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