Progress So Far

Fiscal Responsibility
Strong, Smart Growth
Making Our Property Tax System Fairer
Supporting Transition of the McCormick Area
Safer Options for Walking & Cycling
Better Safety for All Road Users
Better Infrastructure for Our Neighbourhoods and Environment
Better Options for Parking
Supporting Music, Culture and Entertainment
A More Inclusive City
Better Transit
Support for Mental Health and Addictions

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Decreased the city’s net long term debt by $37 million or 10.9%, reducing annual interest payments on debt by $1.8 million.
  • Introduced multi-year budgeting, which has been cited by Moody’s credit rating agency as a positive that helps to maintain the city’s highest possible credit rating. A high credit rating lowers the cost of borrowing.
  • Ended the vacancy tax rebate, which was a tax break for business properties that were vacant for more than 90 days. This tax rebate program cost $1.8 million annually.
  • Converted ~20,000 streetlights to LED, reducing energy usage and saving $1.6 million per year in energy costs.
  • Successfully advocated for a policy change to allocate 25% of annual operating surplus to the capital infrastructure gap reserve fund, which is used to pay for renewal of city infrastructure in poor condition.
  • Stuck to the average annual tax increase set out in the approved multi-year budget, even in the face of significant unanticipated costs like increases to minimum wage.

Strong, Smart Growth

  • Approved the London Plan, the city’s 20-year plan to grow more inward and upward in a more fiscally and environmentally sustainable way. The plan was approved by the province in December 2016, although parts of it are tied up in appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board.
  • Further constrained expensive sprawl that consumes our farmland and woodlands, by leading the charge to increase the intensification target in the London Plan to 45% from 40%.
  • Approved over 800 new housing units in Ward 4, 37% of which have already been built.
  • Approved policies to allow granny suites (aka secondary dwelling units) throughout the city, which provides more housing options for Londoners, especially aging parents and adult children with disabilities who want to live more independently.
  • Over $3.2 billion in new building construction over the past three years, up 39% over the previous three year period, including a record-setting year of $1.4 billion in 2016.

Making our Property Tax System Fairer

  • Successfully advocated for making our property tax system a little bit fairer every year. So far, we have lowered the multi-unit residential tax ratio by 19%.
  • As a result of these tax policy changes and provincial changes to include older buildings within rent regulation, over 9,900 Londoners have received rent reduction notices in the past three years. In total, these rent reductions amount to at least $365,000 in potential annual rent savings for tenants.
  • In the past three years, 11% of the buildings where tenants received rent reduction notices were in Ward 4, following Ward 3 (15%) and Ward 13 (19%). In Ward 4, that includes tenants living in specific multi-unit residential buildings on Cheapside St, Huron St, Oxford St, Highbury Ave, Dundas St, Mornington Ave and Connaught Ave. In Ward 3, that includes a lot of tenants living in buildings on the North side of Kipps Lane.

Supporting Transition of the McCormick Area

  • Approved the McCormick Area Secondary Plan, which sets out a vision for how the industrial and residential area around the old McCormick Factory and former Kellogg’s factory may redevelop over time. New businesses like Anderson Craft Ales, Junction Climbing Centre, London Brewing Co-op and The Factory are leading the way.
  • Approved artisanal zoning provisions advocated for by the Old East Village BIA and local business owners, which allows small-scale production in addition to retail uses in otherwise industrial or commercial spaces. This change was driven by Ward 4 folks, but applies citywide.
  • Completed much-needed underground and aboveground infrastructure renewal along McCormick Blvd in advance of the redevelopment of the McCormick factory lands.
  • Sold the McCormick factory lands to Sierra Construction and approved new zoning for the lands that allows for a mixed residential development of new mid-rise apartments, townhomes, single detached homes and a small linear park. The heritage factory itself will be retained and renovated into apartments.
  • Approved a grant, up to $2.5 million, to cover part of the actual costs of cleaning up the McCormick factory lands.

Safer Options for Walking & Cycling

  • Successfully advocated for an increase in the budget for the warranted sidewalk program, which funded the construction of long sections of new sidewalks on the South side of Huron St (between Barker and Taylor) and on the South side of Cheapside (between McNay and Highbury). Thank you to the community, who had been asking to fill in these gaps in the sidewalk for years! And thanks to the Transportation Advisory Committee, which pushed for the increase in the program’s budget.
  • First protected on-road cycle track built on Colborne St.
  • Worked with the community to design 40% wider sidewalks and better cycling lanes over the Quebec St bridge, which was built before students moved from Lorne Ave Public School to East Carling.
  • New pedestrian crossovers installed throughout the city, including:
    • Huron St near Wedgewood Dr
    • Grosvenor St at Bedford Rd
    • Dundas St at English St
    • Kipps Lane at Country Lane
    • Landor St at Wethered St.

