Council overview package for September 14, 2020

full bike rack

Aerial view of downtown

City Council endorsed the following items at its General Committee on Monday, September 14, 2020 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 500 George St. N.:

The items from the General Committee meeting will go to Council's regular Council meeting on Monday, September 28, 2020 for consideration for final approval.

City Council agenda

Council is meeting in person in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 500 George St. N. Residents can watch or listen to the livestream of the meetings at Registration is required to attend a Council meeting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic due to limited seating with changes for physical distancing.

Watch Council

COVID-19 response and financial impacts update

Council supported a report for information on the COVID-19-related financial impacts estimated until December 31, 2020 that shows projected net financial impact of $10.3 million with potential funding sources of $7.7 million to offset the impact, leaving about $2.5 million to be funded.

The impacts reflect lost revenues of $15.3 million, direct costs of $5.7 million, cost savings of $2.5 million, and program specific provincial funding, related to Transit and Social Services, in the amount of $8.2 million for a net financial impact of $10.3 million.

To help pay for the $10.3 million in estimated net financial impacts, the City has identified potential funding sources of $7.7 million, including funding from City reserves and $4.4 million of Safe Restart operational funding received from the Province. There would be about $2.5 million in financial impacts remaining to be funded.

City staff are recommending that the City apply for Phase 2 funding through the Province's Safe Restart program. The Province is offering a second phase of funding to those municipalities that can demonstrate that 2020 COVID-19 operating costs and pressures exceed their Phase 1 per household allocation. To be considered for Phase 2 funding, municipalities will be required to submit reports outlining their COVID-19 operating costs and pressures.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have significant financial impacts on the City of Peterborough in 2020. Certain impacts will carry over into 2021.

Removing property tax discount for vacant and excess commercial and industrial property

Industrial park

Council endorsed eliminating the current municipal property tax discount to commercial and industrial vacant and excess land starting in 2021. 

There are currently 189 properties in Peterborough with a vacant or excess land tax class. Eliminating the vacant and excess land subclass reductions will increase the municipal tax revenue by approximately $245,000 for the 2021 taxation year.

In the City of Peterborough, commercial land assessed as vacant or excess currently receives a 30 per cent tax rate discount and industrial land assessed as vacant or excess receives a 35 percent tax rate discount. 

Provincial amendments to the Municipal Act, 2001 allow municipalities to reduce or eliminate their commercial and industrial vacant and excess land subclass discount program. Under the same authority, and following the same guidelines, the City eliminated the Vacancy Rebate Program for vacant commercial and industrial buildings effective 2017. Tax rate discounts are not provided to owners of vacant residential or multi-residential properties.

The Province of Ontario has phased out the reduction percentages in the education tax rates. For the 2020 taxation year the vacant land subclass education rates are at 100 per cent. Eliminating the subclass reduction in the municipal tax rate in the City of Peterborough, will bring the rate in line with the Province’s education rate.

Debentures for certain capital projects

Council gave preliminary approval for passing by-laws to borrow funds up to a maximum of $24,831,500 to finance City capital projects that have been previously approved by Council.

The debentures would be used for the financing of projects such as the Parkhill Road West reconstruction, the purchase of Transit buses, the construction of multi-use trails, and the LED streetlight retrofit.

Council will endorsed a recommendation to authorize the borrowing of $6 million to help finance Peterborough Utilities Commission projects.

Response from Police Services Board regarding light armoured vehicle

Council received a report with an update on its request for information from the Peterborough Police Services Board regarding the acquisition of a light armoured vehicle.

Council had asked the Police Services Board for information on the identity of the donor of the light armoured vehicle (LAV), the maintenance costs for the LAV, and the vehicle replacement costs.

The Police Services Board provided a letter in response to the request.

Procedure By-law update for electronic meetings

Council supported changing the City of Peterborough Procedure By-law to allow electronic meetings outside of a declared emergency.

The Province amended the Municipal Act to allow municipalities to update their procedure by-law to permit members of council, of a local board or of a committee of either of them, to participate electronically in a meeting. The members participating electronically may be counted in determining whether or quorum - the number of members required to be present to hold the meeting - has been achieved and members may participate electronically in a meeting that is open or closed to the public.

Council met virtually using online platforms on their computers or smartphones for a period during the COVID-19 pandemic. The meetings were livestreamed for the public and residents could participate by calling into the meeting. The by-law change would allow Council members to meet virtually outside of an emergency situation.

Council also endorsed surveying advisory committees on whether they would like to be able to attend meetings virtually if the procedure by-law is updated in the future for that practice.

Charlotte Street cycling lanes

Handle bars of bike

Council supported providing cycling lanes on Charlotte Street between Park Street and Monaghan Road, including a painted buffer with lane delineators.

