• Study Shows Large ROI for Mississauga’s Neighbourhood Watch Program

    A recent study on Mississauga’s Neighbourhood Watch Program estimates almost $1.7 million in property crime prevention, while saving taxpayers more than three times their initial investment and operating costs over a four-year period.
    Safe City Mississauga, a not-for-profit charitable organization mandated to deliver crime prevention services and initiatives, recently released its return-on-investment (ROI) study. Completed by Social Impact Squared, the study shows that between 2010 and 2014 initial investment and operating costs for the Neighbourhood Watch Program were $475,000, while the program saved taxpayers $1,680,000 through the prevention of property crimes.
    “This study highlights Safe City Mississauga’s strong commitment to crime prevention, while using tax dollars wisely,” said Ashley Lyons, executive director of Safe City Mississauga. “We’re proud to be able to share that our city’s Neighbourhood Watch Program is a sound investment and effective in reducing property crime for our homeowners and residents.”
    Safe City Mississauga’s Neighbourhood Watch Program uses the concepts of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), social development, and information sharing to increase awareness among residents. For more information – or to request a copy of the ROI study – please contact Alex Papatchidis, Neighbourhood Watch Program Coordinator and Staff Criminologist, at neighbourhoodwatch@safecitymississauga.on.ca.
    About Safe City Mississauga
    Safe City Mississauga is a registered charitable organization founded in 1992 to help reduce criminal opportunity and criminal victimization in Mississauga. We provide resources, staff, professional community leadership and guidance for crime prevention programs and activities; encourage crime prevention education within the public, private and voluntary sectors; and research, develop and implement new community crime prevention programs and activities. Put simply, we want to stop crime before it starts.

  • Region of Peel – Universal Influenza Immunization Program

    Peel residents have a variety of options when it comes to getting their flu shot. These
    options include family doctors, walk-in clinics, some workplaces, Peel Public Health
    community immunization clinics and over 180 pharmacies who will be offering flu shots
    during the upcoming flu season.

    For further information, please visit peelregion.ca/flu/ or call 905-799-7700.

  • Clarkson Village OMB Community Update – October 29, 2015

    Mayor and Council Logo

     

     

    Since my last update to the community on the subject of the Clarkson Village Study, I have had numerous e-mails, calls, letters and meetings with a number of residents passionate about the various issues. These residents have expressed to me a variety of positions and, as your Councillor, I am doing my best to take all of these views into account.

     

    A few of the residents have made statements that I feel the need to address directly.  In particular, some have accused me of not having a clear or consistent position with respect to the Clarkson Village development.

     

    My position has been consistent from the moment I decided to run for City Council and in every meeting I have had since then.  My position has not, however, been one that could boil down to a single sound-bite.  This is a complex issue with many dimensions.

     

    I have long believed that the Clarkson village neighbourhood is overdue for revitalization.  On this I think nearly everyone agrees.  It is a commercial district that borders some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the entire region, yet features run-down building facades, empty stores, poor streetscaping and businesses that are inconsistent with a “downtown” village vibe.  Businesses and residents alike have told me over and over that this neighbourhood is not living up to its potential.

     

    The facts are this:  The Provincial “Places to Grow” Planning Act, passed into law in 2005 by the McGuinty government, requires intensification along certain corridors and in particular near transit hubs.

     

    Following the receipt of a Planning Study which considered this Provincial policy direction, the previous City Council voted to cap new development at four storeys.   RioCan and a few other land holders have challenged this decision of Council at the OMB and that is where we stand today, with a hearing scheduled for November 23rd, 2015.

     

    With respect to the lands known as the RioCan site (also known as the Homesense Plaza), the unique planning history for this property with past decisions by both City Council and the OMB raise significant challenges as to what position can best be supported at the OMB. I have been repeatedly advised by legal staff that because of a previously agreed to settlement between the City and RioCan, as well as a previous OMB decision for the RioCan site, that a cap of four storeys would almost certainly be overturned.

     

    That is why a negotiated settlement with community benefits is so important: because the alternative is much worse.  This isn’t “fear mongering”. This is the reality.  If we lose this battle at the OMB, then we have no leverage to ensure that the concerns of local residents are respected.

