Mayor Bonnie Crombie
Inaugural Address to the City
December 2, 2014
*Check Against Delivery*
Good evening. Thank you for joining us for this historic occasion.
It is truly incredible to gather here tonight with so many people in our beautiful Living Arts Centre.
I am both honoured and humbled by the trust the voters of Mississauga have placed in me and this Council, and I fully appreciate the responsibility of this office…you have my commitment that I will work hard every day to build on what Hazel McCallion has started and chart a new course to move Mississauga forward.
Friends, tonight we gather to usher in a new era and new chapter in Mississauga’s history…and I for one have never been more optimistic about our future than I am today!
This year we celebrate 40 years as a City – a significant milestone and a critical time in our history…because the decisions we make today will be felt for generations to come.
We have an opportunity to do great things and to chart a new course to move Mississauga forward…and it starts right here, right now, tonight.
We are the new Mississauga…it’s our City and it’s our time…Together we will write the next great chapter in our City’s history…
From this moment forward, every action we take and every decision we make must be with a mind to positioning our City to succeed for the next 40 years and beyond…
As your Mayor, I will continue Hazel McCallion’s tradition of strong fiscal management and be our City’s greatest champion and Mississauga’s most passionate and committed advocate.
We are a dynamic, diverse and emerging City…Mississauga is truly a City on the move!
The job these last 40 years was to build Mississauga from farm fields and fruit trees into a great City…Mission accomplished!
Our job for the next 40 years will be to carve out a distinct identity and take our place as a leader in the GTA and beyond.
What the future of Mississauga will look like is up to each of us here tonight.
We must work together to ensure Mississauga remains one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family, with a quality of life that is second to none.
Now is the time for collaboration and unity. Mississaugans expect their government to deliver results…The residents of this City have put their trust in us to move Mississauga forward.
We must always remember we represent not just ourselves, but the over 750,000 people who call Mississauga home.
May we always conduct ourselves with integrity and make decisions for the greater good of Mississauga and our residents.
I look forward to working with this Council to strengthen our City and move Mississauga forward
While we move forward, we cannot ever forget our past…. in fact, we must embrace our history and learn from it to forge our new path forward.
From our community centres, to our arenas, to our waterfront and downtown, to our public spaces and of course, to our unrivalled quality of life, Hazel McCallion’s influence on Mississauga can be seen and felt everywhere
Over the past 40 years, Hazel McCallion laid strong foundations upon which we will continue to build an even greater City. We are in a position to seize upon some exciting opportunities, in large part because of her work and her vision to make Mississauga what is today.
For these and so many other reasons, we all owe Hazel McCallion a debt of gratitude.
Thank you, Hazel!
Each of you here tonight CHOSE Mississauga as your home… just as my husband and I and the hundreds of thousands of other residents in this City chose to live here…
Ask yourself, “Why did you do so?”
We chose to live here because of the high quality of life, yes…but also because of something more…the promise this City holds for all of its residents…whether you’ve been here 20 years or 20 days, each of us has an equal opportunity to reach higher, and achieve success.
Mississauga embodies the great Canadian success story. People from every corner of the globe and all points in between living together in peace, prosperity and harmony, celebrating each other’s traditions…There are few other places in this world that can match Mississauga’s vibrancy and diversity of culture…and there are few cities that can match our potential as a result.
Like any 40 year old city, Mississauga faces some significant challenges, including aging infrastructure, decreasing revenues, the need for increased local and regionally-integrated rapid transit, continued economic development, maintaining a competitive tax rate, attracting new investments and creating jobs for residents….
At the same time, we are poised to seize upon some exciting opportunities…We have a highly skilled work force speaking over 70 different languages from over 150 countries; we are home to 63 Fortune 500 companies and almost 60,000 businesses, as well as Toronto Pearson airport; We have become a net importer of jobs – yes, more people come to work in Mississauga daily than leave; we are strategically located within the GTA as a hub of economic activity; and, our economy is strong with a GDP that now exceeds $40 billion annually.
To continue to succeed, we must first and foremost get the fundamentals right.
These include investing in transit and transportation networks to reduce congestion; maintaining a thriving local economy by attracting investment and by fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship; lifting people out of poverty and homelessness to ensure all residents have a chance at success; instilling a culture of greater openness and transparency at City Hall; developing livable, walkable and healthy communities through intensification and urbanization; and maintaining strong civic leadership.
These are all hallmarks of a world-class city…And, our success will be measured by how we address each.
We must start by taking steps to relieve gridlock and congestion through regionally-integrated rapid transit. Every day our roads become more crowded, resulting in lost productivity – some estimate more than $6 billion per year – but more importantly, less time with our family and friends.
We have taken a significant step forward by opening the first phase of the Mississauga Bus Rapid Transitway and I am confident that we will soon begin construction on the Hurontario Light Rail Transit or ‘LRT’ to build the north-south spine of a regionally-integrated rapid transit network.
We have done our homework; we have a strong business case; and we are ready to get shovels in the ground on the LRT…at the same time we will continue to advocate for all-day, two-way GO Train service that will enhance our connections to other cities in the GTA. To do this, we will work with our federal and provincial representatives to find the necessary funding.
It’s about getting people moving to the places they want to go.
As we build our transit, we must do so in a way that encourages the development of livable, walkable and healthy communities…It is important that we all be able to walk to a store to buy a litre milk…
Mississauga has grown out, but now it is time we quite literally grow up through intensified development…but only where it makes the most sense to do so.
We must also maintain our focus on developing and protecting our waterfront making it accessible to all residents, along with building a downtown that is vibrant, walkable and a destination for all.