This year, additional pedestrian crossovers will be built on Kipps Lane just East of Adelaide St, on Huron St just West of Belfield St and on McNay St at Rabb St.

Better Safety for All Road Users

  • Worked with Virginia Ridley to lower the speed limit in school zones to 40 km/hr, including 11 different locations in Ward 4.
  • Supported implementation of red light cameras to reduce red-light running at the 10 worst intersections in the city, including three locations along the boundaries of Ward 4: Oxford/Adelaide, Queens/Adelaide and Highbury/Huron.
  • Worked with Councillors Ridley, Salih, Morgan and Zaifman to start the process of implementing automated speed enforcement in school zones and community safety zones.

Better Infrastructure for Our Neighbourhoods and Environment

  • Completed the Burbrook Trunk Storm Sewer, a project that failed in 2003 when the soil beneath the CN Rail yard settled too much. Using a microtunnelling technique pioneered in Europe, the project team succeeded in 2015. The project involved work on Kellogg Lane, Florence St and microtunneling under the CN Rail yard. This new trunk sewer reduces basement flooding and separates storm water flows from the sanitary sewer system in the area generally bounded by Ontario St in the West, Dundas St to the North, Highbury Ave to the East and the CN Rail line in the South.
  • Once the Burbrook trunk sewer was completed, several other sewer projects could finally proceed, including replacement of the 100+ year old sewers on Dundas St (2017), the sewers on McCormick Blvd (2016), the sewer on Egerton St (2018) and smaller branches on Margaret St, Ethel St and Frances St (2017).
  • Initiated the environmental assessment for the Adelaide St grade separation, which recommends an underpass at Adelaide & Central. Accelerated the timeline for this project so it will begin in 2021, ten years earlier than previously planned.
  • Expanded the Greenway wastewater treatment plant, which treats 60% of the city’s wastewater flows. This expansion and upgrade, which was completed in 2.5 years instead of 6 years and came in under budget at less than half the cost of building a new wastewater treatment plant, added enough storage capacity to prevent all of the raw sewage overflows from Greenway into the Thames River that we’ve experienced over the previous three years. Bypass events during extreme weather are still possible, but they are much less likely now, and the wastewater will now at least receive primary treatment before entering the river.
  • Completed the Southeast Reservoir and Pumping Station, located on Highbury Ave, which stores roughly 88% of London’s average daily water supply. This project ran into problems in 2011 and became operational in 2017. It is critical infrastructure to ensure we have clean, safe water in the event of an interruption of the water primary water supply from Lake Huron (which happened in 1983, 1998, 2010 and 2012).

Better Options for Parking

  • Worked with the Old East Village BIA and local organizations and businesses to redesign and rebuild the municipal parking lots behind the Palace Theatre and the Old East Village Grocer, including new trees to provide shade and much better wayfaring signage.
  • Supported Jared Zaifman’s advocacy for free overnight parking during the Winter months, which led to the new parking permit system. Now, up to 15 times per vehicle plate per year, folks can park overnight with a free permit, making it easier to have friends and family stay over rather than drive home.
  • Approved Honk Mobile for city parking lots and on-street parking spaces, increasing convenience and helping folks avoid parking tickets by allowing payments via the smartphone app.

Supporting Music, Culture and Entertainment

  • Working with Mo Salih, successfully argued for the creation of a music, entertainment and culture district strategy to support the music scene in the city, including the diverse and vibrant venues in downtown and Old East Village.
  • Again with Mo Salih, successfully advocated for allowing amplified music, dancing and other forms of entertainment on bar and restaurant patios, which was previously prohibited in the zoning bylaw, providing more opportunities for local artists to perform. Supported related changes to the sound and noise bylaw to make sure to strike a reasonable balance with neighbouring residents.
  • Successfully advocated for $100,000 interest-free loan to fix the exterior walls of the Palace Theatre.
  • Supported Tourism London’s successful bids for the 2019 Juno Awards, 2018 Ontario Summer Games 2017 and 2018 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards and 2016 Canadian Country Music Week.
  • Supported making the London Music Office permanent.

A More Inclusive City

  • Supported the Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee (DIAAC)’s call to request that the London Police Services Board stop the practice of carding in London.
  • With Tanya Park, successfully advocated for creating rainbow crosswalks on Richmond St at Angel St, at Wellington St and Dufferin St and at Dundas St and Ontario St to mark the start and end points of the annual London Pride Parade and to celebrate LGBTQ+ Londoners year-round.
  • Supported Maureen Cassidy’s advocacy to include a gender lens in council’s strategic plan. The gender lens is a way of analysing the differential impacts of programs and policies on people of different genders. It is now applied in the development of all council policies.
  • Supported the work of the Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee (DIAAC), which called for the creation of a community-led Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which involved more than 200 Londoners.

