Council overview package for January 23, 2023

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Council presentation to two Peterborough Petes players

City Council endorsed the following items during its General Committee meeting on Monday, January 23, 2023:

Before the General Committee meeting, Council held a Finance Committee to consider a report related to the Peterborough Police Service's 2023 Budget.

Items endorsed by General Committee and Finance Committee on January 23 will go to the regular Council meeting on January 30, 2023 to be considered for approval.

General Committee agenda

Finance Committee agenda

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Video recordings of Council meetings are posted at following the meeting.

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Economic development agency update

Council endorsed receiving an information report from Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development on its activities in July to December 2022.

"Much like the first half of 2022, the past 6 months continued to present uncertainty for the regional economy with many of the same adversaries such as the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and workforce challenges staying in play," Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) states in its report. "Further, the fears of a recession coupled with increased lending rates and increased costs for materials and supplies, have really taken a toll on the business community. While these challenges are the current reality, there are some indicators that there is room for optimism."

In its report to Council, PKED outlines outreach efforts, key partner meetings, marketing and communications activities, business development work, visitor services, skilled workforce development, and supporting entrepreneurship.

Economic development agency business plan

Council endorsed receiving an information report from Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development on its 2023 Business Plan.

The three-party Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement between the City, County and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED), endorsed by City Council in December 2019, requires PKED to provide quarterly updates to City and County councils. The MOU requires PKED to have an economic development strategy renewed every fiver years, the current strategy is entitled: Future Ready 2020-2024.

PKED plans to focus its attraction efforts on the region's established key sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Aerospace
  • Clean technology
  • Manufacturing (Industry 4.0)
  • Tourism

Its business retention and expansion plans include:

  • Conduct 4th Annual Business Count Survey
  • Identifying available land and business opportunities
  • Connecting more employers with talent and workforce opportunities
  • Tourism – Product Development, winter, spring and fall seasons
  • Tourism / Agriculture - agritourism and culinary tourism product development in combination with business development training through Business Advisory Centre

Key employment areas for attracting investment include:

  • Peterborough Airport for aviation and aerospace companies, subject to servicing constraints
  • Cleantech Commons at Trent University for cleantech, greentech and environmental research-intensive companies
  • Downtown areas for independent and small business/entrepreneurs
  • Smaller industrial developments within the County, with limited servicing

Emergency preparedness agreement

Council supported an emergency preparedness funding agreement with Ontario Power Generation that provides funding to the City of Peterborough as a host community in the event of an incident at the Pickering or Darlington nuclear power generating stations.

The agreement will provide $25,500 in annual revenue until 2025 to support emergency preparedness.

In 1997, at the request of Emergency Management Ontario (formerly Emergency Measures Ontario), the City of Peterborough agreed to be a designated Host Community under the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (PNERP) in the event of an incident at the Pickering or Darlington Nuclear Generating Stations. The Host Community designation remains in effect today.

As a designated Host Community, the City of Peterborough is required to have a plan for nuclear emergencies, including:

  • Arrangements to receive and accommodate evacuees from Durham Region
  • Coordinate reception plans and procedures with the nuclear facility’s monitoring and decontamination process
  • Establish a municipal contact to receive and act upon emergency notifications from the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) on a 24/7 basis
  • Liaise with Durham Region and the PEOC to ensure appropriate communications during an emergency
  • Implement the required emergency response under the guidance and support of the province
  • Work with various municipal departments and community organizations involved in staffing and security arrangements for reception and evacuation centres
  • Implement the municipal emergency plan for nuclear emergencies pursuant to the PNERP and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA)
  • Ensure that all municipal personnel assigned functions under nuclear emergency plans are suitably trained for their tasks
  • Implement and participate in nuclear emergency training and exercises
  • Ensure availability of essential facilities, resources and equipment required by municipal agencies to deal with a nuclear emergency

Provincial legislation changes related to development approvals

Council endorsed receiving an information report on the Provincial government's Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, that included changes to the Planning Act, Conservation Authorities Act, Development Charges Act, and Ontario Heritage Act.

Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 will have financial implications for the City and consequently to taxpayers. The extent of the financial impact of the legislative changes from Bill 23 are not yet fully known.

