Six Months In

The first six months of a Council term are always busy, but this has been a period of unprecedented activity for Barrie Council.

In December, following inauguration, Council set 4 Strategic priorities for our term.   They are:  A Vibrant Business Environment, Responsible Spending, An Inclusive Community, and Well Planned Transportation.

Since then, the following matters have been dealt with by Council:

  • The 2015 budget included an increased focus on renewal of infrastructure.   Council established a new Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Fund – these are funds that will be spent on roads, bridges, sidewalks, pipes, parks, and all other city infrastructure, in order to address the backlog of state-of-good repair projects that have gone uncompleted for far too long.  This funding will also reduce reliance on debt by some $252M over the next 20 years, saving residents millions in interest payments and reducing the burden on future taxpayers by doing work now instead of at great cost later.
  • Work began on Essa Road and proceeds through the final weeks of the Lakeshore Drive project, Capital plan also includes a substantial expansion in road resurfacing and reconstruction work on many roads that badly need it, such as Ferndale, Morrow Road, Bayview, Duckworth, and many others
  • EA’s were passed for Duckworth Street (Bell Farm Road to St. Vincent), Dunlop Street (Toronto Street to Mulcaster Street), Brunton Park (Lovers Creek Slope stabilization improvements)
  • Feasibility Study completed for Year Round Downtown Market
  • A New Waterfront and Marina plan was passed by Council
  • The Sustainable Waste Management strategy was put into place, with resulting increases in green bin use
  • The City’s technology overhaul kicked off, with the ERP project working to map and automate thousands of manual processes
  • A new plan to use our downtown parking lots to spur revitalization and improve the parking budget was passed
  • The Allandale Station site was improved and the plan for final fit out and completion was passed by Council
  • Barrie is one of six Ontario cities working to merge their electric companies, to create the largest municipally owned utility in the province
  • A new energy savings plan will cut costs for taxpayers – through in part a project to convert all 11,000 streetlights in Barrie to LED’s, saving taxpayers more than $2M a year in energy costs – a great example of innovation delivering savings.
  • The new Affordable Housing Strategy was passed in the first 100 days, including 14 actions to begin increasing the supply of affordable housing, and Budget 2015 provides funding toward 54 unit affordable housing development on Brooks Street at the IOOF campus in Allandale.
  • Farmer’s Market – Wednesdays at City Hall plus study of the Transit terminal- committee formed

In our broader community:

  • Invest Barrie has begun expanded Business Retention & Expansion efforts through Phase 1 of a formal employer outreach program.
  • The City has seen job growth and new employers.  A new 75,000SF manufacturing plant by armored car manufacturer Streit Inc. coming to south end of Barrie, and major industrial employers such as JEBCO and Napoleon continue to expand.
  • The City was not chosen for a university campus – a major missed opportunity.
  • The City is working to reduce costs and become more open for business – processing time for industrial building permits continues to drop; now 1.1 months, down from 3.5 months in 2010
  • The Memorial Square/ Meridian Place project kicked off,
  • A new performance-based transit contract was put in place, and will begin July 1st.  Transit ridership was up by more than 7% year-over-year in late 2014 and early 2015.

The City also continued to grow its role as a leading municipality, regionally, provincially, and nationally:

  • The City won several awards, including:
    • The Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation for the Restoration of the Former Allandale Station
    • AMCTO Municipal Excellence Award for Zone 2 (Dawn McApline)
    • Barrie Police Services is awarded the High Five Innovation Award by Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO).
    • AMCTO E.A. Denby Award (Accessibility- Sunnidale Park Playground Redesign)
    • NFPA 2014 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year, (Samantha Hoffman)
    • Environmental Services/Access Barrie- award for the Rethinking Waste animated video
    • Lifesaving Society congratulated the City of Barrie for operating the 15th largest lifesaving program, the 5th largest in a community with population between 100,000-250,000 and the 10th largest leadership training program in Ontario for 2014.
  • The City held the Central Ontario Resiliency Conference, bringing together regional and national leaders on severe weather and climate change, to look at this pressing issue.
  • City staff organized the first Ottawa advocacy day for the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus, with dozens of meetings in Ottawa over 24 hours as well as a regular meeting of the group.

Through it all, Councillors and staff continued to use new tools and technology and work 24/7 to provide service to our residents.  Councillors answered thousands of calls and emails, held meetings in their neighbourhoods, took on issues both small and large, and planned for our future and that is the work we will continue in the months and years to come.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.


One Response to “Six Months In”
  1. hey Jeff Lehman i bet your job is really hard to keep up with im running for student mayor and when im older i wanna run for Barrie mayor. you came to my school when i was in grade 7 and you gave a really big speech about what you do and ever sence then i wanted to try getting how far you have. im in grade 10 this year i have been working on this for three years . i wanna be like you, the best mayor Barrie could ever have. please email me back if u ever have the chance if not i understand your job can get really busy..

    thank you love shanon hart -milligan

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