Dead on arrival: Mississauga’s dream of downtown office towers could already be over

Dead on arrival: Mississauga’s dream of downtown office towers could already be over

After turning our lives upside down for more than a year, COVID is preparing to mess with the future. Work from home could upend plans to create downtown office space, while online retail giants are asking questions about brick and mortar shopping.

A decade ago, Mississauga promised to transform its city centre into a dynamic mixed-use space. Delays in realizing this vision might offer a chance to rethink what the cities of tomorrow should look like.



The cost of recycling the wrong way: Peel & Mississauga not on the same page

The cost of recycling the wrong way: Peel & Mississauga not on the same page

Many of the steps to reduce our impact on the planet seem insignificant. Every time we leave the car at home, turn a light off or separate packaging into garbage or recycling, the individual impact goes unnoticed.

When bureaucratic problems arise, they add to the barriers around effective sustainability. Within Peel’s two-tiered system of government, each is not always on the same page and problems with the way recycling is managed are a perfect illustration. 



Vaccine eligibility expands in Peel as infection spread continues to slow  

Vaccine eligibility expands in Peel as infection spread continues to slow  

More residents in Peel are now eligible to receive their second vaccination, if they can find an appointment. 

The region’s vaccine plan is moving into a higher gear and doses are being dished out to defeat the COVID-19 delta variant. Hiccups in the system and structural barriers to access for some of the most vulnerable represent cause for concern in an otherwise positive picture.



Court upholds most of commissioner’s findings against Gurpreet Dhillon in sexual misconduct case

Court upholds most of commissioner’s findings against Gurpreet Dhillon in sexual misconduct case

The Brampton councillor has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has fought to have the integrity commissioner’s report thrown out.

A year after the interim report examining allegations stemming from a trade mission to Turkey was completed, Dhillon is raising questions about possible interference by Mayor Patrick Brown.



Brampton staff suddenly blame COVID for financial mess, ignore years of tax freezes under Patrick Brown

Brampton staff suddenly blame COVID for financial mess, ignore years of tax freezes under Patrick Brown

The City is preparing to craft its 2022 budget to be shared with residents later this year. 

A recent staff report indicates, for the first time during this council term after years of claiming all is well, that all may not be well with the City’s finances. But instead of acknowledging past mistakes caused by Mayor Patrick Brown’s reckless policy of tax freezes and reviewing possible solutions, staff are clearly working for him, not the residents who desperately need investments in their city.



Doug Ford hopes to erase our discontent

Doug Ford hopes to erase our discontent

The Premier and his ruling party are legislating toward the use of Ontario’s notwithstanding clause, in hopes of wiping away 16 months of failed pandemic leadership ahead of next year’s election. Ford has seen what happened to Donald Trump. Beyond the political gamesmanship, as desperate men try to hang onto power, will COVID-19 push our healthcare system to re-evaluate the reactive response to the pandemic, and force governments to embrace long-term solutions?



Brampton high schooler helps city join ‘red movement’ to ensure access to menstrual products

Brampton high schooler helps city join ‘red movement’ to ensure access to menstrual products

Keyna Sarkar is on a mission to fight ‘period poverty’ in Brampton, and in April, she pushed the City to provide free menstrual products in all municipal facilities. Through Girl Up Brampton, a non-profit organization started by the United Nations, she and her team are taking their message across the city, collecting sanitary products for those in need.



Can Peel walk the tightrope of mandated affordable housing?

Can Peel walk the tightrope of mandated affordable housing?

Peel Region has a housing crisis on its hands. According to a 2020 staff report, ownership and rental options are unaffordable for 80 percent of residents. 

The Region will soon be armed with inclusionary zoning. The policies will allow council to mandate affordable units from home builders, but in the profit-driven world of development, striking the right balance will be key. 



Uncertainty looms over transformative PDSB equity work as director hired for the task announces departure 

Uncertainty looms over transformative PDSB equity work as director hired for the task announces departure 

Some community advocates are processing the news Peel District School Board director of education Colleen Russell-Rawlins has accepted the job to lead the country’s largest board in Toronto. 

