2017 had its fair share of news stories about Brampton, and lots of those will carry over to 2018. Municipal and provincial elections are expected this year, which will bring their own set of stories. The university, transit, transparency at city hall and a bunch of other issues will undoubtedly be topics of conversation as well. Here are ten developing news stories to keep your eye on this year.
1. Downtown Brampton water main replacement
A massive construction project begins in downtown Brampton in 2018. The aging water mains in the Four Corners area will be replaced and the project will take a year. While businesses will remain open, they’ll be working overtime to ensure the public is aware of it. In such an old area of the city, there’s also no telling what will be found once the shovels hit the ground.
2. University developments
While it’s clear Ryerson will be the winning bid for Brampton’s future university, it hasn’t technically been announced by the province of Ontario yet. Planning is furiously underway so there’s no doubt Ryerson is setting up shop in Brampton, but word from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development just needs to come down to make it all official. Aside from that, there’s the other issue of how the $180 million for universities in Milton and Brampton will be allocated. Will Brampton get half, or will we get a larger portion given that our population growth far outpaces that of Milton?
3. Transparency at city hall
Right before the holidays began, the mayor put forward a motion to have an independent auditor on staff at the city to take a regular look at the books, but the motion didn’t pass. Transparency and a general lack of trust with the city’s elected officials during previous mayor Susan Fennell’s reign have lingered even with a slightly different makeup in council. After the way it looks after their decision to turn down the auditor, questions will continue to plague council about how transparent they are with residents — even if there’s nothing going on.
4. Cases with the Integrity Commissioner
Brampton City Council is no stranger to the Integrity Commissioner, having had numerous grievances filed against them. With questions swirling about the recent purchase of a failing golf course for $11.6 million, among other issues, there’s likely to be more news in 2018 about cases filed with the commissioner.
5. Arts and culture planning
City Council just initiated research for an Art and Culture Master Plan. They’ve struck a committee of residents and hired a consulting agency to help them decipher the community’s wants and needs. This will aid in creation of a plan for making Brampton more vibrant. Funding for public art projects, assisting local grassroots arts-based organizations, rebuilding an arts council and the use of city facilities have all been issues expressed in the past. The master plan is expected to be completed in June, at which time it will become clearer how to deal with some of Brampton’s arts and culture woes.
6. The $28.5 million lawsuit from Inzola
The $28.5 million lawsuit against the City of Brampton by local developer Inzola Group has dragged on for a couple of years now. Inzola Group is suing the city of Brampton because they believe they were unfairly disqualified in a bid to build the city’s controversial city hall expansion. For this project the city employed a new bidding process and Inzola was not the successful bidder. Will the suit finally wrap up in 2018? We’ll have to wait and see.
7. The 2018 municipal election
After another four years of strife, Bramptonians go back to the polls in October. The past four years had their fair share of both controversy and success stories with issues running the gamut. Transit, post-secondary education, spending at city hall, and more, have been major issues for the public. So how will the impending election affect council dynamics and tensions? Will Bramptonians feel more compelled to come out and vote? Stay tuned to find out.
8. Council drama
Sometimes the drama at Brampton City Council can rival that of the Real Housewives. Thing have been quiet lately but with an impending election, everyone will be fighting for themselves, and existing tensions are likely to rise to the service again. In the past council hasn’t seen eye-to-eye on many major issues, including the Hurontario-LRT project, giving the Brampton Beast $1.5 million in public funds, just to name a few. If these issues aren’t enough to fuel the fire leading into the election in October, well, there’s about 9 months of lead time for the drama to build up.
9. The Hurontario Light Rail Project
This is the story that just keeps on giving, much to the dismay of some city councillors who wish the public would forget about it. The decision to turn down $400 million in provincial funding to build light rail transit into downtown Brampton has continued to be a topic of conversation. When the majority of council voted to end the line at Steeles Avenue, just 2km into Brampton, people were outraged. Now that the project will break ground in 2018, Bramptonians are sure to be reminded of Council’s decision.
10. The Heritage Theatre Sale
The city of Brampton put its Heritage Block up for sale. This is the block of buildings downtown that currently holds the Heritage Theatre, downtown Brampton BIA and Beaux-Arts Brampton–the only artist-run centre in the city. Will the block be purchased this year? Who will buy it? Will the Heritage Theatre be redeveloped or demolished? All of the action will play out in 2018. Whatever happens, it will most certainly change the face of downtown Brampton.