New Traffic Control System To Keep City’s Traffic Moving

Implementation is expected to be completed by the end of 2020

Mississauga is implementing a responsive state-of-the-art Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS) to manage traffic on its road network.

“We are investing in the future by building a more reliable traffic control system. It will allow us to deal with the increasing traffic volumes and congestion on our roads. ATMS will enable us to actively monitor travel conditions, influence the operation of traffic signals, disseminate information and interact with other transportation modes and agencies through the use of hybrid technologies and networks,” said Mickey Frost, Director of Works, Operations and Maintenance.

The key components of the project include:

  • Set up of a new advanced traffic management centre to allow real-time traffic monitoring
  • Upgrade of traffic signal communications by leveraging the City’s public fibre network
  • Replacement of the existing traffic control system and traffic signal controllers to the new open system architecture to accommodate advanced technology
  • Implementation of intelligent transportation systems like traffic control cameras and traffic detection
  • Future initiatives like adaptive traffic control, incident management and traveller information

The total cost of the project is $16.2 million and implementation is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. The City is working closely with the Region of Peel and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) as they have traffic lights in the City.

Natural Gas Rate Changes Jan. 1, 2017

Ontario natural gas prices are changing, but still lower than previous years

Natural gas customers across Ontario will see increases on their bills in the New Year, but overall, prices will remain lower in 2017 than they have been during recent peak periods – even when factoring in the cost of cap and trade.

The changes include the routine quarterly adjustment for the market price of the natural gas commodity – known as the Quarterly Rate Adjustment Mechanism (QRAM) – which has taken place every three months since 2001 and will impact rates for customers of Ontario’s three natural gas utilities – Enbridge, Union Gas and NRG – beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition, the OEB recently granted interim rates for cap and trade and a rate adjustment for utility operations for Enbridge and Union Gas – all of which will impact customer bills in the New Year. Union Gas is also changing its rate zones to better reflect where it buys natural gas from and how it transports it to its customers.

Despite these rate adjustments and the introduction of cap and trade, overall, customers are still paying significantly less than they were at peak periods in 2009 and 2014, when natural gas costs were higher in Ontario due to factors including high market prices and unusually cold weather.

The amount of the increases to customers’ bills will vary between utilities and how much natural gas individual customers use. However, typical residential customers can expect to see their bills rise by between $4.65 and $13.54 on average per month for the year ahead.<!–more–>

The QRAM

The QRAM portion of today’s announcement is a routine rate adjustment – a process that’s been in place since 2001.

As a commodity, natural gas prices fluctuate daily and can change significantly over the course of a year, rising and falling based on factors such as weather and supply and demand.

Every three months, natural gas companies apply to adjust their rates to cover the cost of the market price of natural gas. Adjusting the rates each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 helps smooth the price to shield customers from sharp price swings that can occur on the market. These costs are passed on to customers by utilities without a mark-up.

The latest adjustment takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, reflecting the actual cost of natural gas in the previous four months and a forecast of natural gas market prices for the upcoming year.

Cap and Trade

Another component of this upcoming rate change is the costs associated with the government’s cap and trade program, which takes effect in January.

Enbridge, Union and NRG are required to manage their own business operations and buy allowances to cover the emissions that their customers – including Ontario households and small businesses – produce.

The OEB has granted interim rates for each of the three utilities so they can participate in the cap and trade market and meet the obligations set out in the government’s cap and trade program, which is intended to reduce GHG emissions in Ontario, beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Consumers can participate in the process to decide final rates. For more information visit: OntarioEnergyBoard.ca/notice.

The OEB expects utilities to provide consistent and clear information to their customers to help them understand the cap and trade program and the associated costs. Utilities have a number of channels that they are already using for customer outreach, including websites, bill calculators, call centres and bill inserts.

Both Union Gas and Enbridge have indicated they will be meeting the OEB’s expectation to include an on-bill message about cap and trade, which includes a direct link to information already available about cap and trade costs (i.e. the cost per cubic metre of natural gas and the average cost impact of cap and trade for the typical customer) on their websites.

