The City of Burnaby jumped into 2012 ready to tackle a number of projects and issues in the coming year.
And, like many of us, the city is finishing off the year with a few things left on its To Do List.
Below are some of the items that fell to the wayside during a very busy year for Burnaby council and staff:
We have heard about the pools, the public art, the extra staff and more as the city planned and worked on the new Edmonds centre during the past few years. But when will we have a chance to take a dip, or a Pilates class, there?
The completion date has been moved forward to February 2013, according to a report from director of parks recreation and cultural services, Dave Ellenwood, who has said in past interviews that an opening date is likely to be about four to six weeks after completion. So the centre should be up and running before the warm weather hits - if all goes according to plan.
Some media outlets jumped the gun and stated the City of Burnaby had signed on to a regional shark fin ban along with Vancouver and Richmond this past year. Not so, though plenty of other municipalities in the Lower Mainland have instituted bans since Burnaby started considering one in July.
However, Mayor Derek Corrigan says the city will now have to look at the potential legal ramifications, following a ruling by an Ontario Superior Court judge on Nov. 30, overturning the City of Toronto's ban. So the shark fin soup issue will continue to simmer on the backburner into the new year.
The City of Burnaby is also taking a look at its tree bylaw after multiple residents complained the current bylaw isn't effectively protecting city trees.
Burnaby's tree bylaw from 1996 restricts property owners from cutting down large trees (larger than 20.3 centimetres in diameter) three months prior to applying for a demolition permit for a building on a property, and one year afterward. Large trees that residents cut down are supposed to be replaced with a new tree, according to the bylaw, though the replacement of trees isn't always a 1: 1 ratio.
A delegation spoke to council about their concerns in June 2011, and a tree bylaw review was set for the following fall and spring. However, the process stalled due to staff changes at city hall and a big increase in building permit applications, according to Corrigan.
But earlier this month, Corrigan said he and city councillors were attending a tree bylaw workshop as part of the review process, so the issue is moving ahead, slowly but surely.
The city is also reviewing its pet bylaw and is considering issues such as its breed-specific legislation.
The city has been cautious about changing its animal control bylaw, which currently has restrictions on "vicious dogs."
Burnaby's bylaw from 1991 states that a vicious dog is defined as one that has attacked a person or animal without provocation, or "a Staffordshire bull terrier, an American pit bull terrier and any dog generally recognized as a pit bull or pit bull terrier and includes a dog of mixed breed with predominant pit bull or pit bull terrier characteristics."
Pit bull owners are fighting the bylaw, saying it unfairly penalizes good dog owners and is based on alarmist media reports about the breed.
City staff is working on the animal control bylaw now, Corrigan said, so he expects it will be brought to council in the coming year.
The city has also been approached about banning animal sales at pet stores, but Corrigan said last fall that the city had too much on its plate to review a possible ban at the time.
Despite the backlog of bylaw work, the City of Burnaby did manage to approve a wide array of development plans and permits in the city.
After application approvals stalled during the summer, things got back to normal by the fall, according to the city's planning and building director Lou Pelletier.
Overall, the city saw a 2.5 per cent increase in building permits this year, Corrigan said at the beginning of December.
City hall suffered a number of staff losses during the past year, including deputy city manager Rick Earle and director of planning and building Basil Luksun last spring.
Kim Munro, director of human resources, also retired this year.
Lambert Chu, the former director of engineering, is now a deputy city manager, alongside Chad Turpin. Barry Davis, deputy director of engineering, is now acting director of the department, and Pat Tennant, who was the assistant ERP program manager, is now acting director of human resources.
As for the future of Burnaby? It looks like there'll be plenty of issues for the city to tackle in 2013 - be it animal, tree, or staff-related.
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