Dig and discover at Crawford Lake; demonstrations of traditional fire starting techniques and storytelling.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 10, 2013 – They are out of school, underfoot and looking for things to do.  Crawford Lake is worth a visit where the past comes alive at the Conservation Area, with the annual Dig In and Discover Archaeology event! this Sunday, July 14 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Turtle clan longhouse at Crawford Lake.

The staff in the Turtle Clan Longhouse will be doing demonstrations of traditional fire starting techniques and storytelling. Visitors can explore the Iroquoian village, view fascinating videos, and make a clay pot to take home. Be sure to participate in a discovery hunt and win a great prize.

The Turtle Clan – part of the Mohawk Nation.

Take part in a simulated dig at the Crawford Lake site. Learn how and why archaeologists do what they do and find out more about fascinating artefacts and Ontario’s First Nation’s.

After visiting the village take a guided hike at 2 p.m. through Crawford Lake’s beautiful woodlands and learn more about the history of the area.

Entry to Dig In and Discover Archaeology Day is included with your regular park admission fees, Halton Parks Members only need to show their membership for admission.

Crawford Lake is located at the corner of Guelph Line and Conservation Road (formerly Steeles Avenue) 15 km north of the QEW, and 5 km south of the 401 in Milton. The pristine waters of Crawford Lake have drawn people to its shores for hundreds of years. The rare lake, with surrounding boardwalk, is nestled in lush forests atop the stunning Niagara Escarpment where visitors can watch soaring turkey vultures glide through the Nassagaweya Canyon.

You can step back in time and explore the 15th century Iroquoian Village that has been reconstructed on its original site at Crawford Lake. The spirits still sing in the longhouses where tools, animal hides and the smell of smoke let you experience the rich history of Ontario’s First Peoples.

The Crawford Lake operation is part of the Halton Regions recreation and education program.

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We didn’t make it this time – but the condition of our tree canopy is such that the issue has to be brought up again.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. July 10, 2013.  When asked how he felt things were going at a meeting of residents at LaSalle Pavilion who were talking about a Private Tree bylaw Mayor Rick Goldring said he didn’t feel he could go wrong; “half the people want one the other half don’t”.


People pay a premium to live on streets like this. while most of these trees are on city property there are hundreds in back yards that are private. They add to the value of the property, the health of the community and the sheer enjoyment of live.

The Council he leads didn’t see it that way and voted 5-2 to receive and file a lengthy report on what people thought about a Private Tree bylaw.  City hall staff recommended doing nothing –other than educating the public.  This Council had no appetite for taking on a problem that is out there – a private tree bylaw is not popular because of ignorance and misunderstanding.

While Liz Benneian made a number of strong points during her delegation to Burlington`s city council – she could not convince them to work towards creating a Private Tree bylaw.

 Liz Benneian,  former president of Oakvillegreen Conservation Association and the person  that led that organization during the time it was advocating for the creation of a private tree bylaw in Oakville.

 She was delegating to Council to talk about the Oakville experience.

“The Urban Forest” she said “faces many challenges including poor quality compacted soil; salt exposure; little natural regeneration; invasive species and pests and development.

 “If we want to have a healthy urban forest and reap all the benefits that trees provide including increased property values and improved air quality, then local Councils must enact a suite of measures to protect and plant trees.”

 Benneian explained that in Oakville developers would buy land and clear the lot first and then submit a site plan. It’s at the site plan stage where municipal staff has some input on what trees must be preserved. But by the time the plans went to site plan, there were no trees left on the lot.

 “So this is the critical issue, that I don’t believe it has been made clear during your public consultation to date: developers, who own property, and homeowners are exactly the same under the law. There is no distinction; both are private property owners. And if there is no Private Tree Bylaw, then developers can clear all the trees off a property if they like.” 

 “But if there is a private tree bylaw then developers can no longer buy up land, strip it of trees and then take a site plan to a planning department.”

 “But if there is a private tree bylaw then developers can no longer buy up land, strip it of trees and then take a site plan to a planning department.”Trees are a community asset maintained Benneian, and their loss affects the quality of life of the neighbourhood.  And that for at least half of Burlington is the rub- far too many people have yet to buy into the argument that trees are communal.  We still have people who feel that the tree is on their property and they can do whatever they want whenever they want.

 “Getting a tree bylaw passed was not easy in Oakville” explained Benneian. “A small but very vocal property rights group sprang up. Their fundamental argument was that no one should have the right to tell them what they could and couldn’t do on their property. That argument is quite ridiculous. We have many laws that restrict what property owners can and can’t do: For instance, I can’t decide to have a bonfire in my backyard, I can’t dump hazardous waste on my land and I can’t tear down my old garage and rebuild it without a permit. But despite their weak argument they raised a lot of noise at the time and spread a lot of misinformation,” said Benneian.

 Many of the people who spoke at Oakville’s Council said things like “we agree developers should be controlled but leave us alone” – clearly not understanding the fundamental problem that developers and private property owners were the same under the law.

 Oakville looked for a way to find common ground.  They formed a committee that included the most vocal anti-tree bylaw. Oakville’s Council considered the suggestions made by that committee and enacted a compromise bylaw, which  Council has amended once to make it stronger and will be amending it again soon.

 Benneian pointed out that vocal property rights group has simply faded away. “When the first set of amendments were made not a peep was heard from them.”

 “While homeowners may cut down a tree here and there to put in a pool or expand a driveway, their impact on the urban canopy is minimal. As your surveys suggest, individual homeowners are not a significant problem in tree loss. But developers are. So the trick is creating a Private Tree Bylaw that won’t unduly infringe on homeowners while it will stop developers from clear-cutting.”

 Benneian added that “just because it’s tricky, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Your telephone survey demonstrates that your citizens understood that  –  90% suggesting various exceptions to the bylaw that would allow for tree removal in certain cases. It’s important to note that only 10% of respondents said they would not be in favour of a private tree bylaw despite exemptions.

Burlington is in much the same situation as Oakville, all the big Greenfield developments are complete or fully planned. Now that we are at build out, development will come through infill and this is where the challenge to protect our urban tree canopy in our most established and beautiful areas becomes critical. These are also the areas with the largest and oldest trees that are providing the most community benefits. Their loss will be greatly felt by your entire community.

After all the public consultation, City of Burlington staff are not recommending a private tree bylaw at this time. Instead, the focus of staff efforts should be on public education and awareness.

This was hard for Benneian to understand as Burlington’s current and future tree loss (aside from the ravages of Emerald Ash Borer) will mostly be due to infill development. She explained that when you are trying to deal with a problem, you must choose the right tool set.”

To chuckles throughout the Council chamber Benneian declared: “Developers are immune to “education and awareness”. The best, and I would add the ONLY effective tool to prevent clear-cutting by developers, is a bylaw.”“Developers are immune to “education and awareness”.

 Benneian used the survey the city had done and pointed out that a majority of Burlington’s citizens clearly place City Council as the agency responsible for protecting the community’s trees. In fact, in that survey, more residents choose “Pass Bylaws to protect trees” than any other response at 22%. “Maintain and protect trees” followed at 21% and “Oversee development to ensure trees are protected” came in third at 20%. If you add in “Enforce bylaws/issue fines” (8%), “protect older mature trees” (4%), “Prevent clear-cutting (3%), “Require a permit for tree cutting (3%); “Slow/halt development” (2%) then 83% of respondents were clear that development was the problem and a bylaw/permit system was needed.

