Brampton’s small but strong arts scene is an important part of the cultural identity in one of the world’s most diverse cities. It has survived funding cuts, political gamesmanship and other tests over time, but the impact of the novel coronavirus is another challenge altogether.
A reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and a city named after the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, might have taken place on the old hydro lands in Lakeview. However, a planned Indigenous village meant to honour our past and open up possibilities for the future, was eliminated in the latest version of this massive mixed-use development.
A group of activists will interact with Mayor Crombie later this month in hopes of reviving their dream.
A consortium of private-sector developers is planning to build a massive mixed-use Lakeview Village on the former lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. It’s a multi-billion-dollar scheme that has evolved from humble beginnings into vertical sprawl. The latest version is almost double the size from the original plan, and is sure to fill the developer’s pockets with what could amount to billions of extra dollars.
What it won’t do is make happy those from Eagle Spirits of the Great Waters, the Lakeview Residents Association, or the supporters of late Ward 1 councillor Jim Tovey who long-ago conceived an award-winning, people-friendly Lakeview Village plan that was sublime in concept, and built to “human scale.”
After seeing a draft version in September, Mississauga councillors officially endorsed the city’s climate action plan. The blueprint for a green future lays out a series of tasks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
However, turning the sprawling and car-happy city into a Scandinavian paradise will not be simple or cheap.
Wednesday, December 4, was meant to be the day Mississauga’s City Council approved the 2020 budget. Instead, staring at a huge tax increase, councillors voted to delay until late-January when they will try to figure out how to cut corners so homeowners aren’t crippled with costs to pay for the city’s widening infrastructure gap. One key cost-cutting area to look at is the city’s hefty expense for staff salaries, benefits and pensions.
Several Brampton councillors expressed dismay at the fact that less than 30 percent of city staff took part in a diversity and inclusion survey that cost $90,000 to carry out.
Council is now looking to get further, more in-depth results by having a complete audit done of the corporation to find out if its hiring and promotional practices are fair and reflective of one of the most diverse cities in the world.
In October last year, the PCs cancelled $90 million of funding promised for a downtown Ryerson University satellite campus in Brampton, marking the first plot twist in the city’s attempt to land a major post-secondary investment.
In the latest chapter, Mayor Patrick Brown and his council have launched an ambitious bid to create a brand new university, while a local college presence grows and Algoma also plans its latest expansion.
The province says a cache of $65 million in initiatives announced this year for anti-gun and gang initiatives will not be available for municipal applications until next year.
With very little wiggle room in the regional budget and hints already made that police will need to tighten the purse strings, it leaves councillors pulled in two different directions: respect the property tax payer while addressing a rise in gun and gang crime.
Last week, the provincial government put shovels in the ground on an expensive 18-kilometre widening of the 401 designed to reduce congestion. The project, which was initiated by the Ontario Liberals and continued by the Progressive Conservatives, will see three years of highway reconstruction to make driving easier. In the background, city and provincial priorities appear unaligned on the issues of transit expansion and protecting the environment.
The province of Ontario will provide $20 million annually to organizations across the GTA offering support to survivors of human trafficking.
Not only will the influx of funds help create new programs to help women and men who have been victims of sex trafficking, it will also allow for the creation of much needed, long-term supports.
They’re not as exciting as new train systems or glitzy public buildings, but the Region of Peel is responsible for key pieces of infrastructure that keep everything running, including waste management and water pipes and roads that crisscross through Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Numbers in the region’s proposed 2020 budget show just how much strain its $30 billion worth of infrastructure is under.
In the past, many seniors would sell their family home and downsize to a smaller, more affordable unit. However, a 21st century trend in Canada has seen more and more people hold onto their detached house in retirement, creating a squeeze on the property market. During budget season in municipalities, this creates an even bigger problem, as politically active senior residents on fixed incomes leave councillors in a dilemma.
Councillors from Mississauga dominated discussions at the first major Region of Peel budget meeting of the season.
Staff at the region say the proposed budget, with its tax increase of 1.7 percent for the region’s portion of the bill, is already as thin as it can safely be, yet the tone of discussions suggests changes will come. In particular, it was Peel Regional Police’s request for 35 new officers and an extra $23 million which came into question.
Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish recently told the new chief of Peel Regional Police that he would be “a hero in Malton” after he announced plans to re-open the area’s community police station, which was closed in 2018. At the region’s most recent Police Services Board meeting, Chief Nish Duraiappah offered more details on an opening date and the free rent provided to the force, promising that the community station is just a short-term measure, with medium and long-term solutions to follow.
The Region of Peel is transforming its affordable housing service delivery in an attempt to make sure those who are most in need get into affordable housing first.
It remains unknown what impact this change will have on the centralized waitlist which has grown to nearly 15,000 people.
A town hall meeting organized by a group of residents saw over 300 people attend to provide feedback on a proposed development at the corner of Mayfield Road and Kennedy Road.
With approximately 360 units planned for the site, residents say the city is trying to shoehorn too many people into a community that can’t support it.
Inside the walls of Brampton city hall, things look a lot different than the municipality outside its doors.
The results of a recent audit have found that only 37 percent of Brampton’s staff are racialized individuals compared to nearly 75 percent of the city’s population.
But Mayor Patrick Brown’s office is a completely different story, with the vast majority of his own hires representing the diverse communities of his city.
It is free for landlords to register secondary suites with Mississauga, where Brampton charges $200. Yet, as of November 1, fewer than 900 properties were registered with the city, while 163 complaints were made about units that might be illegal.
Research by The Pointer found multiple illegal basement units advertised for rent on online marketplaces, with the city confirming it had laid no charges in 2019 for unlawful rental properties.
After weeks of turmoil at the Peel District School Board, and an upcoming probe by the province into allegations of anti-Black racism within the board, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is speaking out.
In a letter to board chair Stan Cameron, Brown urges the board to get its act together, to stop dismissing community concerns and he suggests the board should undertake a diversity and inclusion audit – like those completed for Peel police and the City of Brampton – in order to find solutions.
Since his election, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has made clear his desire for finding efficiencies and getting the business of the city on track, with a number of crucial files that need serious attention.
The last CAO was let go shortly after disagreeing with the new mayor’s plan to audit all city departments, but now council itself seems in disarray, with the city clerk even suggesting that councillors need to do a better job of managing the agenda. One member, Rowena Santos, seems most interested in matters outside her jurisdiction.
Mayor Patrick Brown says the City of Brampton is ready to apply to Ottawa and Queen’s Park for LRT funding. However, his claim doesn't make sense because of requirements for a completed environmental assessment. A new document shows the city is years away from qualifying for funding.
Meanwhile, councillors made the Main Street route, which was cancelled by their predecessors, the only option, without considering the numerous problems with the corridor. Brown says privacy issues prevent him from disclosing why he wants to tunnel the LRT, at a possible cost four times higher than a surface route.
The unions representing Ontario’s elementary and secondary school teachers have taken the first step toward a strike that would lock out almost a quarter of a million students across the region.
While union leaders urge that today’s work-to-rule action will keep teachers in the classroom and have little impact on students, it should be a signal to the province that things are not okay. Thousands of families across Peel would have to make alternate arrangements if teachers strike.
The former premier and the city’s most famous son will be given the key to the city this evening by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, one of thousands who still consider Bill Davis the epitome of the gentleman politician. At the age of 90, his body might be frail, but his legacy has never been stronger.
According to their own description, the PC government is bringing Ontario’s healthcare system into the 21st century. It’s a line many PC MPPs have touted when describing the shift toward less public health units and a new health network system in the province.
While the Ford government makes changes, one thing remains constant for the Region of Peel: the lack of investment into its public healthcare infrastructure.
We paved over paradise and put up parking lots – and giant malls. Plazas and strip malls have been part of the boilerplate suburban sprawl planned in Mississauga and Brampton. But they are now being reimagined as their land-use mix does not fit in a world going through tremendous innovation and transformation. What was once wasteful land could be the catalyst to a paradigm shift in the way we look at future growth in two of the country’s most dynamic, rapidly changing cities.
Climate change was one of the key themes of the 2019 federal election. The Green Party added its first ever MP outside of British Columbia, while pro-carbon tax parties scored a comfortable majority in the House of Commons. However, as a harsh winter arrives in Peel a little earlier than anticipated, some feel it’s time for the federal government to create a permanent fund to support cities, as previously rare weather events become a common occurrence.
