State of the City Address 2017

Entrepreneurship and growth were topics of note in the Mayor’s State of the City Address last week.

Nearly 400 people packed into the Burlington Convention Centre to hear Mayor Rick Goldring set his sights on getting Burlington back to the number one on the Moneysense list.  He wasted no time delving into the topic like the economy and job creation.

Leaning on High-Tech Investment

We know from Industry Canada that more than 40 per cent of new jobs in Canada come from companies less than five years old. This represents a significant opportunity for Burlington to strengthen the resources available, renew the entrepreneurial energy that exists locally and develop Burlington’s brand as a great place not only to start, but to grow a business.

Rick Goldring

The Mayor says that the Burlington Economic Development Council (BEDC) has created an entrepreneurship strategy to support the growing small business community.  Part of this includes the approved lease (On January 24th) for an Innovation Centre.

Goldring went on to highlight Burlington’s prime location within the ‘innovation corridor’, between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. He adds stress onto tech start-ups; to which the Innovation Centre will cater to.

“A one-stop destination for new and growing technology companies, the space will be dedicated to connecting and advancing entrepreneurs at all stages,” he says.

Growing on the Strength of Transit

Burlington has suffered in the transit area for years.  Residents have aired their gripe towards what has been a lax attitude towards improving public transit infrastructure.  A continuing part of Goldring’s plans has been to reduce the City’s reliance on the car.

“More than 90 percent of trips made within the city on any day are made by the automobile,” he says in his speech.  “We want to provide people with more transportation options. We want to make it more appealing, especially for those short-distance trips.”

There has been a smattering of steps forwards in Goldring’s time in office.  Bike lanes, additional transit routes, easier walkability; but each has been a battle of public opinion.  People have decried additional bike lanes on New Street, instead making their voices heard on matters of traffic congestion.

They city’s new strategic, “Grow Bold” plan sounds like they have finally come around to the fact that Burlington is on the cusp of a green space shortage.

“With very little greenfield left to be developed for traditional suburban-type neighbourhoods, the city is essentially built out,” he says.

He adds that growing within the boundaries of the city gives them more control over the development that occurs.  But the question is, where does transit fit into all of this? The Mayor did say that the City’s Capital Budget does forecast an investment of $300 million over the next 10 years in the improvement of our road system.

You can read the full speech here.  We always want to hear you opinions.  If there’s an issue you think has not been addressed we’d love to investigate it. Part of what will go into shaping our community in the coming years is making sure people like our readers have their voices heard.


About the Author James Gike