 “Public awareness and education is all well and good, but it will not stop developers from cutting down trees and it will only have limited success with homeowners”, said Benneian.

 Burlington has decided to go the “education and awareness route. Benneian pointed out just how ineffective this approach has been in the past. “Despite a decade of education on the life-saving benefits of wearing seatbelts it wasn’t until legislation was introduced in 1989 that seatbelt use climbed in the U.S. from 21% to 70%.”

If these were all private trees and they were all cut down – it would certainly be a different looking place to live – and the value of the houses would plummet.

 “Results of your own online survey” Benneian pointed out, “suggest that education alone isn’t effective at impacting people’s tree-related behaviour. In your online survey you asked people who had ash trees on their property if they had treated them for emerald ash borer, and despite all the publicity to date, 76% said no.

 The one outstanding feature of the information gathered during your public consultation”, explained Benneian, “is the citizens of Burlington, like the citizens of Oakville, appreciate the value of their urban forest.”

The task now is to find a way to get this issue back on the agenda in Burlington.  That 5-2 vote to receive and file meant it is off the table.


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Double header for the Bandits on the 13th; team no longer in last place.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 10, 2013.  – The Burlington Bandits, will play a new double-header against the Brantford Red Sox this Saturday, July 13th.  They are hoping to pull themselves a little higher in the league standings – and there is hope.

Holders of the bottom rung of the league ladder the Bandits are not in 8th spot in an eight team league.  The team has won two in a row and might be on a bit of a roll.

The double-header will start at 1:00pm. Both games will be seven (7) inning games, where the second game will commence twenty minutes after the first.

All fans in attendance are invited to stay for the second game free of charge.

Saturday’s double-header will mark the Burlington Bandits BOMBA Youth Baseball Night. All BOMBA members and any children wearing a youth baseball jersey will receive free admission and $2.00 off for family members. Get to the park early as Bandits staff will be giving away Bandits seat cushions while supplies last.

The bandits go into this double-header with a 10-4 win over Toronto; a game shortened by rain to just five innings Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field at Christie Pits.

Kyle Morton homered, had three hits and drove in four runs as the then last place Burlington Bandits mauled the Toronto Maple Leafs 10-4.

Leading 10-2 and with the skies threatening again after rain interrupted the game for 29 minutes in the third, Burlington (6-19) made a pitching change and had several trips to the mound for conferences during the inning, despite needing just three outs to make it an official game. The Leafs scored twice before the third out of the inning, a strikeout by Rob Gillis, was made in a torrential downpour, with the game immediately stopped after the out.

The close call with the weather was the only thing close about this one, as the Leafs lost for the second time to the Bandits at home, and have now allowed 58 runs in their last 32 innings at the Pits.

Still room in the season for the Bandits to climb a little higher in the standings – to the top?

Starter Jason Rubenstein went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs – two earned – on seven hits with one strikeout and four walks. But he helped cost himself the win when he couldn’t close out the fifth, with his two-out throwing error keeping the Leafs at bat. Matthew St. Kitts relieved him and faced just one batter – Gillis – in what was by then a driving rain, and got credit for the victory with his one strikeout.

Peter Bako and Nick Studer both had two hits and two RBI for the Bandits, who had 12 hits. Ryan Clarke also had two hits and scored twice for the winners.

Toronto starter Marek Deska was roughed up again, allowing six runs – five earned – on nine hits in just four innings, striking out two and walking four. Reliever Adam Garner allowed the final four runs – all unearned – in the fifth, as the Leafs made three costly errors and allowed eight stolen bases in the five innings.

Jon Waltenbury had a double, a walk and scored twice for the Leafs, who managed seven hits.

Earlier in the month the Bandits recorded their second back-to-back win on the road with a 5-3 win against the Barrie Baycats (16-13).

Bandit tags a Baycat – was he out?

The Bandits tied the ballgame up 1-1 in the fifth inning when Jeff MacLeod scored on a RBI single from Ryan Clarke.

Darryl Pui broke the tie in the sixth inning, sending Peter Bako home on RBI, putting Burlington up 2-1. The Baycats would then again tie up the contest 2-2 in the seventh with a sacrifice fly out by Brandon Dhue to advance Ryan Asis to score.

The Bandits would take a commanding lead in the eight with runs scored by Kyle Morton off a double by Darryl Pui while a double by Nick Studer scores Darryl Pui and a single by Jeff Macleod scores Nick Studer bringing the score to 5-2.

The Baycats would score one last time in the bottom of the eight with a run scored by Jeff Cowan off a sacrifice fly out by Kevin Atkinson to bring the final score to 5-3 after a scoreless ninth inning.

Jeff MacLeod closed things down in the ninth inning for his 1st save of the season. Jack Dennis (1-0) picked up the win with five scoreless innings.

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The constituent and the Councillor – how one gets served by the other – but then the wheels fall off the wagon.

 By Pepper Parr

During an interview with Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster on the afternoon of July 2nd, before city council met to be introduced to the legal counsel the city had hired to advise them as to the process they should follow in their attempts to resolve the differences with Air Park owner Vince Rossi, Ms Lancaster said she first heard of residents’ concerns on March 15th, 2013

At that time we asked Lancaster why she had not worked with her constituents on the problems they were having and she replied: I didn’t hear about the problem from anyone until March 15th, 2013.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster inspecting property on Appleby Line July 2nd,  flooded by drainage from the Air Park next door. Lancaster said she learned of the problem for the first time on March 15th

Carl Cousins said he sent Lancaster an e-mail saying he could not get on his field last summer (2012) to do the hay.  He can’t remember exactly, but thinks it had to have been late summer or early fall of last year. This would have been well before the March 15th date Lancaster was so emphatic about.

Vanessa Warren is at this point not immediately impacted by what is being done at the airport however if Vince Rossi proceeds with the plans he tells people about there will be a runway ending about 100 yards from a riding ring she is building at her Capstone Farm on Bell School Line.

Ms Warren, like most of the other people directly involved in this issue no longer trust their Ward Councillor and have been very free with documentation they believe refutes much of what Lancaster says publicly.

The community feels that Ms Lancaster has chosen to side with the commercial interests rather than those she was elected to serve  The community feels that Ms Lancaster has chosen to side wit the commercial interests rather than those she was elected to serve and, further that she feels she can be re-elected without the support of the people north of the Dundas/Hwy 407 line that delineates north Burlington.

Ms Warren knew that she needed to alert her community and keep them informed as to what was being done and at the same time delegate to everyone that would listen.

Set out below is some of the correspondence between residents involved in the dispute with what is being done at the Air Park and Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster.

The following is the first response Ms Warren had from Ms Lancaster – the date is as full month and a half earlier than Ms Lancaster stated in her July 2nd interview.

 The email set out here allows one to follow the thread and the communication between a Council member and a constituent on what is currently the biggest problem that city faces in terms of its development future.

 From: Lancaster, Blair [mailto:Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 5:41 PM
To: ‘info@ridetheranch.com’; Harris, Michelle
Subject: Re: Burlington Airpark Runway Extension (and current application to sever 5431 Appleby)

 Thanks for your comments Vanessa we will keep you informed so that you will have an opportunity to give you voice to the appropriate authority along the way. Blair

From: Vanessa & Cary @ The Ranch [mailto:info@ridetheranch.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 05:18 PM
To: Lancaster, Blair
info@burlingtonairpark.com <info@burlingtonairpark.com>; Krushelnicki, Bruce
Subject: Burlington Airpark Runway Extension (and current application to sever 5431 Appleby)
Hello Blair.

