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Brantford council receives update on Downtown Priority Plan

City of BrantfordBrantford council receives update on Downtown Priority Plan

In response to concerns regarding social challenges in the city’s downtown core exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, last fall Brantford City Council appointed a Downtown Brantford Improvement Task Force (DBITF) with the objective to develop a community plan that the City and community partners are currently implementing to improve the health, vitality and resiliency of the heart of our city.

In April 2022, Brantford City Council endorsed Brantford’s Downtown Priority Plan: A Community Vision for the City Centre including a series of actions as follows: 

  • Better position the downtown as a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all residents and visitors
  • Provide additional supports to vulnerable populations including individuals experiencing homelessness, those with substance use disorders, and persons struggling with mental health and addiction challenges
  • Enhance tourism, arts, culture, music, entertainment and community events to attract more residents and visitors to the city’s downtown

More specifically, the plan identified 18 priorities within the following three focus areas:

1) Safety and Security

2) Inclusion and Support

3) Growth and Vibrancy

At their meeting held July 5, 2022, Committee of the Whole received an update from City staff regarding the status of the 2022 action plan priorities. Highlights of the 2022 update include:

Safety and Security completed actions 

  • Budget approval for additional Special Constables in the downtown – 8 of which have been hired and currently undergoing training with the expectation they will be actively in place in the next 5-6 weeks
  • Development of a permanent Mobile Security Team to enhance property security and pedestrian safety

Safety and Security actions in progress

  • Ongoing advocacy regarding bail reform and additional judicial resources in conjunction with MP Larry Brock
  • Continued implementation of the Vision Zero Road Safety
  • CCTV Camera Implementation – installation in downtown locations expected to be completed by the end of July

Inclusion and Support completed actions

  • Development of a hygiene station and snack cart at the Grand River Community Health Centre

Inclusion and Support actions in progress

  • Increased coordination of social supports and updated encampment response protocol
  • Development of a Community Resource Guide to be completed in 2022
  • Development of a Community Anti-stigma Campaign, to be completed in 2022
  • Exploration of the downtown parkade as a potential site for the Willowbridge Hub
  • Staff to provide report to Council by Q1 2023 with options for increased public washroom access in the downtown

Growth and Vibrancy completed actions

  • $150K contribution from Council Priorities Reserve toward Wilfrid Laurier University’s Cultural Hub at 1 Market
  • Approval of by-law permitting Seasonal Outdoor Patios and non-amplified music
  • Signed Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Brantford and WLU for collaborative research

Growth and Vibrancy actions in progress

  • Release of Advantage Brantford (City of Brantford Economic Development) Downtown Investment video campaign
  • Summer students patrol downtown from June-August 2022 and educate residents and businesses about garbage ‘set out time’ and Chapter 440 waste management by-law requirements
  • Implementation of Downtown Streetscaping Plan to address, among other items, installation of underground containers to supplement curbside collection of garbage and recyclable materials
  • Enhancements to the Planning Approval Process to support rapid growth and development (Ongoing);
  • Pending $100,000 grant application to FedDev and the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association for a new Tourism and Culture Strategy, building on the Municipal Cultural Plan (2014) and the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy (2016) (Complete);
  • Continued implementation of the Economic Recovery Action Plan (2020) through Economic Development & Tourism Department staff work plans
  • Approval of $72,500 Digital Main Street 4.0 grant to continue the Business Resource Centre (BRC)’s Digital Service Squad

Members of the Downtown Action Committee will continue to meet quarterly as a community group and during an Annual Summit to review priorities and current status, new ideas and action items to continue to evolve the Priority Plan.

City staff are also working to provide a comprehensive report prior to the 2023 Estimates process identifying actions and costs to implement and support the priorities outlined in the Downtown Priority Plan and that those staff recommendations be considered within the City’s 2023 budget deliberations.

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