A decision by Brampton City Council to support another request to bypass the local planning process with a Minister’s Zoning Order could backfire.
The latest request, if approved, would allow Rogers Communication to build housing and a warehouse on the land that currently hosts its offices. The move would reduce the number of jobs on land designated for employment growth and make it harder for Peel to reach targets set by Queen’s Park.
It’s no secret Peel is struggling to build affordable housing, especially in the City of Mississauga where only infill sites are available. When the opportunity to buy land comes up it would only make sense for the Region to negotiate for desperately needed housing, especially if the seller is the government of Ontario.
Peel and Mississauga let a prime plot of land slip by without trying to secure affordable housing on it, sold instead by provincial agency Metrolinx to a developer. It raises questions about how committed local government is to solving the ongoing housing problem.
In a new series, The Pointer breaks down the 10 themes of the global movement launched by the United Nations—the Decade of Restoration—which hopes to reverse the trend of wide-scale degradation of our planet.
Part 1 looks at what is at stake over the next 10 years. How can a global movement that looks to preserve oceans, rainforests and coral reefs be relevant in Peel?
Democracy Watch is The Pointer’s new weekly feature.
It is designed to help increase political involvement and awareness in the Region of Peel by highlighting important decisions. The feature will act as a summary of local public meeting agendas to keep residents informed about issues they may wish to follow more closely.
This week Brampton will hear numerous delegates on the City's new green energy leadership and how to improve its carbon emissions. Mississauga debates how to fill the Ward 2 councillor vacancy after the departure of Karen Ras and has some big asks for Ottawa and Queen’s Park ahead of their annual budgets.
Peel Region is polishing off its planning review for the next 30 years while Caledon has another conversation around the controversial Highway 413 backed by its mayor and his allies.
Brampton has struggled for years to meet thousands of requests it receives to legalize secondary dwellings in the city, in the absence of proper housing stock in the booming municipality.
With a desperate lack of affordable housing options, illegal secondary suites in existing homes have proliferated, creating a number of safety risks for those who choose to live in these spaces. Now, councillors have approved the use of a private firm to help clear an unmanageable backlog of applications to legally register secondary units.
Six council members, including Mayor Patrick Brown, blocked an attempt to reject the GTA West Highway on Wednesday.
A day later, Region of Peel, which has already called for the highway’s cancellation, initiated a conversation with the provincial government to explore alternatives to the controversial GTA West Corridor.
Councillors in Brampton have sent two more requests for Minister’s Zoning Orders to the Province, circumventing the traditional planning process that involves the direct input of local residents and other stakeholders.
Telecom giant Rogers wants to build a new office downtown, a plan that could finally makeover the decaying city centre. Rogers does not own the land it wants rezoned. The area identified for a downtown office belongs to Metrolinx and no official offer to purchase has been submitted.
Being buried in a blanket of white snow was peaceful…until residents went out to bear the elements in Mississauga.
Peel Regional police urged residents to stay home if they could while officers attended multiple collisions throughout the blizzard. If extreme weather events are going to continue how should we prepare ourselves for different winter conditions?
Hundreds of Peel residents lost their battles with addiction over the last two years as the pandemic shuttered services and hit the stop button on critical programming designed to support them.
Now, Peel Public Health is returning its attention to a coordinated strategy to solve the crisis of overdose deaths, providing a much needed boost to frontline organizations who have been carrying the burden for years.
In April and May of this year, the terms of two members of the Peel Police Services Board will expire.
Community advocates hope the Province has been paying attention to fundamental issues of trust and representation so anti-Black racism within the force will finally be eradicated, allowing officers, the public and the board to work toward common goals, together.
Democracy Watch is The Pointer’s new weekly feature.
It is designed to help increase political involvement and awareness in the Region of Peel by highlighting important decisions. The feature will act as a summary of local agendas to keep residents informed about public issues they may wish to follow more closely.
This week there are high-profile decisions to be made by Brampton’s Committee of Council regarding more controversial Minister’s Zoning Orders and the rejection of the GTA West Highway. The Region of Peel is considering a $300,000 investment to push forward a vacant home tax. The Peel District School Board is reporting progress on equity issues.
The Bradford Bypass will be an environmental nightmare for the Holland Marsh wetland complex, but newly discovered evidence shows the highway could also destroy one of the most significant archaeological sites in all of Canada.