Further to my voicemail, I wanted to electronically introduce myself in lieu of meeting you in person at the Burlington Airpark Open House on February 13th (unfortunately, my husband and I had previously scheduled our one week a year off-farm J).

 We are the owners (of 3 years) of Capstone farm, at 5556 Bell School Line.  My husband is a pilot (and, in fact, just sold his plane), so we are no enemies of the airpark, but our farm property is separated from the airpark by a small buffer; the narrow strip of acreage at 5431 Appleby Line.

I was alarmed to hear that the owner of the Airpark, Vince Rossi, has entered into an agreement with the owner of 5431 Appleby Line, and plans to sever the property and extend the Runway by 1000 feet – basically as close to our property line as Federal Aeronautical setbacks allow.   We just received notice in the mail of the Open House, and as we will be out of the country, I called and spoke with Tim Crawford about the “exciting changes mentioned in the notice.  I was alarmed to hear that the owner of the Airpark, Vince Rossi, has entered into an agreement with the owner of 5431 Appleby Line, and plans to sever the property and extend the Runway by 1000 feet – basically as close to our property line as Federal Aeronautical setbacks allow. 

 You can imagine how devastated we were to hear this news.  We have spent a lifetime as tenant farmers to finally afford a farm of our own, and the last three years developing our property as an equine facility.  An additional 1000 feet of runway, and the low-flying increased traffic this would attract (including jet traffic, which the airpark currently cannot accommodate), would be devastating to our developing business and our future.

 I was also fortunate enough to speak briefly with Bruce Krushelnicki, Director of the Planning and Building Department, and he informed me that the allowance or disallowance of the severance was the ONLY input that the municipality would have into the Airpark’s expansion, as all future plans would be federally controlled under the Federal Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Air Regulations.  That is why I am reaching out to you now, and why I will continue to follow the progress of this application very carefully.

 Cary and I are reasonable people, and while I understand that all infrastructure runs into “not in my backyard opposition, the Airpark is not a public utility and is therefore, a business just like our farm.  I sincerely respect Vince Rossi’s right to run his business, a business that both my husband and I have patronized and that contributes to our community as all Burlington businesses do.  However, I am also deeply committed to protecting my own farm business, and hope that the City will be carefully considering the impact of this expansion before relinquishing its one and only opportunity to control the nature of a key rural area.

 I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and hope that the community is well represented on February 13th.


Vanessa Warren

From: Lancaster, Blair [mailto:Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca]
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 11:05 AM
To: ‘info@ridetheranch.com’
Subject: Re: Burlington Airpark Runway Extension (and current application to sever 5431 Appleby)

 Ok thanks for the explanation

From: Vanessa & Cary @ The Ranch [mailto:info@ridetheranch.com]
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2013 10:19 AM
To: Lancaster, Blair
Subject: Re: Burlington Airpark Runway Extension (and current application to sever 5431 Appleby)

Hello Blair, and thanks for following up. 

Unfortunately, google has mis-placed our farm on it’s maps.  If you check the lots on the City of Burlington’s interactive mapping system, you’ll get the correct location of 5556; 2 lots North of the Airpark on Bell School Line, directly adjacent to Marco’s property. 

Our barn and riding arena are directly in the 32 flightpath.  I’d be very happy to show you around the property after we return on the 14th. 

Thanks again for investigating further. It is truly appreciated. 


Vanessa Warren

On 2013-02-07, at 2:44 PM, “Lancaster, Blair” <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca> wrote:

Hello Vanessa,

 I’ve taken a look at the map that depicts the airpark in relation to your property and it appears that you are about 3 km away with Britannia Road in between.  Is this correct?  Or is there another property that you are referring to?


 From what I can see, the airpark’s proposal should not have change any impact on your property at 5556 Bell School Line.

 I’d be happy to discuss this with you further.


 From: Vanessa & Cary @ The Ranch [mailto:info@ridetheranch.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 5:18 PM
To: Lancaster, Blair
info@burlingtonairpark.com; Krushelnicki, Bruce
Subject: Burlington Airpark Runway Extension (and current application to sever 5431 Appleby)

 Hello Blair.

Further to my voicemail, I wanted to electronically introduce myself in lieu of meeting you in person at the Burlington Airpark Open House on February 13th (unfortunately, my husband and I had previously scheduled our one week a year off-farm J).

 We are the owners (of 3 years) of Capstone farm, at 5556 Bell School Line.  My husband is a pilot (and, in fact, just sold his plane), so we are no enemies of the airpark, but our farm property is separated from the airpark by a small buffer; the narrow strip of acreage at 5431 Appleby Line.

 We just received notice in the mail of the Open House, and as we will be out of the country, I called and spoke with Tim Crawford about the “exciting changes” mentioned in the notice.  I was alarmed to hear that the owner of the Airpark, Vince Rossi, has entered into an agreement with the owner of 5431 Appleby Line, and plans to sever the property and extend the Runway by 1000 feet – basically as close to our property line as Federal Aeronautical setbacks allow. 

You can imagine how devastated we were to hear this news.  We have spent a lifetime as tenant farmers to finally afford a farm of our own, and the last three years developing our property as an equine facility.  An additional 1000 feet of runway, and the low-flying increased traffic this would attract (including jet traffic, which the airpark currently cannot accommodate), would be devastating to our developing business and our future.

 I was also fortunate enough to speak briefly with Bruce Krushelnicki, Director of the Planning and Building Department, and he informed me that the allowance or disallowance of the severance was the ONLY input that the municipality would have into the Airpark’s expansion, as all future plans would be federally controlled under the Federal Aeronautics Act and the Canadian Air Regulations.  That is why I am reaching out to you now, and why I will continue to follow the progress of this application very carefully.

 Cary and I are reasonable people, and while I understand that all infrastructure runs into “not in my backyard” opposition, the Airpark is not a public utility and is therefore, a business just like our farm.  I sincerely respect Vince Rossi’s right to run his business, a business that both my husband and I have patronized and that contributes to our community as all Burlington businesses do.  However, I am also deeply committed to protecting my own farm business, and hope that the City will be carefully considering the impact of this expansion before relinquishing its one and only opportunity to control the nature of a key rural area.

 I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and hope that the community is well represented on February 13th.


Vanessa Warren

From: Lancaster, Blair [mailto:Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca]
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 4:49 PM
Cc: Harris, Michelle
Subject: RE: Radisic/Rossi Consent Application and follow up to our discussion on March 14th

 Hello Vanessa,

 Thank you for your email invitation and information for consideration.  Unfortunately there was no attachment regarding a meeting.  Please note however that Monday is our Council meeting, which I must attend.

As you are aware the Airpark is regulated by the Federal Government.  Since my election to municipal government, I have been in constant support of my residents in the rural area in order to facilitate communications that support good relations between various levels of government on rural issues including the Airpark.

During our conversation yesterday, you referred to the dumping of fill at the Airpark which I have no authority to regulate.  However by building a good relationship with the owner, he now sees good value in cleaning the roads regularly.

There seems to be a great deal of bad blood between residents and Airpark and my role in this regard has been extremely challenging.  I have been working at mending bridges which were created in my opinion because of a lack of communication and understanding.