She was brought to Peel by the Province specifically to implement changes after a harrowing probe solidified the need to finally eradicate systemic anti-Black racism and other deeply imbedded forms of discrimination in the board. Her looming departure has thrown the sweeping agenda up in the air.



Mississauga council opts out of legal cannabis stores for the second time

Mississauga council opts out of legal cannabis stores for the second time

“A little archaic” is how Mayor Bonnie Crombie described council’s conversation after once again voting to not allow the retail sale of cannabis in Canada’s sixth largest city. 

The majority of councillors said they didn’t want a large number of stores open in the same area or in spots they deemed were more sensitive to the community. This is the second time council has opted out of the sale of cannabis in their municipality, while the illegal market is alive and well.  



Mississauga politicians fall into the trap of social media

Mississauga politicians fall into the trap of social media

Politicians in Mississauga have become increasingly critical of one another on social media in the past few months.

A number of spats and criticisms, including a recent debate between MPP Rudy Cuzzetto and Councillor Carolyn Parrish, have illustrated a use of social media that offers little value to taxpayers and residents. 



Mississauga project a first step to ease GTA’s transit woes 

Mississauga project a first step to ease GTA’s transit woes 

Changes planned for the fall will see Toronto and Mississauga work together on a pilot project that could make transferring between the two transit services much easier. 

The limited trial is the first concrete step toward a broad strategy of fare and service integration that could revolutionize commuting across the GTHA.



Brampton’s unusual social media surveillance plan raising concern around privacy & abuse by senior staff

Brampton’s unusual social media surveillance plan raising concern around privacy & abuse by senior staff

After two members of council had their social media accounts temporarily hacked, senior staff took the unprecedented steps to hire a private firm, without telling council, to monitor City Hall accounts and possibly those of private citizens. But they won’t reveal who was hired for the work.

It’s an unprecedented move surrounded by sticky issues of privacy, data gathering and potential abuse. Some councillors are questioning whether the program will even work and if staff with checkered pasts can be trusted.



Lawsuit’s defeat comes after former citizen of the year who built Brampton City Hall exposed widespread misconduct

Lawsuit’s defeat comes after former citizen of the year who built Brampton City Hall exposed widespread misconduct

John Cutruzzola says a decade-long legal fight with Brampton City Hall accomplished its goal. The company’s $28.5 million lawsuit, which will not move forward after the courts ruled against Inzola Group, revealed disturbing behaviour by former City officials, none of whom are with the municipality anymore. The court focused on whether Inzola was legitimately disqualified from the bidding process in a half-billion-dollar downtown redevelopment project, which included a City Hall expansion. Tens of thousands of pages of documents in the case exposed widespread misconduct in the way the procurement was handled.



A decade ago Mississauga needed six new fire stations — it's built one

A decade ago Mississauga needed six new fire stations — it's built one

Mississauga’s fire service has suffered from decades of neglect that has left the City scrambling to play catch-up.

Public plans and documents obtained by The Pointer show bureaucrats and councillors were warned about the service’s deficiencies more than a decade ago, but against a history of populist tax freezes, they failed to act.



Mississauga flood study shows dire need for cities to prepare for climate change

Mississauga flood study shows dire need for cities to prepare for climate change

Little Etobicoke Creek was the centre of a study that shows the next heavy rainstorm could cause huge damage to nearby businesses and homes. The municipality saw in 2013 what can happen in a flash storm, as once in a century weather events now happen every few years, thanks to man-made impacts on our rapidly changing climate. Mississauga is now trying to prepare for the next catastrophic event. 



Delta variant spreading through Peel concerning for health experts

Delta variant spreading through Peel concerning for health experts

Peel Region isn’t out of the woods yet. As the novel coronavirus continues to mutate, public health officials are in a race with time to get populations inoculated. The delta variant is now spreading in Peel, something Dr. Lawrence Loh is monitoring closely. The mayors of Mississauga and Brampton are calling on the Province to give Peel proper second-dose allocations, so the region and surrounding areas can avoid a fourth wave. 