The Lower Landing was a historic meeting point for First Nations around Lake Simcoe, a popular post for fur traders, and later a significant naval depot during the War of 1812. But Doug Ford, his PC government and the developers pushing the highway, have ignored the immeasurable importance of the historic site.
The local healthcare professional has decided to run for the NDP in June’s provincial election, after watching her hospital suffer for years under successive governments that have put Brampton residents at risk due to the appalling lack of funding for local health care.
Gord Miller, Chair of Earthroots Canada and the province’s environmental commissioner from 2000 to 2015, has lost hope in the PC government.
It’s now up to the federal Liberals to step up and stop construction of the Bradford Bypass, he writes, to protect the natural world that will be destroyed if Doug Ford and the developers pushing the project get their way.
The absence of any vision from Brampton City Council about how the city should accommodate hundreds of thousands of new residents in the next two-to-three decades is allowing developers to target the last remaining tracts of land for more subdivision-style growth.
The City’s most recent planning meeting dealt with four separate public sessions to address the construction of almost 6,000 new units. Every single one would be built on untouched land, many in the Heritage Heights area, which represents the last chance to grow responsibly and build the future politicians have promised.
The City of Brampton has effectively cancelled half of its Transit Advisory Committee’s inquiries in one fell swoop by scrapping a meeting that was set to take place at the beginning of February. The City claims there were not enough items to discuss.
Meanwhile, the city’s transit future is in disarray under the current administration, as projects and funding needs have been neglected. The cancelled meeting could also have been used to ensure proper recovery planning to rebuild ridership following the crippling pandemic.
Local and global data show Omicron is less severe than the Delta variant of COVID-19 and vaccines are working. Patients in Mississauga are now spending 83 percent less time in intensive care than they did during the worst of the pandemic.
Front line healthcare professionals and provincial officials are now expressing optimism that current medical data are trending in the right direction.
Globally, energy derived from LNG, or natural gas, has sparked controversy. While industry players claim it is a cleaner alternative to oil, with methane as its key component, its emissions can trap heat in the atmosphere at nearly 90 times the rate of CO2.
Regardless, the Ford government has hitched much of its energy policy to natural gas, making it difficult for Peel to reach its own emissions reduction targets.
A disaster from top to bottom.
That’s how conservationists and other environmental stakeholders describe the Ontario PCs’ handling of species at risk, as corporate lobbyists set on removing habitat have been handed much of the power by the government.
Laws put in place to limit development in the habitat of endangered species continue to be ignored, says Ontario’s Auditor General.
Those trying to save the province’s most threatened species are left to fight their own government.
The number of private career colleges in Brampton has increased dramatically in the past few years. These schools offer vocational training ranging from hairstyling to truck driving, and in some cases even promise to help anyone with a high school diploma become a doctor, for the right price.
A lax system of oversight by the provincial government means standards can be hard to guarantee, while some of these businesses add to the difficulties facing international students in the city.
New data from Statistics Canada show Peel’s rapid rate of growth is slowing as immigration stutters during the pandemic. The number of new arrivals in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga has dropped dramatically over the past two years, but the number of current residents leaving has continued to rise.
In just 10 years, the annual exodus from Peel Region to other parts of Ontario has grown 300 percent, leaving question marks over future planning and what the area is failing to offer.
Peel Region called the anaerobic digestion facility its most impactful project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but its cancellation raises questions on how those targets will be met in years to come. Council quietly shut down the project due to high costs and the potential to explore more efficient technology to divert organic waste from current landfills.
It’s unclear when a new report will be available and how a new plan will take shape.
Peel Region and its municipalities have all declared a climate emergency in recent years. According to a new report, politicians across the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area have failed to meet GHG emission reduction targets set across the region.
For decades, cities have ignored their role in contributing to rising temperatures, pushing the planet closer to the point of no return.
Thousands of people in Peel were battling a cancer diagnosis when the pandemic struck in 2020, leaving them further isolated and fearful of the virus due to their compromised immune systems.
The Wellspring Chinguacousy Foundation, a cancer support organization in Brampton, moved quickly to shift its array of programming in an effort to continue its vital work.
City Council approved a new motion just before the holidays, after the mayor failed to budget one cent for his promised cricket stadium. It asks staff to report back with a public-private partnership option for the proposed cricket facility at the CAA lands.
