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Council Highlights from the June 14, 2021 Meeting

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Clarington working with Metrolinx on GO bus turnaround in Newcastle as former fire hall will be demolished

Clarington staff are working with Metrolinx to identify solutions for a GO Bus service turnaround in Newcastle as the current site has been scheduled for demolition and land sale. The former Newcastle Fire Hall located at 247 King Avenue East has been used as a turnaround area for many years. The Municipality has been delaying the demolition of this building since 2016. Council has directed Staff to work with Metrolinx on suitable rerouting options through Newcastle to maintain the service and provide enough time and notice so that the change can occur before the building is demolished.

For more information on this matter, read Report PWD-024-21.

Clarington’s Community Centres offer Tourism information to promote local businesses and maximize public exposure

Clarington Council has approved the closure of the Tourism Information Centre on Liberty Street as the Municipality implements a new tourism promotion model. The Municipality has created tourism displays in its local community centres to reach more residents and visitors and promote local tourism destinations. Clarington’s community centres are the hub of numerous out-of-town tournaments that bring thousands of visitors to the Municipality. By relocating tourism information to the community centres, Clarington staff can maximize promotion and ensure that the information about local businesses reaches more people. This new tourism model will utilize social media and Clarington’s website to increase online traffic. During the pandemic, society has shifted, and online consumerism has grown; this new tourism model will meet that demand. The Municipality has used the Tourism Information Centre at 181 Liberty Street as its primary facility for tourism promotion since 1997. From the onset of the pandemic, the building has been closed, and Staff have relocated to the community centres. Council has directed Staff to explore various options for the future of the building and the site.

To find out more information on this topic, read Report CSD-004-21.

Clarington Council changes parking provisions in Bowmanville

Clarington Council is making some changes to parking in Bowmanville to help support local businesses as they reopen and support customer turnover. Council has voted to support courtesy parking in Bowmanville in December each year to support the Holiday shopping.

Here are some of the key changes that will take effect on January 1, 2022:

  • Two-hour free parking is being discontinued to allow for customer turnover and increased parking availability.
  • Parking rates will go up to $1 per hour.
  • A $5 maximum daily parking rate is being imposed on the Division Street, Silver Street, Water Tower and Church Street parking lots.
  • A two-hour maximum parking limit will be in place at the King Street lot.

Clarington Staff will also look at purchasing a mobile parking payment app and will report back to Council during the 2022 Budget deliberations.

For more information, read Report LGS-019-21.

Council realigns economic development to support economic growth in Clarington

To keep pace with the growth across the Municipality, Council is making some strategic changes to deliver strengthened economic development support and investment in Clarington. Council has directed Staff to renegotiate its contract with the Clarington Board of Trade and Office of Economic Development (CBOT) to ensure that it keeps supporting local businesses. The renegotiated contract will have a two-year term, include clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as clearly defined deliverables. Under the new contract, CBOT will be offered Municipal office space.

Clarington is also looking to hire a dedicated Economic Development Officer to work in the Planning and Development Services Department. The position would focus on attracting investment and new business to the Municipality. This new role will create a centralized, coordinated point of investor contact. This type of in-house approach to economic development is common across many municipalities.

Staff have also been directed to retain a consultant and create an Economic Development Strategy. The Strategy must align with Council’s Strategic Plan; it should outline annual work plans and include an economic development toolkit comprised of available employment lands, strategic initiatives, incentives, and a long-range vision. The Strategy would also clarify economic development roles and responsibilities as divided internally between Municipal Staff and CBOT. Clarington is one of the fastest-growing Municipalities in the GTA. This new economic development model balances the need to support our existing local businesses and focuses on long-term planning to support new employment and attract new investment in Clarington.

For more information, read Report CAO-003-21.

Council approves a revised COVID-19 Community Improvement Plan to support local businesses

Council has approved a revised COVID-19 Community Improvement Plan (CIP) based on input from local businesses to remove some pinch points in the application process. The program is designed to support local businesses whose operations have been periodically shuttered or restricted due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 CIP establishes grants for qualifying Clarington businesses to help cover the costs of any required physical improvements they’ve had to make to their place of business to reopen safely. Council approved the million-dollar COVID-19 CIP in 2020. Since then, Staff have reviewed it due to limited participation.

The revised COVID-19 CIP includes some clarification to the general eligibility criteria as it relates to specific businesses. There’s also a change to the time period used to measure the revenue loss to account for the second and third wave lockdowns and to account for the fact that many businesses are seasonal, and their revenues will reflect this. There’s also an allowance for businesses that may not have financial statements outlining a year of pre-pandemic operations, as they opened recently. The revised COVID-19 CIP modifies the meaning of ‘local independent business’ to enable franchises, which are not owned and operated by a corporate chain, to qualify for funding if they satisfy other applicable criteria. Finally, a new program-specific stipulation has been added for restaurants applying for a grant to cover the seasonal sidewalk patio licence exempting them from the means test criteria.

To find out more information about the changes, read Report PDS-034-21.

The next Council Meeting is on Monday, July 5, 2021.

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