There seems to be a great deal of bad blood between residents and Airpark and my role in this regard has been extremely challenging.  I have been working at mending bridges which were created in my opinion because of a lack of communication and understanding.When the Airpark owners recently spoke to the city indicating their plans to lengthen the runway, I personally recommended they hold a public meeting on their own to communicate their intention to the residents early on.  I realize you were not in attendance at this informal meet and greet. Following the resident meeting the Airpark did submit an application to the committee of adjustment.  The committee of adjustment is a separate process from council.   Once an application has been made, a Public meeting is held for the residents, which is the appropriate time to discuss the application. The Halton Region and Conservation Halton staff also have an opportunity to comment on the application.  Due to preliminary comments by the above the Airpark has decided to withdraw the application. If the application comes back to the city, the process will include a city led Public consultation process.  My role in this matter is to ensure everyone has an opportunity to address their concerns throughout the process. 

 Blair Lancaster

Councillor Ward Six

From: Vanessa & Cary @ The Ranch [info@ridetheranch.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2013 9:48 PM
To: Lancaster, Blair
Cc: Harris, Michelle
Subject: Radisic/Rossi Consent Application and follow up to our discussion on March 14th

Hello Blair, and thank you for your time on the phone today.

 I am writing to clear up a few bits of misinformation; I have research to the contrary and don’t want incorrect information disseminated, particularly by an important local politician who will have an impact on this process (no matter how adamantly she argues otherwise).


1.        A 4800 foot runway (or a 1000 foot runway extension) is not necessary for “safety”.  Transport Canada sets no such limits, other than the distances published by various aircraft manufacturers.  Here are the maximum distances currently needed by, for example, all of the airplanes currently operated by Burlington Airpark’s Spectrum and DB Airways:


Takeoff Distance (ft)

Landing Distance (ft)

Cessna 172



Piper Warrior



Piper Seneca (twin piston)



Piper Super Cub



Piper Cheiftain (twin piston)




As you can see, the current runway length of 3800 feet is more than adequate for safe use by the aircraft that currently populate the airpark.

Conversely, the light and medium body jets that currently use Buttonville and Toronto Island Airport’s 4000ft runways need the following distances:



Takeoff Distance (ft)

Landing Distance (ft)

Porter Airlines:





Bombardier Q400



Bottonville (common Jet traffic):





Cessna Citation




Beechjet 400A




Learjet 40




I hope that this data will convince you that “Runway Safety” is NOT the incentive behind the runway expansion, and that the ability to expand the airpark’s capability to handle jet traffic is the obvious motivator.


2.       I am concerned by your assertion that this is not an airpark expansion.  You proposed during our phone conversation that this “non-expansion” would not encourage increased air traffic and would contain “no buildings”… but also a one story lounge?!?!   It is deeply concerning to me that an elected official who is supposed to represent all her constituents, and who purports to not have an opinion as to the merits of this expansion, should, at the same time, engage in this type of political doublespeak.

I am curious what a business-person’s motivation for runway extension would be if not for increased traffic and the subsequent increased revenue generation from landing and hangar fees, fuel sales etc.?   Surely it is recklessly naïve to assume that we can maintain the relative harmony of a small recreational airpark in a residential and farming community with a jet-sized runway.


3.       I do not think for one moment that Mr. Rossi will extend the airpark’s runway and build hangers etc. (or a lounge) on leased property, nor do I think he will opt to purchase the entire Radisic property as you suggest.  Of course, these are always possibilities – as is the possibility that this might all “just all go away” – but I do not think those possibilities justify inaction now. 

We know from Mr. Rossi’s long history that increased land = increased fill operations = increased income = increased land and development, and we have a rural heritage to protect.  I’m certain that all of your constituents would feel a strong pull towards a councilor that is willing to fight for maintaining Burlington’s green spaces and agricultural inheritance.

I do not think for one moment that Mr. Rossi will extend the airpark’s runway and build hangers etc. (or a lounge) on leased property, nor do I think he will opt to purchase the entire Radisic property as you suggest.  Of course, these are always possibilities - as is the possibility that this might all “just all go away” - but I do not think those possibilities justify inaction now.   Therefore, I would like to invite you to our resident’s meeting on Monday, March 18th (I have included the details in the attached document).  It would certainly prove to a large group of local residents that you are taking a reasoned and balanced approach to the issue – particularly in light of your attendance at the Airpark’s information session – and it would be a good opportunity to gain perspective on the damage this expansion (let’s call it what it is), will cause.  If you are unable to meet with us on Monday, perhaps you would consent to meet with a smaller group of representatives to hear our case.

 I have been involved in planning disputes to protect precious greenbelt before, and have won disputes at the OMB level in critical partnership with municipal and regional government intent on maintaining control over planning and rural lands.  We have a singular opportunity to keep this land from federal control – and worse – from a steward who has repeatedly proven abusive.   I know how vital political support will be in this dispute, even if informal.  I also know the power of a resident’s group to create great change, particularly on a municipal level. 

 What a wonderful and unique opportunity to engage with your constituents…after all, Municipal elections are a mere 19 months away.


 Vanessa Warren

 From: Lancaster, Blair <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca>
Date: Wed, May 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM
Subject: FW: Burlington Airpark Information
To: Burlington Airpark Residents Association <
Dear Vanessa,

 Please find attached a response received from Lisa Raitt’s office. Blair asked me to share this with you.

From: lisa.raitt.c1b@parl.gc.ca [mailto:lisa.raitt.c1b@parl.gc.ca]

Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 4:54 PM

To: Isada, Jackie, Subject: Aerodrome

(Ms Isada is Mayor Goldring’s chief of staff)

Dear Jackie,

 Thanks again for contacting our office in regards to federal regulations on aerodromes.

 The Burlington Airpark is a “registered aerodrome”, which means that it is an aerodrome where the operator has provided its aeronautical data to Transport Canada and it is published in the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS).

The federal government, through the Aeronautics Act, has sole jurisdiction over aeronautical matters, which includes aerodromes and all related buildings or equipment at aerodromes used for aviation purposes. The federal government’s exclusive mandate extends only to matters integral to aeronautics. However, the laws of other jurisdictions may still apply. Aerodrome operators need to identify and comply with all applicable legislation.

 TC’s (Transport Canada) role varies depending on the type of aerodrome; certified, registered or un-registered.

 This case is with respect to a registered aerodrome. Therefore, TC’s role in this expansion is to verify that the information contained in the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) related to this aerodrome is updated, which is done after the expansion takes place. If the runway expansion raises safety issues, then TC would get involved.

 Given it is not a certified aerodrome, there is no certification involved in expanding this aerodrome.

 Transport Canada encourages aerodrome operators to be aware of other jurisdictions, which might include other federal or provincial legislation or municipal by-laws, where the elements in question are not integral to the operation of the aerodrome. The question of the application of environmental laws however, is not a question that Transport Canada can determine.

Burlington Airport/Airpark is neither owned nor operated by Transport Canada. As stated, our jurisdiction is only related to aeronautical matters (safety regulations etc.)  Consequently, we have no information on soil contamination at the Burlington Airport/Airpark.

 Any concerns regarding soil contamination due to drainage into a local creek would be the concern of environmental regulatory agencies.  In this case, the Ontario Ministry of Environment would likely be the responsible agency.  Their public information number is 416-325-4000.

 Additional contact information can be found at:  https://www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/main/contacts/index.htm

 Once again, thank you for contacting our office.  Should you have any further questions, comments or suggestions in the future please do not hesitate in contacting us.