A partnership for the ‘multi-purpose cricket facility’ will be a measured approach, council members say, after the mayor once again failed to deliver on a promise. It remains unclear who would benefit from the stadium Brown has promised.
William Osler Health System just lifted its “Code Orange” called earlier in the week due to the rise in patients and declining staff numbers.
While admissions to ICU as a result of COVID are lower when compared to previous waves of the pandemic, the ongoing staffing crisis — driven by Omicron’s transmissibility and staff burnout — is placing growing pressure on the city’s chronically stretched healthcare system.
Despite a severe shortage of truckers across North America, drivers in Canada are fighting against inadequate training, unpaid wages and unfair layoffs.
In a disturbing report, the office of the Auditor General highlights the mismanagement by Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities, putting many young truckers, including international students and other foreign workers across Peel, in precarious situations.
The man who came in second place in Mississauga’s 2018 mayoral race, after spreading hateful anti-Islamic messages for years, has provided The Pointer with a wild statement justifying his illegal crossing into the United States.
Kevin Johnston tried to flee Canada ahead of a jail sentence and is now claiming he’s a victim of his own “conservative” views.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario wants Premier Doug Ford to consider repealing Bill 124 (which caps salary increases at 1 percent) to retain and bring back nurses before Ontario deals with a fifth wave.
With a lack of N95 masks and the unaddressed shortage of nurses, the RNAO says public health measures to contain Omicron are “not enough”, once again putting the health system under incredible stress.
The rapid rise of the Omicron variant has shattered the collective return to normal so many were preparing for. The latest wave appears to include milder infections in populations where vaccine and acquired immunity have been built up.
Competing data has left officials scrambling, trying to determine if alarming new case counts should be weighted alongside hospital information that at least early on suggests a less formidable viral enemy. Leaders in Ontario, and across the world, must now decide how policy around COVID will be determined going forward.
Lakeview Community Partners, the development consortium building a massive new project along Mississauga’s eastern waterfront, has always known the former industrial property sits right next to a wastewater facility that generates unpleasant odours.
Now, the developers have convinced Peel Region to have residents and future buyers pay the $190 million overall cost to reduce the smell.
Two years of shifting restrictions have left a confusing mark on the facts and figures that track our lives. Economic activity has changed, tourism has been decimated, academic benchmarks torn up and sporting records have been left with multiple asterisks next to them.
An entire industry of statisticians is working overtime to document these changes and work out how to contextualize them. For historical and comparative accuracy, some information can be cleaned to find trends, while other numbers are near-impossible to work with.
Premier Doug Ford’s aggressive push to build Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass will cause irrevocable damage to local ecosystems and compromise municipal, provincial and national climate goals.
The PC giveaway to developers has also trampled on the democratic rights of Ontarians. Are Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent statements about protecting our climate and preserving democracy a signal that Ottawa is planning to intervene?
The Hurontario LRT has already been bumped from an initial opening date of 2022 to 2024 — on top of a dramatic reduction to future train service and the cancellation of Mississauga’s downtown loop due to budget issues.
Mobilinx, the consortium building the high-order transit project, tells The Pointer construction remains on schedule for a 2024 opening, but has it learned from delays that snagged similar plans in Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo?
Stellantis, the corporate leader of the Fiat/Chrysler assembly in Brampton is not making any promises about the plant’s future, leaving workers wondering what will happen when contracts expire in 2023.
With the rising popularity of electric vehicles across Canada and the United States, as both try to meet lofty climate targets, is there a future in Brampton that sees the auto manufacturer shift from gas-powered muscle cars to green electric vehicles?
A new theatre production from Crane Creations posits the question: is it okay to kill 164 people while potentially saving 70,000?
It’s left for audience members to decide as part of the latest production from Mississauga’s sole theatre company as it continues its efforts to broaden the arts in the city.
The once hyped plan to build a university in Brampton is floundering with little to report after more than two years. The City has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on consultants with almost nothing to show for it.
While the community has seen no benefits from the wild proposal, the two men that won contracts to work on BramptonU have links to Mayor Patrick Brown and Councillor Rowena Santos, who have gone silent after pushing the ill-conceived idea.