On a daily basis, the Internet Child Exploitation unit inside Peel Regional Police is viewing new online images or video of children being sexually exploited. They’re not alone.
The volume of this content is becoming a global pandemic with police organizations and policy makers struggling to keep up and hold perpetrators accountable. Peel has seen a 332 percent increase in sexual crimes against children over the last five years.
Mississauga’s transit service is approaching the end of its first MiWay Five plan, a roadmap the service followed for half a decade. Director of Mississauga Transit (MiWay), Geoff Marinoff, spoke to The Pointer about his plans for the next five years, including the wide-spread introduction of faster bus service to the city’s express routes and the possible use of self-driving vehicles to serve routes with low ridership.
Mississauga’s rapid growth has put pressure on its fire service, which has struggled to meet industry standards for response times. In recent years, the city has been more than 100 seconds behind the recommended time of response for fires, a significant delay when considering how fast fires spread. The city just got its first new station in 13 years.
In the middle of October, the Ontario Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott, announced a new government structure allowing private businesses to pitch unsolicited infrastructure plans to the province.
It would allow developers and other companies to bring forward plans for power generation infrastructure, transit and even hospitals. It remains unclear how the move could impact city planning in the future.
The Region of Peel has released staff’s proposed budget for next year, and many residents can celebrate a relatively low tax increase (on the region's share of the bill) that, if history is repeated, will be whittled down further by councillors. Property owners won’t be as happy when they open utility bills, with a massive hike being proposed.
With reserves dwindling fast and infrastructure and housing needs growing just as fast, councillors will have to decide if they can afford to keep ignoring problems that will have severe ripple effects.
A Peel District School Board meeting Tuesday erupted with anger after trustees and Black community members ripped into an integrity commissioner report that exonerates a trustee who used a racially charged nickname to describe a middle school.
Another trustee who has fought to get answers, suggested she might take action against the commissioner for disparaging her in the controversial report.
New timelines from the Supreme Court of Canada mean the country’s courthouses need to work like well oiled machines in order to keep cases from being tossed out due to unreasonable delay.
In Brampton’s case, a shortage of Justices has led to a surge in courtroom closures, an issue that is projected to reach a critical point early in 2020, with cases set to be dismissed.
Councillors at the Region of Peel voted unanimously in favour of advocating for significantly stronger rules around vaping at the federal and provincial level, with usage exploding among young people. In particular, recommendations call for a ban on the sale of flavoured vaping products as well as a strict ban on advertisements.
In spring 2018, paramedic Mandy Johnston had a terrible experience on a call. While trying to perform her life-saving duties, a family member of the patient hurled abuse at her. After the call she was unable to shake her distress, internalizing her feelings. Instead of bottling it up, as so many are forced to, she set about writing a report investigating the matter and is now campaigning for a culture change across the region.
No one likes to see their property tax bill increase. But many taxpayers dislike opportunistic politicians even more. Local leaders around the Brampton and Mississauga and Peel Region council table have a bad track record of claiming progress on issues like the affordable housing crisis, while turning their back when they have to put the public’s money where council’s mouth is.
Forty years before Mississauga was conceived, the Queen Elizabeth Way’s bridge across the Credit River was built. Updated in 1960, it has been a landmark of provincial significance since it was recognized in 2009. However, amidst plans to widen the QEW, the province is planning to tear down the bridge and replace it in order to save time and money on the project.
The proposed 2020 budget for Mississauga makes grim reading for some. The document outlines Mississauga’s plans for the next year, alongside its financial commitments and shortcomings. In particular, the budget shows an infrastructure gap which has grown by $214 million dollars in five years, as well as $1.5 billion in approved projects that are currently not funded.
This week Nando Iannicca, chair of the Region of Peel, was cleared of wrongdoing in an integrity commissioner report which, nonetheless, painted his recent actions in a negative light. At the first regional meeting since the public release of the report, which dealt with Iannicca’s mishandling of the province’s review of regional government, Mississauga councillors wanted the chair to be formally reprimanded. In the end, he survived unscathed, while the divide on regional council continues to deepen.
Just under two years after Jennifer Evans, the former police chief, closed its community police station, Malton has been offered a lifeline. Located just minutes from the site of a tragic mass shooting in September, calls for an increased Malton police presence have been loud since the community station was shut down to save money. Many are hoping today’s good news signals a shift in attitude about policing priorities.