When we say we’re going “downtown,” it should be to downtown Mississauga
A vibrant city is built on a strong economic base, where local residents can live and work in their own community, where domestic and international businesses are supported, and where innovators and entrepreneurs have the freedom and the support needed to thrive and succeed…
Our economic development strategy must be focused on attracting, retaining and encouraging business on all levels.
It also requires a champion…As your Mayor, I will lead our economic development efforts and champion our City at every opportunity.
It is critical that we seize upon every investment opportunity, position ourselves to compete effectively in the global market place, and create employment opportunities for all residents.
As such, one of my first actions as Mayor will be to work with our local business and trade organizations, as well as our many cultural associations to create an International Investment Advisory Panel, which will be supported directly by the Mayor’s Office and our City’s Economic Development Office.
While looking abroad to attract investment, we must always ensure that the needs of our local businesses are met…I believe we can and we must do more to meet the needs of our almost 60,000 businesses.
To compete globally, we must also be the forefront of the knowledge economy and become a hub for new ideas and new business. Mississauga can become this hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, if we put in place the necessary supports and bring together the leaders in these sectors.
Our innovators should not have to look outside our borders for supports but should be able to take their ideas from concept to commercialization right here in their own backyard.
We have many of the building blocks in place already – UTM’s Innovation Complex, Sheridan College, the RIC Centre, Advantage Mississauga and the Mississauga Board of Trade…What I believe is needed at this point is greater collaboration of the efforts of these organizations.
To do this I will create a Mayor’s Taskforce on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to bring together the right people to move this agenda forward…
Mississauga will be an innovation City, competing on the national and international stage for the best and the brightest talent and ideas.
While we strive to be a global leader, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind.
This includes the over 60,000 residents that use one of our many food banks every month, the 20% of children who go hungry every day, and those who are homeless or cannot find safe and affordable housing.
This is unacceptable and it will be addressed through a Mayor’s Taskforce on Poverty and Homelessness that will bring together the leading voices in this area to find real and practical Mississauga-based solutions to these issues.
I am also troubled by the youth unemployment rate that now stands at close to 20% in Peel Region. We are at risk of losing a generation of youth. As Mayor, I will issue the Mayor’s Youth Jobs Challenge to encourage our local businesses to hire and mentor local youth, as well as engage in discussions to change our City’s procurement policy to ensure we are encouraging vendors to hire youth.
We must do all we can to address these issues, which includes ensuring that Mississauga and Peel Region receives its FAIR SHARE of funding for health and social services.
No one can be left behind or we will all be left behind.
Part of the solution also includes fostering a climate of inclusiveness through open and accessible government where all citizens have a voice and can have an impact on decision-making.
So, with the support of Council, I will move to strike a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee that will be made up of Councillors and residents and will engage in research, hear deputations, and review policies to ensure our government is responsive to all residents.
This Committee will report directly to City Council and will have a clear mandate and a strong voice.
As your Mayor, I will also host office hours in conjunction with the local ward Councillor once a month in each ward to make myself available to residents. As a Councillor, I held regular office hours in my ward each week and was pleased by the number of residents who came in to discuss their ideas, concerns and thoughts about the future of their City and community.
From Clarkson, to Cooksville, from Streetsville to Port Credit, to Malton and throughout Mississauga, I will work with Councillors to be responsive to the needs of our residents and our neighbourhoods.
I am equally committed to improving transparency at City Hall. Residents deserve to know what their government is doing, how decisions are made, and how their hard-earned money is spent. I will work with our City staff to create an open government portal that will not only share data, but do so in such a way that it is understandable and useable.
This includes the City Budget, which at times can be complex.
Fittingly, the first job of our new Council will be to deliver the 2015 budget. I know Council is determined to create a strong budget that ensures good value for money, while keeping taxes at the rate of inflation.
Mississauga enjoys a ‘Triple-A’ credit rating and has been named one of the best run cities in North America for 25 straight years. This is no accident. It is the product of prudent financial management and strong leadership….
As Mayor, I will ensure this continues.
While we cannot cut our way to prosperity, we can and we must make improvements in how we do business and provide services. I am committed to finding savings and improving efficiencies and I will start discussion at Council about undertaking an independent review of our programs, services and operations.
I will also seek to make the best use of emerging technologies to streamline processes and improve service delivery.
We live in an online world and your government should be accessible to every resident with an Internet connection.
Investing in transit, fostering a strong economic environment, addressing poverty and homelessness, opening City Hall to all residents, developing a more livable, walkable community, and maintaining strong leadership at City Hall – these are my priorities.
It will take hard work, collaboration and engagement to realize these goals and shape our future identity and build a great community. I for one am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves, getting to work to achieve results!
Mississauga has changed greatly over the past 40 years, but we have never lost – nor must we ever stray – from our core values – those of hard work, determination, strong ethics, and respect for our neighbours.
Mississauga’s success will not be achieved in isolation, but by all of us working together.
As Mayor, I ask that you make your voices heard. I want you to join me. Be part of this great debate about the future of our City. Strive to make your neighbourhoods better places to live through collective action, and commitment to our community.
Mississauga has all of the assets needed to continue to prosper…
I am confident that if we work together, we will achieve greatness and carve out our identity as a world-class City and a global destination for prosperity.
Mississauga has limitless potential and I stand before you tonight to say our future is bright….I truly believe that our best days are before us.
Success cannot be left to chance; we must seize the moment before us and take action, today.
Together, we will build a great City.
So, let’s get to work!