Freedom of information requests are a key pillar of transparency and accountability in local government, granting residents access to a range of public documents to help them better understand how key decisions have been made and hold public officials to account.
In Brampton, the system is failing. Staff in 2020 received just 158 requests for information from the public and failed to return almost 40 percent of them on time.
An outpouring of anger and grief filled a Brampton courtroom this week as friends, family, and colleagues of Karolina Ciasullo, told how their lives were shattered when an out-of-control car, driven by Brady Robertson, who had eight times the legal limit of THC in his system, slammed into the family vehicle carrying the young mother and her three daughters.
The victim impact statements were offered ahead of the sentencing for Brady Robertson on four counts of dangerous driving causing death.
Bovaird House has stood in Brampton since the 19th Century. It is a striking piece of heritage in a city dominated by cookie-cutter subdivisions. A group of volunteers who call themselves the Friends of Bovaird House have devoted thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain this mini-museum.
The benefit and financial value of the project was the subject of a recent heated debate between City of Brampton council members.
The man who runs City Hall’s public relations department, which is supposed to provide citizens with accurate and transparent information about operations that use their money, has instead tried to manipulate The Pointer, attempting to have false claims published about his involvement in a high-profile scandal that rocked Niagara Region.
As Ottawa and Queen’s Park make moves to minimize the impact of Omicron, Mississauga and Brampton are light years ahead of where the two cities stood ahead of last year’s holiday season.
The uncertainty in the pandemic’s latest chapter comes with questions about what Peel, and the rest of the world need to consider as COVID clearly settles into its permanent place among the human population.
After little debate or consideration, Peel Region Council passed the 2022 budget with a worsening housing crisis looming over the heads of elected officials.
Instead of a promise for more affordable housing in a post pandemic world in which the waitlist has ballooned, the Region is still relying on out-dated pre-pandemic strategies, while funding to help families was once again largely ignored.
Leaders at the top of municipal and provincial government have disregarded key consultation rights held by everyone in Ontario. The trend has been chronicled by Ontario’s auditor general in a series of reports released in November and December.
While Queen’s Park has neglected its duty to listen to citizens under the Environmental Bill of Rights, the City of Brampton has joined in with a series of requests to cut the public out of the planning process.
It's almost 2022 and the lingering pandemic is forcing more and more burnt-out nurses who have carried us through wave after wave of this health crisis out of the profession as they can no longer cope with the unrelenting demands.
Physically and emotionally drained nurses are leaving, some pushed past their breaking point by Bill 124, passed by the PC government to limit wage increases for public sector workers including teachers, pharmacists and nurses, to one percent.
The City of Brampton has approved its 2022 budget with another freeze to the local share of property tax. The move to crush a 2.8 percent increase was introduced on the fly by Mayor Patrick Brown Monday and ratified Wednesday.
To achieve its latest freeze, the City will cancel $8.4 million in capital projects to cover a debt payment that’s not even supposed to come out of the capital budget, scrap an increase to its infrastructure levy and reject Brampton Transit’s request for more funding to cover the increasing price of diesel.
Brampton councillors accepted a request from a developer to fast-track a massive residential/commercial project and skip public consultation, despite the landowners having no idea of what was being planned.
A baker and Canadian retail giant have been left shocked by a motion to build a planned community of 12,500 people on land they own, without telling them first.
Faced with a difficult and potentially unpopular choice, council members in Brampton are opting for a Band-Aid solution. Rather than building a specific healthcare levy into the City budget, a majority decided to steal away funding from other key projects.
Multiple major Brampton growth plans, including the Centre For Innovation, a potential sports stadium on City land, a new fire station and an expanded animal shelter are now all without funding. The move was part of a push by Mayor Patrick Brown and his allies to once again freeze the size of the Brampton budget.
Some residents in Peel Region have found online-only council meetings a major barrier to participation.
Those that aren’t comfortable with technology have been shut out, while others have been muted when they try to speak. Inaccessible video conferencing software — and mismanaged discussions — are also shutting out Ontarians living with a disability.
Councillors at the Region of Peel have passed the final budget ahead of their re-election campaigns next year. The process saw no changes made to the document staff presented, with politicians essentially approving the budget bureaucrats, not elected officials, shaped.
Social services including affordable housing and help for those facing a range of financial challenges have once again been largely ignored by staff and council members.