Council has a recommendation to consider increasing the number of communities around the world with whom we develop formal relationships

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2020



The Mundialization Committee was delegating last week to a Standing Committee on changes that were being recommended to Council.

Burlington currently has two active twin city relationships: with Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and Itabashi (Japan).

Ed Doer

Ed Dorr, retiring chair of the Mundialization Committee has steered the organization through a very successful development path.

These relationships are sustained through efforts of the Burlington Mundialization Committee (BMC) and engagement by city staff. The relationships are robust and for those doing the participation very satisfying. The strong, regular active participation in citizen exchanges and celebrations come out of deeply rooted historical ties and cultural attachments.

When Mayor Meed Ward spent several days in France during the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy she toured the Juno Beach Reception Centre and was asked by the Mayor of Courseulles-sur-Mer if there was any interest in creating a twinning relationship with that community.

As a result of that conversation Council: “Direct(ed) the City Clerk in cooperation with the BMC to report back to Committee of the Whole in Q4 2019 with options for twinning with Courseulles-sur-Mer”; and “Direct(ed) the City Clerk to provide proposed criteria, for committee’s consideration, for future twinning relationships including consideration of a city in a developing country”.

In an Appendix attached to the report it is proposed that the “structure allows for a twinning relationship to be established with cities such as Courseuller-sur-Mer at an appropriate level.”

The Mundialization Committee is currently working on the second part to the staff direction regarding criteria to be considered for future twinning relationships. The BMC has been working overtime this past year with the 30th Anniversary celebrations and official delegations with Itabashi, Japan, and preparing for the 15th Anniversary celebrations and official delegations with Apeldoorn, Netherlands. There has been a subcommittee struck to focus on the proposed criteria to be presented to council in a future report.

The BMC has surveyed best practices in city relationships to help formulate their recommendation. Findings show that cities with the highest level of engagements with other cities tend to elevate peer relationships where common goals are identified.

Tiering relationships according to engagement structure further allows focused growth in both quality of interactions and the number of networks.

The recommendation from the Mundialization Committee and the Clerk’s office is to establish the following structure for city alliances:

Spring trees will bloom in Itabashi, Japan and hopefully in Burlington as well.

These cherry tress were a gift from an Itabashi citizen – part of the rich relationship between the two cities. .

Partnership City: further the common interests of Burlington and its allies in the pursuit of increasing economic development and increasing cultural exchanges.

The BMC would continue to drive these partnerships and continue to be supported by City staff.

There would be “increased engagement between BMC and other Burlington development organizations – Economic Development and Tourism being the most obvious.”

Friendship City: is a formalized relationship which is arranged by approval of BMC and proclaimed by City Council. It would be supported by city staff.

Common activities include official letter exchanges and flag raising ceremonies on significant dates.

Enhance our twin city program to a structure which contains multiple tiers of alliances with other cities around the world.

BTTB in Apeldoorn - celebration of the dead

The Burlington Teen Tour Band lined a street in Apeldoorn during a parade.

“The current partnerships have worked extraordinarily well in enhancing our cultural ties to our allies. We can elevate this partnership by including a focus on priorities which are part of Burlington’s Strategic Plan. Additionally, it enables Burlington to create new alliances with cities around the world based on shared interests and goals.

“The financial component of the recommendations in this report will include the cost of travel for Burlington’s official delegation to travel to twin cities. Depending on the cities chosen to twin with, costs will vary. Cost per person for the recent trip to Itabashi Japan was $3,500 per person. The number of staff and council members that typically travel on an official delegation is four along with two members from the Mundialization Committee.

Costs associated with travel expenses for the Mayor, members of Council and staff members have been paid from the Corporate Mundialization initiatives account for travel in the past to twin cities.

Climate Implications
City council brought in a policy that calls for a “climate lens” to be applied to every decision made. The Mundialization report adds that “travel involved in establishing a twinning relationship at the ‘friendship’ level would produce greenhouse gas emissions. All travel arrangements would be made with all efforts to reduce, limit or mitigate climate impacts. For example, using electric vehicles when possible, carpool, investigate offset programs, research the method of travel with the least amount of climate impact and choose those methods when possible.

“One of the priorities moving forward will be to share best practices, leading edge technologies, and climate change initiatives with twin cities both at the partnership level and friendship level.

The Mundialization chair and vice chair have consulted with the committee, the Mayor and members of Council.

The BMC is looking to enhance the twin cities program to a structure which contains multiple tiers of alliances with other cities around the world.

Related news:
Mayor take part in 75 Anniversary of D Day landings.

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