Burlington Council ignores City Policy on Waterfront Lands in closed meeting discussion

View from the public portion of the Water Street Walkway

View from the public portion of the Water Street Walkway

PRESS RELEASE – July 24, 2014

In October 2013 Burlington Councillors agreed to sell City-owned waterfront land to abutting land owners contrary to a city policy that requires the retention of public waterfront lands and expansion of waterfront trails. This is contrary to a City staff report recommending that the land be retained and developed as a public parkette/walkway.

 

The unopened road allowance known as Water Street that lies between Market St. and St. Paul St. in downtown Burlington could relocate a portion of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail from roadside and provide additional public access to the Lake. If the City concludes the sale of this property, the public will lose this waterfront asset forever. At the October Committee meeting which was held in closed session, the Councillors directed staff to negotiate the sale and report back in six months despite delegations from citizens and from the Burlington Waterfront Committee (BWC) and a staff report that recommended retaining and using the land for public use. In May 2014 City Councillors extended the negotiation period with no end date. The BWC attempted to present its case again that the sale was contrary to City Policy, however the BWC delegation was ruled out of order as the specific issue on the agenda was limited to the status of negotiations.

 

Accordingly, the BWC registered its concern about the closed meeting decisions by way of a letter to the City Clerk (copy here: Request for Investigation Procedure). An independent Investigator has been appointed to review the matter and report back. The BWC is aware that closed meetings are required to discuss the sale and  value of land however we disagree that the decisions to ignore the Waterfront Trail Policy (copy here: Burlington Waterfront Trail Policy) and the staff report on the Water Street Land Parcels (PR 31 13 csc report) should be discussed in closed session.

 

BWC e-mail: Burlington_waterfront_cttee@outlook.com

LaSalle Marina representatives outline wave break/expansion

 

Representatives from the LaSalle Park Marina Association were invited to attend the most recent Burlington Waterfront Committee meeting to outline plans for the marina expansion and wave break, answer questions, and respond to issues raised about the impact of the expansion on the park environment, and in particular the wintering habitat for Trumpeter Swans.

To view the PowerPoint presentation from the association, visit here. [Editor's note: The presentation has been taken down from the website after we were contacted by someone whose photo was taken without permission and featured in the powerpoint. BWC does not condone taking photos of individuals without their permission.]

City staff member Doug Pladsen also attend the meeting, to answer questions about the Environmental Assessment that was conducted last August, which among other things, reviewed the impact to the Trumpeter Swan population.

Two separate parties requested that the Ministry of the Environment review the Environmental Assessment completed by a consultant last August. That review is underway and there is no timeline for the Ministry to report back.

A number of residents have been asking whether city council has taken a position on the proposed LaSalle Park Wave Break & Marina Expansion. A number of you have also raised concerns about the potential impact of the proposed expansion on the park environment and in particular the Trumpeter Swan population.

Council is waiting to hear back from the Ministry of the Environment before taking any further action.

The BWC has not yet taken a position on the marina, but is gathering additional information.

Trumpeter Swan Coalition attends Burlington Waterfront Committee

Trumpeter Swans in Burlington Bay.

Trumpeter Swans in Burlington Bay.

Thanks to members of the Trumpeter Swan Coalition for attending the monthly Burlington Waterfront Committee meeting last night to share their concerns about the potential impact on the wintering habitat of Trumpeter Swans from the proposed LaSalle Marina wave break and expansion. Read the coalition’s powerpoint Presentation For Waterfront Committee 2 or visit their website here: http://www.trumpeterswancoalition.com/.

The Burlington Waterfront Committee is seeking to understand all sides of this issue, and also invited Conservation Halton and city staff to attend the meeting. They did not attend; city staff referred members to the environmental study completed last August. Read that here: http://cms.burlington.ca/Page8359.aspx

Read more about the LaSalle Marina here: http://www.burlbay.com/

The Ministry of the Environment is currently assessing a request for a more detailed environmental study (called a Part II order) on all potential impacts from the proposed expansion.

The waterfront committee supports increasing public access to the waterfront so long as there are no negative impacts to the Trumpeter Swan population. The committee is a volunteer group of residents from across the city providing public input on waterfront access and protection in Burlington. Learn more about the committee on their website here: http://www.burlingtonwaterfront.org/

Burlington Waterfront Committee

Title: Burlington Waterfront Committee
Location: Tuesday, Feb.19, 2014 7 – 9 p.m. City Hall, 426 Brant Street Room 305, 3rd Floor
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2014-19-02
End Time: 21:00

Click here to see Agenda Feb 19 2014 

 

Title: Burlington Waterfront Committee
Location: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 7 – 9 p.m. City Hall, 426 Brant Street Room 305, 3rd Floor
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2014-21-01
End Time: 21:00

Click here to see Minutes Jan 21 2014-2