Between January 23, 2023, and February 1, 2023, the Mississauga City Council gathered to discuss the City of Mississauga’s 2023 proposed budget. The final 2023 Budget, alongside the 2023-2026 Business Plan, outlines initiatives the city will be undertaking over the coming years. Such projects include, but are not limited to, the planned renovation of South Common Community Centre and Library, development of the Dundas Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, and funding a grant to support the local music industry.
Many projects in the budget are continuations of multi-year plans. Few new projects are being undertaken, as speakers have expressed that the City of Mississauga is still recovering from losses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the uncertainty over potential losses stemming from Bill 23—which could cost Mississauga approximately $1 billion. “This year, we have put forward a no-frills budget that is designed to maintain service levels while minimizing the impacts on our residents as we address ongoing pressures from inflation and the lagging effects of Covid-19,” said Mississauga mayor, Bonnie Crombie, in a City of Mississauga news release.
In relation to public transit, the City of Mississauga has ongoing plans for the Dundas BRT corridor. Dedicated bus lanes along Dundas Street—which bus routes such as 1C, 101, and 101A operate on—will be constructed to increase the reliability and efficiency of public transit. Construction on the “Mississauga East” portion, stretching from Cooksville to the Etobicoke Creek, is set to begin in 2025. This will be the first segment of a multi-city project that will stretch along Dundas Street from Highway 6 in Hamilton to the Kipling Transit Hub in Toronto.
Likewise, MiWay has also ordered 165 hybrid-electric busses to replace the aging fleet of diesel busses, which will reduce fuel costs and environmental impacts. Adding to the original budget proposal, the City Council moved to implement a year-long pilot project that provides free transit for children and all-day one dollar senior fares.
The 2023-2026 Business Plan puts forth plans for the redevelopment of several community centres, including the South Common Community Centre. Construction for the new South Common Community Center and Library is set to begin in 2024, with a slated reopening in 2026. During the winter of 2023, the City will hold a public engagement session about the renovation.
Likewise, the Hazel McCallion Central Library is set to reopen in 2023 with makerspace elements, such as sound and video studios, a maker studio space, and more. As such, the budget also accounts for the hiring of new staff with expertise in digital technologies to join the makerspace team.
The 2023 Budget also contains plans to support the local music industry through piloting a $45,000 “Live Music Grant” program dedicated to for-profit businesses and organizations. This will be the beginning of a multi-year roll-out of the City of Mississauga’s Music Strategy, which was put together in 2022.
The 2023-2026 Business Plan also includes the slated construction of three new fire stations in 2024 and 2025 to improve fire response times. This is notable because presently, Mississauga fire trucks meet the national travel time target of 240 seconds or less only 50 per cent of the time.
Despite the current financial constraints, Mayor Crombie feels that resources are being well-allocated, stating: “I stand behind the 2023 budget, which invests in our residents and supports our business community. We are making critical strategic investments in public safety, infrastructure, and sustainability to build our resiliency in the future and support our community’s growth.”