The board of directors of The Wise Elephant Family Health Team is alleging that former directors and physicians in the organization, including Dr. Sanjeev Goel, misappropriated over $2 million in taxpayers’ money meant for patient care. The claims come after another lawsuit filed by a doctor in the team alleged Goel and his wife, who are singled out in the latest legal action, used public funds for expensive personal vacations, among other inappropriate expenses.
The integrity commissioner investigation into the conduct of Peel Region Chair Nando Iannicca has cleared him of wrongdoing despite behaving unethically in his dealings to keep the region intact. But Mississauga members now have their sights squarely on the back of the man who betrayed their trust.
Community advocates are speaking out after William Osler Health System revealed that the Phase II expansion of Peel Memorial won’t become a reality for another 5 to 8 years.
The delay is not only detrimental to Brampton’s overcrowded and burdened healthcare system, but will also devalue $20 million levied from Brampton taxpayers to help fund the project.
The GTA West Highway, a planned corridor through Peel that will bisect the Greenbelt, border the Oak Ridges Moraine and cut across other sensitive habitats, while propelling urban sprawl and more vehicle use, is moving ahead with the support of Peel councillors who also claim to support the environment.
Critics call it outdated transit planning, with runway-sized swaths of pavement and accompanying housing subdivisions that will destroy and fragment habitats for a number of the province’s most vulnerable species at a time when the planet is facing record loss of biodiversity.
The province has doled out nearly $1 million to the Region of Peel to help in its efforts following the legalization of cannabis. However, that money has yet to flow from regional coffers to the departments that need it.
Peel Regional Police have incurred over $1.4 million in costs tied to legal cannabis, and the continued fight to shut down the black market, but have yet to see any money from the region.
Data from the Who’s Hungry report (2019) has shed light on growing poverty in Mississauga. Over the past year, visits to the city’s food banks have increased by 16 percent, quadruple the GTA rate of increase. In five years, use of food banks in the city has increased an alarming 225 percent. Speaking to The Pointer, one food bank client and the organization’s executive director said sky-high rents and a lack of affordable housing are at the heart of a growing crisis.
An off-chance, fly-by visit by John Graves Simcoe led to the commercial history of Mississauga's waterfront, setting off a massive movement of people and moneyed interests into the city. At the same time came the exiling of our First Nations people who had for generations "lived lightly" upon this land.
The latest business iteration is the building and selling of high-end real estate. Will Mississauga fall into the trap of over-building along our waterfront, following the excesses now foresting the Toronto shoreline?
Tomorrow marks 40 years since the Mississauga train derailment. Celebrating an event that could have turned into a disaster is tricky business. For this community, though, it was a moment when people, and the city itself, finally came together following its formation five years earlier. For Hazel McCallion, it was the first time the world saw what this formidable female leader was all about.
At the end of October councillors agreed to continue Mississauga’s $225,000 per year membership of Toronto Global, a foreign direct investment group for the GTA. Over the past three years the agreement has brought some attention to the city, though 85 percent of all investments it secures land in the City of Toronto. With cities across the GTA, including Brampton, vying to attract foreign companies, how can Mississauga stand apart?
After at least five trustees in the country’s third largest school board refused to attend a meeting next week where Black community members planned to raise a growing number of race-based concerns, the provincial education ministry announced Thursday that it will intervene, as relationships within the school board, which serves a predominantly non-white student body, have broken down. Trustee Kathy McDonald says the situation is deeply disturbing.
Two young boys are the 24th and 25th homicide victims in Brampton and Mississauga in 2019. After their bodies were found inside a Brampton home late Wednesday night, the father of the two children is now charged with their deaths.
It’s the latest in a long string of tragedies that have shaken the two cities since the start of 2019, and is a continuation of a rise in violent crime observed across the region last year.
The province of Ontario predicts that around 7,000 seniors will take part in its new Ontario Low Income Seniors Dental Program set to launch this fall. The Region of Peel disagrees, stating the number is more than double that, and that’s being generous.
In order to prepare for the influx of seniors seeking help with dental care, Peel is seeking almost $6 million from the province in order to drastically expand services to meet the looming demand.