiatives serve multiple pillars.
Mississauga’s commitment to a high standard of public safety is resulting in a multi-year requirement for investment. High-density growth plans for the city will contribute to its vibrancy and will require increasingly robust prevention, response and suppression capabilities for fire and emergency services.
Investments in public education as well as inspections, new fire stations and staff, trucks and other equipment will improve the service’s capacity to prevent emergencies and respond to emergencies with speed and effectiveness. Station 120 will open in 2019, and six additional stations are planned for the 12 years that follow.
The multiple, multi-year initiatives combined form a program of public safety activity the city is calling the Public Safety Fire Program. To fund the program, a tax increase equivalent to one per cent will be required every year, from 2019 through 2022.
The city’s commitment to a high standard of public safety is also driving new investment in security services. In 2019, the municipality will add 13,870 hours of security staff time. The proactive provision will add mobile patrols during high-activity periods and enhance static posts and system monitoring. Along with the staff additions, the city will invest in integrated security system platforms and new capabilities for incident management and dispatch processes. The improvements to the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to security issues will help keep Mississauga’s 5.6 million square feet of public property safe and secure for all, now and in the future.
The city will continue, in 2019, to focus on expanding the availability and usefulness of our transit service to get people where they need to go, quickly and pleasantly. MiWay will add 31,000 service hours to expand service and address congestion issues arising from ongoing construction projects. Next year, customer boardings are forecast to exceed 56 million.
Transit and transportation rely on road and cycling networks that are well maintained, so, the city will continue work to keep roads, bridges and cycling infrastructure in good repair. In 2019, bridge reconstructions and road rehabilitation projects will proceed, including the renewal of 47 kilometres of roads (81 streets).
The city will continue its work with Metrolinx and the City of Brampton throughout 2019 and beyond to plan and construct the 20-kilometre Hurontario Light Rail Transit (HuLRT) project, with expected completion in 2022.
In 2019, the city will continue to offer all the services they currently provide. With some adjustments to respond to demand and/or efficiencies, the services will generally be provided at equivalent or higher levels. The ongoing efficient, effective delivery of the right services accounts for the majority of the 2019 operating budget.
A major renovation is planned for Central Library. The library’s future space planning aims at repurposing traditional layouts and creating more multi-purpose space. The plan emphasizes public space, flexibility, technology and multiple uses. By re-purposing ancillary spaces, an additional 20,000 square feet for public access will be gained. In addition to the added space, an express library will be included in the redeveloped facility as well as food services and a modernization of the Noel Ryan Auditorium.
The revitalization will include more modern and future-focused digital offerings with enhanced customer service. One of the major facets of the transformation will be the investment in a permanent makerspace and a digital hub. Compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards for new buildings will ensure customers with disabilities have barrier-free access to library space, collections, and service. New offerings will include quiet spaces, flexible spaces with modern multi-purpose furniture and technology to help support and enhance the customer service experience.
Effective April 1, Mississauga implemented a Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) of four per cent on hotel stays and short-term rentals. The revenue from the tax is directed to tourism activities, both operating and capital, and allows the city, in partnership with Tourism Toronto, to promote Mississauga as a destination and provide support to attractions, events and tourism-related facilities. Funding programs include marketing initiatives, implementing the city’s Tourism Master Plan, and direct support for the city’s tourism unit. In addition, MAT funding will cover the cost to increase the arts spending per capita from $3.50 to $4.50 over the next four years, fund culture service area’s grant programs (arts and culture, festivals and celebrations, heritage and project grants) and live music initiatives.
In addition to the work the city is undertaking in partnership with other levels of government and community partners, in 2019, Mississauga continues to advance toward its vision by protecting existing infrastructure investments and making some strategic new ones.
Several major projects to retrofit and refurbish the city’s well-used and well-loved recreational facilities and libraries will begin or continue in 2019.
Nearly 70 per cent of the city’s 10-year committed capital program is for state of good repair (SGR) projects, which support the maintenance of $9.2 billion worth of infrastructure assets, including work on Mavis Road from Courtneypark Drive to the north city limits; the Goreway Drive Rail Grade Separation project and Square One Drive from Confederation Parkway to Rathburn Road West.
Infrastructure investments include the recreation facility and park, now under construction at Churchill Meadows, and a major renovation being planned for Central Library. The city’s virtual infrastructure will also be improved with the phased roll-out of Mississauga’s new corporate website.
Responding to changes in standards and legislation, fire and emergency services will be adding 34 fire safety inspectors over a five-year period, to meet the inspection cycle standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Inspection cycles are based on the risk level of the occupancy type as identified in the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services Comprehensive Risk Assessment, which was completed in 2017. The positions will be funded by the proposed Public Safety Fire Program Reserve Fund.
Legal Services will be adding a construction litigation team to respond to the provincially legislated requirements of the Construction Act. All city construction projects are affected by the legislation. A prosecutor will also be added to handle the transfer of Part III Highway Traffic Act (HTA) charges from the province as well as an articling student to allow the team to meet the city’s needs for legal support in the most cost-effective manner possible.
Land development services is facing increasing pressures on staff and resources as it responds to a number of recent provincial legislative changes. They include, but are not limited to, Bill 139, which overhauls the planning appeal process; Bill 68, which enables municipalities to pass climate change by-laws; new Growth Plan rules and intensification targets; and emergent regulatory issues such as private retail sales of cannabis.
As well, planning and building is initiating a planner internship program in 2019 that will help address some pressures.