 Best Regards,

 From: Lancaster, Blair <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca>
Date: Fri, May 24, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Subject: RE: Regarding some of your comments and questions at Council, May 21st
To: ruralburlingtongreenbelt <

Thank you for sharing your perspective on how you understood my comments at the meeting.  Please know that I am listening to you intently and supporting you in every way that I am able.  My lens is quite broad and must take into consideration all aspects of our community. 

The Staff Direction’s that I have brought to Council were a beginning, for me they were away to start a conversation between the residents, The Airpark and The City.  In my view neither the City nor the Region was willing to participate in any type of discussion.  Being told over and over again “It’s not our jurisdiction” was very frustrating. The first staff direction was not perfect in my opinion but I agreed to modify it in order to get it passed.  One cannot expect to climb a mountain the first time out. 

It is imperative as we move through this process that we are honest with each other and that everyone has an understanding of all the facts.  Please know that I am very appreciative of your perspective, the questions you have raised, have caused the City to take a second look at the situation and that is why we are here today. 

I must inform you that Jets have been a part of the business of the Airpark for many years.  The fact that residents do not know they are there is a testament to how quiet they are.  According to our files, noise complaints have always been directed at the Recreational portion of the facility, the Flight School. 

Please understand I must now refrain from comments regarding the on-going legal matters until they are resolved.  Be assured our legal team is actively pursuing legal action at this time.


 From: Lancaster, Blair <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca>
Date: Tue, May 7, 2013 at 3:14 PM
Subject: response to your questions
To: Vanessa Warren <

I am responding to the following questions from your recent email.

 In moving forward, and as mentioned yesterday, we would like to formally request an addition to the agenda for the May 27th Development and Infrastructure Committee.  We would like to bring forward a proposal for changes to the current site alteration and fill by-law (6-2003) using the Township of Scugog’s model by-law as a template.

 Anyone may delegate at a committee meeting.  You must register with the clerk.  Usually the chair prefers that the delegation would be speaking to an item on the agenda.  At our meeting, the concept of a staff report put forth for discussion at a future Committee meeting was discussed.  It is not possible to get a report on the May 27 D&I agenda.  In my view you have made your point at the city and have had positive results.  My suggestion would be that you delegate to the Region and ask them to participate in the discussion.

Secondly, we request that the City contact the Ministry of the Environment regarding testing fill that has already been dumped on airpark property.  The photographs that I provided yesterday clearly show that refuse/construction waste has been dumped on this land, and we don’t see a path forward that does not involve independent testing of that unregulated, and possibly polluted fill.  Surely, we cannot proceed to build any kind of future foundation at the airpark, figuratively or literally, until we know that ground we stand on is clean

 At the meeting the City made it clear that it would be in your best interest to make a citizen complaint to the Ministry of the Environment.  The City has asked the Airpark to provide their soil testing reports.  The Airpark owner has indicated that soil testing information is available for some of the existing fill, and he will provide this to City staff.  Soil testing information would also be provided for new fill being brought to the site as part of the site alteration permit process, which we are applying on a go-forward basis.

 Lastly, we would like to request that City Council take an official position on the Burlington Airpark and its expansion plans vis-a-vis it’s own official plan for rural Burlington and the vision outlined at the City’s Rural Summit.  We would ultimately request, just as it has recently done regarding the Niagara to GTA highway, and on Enbridge Line 9, that this official position be stated, in writing, to all levels of federal and provincial governments.  Again, we are happy to delegate wherever needed to see this achieved.

An analysis of the airpark could be done as part of a staff direction and subsequent report resulting from any discussion at Committee, including the hiring of an independent aviation consultant to inform and provide direction to this process.  The goal or aim of this analysis would have to be clearly articulated.  Grouping the airpark with the OP review could mean a longer time horizon, since the OP will not be presented to Council in its entirety for some time.  Ultimately the OP does not control aeronautics and it may not be the appropriate mechanism to state a position on the airpark.  However, the OP could be used to also look at land use around the airpark as well. In addition, any staff report and council resolution on such a report could be forwarded to various levels of government as part of process of the City outlining its formal position on the airpark.  Please note also that the city has informed the Airpark that no further dumping can occur until a permit is issued.  This includes previously issued tickets.


From: Lancaster, Blair <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca>

Date: Tue, May 7, 2013 at 2:06 PM – Subject: Staff Direction

To: Vanessa Warren <burlingtonairparkresidents@gmail.com>

Vanessa, FYI,  I was successful in this staff direction regarding the Airpark.  Link to the Council report is provided.



Committee of the Whole meeting of February 27, 2012

DIRECTION TO REVIEW NEXT STEPS FOR BURLINGTON AIRPARK Direct the Director of Planning and Building and Director of Transportation to work with relevant agencies to review the status, role and future direction of the Burlington Airpark in relation to the City’s growth and economic prosperity in the context of both the Official Plan Review and the next review of the Transportation Master Plan, and propose appropriate City policy with respect to the long term future of the Airpark. (Councillor Lancaster) (SD-8-12)

From: Lancaster, Blair <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca>
Date: Tue, May 7, 2013 at 2:03 PM
Subject: Staff Direction – AirPark.docx
To: Vanessa Warren <

I have been in meetings but thought you would be interested in this.  Over a year ago I tried to bring this staff direction to the Region.  I thought it would bring some attention to the Airpark so that the Region would have to at least pay attention to what was going on there. I was not successful.  This is for your information. 


Fill from the Air Park tumbles down a slope and rests against the property line fence of the Cousin’s farm on Appleby Line. Water run off has flooded parts of the farm.

Heavy construction equipment parked on a 30 foot + hill 50 yards from the kitchen window of the Sheldon property on Appleby Line next door to the Air Park landfill operation. Many thought the overnight parking of the equipment overnight was intimidating

From: Lancaster, Blair <Blair.Lancaster@burlington.ca>
Date: Fri, May 3, 2013 at 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: Our Thanks & Moving Forward
To: “
burlingtonairparkresidents@gmail.com” <burlingtonairparkresidents@gmail.com>
Thanks Vanessa I am away from the office today and will respond to all your comments next week. Since our meeting I have had lots of discussion with staff and have informed the Airpark of what is to come and everyone is cooperating. I believe the site plan alteration letter is going out today. Looking forward to more great results.


On July 4th , we received the following from Vanessa Warren:

” Following emails in February and March (i just forwarded from my business email), and many many phone calls in April requesting and then demanding a meeting with senior members from planning, engineering and legal (I wanted to press the Scugog issue, but kept getting told by staff that Blair was my access point), the newly fledged RBGC met with Blair and staff on May 1st.

 Following that, communication has been scant.  She generally does not reply to my emails.”

It is not a pretty picture.



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Private tree bylaw fails at committee.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 9, 2013.   Despite some very strong arguments Burlington’s city council was just not ready to approve a by law that would regulate what a person could do with trees on their private property.

Data be damned, the council members voted 2 for 5 against which meant that case was lost.

Some in the room were stunned; Burlington Green can’t believe this happened to them but the sentiment just wasn’t in the hearts of those who were making the decision.

The 2 for were Mayor Goldring who wasn’t ready for an actual bylaw but wanted staff to begin drafting something.  He was joined by Councillor Meed Ward – a pairing we are seeing more often.