Better Transit

  • Improved specialized transit by adding 33% more service hours since 2014, lengthening the call queue for booking rides, upgrading the scheduling system and increasing funding every year. Specialized transit ridership is up 18% over the past three years. This is a critical service for Londoners who have mobility challenges.
  • Made transit free for kids 12 and under in 2017. Ridership has increased by 234%.
  • Introduced a discounted transit pass for low-income Londoners in 2018, lowering the price from $81/month to $52/month. This was a recommendation from the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty, which was co-chaired by Chris Mackie, Glen Pearson and Maureen Cassidy. In June 2018, 1,257 Londoners benefited from these discounted passes.
  • Upgraded more than 310 bus shelters to improve comfort and add solar-powered lighting during evening service hours, including 40 bus shelters in Ward 4.
  • Improved transit service by adding 12% more service hours citywide. That’s more service added in the past four years than in the previous eight years. In Ward 4, improvements include:
    • Route 1:
      • Added extra buses to the route to improve schedule reliability during high-traffic periods and on weekends.

    • Route 2:
      • Improved schedule reliability during high-traffic times, including by adding buses on the route
      • Responded to requests to make routes less confusing for riders by implementing more consistent routing and renaming the 2C to the 18
      • Increased frequency on Sundays and weekday mornings
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM

    • Route 4:
      • Introduced Route 4C/104 providing additional service between Fanshawe and downtown to alleviate crowding on Route 4.
      • Improved schedule reliability during high-traffic times
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM
      • (there was a frequency increase in 2018, but with the decreases in 2016, it was still overall a frequency decrease during the term.)

    • Route 7:
      • Increased frequency from 30 minutes to 20 minutes during peak times
      • Added more direct service to and from Argyle Mall

    • Route 14:
      • Increased frequencies: Sunday from 60 minutes to 30 minutes, Saturday morning from 45 minutes to 30 minutes, weekday morning and afternoon peak from 30 minutes to 20 minutes
      • Introduced earlier (5:45 AM) service to facilitate morning connections to other routes
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM
    • Route 16:
      • Improve Saturday frequency from 30 minutes to 20 minutes between 5 and 9PM, and from 30 to 20 between 8 and 10 AM
      • Improved schedule reliability
      • Eased crowding on the 16 with the addition of Express Route 92
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM

    • Route 17:
      • Increased frequency from every 60 minutes to every 20 minutes during most of the day on weekdays, and every 30 to 45 minutes on weekends.
      • Made route modifications to better serve riders travelling to and from both the East and West ends of the route (Argyle Mall, Byron, Hyde Park)
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM
      • Eased crowding and delays on the 17 with the addition of Express Route 91

    • Route 20:
      • Increased frequency on weekdays from 30 minutes to 20 minutes during mid-day, and from 20 minutes to 15 minutes at peak times, and from 30 minutes to 20 minutes on Saturday 9-5
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM

    • Route 21:
      • Increase frequency from 30 to 20 minutes during weekday evening peak (5-9 PM)
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM

    • Route 27:
      • Increase weekday frequency during the school year from 30 minutes to 20 minutes between 7:30 AM and 6 PM.
      • Added Saturday service between 11AM and 9PM during the school year
      • Added a bus to the route between 7AM and 6PM in Spring and Summer to alleviate capacity problems.

    • Route 32:
      • Added Sunday service between 9AM and 7PM
      • Extended Sunday service to begin at 7AM

    • Route 91: Originally introduced to serve the Oxford corridor during the school year, service on the 91 Express has been steadily increased, including by adding Spring and Summer service as well as weekend service.

    • Route 92: Introduced the 92 Express to give riders on the Adelaide corridor a more streamlined service and to alleviate overcrowding in the area. The service has been adjusted, increased, and improved over time to meet demand.

    • Route 104: Introduced this new route connecting Fanshawe college and downtown, and alleviating strain on the main Route 4 during Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Support for Mental Health and Addictions

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Showing 3 reactions

  • Joyce Williams
    commented 2018-10-11 21:50:49 -0400
    I am so impressed with Jesse Helmer’s record of moving this city forward on so many fronts. We need him to continue to represent Ward 4. Let’s keep this city moving in the right direction.
  • Mel Sheehan
    @melishee tweeted link to this page. 2018-09-29 22:08:47 -0400
    Check out the progress that we've made so far in #ward4. If you want to see four more years of progress, vote to re-elect @jesse_helmer! #ldnont
  • Mel Sheehan
    commented 2018-09-29 22:08:08 -0400
    I have grown to greatly respect Jesse’s passion for the community at large as well as his undeniable pride in getting results for Ward 4. I am happy to see he’s looking to continue to deliver the results for the community and Ward 4 and am happy to wish him the best in the election.