Air Park decides to appeal a decision that compelled them to file a site plan.

airpark 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 30th, 2016


The Airpark has served notice on the city that it is going to appeal the decision made in the Superior Court of Ontario which decided that they must file a site alteration plan for the air park where thousands of tonnes of land fill was dumped between 2003 and 2008.

And why are we not surprised?

This is what you do when you need to buy time.

Airpark aerial used by the city

The black lines show the size of the Air \Park property. The properties on the left side along Appleby Line suffered significant flooding from run off after the land fill had been dumped on Air Park property.

The Air Park had 30 days in which to decide what they wanted to do – file a site alteration plan or appeal the decision.
They chose to appeal – and if this appeal is anything like the results of the last court decision the Air Park appealed it will be a very short court case.

After speaking for close to an hour on why the original decision should be set aside (that was the decision that said the air park did have to comply with municipal bylaws) the Court of Appeal decided they didn’t have to listen to the city’s argument. They recessed for a short period of time and chose not to set aside the Superior Court decision.

This second court case had the city of Burlington asking the court to compel the Air Park to file a site plan for the city to approve – and that of course is where the rubber hits the road – what if the city doesn’t approve the site plan that is filed?

The City will now discuss next steps after learning that the Burlington Airpark Inc. has appealed the decision of Mr. Justice M.R. Gibson dated June 30, 2016 to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Vince Rossi, president of the Burlington Executive Air PArk and beleived to be the sole shareholder of the private company, met with north Burlington residents. He took all the comments made "under advisement"..

Vince Rossi, president of the Air Park and believed to be the sole shareholder of the private company, met with north Burlington residents. He took all the comments made “under advisement”.

The appeal, attached, states:

“THE APPELLANT ASKS that the judgment be set aside and judgment be granted declaring City of Burlington By-Law 64-2014 to be ultra vires, or inapplicable to the operations of the Appellant, Burlington Airpark Inc., and in particular to the placement of soils in and about aircraft runways and aircraft taxiways at the Burlington Airpark (the “Airpark”) prior to April 27, 2013.”

The City of Burlington site alteration bylaw 64-2014 regulates the placing, dumping, cutting and removal of fill or the alteration of grades or drainage on a piece of land. Individuals doing this type of work must first submit an application to the city for a site alteration permit.

Heli-pad drawings Air park June 28-14

The Air Park at one point had plans to locate a helicopter station on the property.

On June 30, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in favour of the City of Burlington’s application to compel Burlington Airpark Inc. to submit an application for a site alteration permit to comply with the bylaw. With the court ruling, the Air Park was required to file an application for a site alteration permit for the fill deposited between 2008 and 2013 before August 31, 2016.
The court has also ordered the Airpark to pay the city’s court costs.

The Air Park itself is not the issue – it is what the current owner of the air park has dumped on the land. They have argued that the land fill was brought in to level the property for future development.

Most people took the position that the land fill was brought in because it was very profitable to do so – and indeed it appears, with what little evidence there is so far that dumping land fill on the site was profitable.

During the first court case lawyer Ian Blue, acting for Burlington, managed to get on record that there were large sums earned from the land fill that was dumped, but that the corporate records were not available to show just where those millions of dollars had gone.

All the key players in the Airpark dispute:

All the key players in the Air Park dispute: On the left standing is assistant city solicitor Blake Hurley, seated in front of him is Ian Blue, the lawyer the has hired to represent them in court. Leaning over th chairs is former city general manager Scott Stewart along with Roger Goulet, Ken Woodfruff and Monte Denis. Leaning over th three gentlemen is former ward six candidate Vanessa Warren.

At one point in these proceedings the Air Park sued three Burlington residents and a local on line newspaper (the Burlington Gazette) for libel. That case is still churning its way through the judicial system. The defendants, Denis, Warren, Parr and the Gazette have asked the Air Park to show their financial records. The Air Park has refused to do so. A Judge has heard arguments from the Air Park and the defendants on why the Air Park should make its financial records available. They are waiting for a decision.

There are people involved in economic development matters who feel the air park is an important part of what kind of development takes place on the 200 acre site. A small regional airport is seen by these people as a useful and there are reported to be people interested in acquiring the air park which is believed to be wholly owned by Vince Rossi.

There are others who feel the airport should become something owned and operated by the Region. However there does not appear to be much in the way of an appetite at the Region for them to become operators of an Air Park. There are a number of municipalities who have done just that.

Might the air park find itself with new owners? There is more than one individual interested in that possibility.

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