More details on the why and the different arguments for and against a private tree bylaw in a future story.  Burlington does have an issue that at some point they are going to have to face.  The city has a tree canopy that is significantly below what it needs to be if the shade canopy we now have is going to be maintained.

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James Smith has a viewpoint on the private tree bylaw – he rants.

By James Smith.

BURLINGTON, ON. July 8, 2013. 

James Smith usually goes on about transit or waxes eloquently about the Freeman Station which he is in the process of saving.  Over the weekend he apparently stumbled across a city staff report about trees and – well he kind of lost it.

Guelph has one.

So does Oakville. 

Toronto? Check.

Burlington? Nope.

 I could be speaking about any number of things like reliable, well-funded Transit but in this case it looks like we won’t be getting a Private Tree Bylaw either if one reads the Private Tree By Law feasibility study about to go to council. Burlington it seems is keeping to its long and proud tradition as depicted on our Coat of Arms 

This tree canopy on Belvinia in the Roseland community is a large part of what the older part of the city is all about. Beautifully shaded streets with trees that add value to every house on the street.  Most of these trees are on city owned property.

 To be fair, council has started, if it’s not too much of a bother, the process of maybe, possibly, sometime looking at a private Tree bylaw. Rather than ask staff to craft a tree by-law Council asked for a feasibility study, and in May they told City Staff “no recommendations”, instead we get “options”.   The report spills a lot of ink on background, you know, like why trees are important, applicable statues, methodology, numbers of trees cut down every year by Arborists, (about 1,800) and the results of surveys and consultation. Oh, we’ve been consulted, we’ve been telephoned and online surveyed, research firms hired, and public meetings held. City staff tell us they have 71,571 “Touch Points” (- frankly I don’t like the sound of that term at all). 71,571 sounds like a big number until you read that 68,000 of these “Touch Points” come from  the City’s version of Pravda- AKA- City Talk- the thing that only wonks like me, & high school civics students (reluctantly) read. 

 City staff tell us they have 71,571 \"Touch Points\" Did I mention consultants? Burlington LOVES her consultants, Forum Research provided 31 pages of survey data that supports the community’s view that Trees are important!!  Fifty Nine percent suggested more needs to be done to protect trees. A one page spread sheet and four paragraphs are included in City Staff’s portion of this feasibility study that superficially addresses what other  cities do and do not do to protect trees on private property. What towns  have them, number of times amended, number of annual infractions, fines,  staff required,  number of permits issued and fees, exemptions and a one word answer if the by law is effective.

Did I say we had meetings? Burlington city hall loves its meetings almost as much as it loves its consultants. Burlington carries on its proud tradition of meetings.  Talking and meetings,  give the impression that work is actually being done. One may point to all the meeting minutes, and reports and addenda produced from which a report is dutifully presented. It all looks like an issue is being tackled, decisions being formulated, and our staff resources put to good use. 


 Here are City Staff’s Options:

Decide against implementing a Private Tree Bylaw

Direct Staff to Draft a Private Tree Bylaw

Increase Public Education and Awareness

Enhance public Participation and Involvement

Identify Partnerships with the community to Enhance Tree Planting Programs.

Delegate Responsibility for the protection of woodlots between 0.5 ha and 1.0 ha to Halton Region.

 Wow,  what did this cost in staff time and consultants? Furthermore, staff recommends all of these options, with the notable exception of actually crafting a tree by-law. Really. Burllingtonians, 59% of us want more tree protection, but City staff who were specifically asked not to included recommendations, opine that they don’t support a Private Tree By-Law! Out of whole cloth and with little or no back-up this statement heading appears: ” Support for a bylaw regulating trees on private property is low”  In my book 59% is still pretty good, given that Don’t Support, and Don’t Know/Don’t Care are about equal.

Every tree on this street is on private property. Every property owner has the rigght to cut down the tree on their property. If one comes down – so what? If five come down will those five people have lessened the value of the properties on the street? If they all come down – would anyone want to buy property on this street. That’s what a Private Tree Bylaw is about.

 So where does this statement come from? Could it be the many members of vested interests who made their way into the public meeting on the subject? Could it be the way the on-line questions were asked to give a desired result? One example: The on-line survey did not ask WOULD YOU SUPPORT A PRIVATE TREE BY-LAW  but rather cunningly asked: “If the city of Burlington was considering a household tax increase to preserve and protect the urban forest, for which of the following initiatives would you like to see the funds allocated?” and seven choices were presented. Funnily enough, 47% replied they will not support a tax increase for any reason. I wonder how these folks feel about the $300,000 for taking the memorial out of Joe Brant?

 Burlington City council once again is set to live up to their tradition by abandoning anything close to a vision of what kind of city we should build.Lets look at this a little more critically, the city of Oakville have staff of exactly one person to run the tree by-law, Guelph has 4.  if part of the reason staff have drawn the conclusions they have is a result of little support for taxes increased  to be spent on one position,  can we not find the money in existing programmes? What about permits and fines? Surely this can be a self funding office,! I would argue it could generate a surplus to fund some of the other wacky stuff city staff actually want  to do. My conclusion is, for some reason, city staff don’t want the headache of an office that actually does stuff, but would rather play with Adobe Suite making marketing plans that the people of this town really don’t give a squirrel’s tail about. Otherwise why would they have devised a process designed to produce these results?  Make no mistake, one just has to make it through the report and read how the on-line questions have been asked, to come to the same conclusion. It is either that or one must ask if city staff is up to the task.

 After who knows how many staff hours, and work by well paid consultants,  Burlington City council once again is set to live up to their tradition by abandoning anything close to a vision of what kind of city we should build. Heck, we can’t even follow good examples from other cities in the GTHA. Meanwhile mature trees are set to be cut down trees on Ghent Avenue, and through out the city. 

 Oh, and Burlington’s Coat of Arms? Why by now you should know that our Motto below the Shield reads:  STAND BY

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Oil sands, carbon emmissions, global warming, floods, Alberta – ya think?

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON. July 6, 2013.   We are all Albertans in this time of their crisis.   Some called it a thousand-year flood but  it’s enough to say it was unprecedented.  And if you are looking for the blame game, there is lots to go around – building houses in a flood plain, failure to implement a flood management plan, timely reaction to weird weather and, of course, global climate change.  Researchers  with the US Department of Agriculture, half a decade ago, predicted the onset of extreme rainfall events for prairie grasslands.  Isn’t that exactly what we just witnessed in Alberta?  

 By now you’d think that every informed person would understand the relationship between greenhouse gases (GHG) and climate change.  According to Canada’s latest emissions inventory  Alberta generates over a third of the country’s emissions, up by a half since 1990, and far more than any other province.  As an aside, Ontario’s emissions have fallen over that period thanks, in part, to Dalton McGuinty’s energy plan.

 Canada accounts for only a small percentage of global GHG emissions, though we are among the biggest culprits given our population.  Once upon a time Canada supported the Kyoto protocol, the international treaty on emission reductions. We had committed to reduce our emissions by 6% but were failing miserably.  When our emissions sky-rocketed by 19% Mr. Harper finally pulled the plug.  Why make promises you have no intention of keeping?

 Most of Canada’s GHG emissions come from fossil fuels and the second largest source is oil and gas production, which is spiraling upwards as Alberta develops its tar sands.  According to James Hansen, one of the most credible climate change scientists on the planet, there is twice as much carbon in the tar sands as in conventional oil.  It’s like burning a second barrel of oil just to get the first one.

