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December 8, 2020 City Council Meeting

View December 8, 2020 Meeting Agenda  View Live Stream of the Meeting

Groundbreaking of The Niagara Falls Exchange
The Niagara Falls Exchange Groundbreaking
After several years of study and planning, the City of Niagara Falls is very excited to announce construction has commenced on the Niagara Falls Exchange! Construction hoarding has been erected around the development site, and the deteriorated Sylvia Place Market structure has been taken down to make way for this new community asset.

To mark the beginning of construction of The Exchange, the City held a virtual, COVID friendly, groundbreaking and have produced a short video to celebrate this milestone.

The new culture hub and market, designed by DTAH, will become a vibrant centre of activity in the community by providing shared spaces where artists, musicians, food vendors and patrons, and local businesses can come together and create. Located in the historic Main and Ferry district, it will include a large culture and market hall, café, artist studios, and creative workshop surrounded by two multi-functional civic plazas that interconnect the flanking streets. The Market Hall, which will house the regularly scheduled Farmers’ Market, will be a space for other events that include music, theatre, lectures and other weekend markets.

For more information on The Exchange Culture Hub and Market, planned to open in Spring 2022, visit Let’s Talk Niagara Falls.
Learn more about the Niagara Falls Exchange
Winter Strategy City of Niagara Falls - December 2020
City of Niagara Falls Winter Strategy 
For months, City residents have had to rely on the outdoors to enable us to gather with others in relative safety. Extended patios, as well as access to an array of quality open spaces, trails and parks, have made the pandemic experience more tolerable.

As we brace for a long winter, it is important to support local businesses, assist the vulnerable, and plan winter activities and opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors in a safe manner. 

The Winter Strategy, endorsed by the City’s Emergency Control Group (ECG), provides an initial plan and ideas for:
  • Creating a more vibrant winter economy in Niagara Falls
  • Making it easier to get around in the winter
  • Providing more opportunities to experience the joy of the winter months
  • Creating better awareness of local winter activities, and the measures to keep everyone winter safe
  • Supporting the needs of vulnerable populations 
This Winter Strategy will be enhanced and updated as winter approaches, and to react to the weather it brings.
Think, shop, buy, local.
Free Parking Downtown and in Municipal Parking Lots
Shopping local this holiday season just became easier!  For the month of December residents can take advantage of free on-street parking (2 hour maximum) and free parking in municipal lots (4 hour maximum) in the Queen Street/downtown area of the City. 
View Holiday Deals and Local Listings
Cannabis leaf.
Cannabis Operations
SGL Planning & Design Inc. was hired to examine opportunities for the City of Niagara Falls to regulate activities permitted under the Cannabis Act, and to assess and recommend changes to the Official Plan and/or Zoning By-law, as needed, to regulate cannabis production as a land use.

Council heard a presentation from the consultants on their report Cannabis Growing Facilities – Land Use Review summarizing their work to date and input received recently from the public. 

Council received the Consultant’s presentation and directed the preparation of draft amendments to the Official Plan, Zoning By-law and Site Plan Control Bylaw, including maps showing areas with setback options to come back to Council for further discussion.

A required Public Meeting will be scheduled for a later date.
Read the Consultant's Study.
Water coming out of a faucet.
2021 Water/Wastewater Budget
City Council approved the 2021 Water/Wastewater Budget and associated rates. 
View the Presentation.
Capital Budget Infrastructure Renewal graphic
2021 Capital Budget Update
Council approved the staff recommendations regarding the 2021 Budget Follow Up report, aside from Recommendation #2 and #6, which deferred the approval of the commitment of 2021 capital spending from a proposed transfer from the tax supported operating budget to the 2021 capital budget, until Council can review the Operating Budget.
Read the Full Report
COVID-19 pre-authorized property tax payment plan.
Special COVID-19 Pre-Authorized Property Tax Payment Plan
Council adopted staff’s recommendation to create a special COVID-19 payment plan. This plan would allow the City to provide additional support to those residents and businesses who have suffered severe financial hardship due to the pandemic without violating the Municipal Act. This recommendation would result in the creation of a new by-law to implement the program.

The payment plan would allow for all taxpayers that meet the eligibility criteria including both owners and tenants responsible for paying property taxes the ability to pay their outstanding property taxes from 2020 and current taxes from 2021 through pre-authorized payments over twelve (12) equal installments on the 16th of each month from February 16, 2021 to January 16, 2022. No penalty and interest would be charged for accounts on this payment plan.