Rate Adjustments

For Enbridge and Union Gas customers, part of the change is a result of a small rate increase to fund their local operations.

Union Gas Rate Zones

Following review and approval by the OEB, Union Gas has introduced a change in rate zones to better reflect the mix of natural gas supply markets and transportation pipelines available to serve each area. Union Gas is making this change so customer costs in each area are better aligned with the true cost of natural gas supply and the transportation services that serve them.

Resources:

OntarioEnergyBoard.ca
EnbridgeGas.com
UnionGas.com
NRGas.ca

NATURAL GAS RATE CHART – JAN. 1, 2017

The following chart shows the average overall monthly bill impacts in addition to a breakdown of each of the monthly impacts of the OEB’s Quarterly Rate Adjustment Mechanism (QRAM), cap and trade interim rates, as well as a rate adjustment for Enbridge and Union Gas. These totals are based on a typical residential customer for each utility.

Exact impacts will depend on how much natural gas customers use each month.

Report on Short-Term Accommodations (Airbnb etc) in Mississauga Identifies Regulatory Options

Yesterday, Mississauga’s Planning and Development Committee received a report (starting on page 65 in the linked PDC Agenda [15mb PDF]) from staff on short-term accommodations in the city.

“We understand the concerns about short-term accommodations in Mississauga. City staff is carefully reviewing the regulatory options available to address them,” said Ed Sajecki, Commissioner, Planning and Building. “Staff respond to any nuisance complaints, regardless of whether or not they are the result of short-term accommodation use.”

Council directed City staff to examine short-term accommodations in Mississauga, consult with stakeholders and create new by-laws as appropriate. The staff report, Short-Term Accommodation Overview of Current Status and Regulatory Options, provides statistics, benchmarking information with other municipalities, regulatory options and enforcement challenges. The City’s Zoning By-law currently does not prohibit short-term accommodations.

The report identifies options to amend the existing Zoning By-law, including:

  • Defining short-term accommodations
  • Allowing short-term accommodations in some areas
  • Allowing short-term accommodations only in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, subject to conditions
  • Creating a municipal registry or licensing regime once the use is permitted in the Zoning By-law

The City has existing by-laws to address concerns that may be related to short-term accommodations. These include concerns about property standards, noise, garbage and parking. Under these by-laws, City staff respond to any nuisance complaints in the community as they arise.

As next steps, staff will circulate the report to stakeholders for input and comment. This will be followed by a staff report on the feedback received at a formal public meeting. Staff will then report to Council with final recommendations on short-term accommodations in Mississauga.

Mississauga’s Budget Committee Approves 2017 Business Plan and Budget 

Today, Mississauga’s Budget Committee approved the 2017 Business Plan and Budget. The impact of the budget is a $94 increase on the City’s portion of the property tax on an average residential property valued at $564,000.

“Mississauga’s 2017 Budget is a strong financial plan that invests in our city’s future while delivering the services residents rely on every day,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “We heard from residents about their spending priorities that include transit and traffic management. We have taken action by putting forward a solid budget to expand transit and improve traffic management, enhance and grow our infrastructure, invest in technology and support our arts and culture.”

In 2017, Mississauga residents will see 56,000 more transit service hours, completion of the Mississauga Transitway with four more stations opening in 2017, along with road, traffic and other infrastructure improvements. This is in addition to the services residents expect including fire and emergency services, winter road maintenance, libraries, recreation programs and parks and forestry.

“Our ongoing commitment to fiscal responsibility and continuous improvement helps us build on our progress and advance our priorities,” said Janice Baker, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “We have realized $4.1 million in cost savings, which is equivalent to reducing the City tax levy by 0.9 per cent. We are investing our limited resources wisely on improvements for transit, infrastructure and technology.” Continue reading Mississauga’s Budget Committee Approves 2017 Business Plan and Budget