Stuck in the past, can Mississauga ever quit the car? Councillors frown on plans to reduce parking

Stuck in the past, can Mississauga ever quit the car? Councillors frown on plans to reduce parking

Councillors in the City of Mississauga pushed back on Monday after they were presented with proposals to reduce parking in new developments to lower the cost of housing and encourage residents to leave their cars behind.

Drawing on past experience and resident complaints, several suggested transit usage simply isn’t high enough to start limiting people’s parking options.



Brown and some Brampton councillors clueless on transparency laws; motion ensures corruption investigation will no longer be handled in secret

Brown and some Brampton councillors clueless on transparency laws; motion ensures corruption investigation will no longer be handled in secret

Council voted to hire a third-party investigator to probe sweeping allegations of corruption inside City Hall made by an employee who formerly worked in CAO David Barrick’s office. Every discussion on the matter so far has happened behind closed doors, and residents want to know what’s going on. Gurpreet Dhillon fought against the practice, stating it wasn’t accountable or transparent and he moved a successful motion to ensure no more secrecy from the public.



Will rap get its fair day in court?: Avalanche the Architect hopes to appeal conviction for threatening lyrics

Will rap get its fair day in court?: Avalanche the Architect hopes to appeal conviction for threatening lyrics

During a 2014 trial that garnered international attention, Mississauga rapper Avalanche the Architect tried to convince a judge that lyrics in one of his songs were not actual threats but just artistic expression. 

It’s a theme that is becoming more common in the criminal justice system as rap songs are increasingly used as evidence in criminal trials, disproportionately impacting young, Black and Hispanic men. 



Members of Brampton’s African & Caribbean communities question HR director’s work to end anti-Black hiring practices inside City Hall

Members of Brampton’s African & Caribbean communities question HR director’s work to end anti-Black hiring practices inside City Hall

Sandeep Aujla is facing allegations of making racist comments against members of these communities.

She denies the accusations and a third-party investigation into the matter is underway. It makes it hard for members of Patrick Brown’s Black, African and Caribbean advisory group to understand why the mayor brought her to speak recently on hiring concerns directly impacting the communities.



Peel’s K9 unit has a social media style police forces should learn from

Peel’s K9 unit has a social media style police forces should learn from

An analysis by The Pointer shows Peel Regional Police’s  K9 unit is getting significant traction online. Compared to the force’s main account, the differences are stark but the messages are similar: showcasing the work of police.

It’s no surprise that these amazing police dogs are wildly popular and the following they’ve garnered has a lot to do with how Twitter as a platform works. The transparent approach with the public is an example of how the communication tool could be used by police departments. 



Peel Police and Human Rights Commission promise public engagement that will finally trigger systemic change

Peel Police and Human Rights Commission promise public engagement that will finally trigger systemic change

After false starts and programs that led nowhere, Peel police, supported by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, will launch a consultation on anti-Black racism and discrimination during the summer.

Police and human rights experts will complete a list of recommendations rooted in data and based on previous surveys, asking the community for their approval. Residents will shape policies, not the force.



Peel’s provincial candidates grind into gear ahead of June 2022 election

Peel’s provincial candidates grind into gear ahead of June 2022 election

In Mississauga and Brampton, thoughts are already turning to next year’s provincial election. One councillor in each city is hoping to move on to Queen’s Park, while other candidates have started to test the water. 

Voters in the two cities hold the keys to 11 critical seats and will find themselves the centre of attention as the Liberals, NDP and PCs vie to form the next government.



Mississauga mass shooting erupts as pandemic brings quiet to rising violent crime

Mississauga mass shooting erupts as pandemic brings quiet to rising violent crime

After increasing for five straight years, many forms of violent crime in Brampton and Mississauga decreased in 2020. 