Phase-in periods for Development Charges, exemptions of Development Charges for gentle intensification and attainable housing, reduced parkland dedication requirements, shifting of responsibilities from the Conservation Authority to the City, and staffing costs associated with additional responsibilities of the Building Division required by the removal of Site Plan Approval for residential developments with ten or fewer dwelling units will all have financial implications for the City.

The enactment of Bill 23 will shift a significant portion of the financial burden for growth from developers to existing taxpayers. The longstanding premise of growth paying for growth is no longer applicable under Bill 23.

The City calculated the impact of three elements of Bill 23 – the phase-in provision, elimination of services and the rental discount. They result in an estimated loss of Development Charges revenues of $7 million to $12 million over a five-year period, which must be covered by taxpayers in the form of tax increases. Furthermore, over $9 million of additional lost Development Charges revenues are at stake if the cost of land required to support growth-related infrastructure is no longer eligible to be recovered through Development Charges as proposed.

Balanced decision making, protection of the natural environment and parkland, building complete communities and public spaces, quality design and architecture, and affordable housing are all challenged by the changes imposed through the Province's More Homes Built Faster Act. The importance of ensuring a high-quality built environment and public realm, heritage conservation, environmental protection, climate change resilience and fiscal sustainability are important objectives for the City of Peterborough. The City agrees that the supply of housing is an important priority; however, in staff’s opinion, the changes imposed by Bill 23 will compromise other important objectives.

Peterborough Transit Liaison Committee

Council endorsed setting the terms of reference for a Transit Liaison Committee, which would provide a forum to facilitate information sharing and education with Transit customers.

The opportunity to share feedback on their experience is critical to building trust between transit and the public. Customers have expressed frustration that, in addition to the scope and pace of change to Peterborough Transit, they want more opportunities to provide feedback about transit services to talk about how those changes have impacted them, understand all the options they have to navigate the new system, and how those changes support transit’s service expansion and long-term growth strategy. The Transit Liaison Committee will fill the communication gap, connecting customers and stakeholder groups directly to Transit staff, building on existing tools and recommending additional strategies to reach the customer base.

The Peterborough Transit Liaison Committee would include:

  • City Councillor - transportation chair
  • City Councillor - councillor at large
  • Transit rider - conventional transit service (two positions)
  • Transit rider - specialized van/mobility transit service (two positions)
  • Accessibility Advisory Committee representative
  • Age Friendly Peterborough representative
  • Council for Persons with Disabilities representative
  • Fleming College Student Association representative
  • Peterborough Green Up
  • Trent Central Student Association representative

During the General Committee meeting, Council made an amendment to specify that the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1320 president or their designate should be available as a staff resource for Transit Liaison Committee meetings.

The appointments would be made through the City's citizen appointment process facilitated by the City Clerk's Office with public notice, applications, review of applications by Council's Citizen Appointment Selection Committee, and recommendations to Council on appointments.

Transit has and maintains several tools to solicit and receive public feedback on its services. New tools are introduced when a gap is identified and resources to support a new platform are available. These tools direct public inquiries to designated staff in the program areas for review, response, or follow up as appropriate. These tools include:

  • Online Transit Feedback Form
  • Online Driver Appreciation Form
  • Written Customer Feedback Cards
  • Dedicated customer service phone lines
  • Customer ambassador program (in person)
  • Direct email and phone exchanges with the public and all transit management staff
  • Direct email and phone exchanges with members of Council to address concerns of their constituents and City residents
  • Customer feedback and action tracking system to identify trends and priorities

Transit staff also participate in a number of community and City events such as the Annual Seniors Summit, Capable Con, On the Bus, Shifting Gears, Grade 8 Transit Quest, etc., to maintain public visibility, promote transit, and support access to transit services. In addition, staff actively participate on various committees, including:

  • Council for Persons with Disabilities – partnership and programming
  • Age Friendly Peterborough Committee – partnership and programming
  • Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Trent Central Student Association Transit Committee
  • Fleming Student Association Committee

Development application consultation and review process

Council endrosed adopting a bylaw on the requirement for consultation to discuss development proposals and the information and materials that would be needed to support consideration of the proposals before a development application can be submitted and accepted.