Parking would be prohibited on both sides of Charlotte Street from Park Street to Monaghan Road.

The cost to add the line painting, symbols, signs, and buffer treatment for the cycling lanes is estimated at $25,000.

The City would create a program to pay for curb cuts for for residents where on-street parking has been removed and they wish to create a driveway connection to Charlotte Street. The budget for the curb cut program would be $20,000.

Charlotte Street between Park Street and Monaghan Road is being micro-surfaced this year as part of the pavement preservation program. The contract to micro-surface the road already includes the cost of the centre line pavement markings.

Conceptual rendering of street layout with bike lanes

There are a number of benefits that accrue to a community when investments are made in infrastructure to support cycling, including:

  • Increased health and well-being
  • Improved equity in the transportation system
  • More affordable transportation options
  • Reduced road congestion and air pollution; and
  • Progress towards reaching targets for climate change action.

Recognizing these benefits, the 2012 Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan included recommendations for an extensive city-wide cycling network, developed in consultation with local cycling groups and stakeholders.

Since 2012, 21 km of new cycling facilities have been implemented and an additional 2.5 km of existing cycling facilities were significantly upgraded.

Peterborough residents have increased cycling travel from 1.3% to 3.5% of total daily travel between 2011 and 2016, and this represents approximately 6,000 cycling trips made in the City each day, excluding the numerous cycling trips made purely for recreation purposes or by children. Much of this increase can be attributed to the extent and quality of the cycling network in the City.

While there is strong public support for cycling lanes on this section of Charlotte Street, there is not enough road width to accommodate new cycling lanes while retaining the parking on the north side of the street.

Currently, Charlotte Street from Park Street to Monaghan Road has one travel lane in each direction, with left turn lanes at Monaghan Road and Park Street. The westbound lane is currently wide enough to allow space for one lane of parking on the north side of the street. To incorporate the cycling lanes, the existing parking would be eliminated on the north side of the street and the centre line of the street would move to the centre of the pavement.

The cycling lane would start at Monaghan Road and end just west of the Park Street intersection. The existing left turn lanes would be retained at both of these intersections. Cycling lanes cannot be carried through the Park Street intersection at this time due to restricted road width and alignment challenges at the intersection. Opportunities to extend the cycling lanes through the Park Street intersection will be explored as part of the design of the Charlotte Street reconstruction, between Park Street and Aylmer Street.

Transit Pass agreements for Trent University and Fleming College

Council endorsed entering into agreements with the Trent Central Student Association and Fleming Student Administrative Council for the implementation of interim Universal Transit Pass Agreements that would generate $643,000 for September to December 2020.

The agreements are contingent on the interim Transit routes remaining in place until the Transit Route Review consultation is complete, at least until April 2021, and the long-term routes are approved by Council.

Council supported that any changes to the current transit system made before the completion of the Transit Review and before April 2021 will not have a significant impact on either the Trent or Fleming service and that Trent and Fleming be engaged prior to any change be contemplated.

Peterborough Transit has a longstanding and successful U-Pass arrangement with the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA). This U-Pass provides approximately $1.9 million in operating revenue to Peterborough Transit (about 36% of total fare revenues collected) and generates about 1.48 million rides per year (about 31% of total annual ridership). Through the arrangement with TCSA, the student association collects and administers the pass revenue collected from students and pays for the enhanced transit service provided to the Trent campus.

Fleming express services began in the fall of 2016 modelled after the service arrangement in place with TCSA. The service launched with 1 initial express route and the second express route commenced in Fall of 2017. Typical fall and winter semesters service includes two express routes plus a late-night service. In 2019, Fleming generated revenues of $1,100,000 (about 16% of total annual fare revenue) and generated 1.18 million rides (about 25% of total annual ridership).

The ridership increases that result from the U-Pass agreements contribute to the City’s annual Provincial Gas Tax allocation as the formula used to calculate the Provincial Gas Tax allocation is 30% based on population and 70% based on ridership. With approximately 56% of total annual ridership attributed to postsecondary students, it is estimated that approximately $760,000 of the City’s 2019-2020 allocation of $1,896,894 (40%) can be attributed to the ridership generated by post-secondary students.

The increased ridership significantly contributes to the City’s Transportation Master Plan goal of increasing transit use from 4% of peak period travel to 6% of peak period travel by 2031. Providing a service that is convenient for students is a proven way of building ridership patterns that can last beyond their student years. The ability to reduce auto travel demand to and from the Fleming College Sutherland Campus and the Symons Campus at Trent University has helped to limit the growth in traffic on area roads, such as Brealey Drive, Water Street and Armour Road and continued growth in ridership on these routes can help to avoid or defer costly capital improvements to widen roads in the future or additional student parking facilities within the campuses.