While residents in both cities will be relieved to see the numbers going in this direction, the role of pandemic restrictions on these activities could mean the trend is only temporary instead of a sign of long-term strategies paying off.



Brampton’s abandoned healthcare system: ‘Why do we have to suffer?’

Brampton’s abandoned healthcare system: ‘Why do we have to suffer?’

The nightmare stories of two Brampton families tell the anguish of a city ignored by its leaders for decades. Residents have asked why they are treated like second-class citizens for years, but no level of government has answered for the crisis they have all created. 

The City’s crumbling healthcare system is used as an election prop then ignored until the next campaign cycle begins. Meanwhile, Brampton residents live under constant fear that a loved one will fall sick and become dependent on an infamous local healthcare system that has made national headlines during the ongoing pandemic. 



Family Services of Peel celebrates 50 years as a regional lifesaver 

Family Services of Peel celebrates 50 years as a regional lifesaver 

The pandemic is leaving a long trail of stressed and traumatized people in its slowly receding wake. Social service organizations will be the ones tasked with helping individuals process and come to terms with the year that was and get back on their feet. 

As Family Services of Peel celebrates its 50th anniversary, the newly installed executive director talks with The Pointer about what the future holds and how organizations will need to change to continue performing their critical, life-saving role.



Brampton Council’s preoccupation with Rose Theatre overlooks needs of city’s arts community

Brampton Council’s preoccupation with Rose Theatre overlooks needs of city’s arts community

Brampton’s arts community is made up of dozens of groups that share their talents during events hosted by the City’s various venues.

Despite this, the City has in recent years focused much of its energy and resources on The Rose Theatre. One advocate worries Council fails to realize the effect of ignoring many of the needs in Brampton’s struggling arts scene. 



Brown’s attempts to mislead Regional officials on downtown plan backfires – project moving forward

Brown’s attempts to mislead Regional officials on downtown plan backfires – project moving forward

Mayor Patrick Brown was repeatedly rebuffed by councillors and Region of Peel staff Thursday. His efforts to delay critically needed downtown infrastructure work failed.

His misleading comments about the history of the Downtown Reimagined project were batted away and he will now have to accept blame for a possible six-year delay to the City’s part of the crucial revitalization plan.



Region takes steps to build $124M waste facility crucial to meet climate targets 

Region takes steps to build $124M waste facility crucial to meet climate targets 

Creating a greener planet will mean diverting more waste away from greenhouse gas emitting landfill sites. 

Proposals from companies to create a new anaerobic waste facility in Peel, to turn residential green-bin waste into natural gas, will be presented to Regional Council July 8. 

The new plant will boost Peel’s organic waste processing capacity, and mark a big step toward meeting global, provincial and municipal climate targets.



Billions in transit investments make little sense without fare integration to attract GTA riders 

Billions in transit investments make little sense without fare integration to attract GTA riders 

Queen’s Park and Ottawa are investing enormous sums in transit projects around the GTA.

The new infrastructure represents the promise of a green future, but without schedule and fare integration, Brampton and Mississauga residents, like thousands of others across the GTA, likely won’t use the glittering new multi-billion-dollar infrastructure being built across the region.



Peel Children’s Aid executives under investigation received substantial pay increases

Peel Children’s Aid executives under investigation received substantial pay increases

Peel CAS and its leadership are under investigation, ordered by the Province, after allegations of anti-Black racism were laid out in a union report.

The provincial probe will also investigate the organization's financial management, with pay increases for senior leadership drastically outstripping inflation over the past two years. 



Two senior City of Brampton employees embroiled in legal battle against each other over whistleblower allegations

Two senior City of Brampton employees embroiled in legal battle against each other over whistleblower allegations

Whistleblower allegations made last month by Nikki Kaur are ‘false, malicious and defamatory’ Brampton’s head of HR claims in a lawsuit she has filed.