 The tar sands reserves are huge, but remote and thus barely developed, since the bitumen needs to get to a market.  Building the Keystone XL pipeline to refineries in Texas would solve that problem and add a million barrels of production a day.  So, Hansen is a fierce critic of the pipeline.  He believes that the building the pipeline would be “game over” for the environment and has urged US President Obama not to approve it for that reason.  Obama has expressed his concerns about climate change but the betting is split on whether he’ll approve it or not.

 The PM, like me, was trained as an economist.  However, I suspect he missed the lecture on externalities – the law of unintended consequences, a concept that goes back to Adam Smith.  The toxic slag heaps, the poisoned and dying wildlife, and the warming of the planet are all unintended consequences of developing the tar sands.  The profits from the tar sands go to the oil companies but the unintended consequences fall on the rest of us.

 Mr. Harper has spent over a billion new dollars on the military since he came to office, yet on this topic, he turns a deaf ear and a blind eye.  Back in 2010 he was warned by senior officers  that “Climate change has the potential to be a global threat of unparalleled magnitude and requires early, aggressive action in order to overcome its effects.” But Stephen Harper has been a climate change denier and out of touch with this reality.  And in a vulnerable northern nation, like Canada, that is scary.

 Climate change is global,  The consequences could happen anywhere but the stars aligned to make it Alberta this summer.  Albertans are like most other Canadians and care about the risks we take with the environment and the legacy we leave our children.  But Mr. Harper is a transplanted Albertan, maybe that accounts for his attitude, beliefs and prejudices.  So don’t expect the PM to move proactively on an environmental issue he doesn’t believe in.  Rather, Canada will have to wait for the US – for Mr. Obama’s decision on the Keystone pipeline – before it get’s worse.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat after which he decided to write and has become a  political animator. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

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Swimming conditions throughout the Region not very good.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 5th, 2013.  The most recent report on lake water conditions from the Region doesn’t have much good news for those who want to swim.



People visiting Burlington’s Beachway Park will see water-testing equipment set up on the north beach this summer.

The City of Burlington has partnered with Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute, Western University and the University of Waterloo on a research project to better understand how groundwater quality contributes to test results at Great Lakes beaches.

Burlington is committed “to providing beaches that people can use for swimming and other recreation to contribute to an active, healthy lifestyle,” said Chris Glenn, director of parks and recreation.

This new testing will be in addition to water-quality testing conducted by Halton Region. During the summer months, monitoring is done once a week, or more if necessary. Beachway Park will be sampled more frequently due to the pilot project.

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It has been a long, tiring road for Vince Rossi; has his dream hit a brick wall? Will Burlington force him to comply with city by-laws?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. Jul5 5th,  2013.  We know about the damage the land fill being piled up on the site of the Burlington Executive Air Park has done.

What is it all in aid of?  Are they really building a bigger airport out there?  And if there is going to be a bigger airport does the wider community not have some say in what takes place?

Yes, airports are regulated by the federal government – there are very good reasons for that.  But methinks the Air Park people have really bent those rules and using them as skirts to hind behind. 

The Air Park has never really had a business plan or at least not the kind of business plan that would keep city officials happy.  There had to be some kind of a plan to keep their bankers satisfied when they got a $4.5 million mortgage but other than knowing there is a mortgage on the property not much more is known.

This was the market Vince Rossi wanted to attract to his airport.

As what has now become a city problem works its way through the various departments at city hall it is becoming clear that Rossi and whoever is advising him never did know how to approach city hall and talk up their project.

The more of these, the better was the mission – the idea had merit but the team assembled didn’t have the smarts to pull it off – then the city found out and that may have been the begining of the end to the dream.

Rossi did have one meeting with Mayor Goldring.  He was intrigued but told Rossi at the time to come back with a much more detailed plan.   He never came back.  At the time Goldring wasn’t sure if Rossi was looking for financial support or if we he was just getting a briefing.

At the time, Goldring was still quite new to his job and may have failed in not red flagging the project and keeping a watch on it.  He didn’t.  His former chief of staff Frank McKeown would have had some very clear thoughts on the project assuming he sat in on the discussion the Mayor  had but McKeown is no longer on staff.

Rossi was dumping landfill at that time and he just continued doing just that.   And for the past number of years, since 2008 at least,  Vince Rossi has been getting away with it – and it is going to take some effort to bring a halt to what he is doing and then to clean up the damage.

The “airport crowd” those people who rent hangers, own light aircraft, like to fly and follow the rules appear to be a very decent bunch of people.  They are being tarred with the brush that many want to use on Mr. Rossi.

When Glenn Grenier, legal counsel for the Burlington Executive Air Park, appeared before council to state his client’s case, his objective seemed to be to scare the city by telling them what they were up against and he couldn’t seem to understand why the city didn’t read his 10 page plus letter and then just fold.

The city manager, on three different occasions, advised the Mayor to move on with the meeting and dismiss the lawyer. He has nothing for us stated Jeff Fielding – he represents the interests of his client.

When advised that he had just five minutes to delegate he told council that he would need more than five minutes – he didn’t get it.

The city knew next to nothing about  what is going on out on the air field.  The only source of information was what the locals can pass along and according to Blair Lancaster, ward Councillor for the north Burlington community, they weren’t telling her anything. Lancaster says she didn’t hear anything from the local people until March 5th of this year.

During the Q&A portion of the council meeting  Grenier did say that  the Air Park’s plans were on their web site.  Councillor Lancaster commented that what she saw on the web site were not plans – “not much more than a wish list” from her point of view.  Meed Ward, ever the techie. added that the web site was no longer on-line.  Grenier said there were technical difficulties.  He could also have said they were experiencing some air turbulence.

At the end of the council meeting the Mayor said this was serious stuff and the city would be moving quickly to get something done – even though at the time they really didn’t know what they could do.

Both the Region and Conservation Halton bought the argument that they had no jurisdiction but Rossi appears to have kept them informed. It wasn’t until Vanessa Warren went public with a delegation to Burlington that the fat was in the fire. Above is one of the early site plans he submitted

The issue would get taken up at the Regional level while the city scurried about to meet with the residents and hopefully get Vince Rossi into the room as well.

Vanessa Warren spoke to a Regional government committee and heard nice words and real, genuine concern from members of that Council.

Burlington took three weeks to determine what its strategy should be.  They are in a very tricky situation and have to deal with someone who cares not a whit about the community he does business in.

In the middle of all this Rossi announces that the company doing the landfill work has a contract to dump asphalt stripped from the 407 and will be doing so all night long as well.  Everyone was astounded at the news.  That contract appears to have gone somewhere else.

Tim Crawford appeared before Regional Council to delegate against the decision to have the southern gate to the project closed and was mauled by a number of Regional Council members. (Every member of the Burlington city council is also a member of the Regional Council.)

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton explained to Crawford that the one thing Halton had going for it was its “livability” and they weren’t about to see that lost.

In an interview after his Regional delegation he talked about how he got involved in the air park development.  He, like just about everyone involved in this project, is a pilot.  He saw great potential for the air park and knew that the Kovachick family wanted to sell the property when Vic Kovachik died.

Rossi has always had a big picture and as his plans matured he bought up the pieces of land he needed. There was always a plan – what was missing was the capacity to execute on the plan.

Crawford had an idea and pulled together a meeting of some 60 pilots and pitched them on the idea of forming a group that would buy the property.  Of the 60 people it turned out less than ten were prepared to write a cheque.  One of the ten was Vince Rossi who at the time was just another pilot with hanger space.