As part of its efforts to implement the new refund provisions for application fees under the recent changes to the Planning Act by the Province of Ontario, the City is proposing to establish a formal requirement for Pre-Consultation and Pre-Application Technical Review and update the requirements for an application to be deemed complete. Modifications to the current Pre-Consultation process are necessary to ensure the City can meet legislated timeframes.

Pre-Application Consultation, also known as Pre-Consultation, is a preliminary meeting between City staff and a development proponent to discuss the development proposal and identify the need for, and the scope of information and materials considered necessary by the City and external agencies to allow for a comprehensive assessment of the development application. The Planning Act enables municipalities to require preapplication consultation prior to the submission and acceptance of applications for any official plan amendment, zoning by-law amendment, site plan, draft plan of subdivision and draft plan of condominium. 

A two-stage process for development proponents to follow prior to the formal submission of a planning application will enable the City to obtain greater certainty in the quality and completeness of submissions before an application is formally submitted and subject to the legislated timeframes within the Planning Act.

During the General Committee meeting, Council endorsed an amendment to put a time line of 30 days on the pre-consultation stage and 30 days on the technical review stage.

Purchasing 268 Denne Cres. to maintain affordable housing

Council supported providing $390,000 from the Social Services General Reserve to the Municipal Housing Services Corporation towards the purchase of 268 Denne Cres. from Peterborough Housing Corporation to retain the property for affordable housing.

In 2014, City Council approved a new policy for Peterborough Housing Corporation (PHC) to allow it to sell properties to generate revenue to support new affordable housing development. The rationale for selling single-family homes that provided Rent Geared to Income rents was that scattered housing is less efficient and more expensive to operate than multi-residential properties. PHC planned to build new multi-residential units on Bonaccord Street to replace and add to the single-family units being sold.

To date, PHC has disposed of over half of their 51 single-family homes on Denne Crescent, Collison Avenue and Collison Crescent. The total contribution to the development of the affordable housing project at 553-555 Bonaccord to date is $6,829,005.

Since the decision in 2014, market conditions and available resources are very different. The vacancy rate is at 1%, the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness is increasing, and more people are applying to the Centralized Waiting List for Rent Geared to Income Housing year over year. Construction costs are increasing at an unprecedented rate to be able to build new affordable housing and interest rates are rising. At the same time, federal-provincial contributions for new rental housing development are decreasing. In this environment, losing any form of affordable housing – even to fund the construction of more - is harder to justify.

A new PHC disposition policy states that before a surplus property is offered on the open market, that the City will have first right of refusal; next, it would be offered to non-profit or housing organizations for affordable housing, and finally, for sale to PHC tenants. This policy prioritizes keeping the units as affordable rental stock. It will result in lower revenues generated for the 553-555 Bonaccord Street project, but more affordable housing units will remain available for low-income households.

The property at 268 Denne Crescent includes a 3-bedroom semi-detached house. The unit is vacant as of July 15, 2022. While this property has been rented out as a single-family home, City staff will explore partnerships with support agencies who could support up to three compatible individuals experiencing homelessness in a congregate setting. This would allow a single property to help up to three people, as opposed to trying to secure three individual units with much higher rents. Units for single individuals are in high demand in the market as the vacancy rate for one-bedroom units is 0.7%. Tenants will be selected through the established Coordinated Access System and By Name Priority List.

Homemaking services contract

Council supported transferring the City's agreement for homemaking services provided through Social Services to CBI Home Health, which recently completed an asset purchase of We Care, the company that the City had hired for the Social Services homemaking services.

The City’s Homemakers Program is an income-based program that targets low-income seniors and/or people with disabilities. Homemaking services are limited to light housekeeping, food preparation and laundry services.

With CBI Home Health's purchase of We Care assets, Council would need to approve a new agreement with CBI Health to provide homemaking services through Social Services that were previously awarded to We Care. There would be no additional budget or financial implications beyond the original approval for the awarding of the contract.

The Homemaker Program is delivered by the City in accordance with the Homemakers and Nurses Services Act and is financed through an 80/20 cost share between the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and the City. The City's 20% is further cost shared approximately 80/20 between the City and County based on the residence of each client. The approved annual budget target from the MHLTC is currently $140,000; therefore, the maximum cost to the City and County is $28,000 regardless of the hourly rate being charge by the service provider.