Council also decided to institute a reduced penalty and interest rate of 0.50% per month for the first 3 months of 2021.
Read the Full Report
Extended (word spelled out with blocks).
2020 Program Extensions under the Downtown, Historic
Drummondville and City-Wide Community Improvement Plans
Due to unanticipated circumstances during 2020, Council adopted staff’s recommendation to grant a one-year extension to the Downtown, Historic Drummondville and City-Wide Brownfields Community Improvement Plans to December 2021. 
Read the Full Report
Niagara Falls Transit bus with passengers boarding
Transit Strategic Business Plan & Ridership Growth Strategy:
Five Year Update (2021 - 2025)
Carla Stout, General Manager of Transit Services, provided an overview to Council of the updated Transit Strategic Business Plan & Ridership Growth Strategy for 2021-2025 for their information. The update provides an action plan to follow as Council considers the future of transit in Niagara Falls. 
Read the Full Report
Railway Safety Improvement Program
The City of Niagara Falls was selected for 2020-2021 Rail Safety Improvement Funding in June 2020 for approximately $444,000, with the City being responsible for 20 percent ($88,800). The program’s objectives are to improve rail safety, contribute to increasing safety at grade crossings and along rail lines, and increase public confidence in Canada’s rail transportation system. 

This project will implement a City-wide information system to help emergency vehicles avoid blocked rail crossings when responding to an emergency. Specifically, the project will deploy TRAINFO's technologies which use train detection sensors to obtain rail crossing blockage information and specialized software to predict when crossings will be blocked and the blockage duration. This information can be integrated into the City's emergency dispatch system and delivered to drivers to reduce collision risk exposure between emergency vehicles and trains as well as collision risk with other road users.
View More Information.
Additional Reports
  • PBD-2020-78Cytec Thorold Stone Road Lands Draft Plan of Subdivision Application, North and South Side of Thorold Stone Road east of Stanley Avenue
  • PBD-2020-80, 7 Storey Addition to the Existing Hotel, 5525 Victoria Avenue/4858 Kitchener Street 
    (Country Inn & Suites by Radisson)
    • Council approved a Zoning By-law amendment for 5525 Victoria Avenue/4858 Kitchener Street to a site specific Tourist Commercial (TC) zone to permit the construction of a 7 storey addition to the existing 7 storey hotel, subject to the regulations outlined in the Council report. A total of 30 new hotel rooms are proposed in the addition, with 3 additional units in the existing building, for a total of 111 hotel units.
    • Presentation.
  • F-2020-52, COVID-19 Financial Update
    • Council received a report from Finance Director Tiffany Clark indicating that the City had received $2,324,400 from the Province to support COVID-19 operating costs and pressures. City Council wished to express their thanks to the Province for the funding.
    • In additional to the Municipal Operating Funding noted above, the City also received $1,939,258 under the Safe Restart Agreement specifically to address municipal transit pressures. This funding is adequate to address the City of Niagara Falls municipal transit pressures.
      MW-2020-28, Chippawa Lions Club Lease Renewal
  • L-2020-14, Declaration of Surplus & Transfer of Lands, 5017 Victoria Avenue
    • Council declared 5017 Victoria Avenue as surplus to the City’s needs, and that the lands be transferred to Niagara Regional Housing, for nominal consideration, to be used as Bridge Housing in the City of Niagara Falls. This permanent supportive housing will help address issues surrounding chronic homelessness, mental health, addictions and physical health.
  • MW-2020-30, ICIP COVID-19 Resilience Stream Update
  • TS-2020-32, Speed Control Programs, Lawn Sign Road Safety Campaigns
  • Report from the Niagara Falls Public Library Board
The complete list of reports, including consent agenda items, may be viewed in the December 8, 2020 agenda at niagarafalls.ca/council.
Crime Stoppers of Niagara
Proclamation:
January 2021 | Crime Stoppers Month

The month of January 2021 has been declared as "Crime Stoppers Month" in Niagara Falls. Learn more at crimestoppersniagara.com
Image of Niagara Falls City Hall
Next Council Meeting: January 19, 2021
The next City Council meeting will be held on January 19, 2021 at 4PM. For more information, visit niagarafalls.ca/council.
Niagara Falls Canada logo and skyline
Copyright © 2020 City of Niagara Falls, All rights reserved.


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