Highlights of Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie's State of the City Address

"Mississauga is working".

That's the general message Mayor Bonnie Crombie wanted to convey as she delivered her 2017 State of the City speech in front of a packed crowd at the Mississauga Convention Centre off of Hurontario Street and Britannia Road, an event sponsored by the Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT).

The State of the City speech has been going on since the final years of Hazel McCallion's time in office. It's an address where the Mayor of Mississauga can update people in Canada's sixth largest city what she has accomplished and what future plans are for Mississauga.

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Other jurisdictions around the world have similar events, the most notable being the American President's State of the Union address which gets widely covered. In the case of Mississauga, this was delivered in person to primarily MBOT members and those who paid to attend the luncheon, although the entire speech was recorded on the mayor's Facebook page.

Mayor Crombie made the following announcements during her keynote address:

  • The Mayor will represent Ontario at the 2017 Federal-Provincial-Territorial meeting of infrastructure ministers.

  • Mayor Crombie will soon depart for Nagoya, Japan, to attend the Aeromart Conference; a global gathering of aerospace industry leaders. This will be Mayor Crombie's second investment mission to Japan. Out of the 300 Japanese companies in Canada, 100 of them are in Mississauga.

  • UTM scientist and researcher Dr. Patrick Gunning will deliver the keynote address during the Mayor's 2017 Youth Speaker Series event.

  • There will be a City-Wide Small Business Town Hall planned in October. Ninty-seven per cent of all Mississauga businesses are of the small to medium variety, so no doubt that the recently announced federal tax changes will have small business owners concerned about how it would affect their bottom line. Even though it may not be in the purview of the city government, small business owners will still have a lot to say to their politicians at any level when this town hall takes place.

  • The second annual Mayor's Youth Employment Expo will take place at City Hall in November. These expos usually occur in conjunction with the Mayor's Youth Speakers series.

  • The Fouth Annual First Look Angel Investor Networking Event is being planned for the spring of 2018. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of an 'angel investor', it's similar to what Dragon's Den or Shark Tank are about; entrepreneurs from all walks of life make pitches for their start-ups to people with money to spare looking for their next big business venture…minus the bombastic rhetoric from 'dragons' or 'sharks' like Kevin O'Leary.

Other highlights of note in the Mayor's speech to the Board of Trade:

  • By 2024, Mississauga will celebrate 50 years as a city.

  • Based on the current budget deliberations for the 2018 budget, Mississauga city staff are projecting savings of nearly $3 million, which adds up to $52 million of savings over the last 10 years.

  • Crombie repeated how Mississauga is Canada's second largest life science sector by employment. She announced that Biolab, a Brazilian based pharmaceutical company investing $56 million in Mississauga after Crombie conducted a trade mission in Brazil, is getting ready to open a new state of the art facility creating 40 new high-valued added jobs. This new facility will add around $45,000 annually to the city's tax base.

  • Some repetition on transit announcements about the LRT and Mississauga Transitway, with Renforth Gateway being the final station under construction; it will be the easterly bus station along the BRT route. Also, the Matheson LRT station will be in walking distance from the new Matheson West Corporate Centre, the home of SOTI's new headquarters.

  • Ed Sajecki, Mississauga's Planning Commissioner (aka Chief Planner) is retiring at the end of 2017. Will the City of Mississauga find in their next planner someone who thinks a little outside the box like Toronto's Jennifer Keesmaat?

  • Crombie also brought up the work on the affordable housing file by Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, referring to how Parrish worked with Council and city staff in getting Daniels Corporation to mandate affordable housing units into their new downtown condo project. "We can't let housing affordability stop businesses from hiring the best and brightest because they cannot afford to live here", Crombie said.

  • The Mayor mentioned that the city is developing a 'made-in Mississauga' climate change action plan, saying it would include both corporate and community wide actions to reduce the impacts of climate change. She brought up how Mississauga signed on to join the Global Covenant of Mayors or Climate and Energy, an international alliance of cities addressing climate change. Crombie said joining this group would put Mississauga in with some hefty company, such as New York City, Paris, Sydney Australia and Tokyo. Signing onto these international partnerships with other cities is a growing sign of the changing role of mayors and municipal leaders, as I hypothesized here in my own blog.

Mayor Crombie mentioned the strong working relationship between the City of Mississauga and both the federal and provincial levels of government, referring to the meetings this year with both Prime Minister Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Interestingly enough, the mayor did not mention she also met with provincial PC leader Patrick Brown and the Ontario NDP's Andrea Horwath.

That would have been important to mention because the mayor herself brought up the provincial election next year, believing that the ballot question must be, "which party will stand up for the best interests of cities?" I'm sure there will be many Mississauga resident who disagree with what the Ontario election ballot question will be, but that's another story for another time.

As for how her own council has been doing, Crombie said, "Mississauga has a strong, stable government. No drama, no nonsense. We work collaboratively together. We get things done." That for the most part is true; little would be done if councillors squabbled amongst themselves seeking political advantage; they technically don't run against each other during elections so what would be the point of continued animosity?

The only thing they would have to worry about is having voters upset enough with them that they vote in someone else, although the chances of unseating an incumbent councillor in Mississauga are about the same as finding the Loch Ness Monster.

You can read portions of the State of the City address here. I obtained a hard copy of the full speech, which comes in this neat little booklet as shown below.

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Whether you think Mississauga is indeed working as Mayor Crombie proclaimed, one thing that is certainly working are her plans to run for another term. This booklet reads almost like a platform, showing what has been done in the last four years. All that is missing are any new promises or ideas for the upcoming years ahead.

But that's a story for 2018.

Follow me on Twitter @thekantastic

Header photo courtesy of Mayor Crombie's Facebook page

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