In several of the candidate responses to the recent Waterfront Questionnaire, reference is made to Burlington’s “Windows-to-the-Lake”. As the name suggests, Windows-to-the-lake are small parcels of city-owned property providing access to the waterfront and an unrestricted view of lake Ontario. There are twelve (12) in all stretching from east to west across the four waterfront wards:
- Appleby Place
- Walker’s Line
- Fruitland Avenue
- Lakeland Crescent
- St. Paul Street
- Market Street
- Green Street
- Allview Avenue
- Stillwater Crescent
- King Road
- Bellhaven Crescent
- Powder Magazine Road
The ‘Windows’ are meant to offer Burlington citizens and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the lakefront at their leisure. In April 2011 the Burlington Waterfront Committee (then the WAPAC) initiated an inventory and detailed examination of the ‘Windows’ to serve as a baseline for future improvement efforts. They recommended to the City that a number of standard features be implemented such as common signage, adequate lighting, benches, refuse cans, safety railings and parking facilities (where possible). Periodically, the BWC reviews the progress made on the ‘Windows’ and offers recommendations for improvement. The most recent review was conducted last month (September, 2014) and revealed that few advances have been made since the Committee’s initial review. The current findings note that:
- most sites need to be clearly marked/signed
- encroached areas need to be resolved
- many sites need lights
- all sites should be better groomed and maintained
- several sites need benches, garbage cans and safety railings and
- all areas should be marked on Lakeshore or North Shore blvd.
As part of its work plan for 2014/15, the BWC will place a priority on working with the City to improve the existing ‘Windows’ and make them the public asset that they are intended to be.
The Burlington Waterfront Committee believes that use and enjoyment of the waterfront is part of the heritage of all Burlington residents and a compelling feature of living in Burlington. As such, it looks to the City’s elected representatives to promote a cohesive vision for the future development of waterfront land, to exercise responsible stewardship of the waterfront and to maintain effective public access.
The Committee has developed a short questionnaire to allow each candidate running for public office in the upcoming Municipal Election an opportunity to express their opinions on waterfront related issues and concerns. View candidate responses - Questionnaire Summary – Oct 20,2014
Local media are covering the Burlington Waterfront Committee’s quest for an independent investigation into the closed door meeting process that led to the 6-1 decision to sell public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St. to adjacent homeowners.
Read the Burlington Post article on Inside Halton here:
July 29-2014: Investigation into closed meeting requested by Burlington Waterfront Committee
Read the Burlington Gazette article here:
July 29-2014: Waterfront property for public use – it can happen if the public makes enough noise
Read the Burlington Waterfront Committee’s press release by scrolling down to next article.
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
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 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/