     

    The negotiated settlement for the RioCan site includes an eight storey residential building, which would be at the street and support ground-level commercial retail uses. The building would be stepped back to overcome any shadowing concerns for neighbours to the north.  The settlement plan also calls for the development of a community square on the site that would become a hub for the entire Clarkson Village. This also means that RioCan narrows their appeal from the entire study area of the Village to their specific site.

     

    Furthermore, if and when RioCan does eventually bring a site-specific development application forward, I can assure residents that I will be working with them and RioCan to mitigate any potential impacts.

     

    This is why, in part based on input from legal staff and in part based on what I heard within the community including many voices favouring the resolution to the RioCan appeal, I endorsed and Council supported the proposed settlement for the RioCan site. 

     

    This is not the entire story, however.  There is another party to the OMB hearing and that is the land holders of properties to the east, on the south-side of Lakeshore at Meadow Wood Road.  In their appeal, the landowners are asking the OMB to uphold the previous staff recommendation to build up to six storeys.

     

    I see the planning context for this site as presenting different challenges which raise specific concerns.  Given the small footprint of this particular set of properties and the close proximity of the potential buildings to residents immediately to the south, I remain steadfast in supporting every effort to hold potential development on this site at two to four storeys.  This is a legal fight where there is the most potential to be successful based on sound planning principles.  I am pleased that my Council colleagues were able to support me instructing staff to fight this appeal. 

     

    To be clear, for these two areas, there are no immediate plans to develop, so there are no short-term impacts no matter which way the OMB decides.

     

    This matter is far from completed and I know there may be many twists in the road ahead.

     

    I am determined to ensure that we get this right and build a Clarkson village that is worthy of the neighbourhood we love.

     

    Resolution Oct 28.15 0260-2015 Clrksn Vllge OPA 9 (W2)

     

    Karen Ras

    Councillor, Ward 2

     Karen Contact Info

  • Leaf Pick-up Program, Fall 2015

    Council approved the 2015 Leaf Pickup Program on Wednesday October 14th, 2015 and flyers have now been mailed out to the areas that are receiving this service.

     

    Please find the following link for the Corporate Report that went to General Committee, October 7th, 2015.  Click on item # 3 for the Corporate Report:

    http://www7.mississauga.ca/documents/agendas/committees/general/2015/10_07_15_GC_Agenda.pdf

     

    For specific timing of leaf pick-up, please click on the following link:

    http://www6.mississauga.ca/onlinemaps/tranwork/design/html/leafguide/zmap.htm  and click on the zone or type in your street name.  The program will be starting a week later than last year.

     

    I requested Staff to investigate the possibility of rotating the pickup areas and unfortunately, it is not possible for 2015 as the areas are set during the summer and all maps and advertising materials are printed ahead of time.

     

    Staff will be carefully reviewing the areas for possible rotation in next year’s plan. The timing of the areas are based on the anticipated timing of the leaf drop due to tree species, topography and historical patterns.

  • Ward 2 Community Update: Clarkson Village Study OPA 9

    Mayor and Council Logo

     

    Since joining the Mississauga City Council last December, one issue has been at the top of my agenda and that is the future of the Clarkson Village. The decisions we make now will have an impact on this neighbourhood for generations to come and it is critical that we get it right.

     

    I have listened carefully to concerns of residents in Clarkson and across the entire Ward and nearly everyone I speak with believes that some form of revitalization is needed in the commercial district of Clarkson Village.  Unfortunately, the plan is now in front of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) because the land owners in two specific areas of Clarkson Village have appealed a decision by Council to limit density in the Village.

     

    The appeals of the Clarkson Village Study OPA 9 are scheduled to be heard by the OMB on November 23rd, 2015.  This hearing will examine two areas: the RioCan property to the north and east of the railway (the Homesense Plaza) and some properties on the south side, west of Meadowood (currently 1-2 storey commercial).  There is also a technical amendment regarding the Satellite site that was already approved by the OMB but needs to be included in this process to finalize that decision. (Clarkson Appellants-Bldg Hts Oct 20.15)

     

    The Provincial Government’s “Places to Grow Act” and accompanying Growth Plan require that official plans have intensification in certain corridors and, in particular, near transit hubs.  The nearby Clarkson GO station is a critical transit hub and Clarkson was identified as a Community Node capable of accepting greater density by professional City planners.  That is why, in 2010, City Planning Staff recommended through the Clarkson Village Study that there be up to a six-storey built-form in the area.