Sandeep Aujla, the City of Brampton’s head of human resources, launched her lawsuit against Kaur, a staff member who made bombshell allegations last month detailing a startling level of corruption inside City Hall – both are directors with the City. Aujla was described as a racist who cut corners in order to hand out raises to friends of CAO David Barrick. The lawsuit states the allegations are “totally false”.



Culture and drive make Brampton the soccer factory of Ontario

Culture and drive make Brampton the soccer factory of Ontario

Brampton’s majority immigrant population and working class culture have combined to make the city a soccer hotbed. No fewer than five members of the Toronto FC first team hail from the Flower City and more promising youngsters are making their way through the ranks. 

The plucky suburb has all the ingredients required to keep on nurturing players for the beautiful game. 



Patrick Brown – Brampton’s Donald Trump

Patrick Brown – Brampton’s Donald Trump

Scandal follows the Brampton mayor wherever he goes. His disdain for the truth and utter contempt for democratic norms are currently supported by five councillors who have decided to bow and kiss the ring, plunging City Hall into another era of turmoil.



Mississauga works to preserve its remaining green spaces

Mississauga works to preserve its remaining green spaces

As Mississauga continues its vertical expansion, spots of natural beauty are getting hemmed in. The city has no plans to slow its rapid urbanization, but the pandemic has shown all of us how important the natural world is to our collective well being. Protecting these places will become more important than ever.



Brampton’s latest mess: Brown tries to further delay ‘critically’ needed downtown revitalization work

Brampton’s latest mess: Brown tries to further delay ‘critically’ needed downtown revitalization work

Downtown business owners and residents are fed up. For decades, they have been promised updated infrastructure and the beautification of an area that has crumbled due to neglect.

Instead they have faced one broken promise after another. When the ‘Downtown Reimagined’ project was finally ready to move forward following seven years of planning, Patrick Brown cancelled it as soon as he was elected on a platform of cost cutting. Now, he’s trying to postpone the Region of Peel’s work scheduled to start this summer.



Can cameras slow Mississauga’s chronic suburban fixation with speed?  

Can cameras slow Mississauga’s chronic suburban fixation with speed?  

It’s no secret Peel Region as a whole has some deep rooted problems with residents slamming their foot on the gas. The area has one of the highest car insurance rates in the country and has for years made national headlines for tragic car accidents. 

Today, Mississauga City Council voted to add 20 new automated speed enforcement cameras in designated safety and school zones. But the real solution likely lies in how the maturing city continues to evolve from its suburban beginnings.



The complex balancing act between cities and PCs vying for power over local planning

The complex balancing act between cities and PCs vying for power over local planning

The Province’s repeated bulldozing of local planning processes has been a headache for many cities. After stating its opposition to widespread usage of Ministerial Zoning Orders, a tool frequently used by the Ford government to rapidly approve development projects without proper consultation, the City of Mississauga recently requested one of its own to fast track a film studio. 

Can new rules be established to help guide cities in their decision making on when it is best to allow the Province to make local planning decisions?



Peel residents 12 and older now getting vaccinated; Outdoor activities opening for long weekend; Province looks at reopening June 14

Peel residents 12 and older now getting vaccinated; Outdoor activities opening for long weekend; Province looks at reopening June 14

As vaccine eligibility continues to expand, more Peel Region residents are getting their turn at the jab. Thanks to the special two-week allocation of doses to hotspots, the region overall has been trending downward in positive cases and upward in first doses.

The provincial government announced the May long weekend will feature golf, tennis and other outdoor activities. But parents still don’t know if children will go back into classrooms this year. 



It’s a one-way communication street with solicitor general, Sylvia Jones

It’s a one-way communication street with solicitor general, Sylvia Jones

As Ontario’s solicitor general and MPP for Dufferin-Caledon, Sylvia Jones operates in the intersection of provincial and municipal politics.

But in a pandemic that has raged within her region, some Ontario residents question if the person in charge of public safety is interested in consulting with them to make her decisions.



New housing plan requires Brampton to kick its addiction to single family homes

New housing plan requires Brampton to kick its addiction to single family homes

After more than three years of work, staff at the City of Brampton have unveiled a new housing plan.