     

    In 2014, former Councillor Pat Mullin and the previous Council voted to cap the height of all buildings up to four stories, setting the stage for the appeals by the land owners to the OMB. The essence of the dispute is whether the OMB will be inclined to support the position of the City Council or whether the OMB will be persuaded by the analysis of Planning Staff who developed recommendations according to planning principles and their interpretation of the Provincial Planning Act.

     

    In my election campaign and every day since then, I have remained steadfast in my promise to constituents that I will always be honest and forthright, even if the truth is not popular.  I have also promised to consult regularly and listen carefully to the opinions of all residents and taxpayers.

     

    I have had a number of meetings and conversations with Residents, the Ratepayer Associations and the Participants on this file. I will be hosting a Community meeting on October 21st at Lorne Park Secondary School from 7-8:30 pm to discuss where we stand today, the draft settlement and the options going forward.  This is in advance of a City Council meeting where the matter will be dealt with on October 28th, 2015.

     

    A few months ago, the City retained outside independent legal counsel to meet with the property owners to attempt to reach a compromise and failing that, to prepare for the hearing in November.  This outside Counsel has arrived at a draft settlement with RioCan and has discussed the terms of a settlement with the other Appellants. It is up to City Council now to decide whether to accept its terms and why I need your input.

     

    A key provision will be for a negotiated settlement for the RioCan site. One part of the proposal calls for an eight storey residential building, which would be at the street and support ground-level commercial retail uses. The building would be stepped back to overcome any shadowing concerns for neighbours to the north.  The settlement plan also calls for the development of a community square on the site that would become a hub for the entire Clarkson Village. If this settlement is accepted, RioCan has also agreed to narrow their appeal from the entire study area to their specific site.

     

    It is also important to note that in 2010, the OMB issued a decision approving an eight storey retirement residence containing ground floor commercial uses, an urban square and streetscaping for the RioCan site. This development did not proceed at the time, but from a legal perspective, it is difficult for the City to now argue for 4 storeys on the entire property when 8 had already been approved.

     

    There has been no agreed to settlement regarding the properties on the south side, west of Meadowood Road.  Should those parcels proceed to the OMB hearing, the appellants will be arguing for up to 6 storeys.  I too have concerns about 6 storey buildings on these properties and the potential negative impacts on the immediate neighbours.

     

    As a general principle, my position has remained consistent throughout this process.  I support lower density (as expressed by building height restrictions) in the core Village area and slightly higher in the outer Village area near high-rise condo and apartment towers that are already in place.  Such a plan would allow for proper height transitions from the east to the west.  This kind of planning would also push residential density closer to the Clarkson GO Station transit hub, encouraging more people to utilize transit and mitigate traffic. Commercial properties, restaurants, shops and small businesses would be developed in the village core, where appropriate parking and traffic flows can be designed into the plan.

     

    I want to get Community feedback and I have also set out my bottom-line of what I want to see.  First, I want the immediate neighbours to be respected and issues such as shadowing to be mitigated as much as possible.  Second, I want to be in a position to work with property owners to ensure they build high-quality built form with architectural interest.  Third, I want a community square built that will become a hub and a destination for public art, events and community spirit. Fourth. I want to see the entire area become more pedestrian friendly. Fifth, I want traffic congestion to be mitigated as much as possible by making transit alternatives more convenient.  And sixth, I want Clarkson Village to become a thriving destination featuring great restaurants, shops and services.

     

    My fear right now is that by refusing to compromise and insisting that this matter be taken to the OMB no-matter-what, and should we lose, that we will lose our bargaining position. If the OMB sides with the Appellants, then I fear that the Community will have no leverage to wrest any concessions and we will either see nothing happen for many years or we will see unfettered development without community benefit. Bluntly, we need to be realistic about what we can achieve at these proceedings.

     

    This is the choice before us as a Community:  take our chances in legal proceeding where the odds are stacked against us, or work with the property owners to find a common vision that achieves all of our goals.

     

    Your input is welcomed and appreciated.

     

    Sincerely,

    Karen Ras, Councillor Ward 2


    Karen Contact Info

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