The blueprint, which has significant costs associated, offers a route forward on housing for a council whose planning regime has been ruled by developers. 



City keeping councillors in the dark on controversial Brampton Municipal Development Corporation  

City keeping councillors in the dark on controversial Brampton Municipal Development Corporation  

A workshop was sold as an avenue for Brampton’s elected officials to ask any questions about the controversial consulting work to set up a corporation to manage the city’s real estate portfolio.

The job was handed to an associate of Mayor Patrick Brown after a whistleblower alleges she was told to only contact one individual. After news of the questionable arrangement was reported, the workshop was promised to find out how taxpayer dollars were spent. Almost four months later, councillors say they are still waiting for answers.



The cat-and-mouse game of illegal cannabis in Mississauga: 86% increase in charges for impaired driving

The cat-and-mouse game of illegal cannabis in Mississauga: 86% increase in charges for impaired driving

Mississauga’s refusal to host legal cannabis stores pushes residents who use the substance to illegal stores, mobile dispensaries à la Uber Eats, or to nearby cities. Charges for driving while under the influence of cannabis have almost doubled since 2018. 

Meanwhile, police are spending heavy resources trying to shut down illegal storefronts as more popular mobile dispensaries are also thriving.  



Peel vaccine figures finally cause for celebration

Peel vaccine figures finally cause for celebration

After months of getting the short end of the stick, Peel has administered more than its per-capita allocation of vaccines.

An increasingly heartening vaccination campaign offers residents some hope, but the dire situation in hospitals means the region still has a long way to go. 



With a new owner Brampton’s Fiat Chrysler plant faces an uncertain future

With a new owner Brampton’s Fiat Chrysler plant faces an uncertain future

The next few months or years promise to be a ‘combustible’ time for the old Chrysler assembly line on Williams Parkway as it falls under new ownership. Can muscle cars keep the doors open in an age of sweeping policies to curb climate change?



City Hall doesn’t reflect its residents; can Mississauga’s white leadership change this?

City Hall doesn’t reflect its residents; can Mississauga’s white leadership change this?

A survey of staff at City Hall has confirmed what most already knew: local government does not look like its residents. Less than 30 percent of the City’s staff identify as racialized, compared to about 60 percent of the Mississauga population, while the highest level of leadership is exclusively white.

The leader in charge of the diversity portfolio is also a white man. Eleven out of twelve council members are white. Without the lived experience, some question if they are an illustration of City Hall’s culture of indifference toward equity and inclusion.



Movement on downtown Brampton Reimagined project ‘like rolling Jell-O uphill’

Movement on downtown Brampton Reimagined project ‘like rolling Jell-O uphill’

Creating a beautiful cityscape throughout a decaying downtown has been on the agenda for Brampton City Council for decades. Dysfunction among council members has returned, jeopardizing the future of a city centre desperately in need of a complete makeover. Wednesday’s meeting was an exercise in futility and local business owners are ready to revolt.



‘Grotesque’: Brampton councillors will get details on alarming raises for senior staff during pandemic

‘Grotesque’: Brampton councillors will get details on alarming raises for senior staff during pandemic

In a committee meeting, councillors found out that Brampton, during a year when the city was crushed by a public health crisis, saw the biggest jump in the number of employees on the “sunshine list” to date. Anxious not to repeat mistakes of the past, some councillors want a much needed discussion around senior staff salaries and perks, considering their responsibility to protect the taxpayers they represent.



Will the 2021 Census help Brampton finally get its fair share of funding?

Will the 2021 Census help Brampton finally get its fair share of funding?

In a city that has faced tremendous population growth over the past three decades, which is projected to last at least another 20 years, Brampton has remained grossly underfunded. With one full-service hospital for a population approaching 700,000 and a lack of equitable public funding in almost all key government sectors, an issue that has loomed for years is the difficulty to accurately account for the city’s population. The current Census represents an opportunity to finally change this and secure a fair share of funding.