He seemed to be able to raise the funds and eventually bought the property from the Kovachik family – then quickly learned that the operation was a money loser.  Rossi, scrambling to find something, anything that would produce revenue, looked into storing thousands of cars on the site as part of a used car auction operation.

That deal didn’t work out.

The helicopter training operation was going to go in the location in the lower left corner of this drawing. It would have been 75 yards from Barbara Sheldon’s front door. Given the air port is a federally regulated operation – the city’s bylaws had no impact.

Then there was a potential contract to train hundreds of Chinese pilots how to fly helicopters.  That contract never got signed. 

Then there was going to be a cell phone tower that Rogers wanted to put up; that opportunity created huge resistance in the community and after considerable public resistance and a noisy public meeting at city hall in January of 2009 the proposal to build a 65 metre (213-foot) cell tower on a piece of the Burlington Airpark in the north end of the city was withdrawn” and the company looked for and found a different location.

Crawford talked of his meetings with the Burlington Economic Development Corporation which didn’t go very far. “We met with them but all they seemed to want to do was sell us a page of advertising in a publication they were involved in”.  Crawford went on to say that he and Rossi couldn’t get any traction with the economic developers but added that they did buy a page of advertising.

Vince Rossi was able to catch the ear of Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.  News that the Buttonville airport was going to close was known by everyone and, as Crawford explains it, “the distance between Burlington and Toronto is basically the same as the distance between Buttonville and Toronto – that made a Burlington operation a natural business opportunity.  And an airport in Burlington would be seen as a plus for Mississauga.

Problem with all this thinking, according to Monte Dennis, one of the original participants in the POP (People or Planes) fight that stopped the Pickering airport plans back in 1972, is that “small airports don’t make any money”; something Vince Rossi is learning.  So far he has financed his operation by being paid to have landfill dumped on the site.  Many think that the game is really to make money from landfill and when that comes to an end to walk away from the project.  Those who know Vince Rossi will tell you that he is passionate about this project and does want to see a bigger airport built.

In a presentation document used by Burlington Executive Air Park the following information is set out:

An estimated $30 Million funding project will provide the airport with, but not limited to the below enhancements that will emphasize the importance of the airport to not only the community, but to all of the GTA.

Further land acquisition to enhance the main runway

Construct a new terminal building and associated aircraft movement area

Complete construction of a new West side taxiway servicing the main runway

Service and construct the west side infrastructure

Enhance safety and protect airspace surrounding the airport

Provide services for Transient aircraft

Construct hangars and office space for GTAA Small and medium business’s

Also in the same presentation document:

It was a great idea that is about to become mired in an expensive court case. It didn’t have to be this way.

Burlington Airport is in transition in an effort to provide the current vital transportation and social services we currently offer, as well as move the airport to the next necessary level to meet the growing demand. As a privately owned business, the financial assistance provided for infrastructure to the municipal owned airports is unavailable, yet we serve the community in the very same manner. Of course, positioning the airport for the future requires focus, precise planning and funding. To date all the funding has come from the Airport Owner, Mr. Rossi, but the ability to meet the future service demand will need other sources of infrastructure funding. Mr. Rossi has invested near 4 Million dollars into infrastructure listed below to enhance the facility.

Rossi has been consistent since the year he bought the airport – his operation is federally regulated and he does not have to comply with provincial, regional or municipal rules or regulations.

The Region and the Conservation Authority appear to have bought into that line of thinking and they have done next to nothing, until Vanessa Warren delegated to Burlington’s city council June 10th.   Rossi has run up against a city administration that is determined to be both informed and involved.

The determination of this difference of opinion could we decide what happens to northern Burlington – it will also determine what Vanessa Warren and her husband are able to do with the equestrian school they want to develop – the planned runway extension will be yards from the riding ring they are currently building.

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Three lawyers meet to discuss Air Park differences; agree to disagree and meet again in a couple of weeks. Landfill continues.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 4, 2013— For a document that was to have been available the day after city Council met on Tuesday but didn’t see the light of day until late Thursday afternoon – the statement  put out really don’t reveal much.

All we know is that the three lawyers met and agreed to disagree.  What took place was that three legal warriors got a chance to look each other over and get a sense as to where each was coming from and then return to their offices to figure out what to do next.

In an agreed upon statement – here is what we have been told:

“Mr. Blue and Mr. Grenier clearly stated their respective legal positions on the applicability of the city’s site alteration bylaw to the airport but agreed to reserve that legal issue until they and representatives of the city and the airport can meet to discuss a possible agreement to address the concerns raised by the city about best management practices for fill at the airport. If an agreement cannot be reached within a reasonable time, the legal issue will be revisited.”

Air Park owner Vince Rossi released a document at the Tuesday city council meeting in which he set out what he was prepared to do and what he needed in return.  Basically he said I will do some things you want me to do but you have to agree not to sue me.

What is troubling about the Rossi memorandum is that it came out of a meeting between Rossi, and his associate Tim Crawford and Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster.

Why is Lancaster hammering out an agreement with a business person the city is having serious problems with?  Lancaster is seen by many in north Burlington as already seriously compromised.  They see their ward council member as being in the pocket of the owner of the Air Park.

Vince Rossi and Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster sit beside each other at community meeting which many found offensive given that Rossi is the person damaging local property. Lancaster explained later that she needed to sit in a chair with a good back because she had been in a very minor auto collision and that Mr. Rossi chose to sit beside her once she was seated.   The view through the large barn doors is to the property onto which Rossi wants to extend his airport  runway.

Lancaster clearly has a close relationship with Vince Rossi and both meets and speaks with him far more often that she speaks with the north Burlington residents.  She did tour three properties  on Tuesday and then sat through a CLOSED session of Council at which lawyer Ian Blue set out what the issues were as he saw them.  Given the nature of the relationship with Rossi, should Lancaster have taken part in a closed session where strategy is being determined?

In the past Lancaster has stepped away from the Council table when issues related to the downtown core were being discussed; she is the owner of a business in the downtown core.

Former Beauty Queen still knows how to pose for the camera. Ward 6 Councillor at an Air Park picnic last summer which she turned into a constituency meeting.

Lancaster has held community events at the Air Park which we have attended.  We were of the impression that Lancaster was holding her constituency event at the Air Park, which we thought was a neat idea – great place for a photo –op and we took a number of pictures.  The fact was Lancaster was tagging along at an annual open house the Air Park holds each year.  That was never made clear to media people.

King Paving’s John Hutter in the foreground along with Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster and two city hall staff look at the landfill next to the fence line on the Cousin’s farm property. Hutter said that the drainage culvert that dumps onto the Cousin’s property runs across the full width of the airline property at this point. Had the city had site plan approval this would never have been permitted – and where a drainage culvert runs has nothing to do with the operate of an airport. The culvert  is 20 feet + beneath the surface.

Do we have a situation where Lancaster is closer to the person the city is close to taking legal action against than she is to the residents she was elected to represent?

Lancaster pointed out in an interview that she got less than 100 votes from north Burlington in the 2010 election.  She will be lucky to get one vote from that community next time out.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster trudging through tall grass on the way to look at the landfill dumped on the Cousins Appleby Line far, Many thought Lancaster should have made the trip months ago to see the damage done.

Lancaster did not visit the properties that have sustained the damage until July 2nd and maintains that she did not hear a word from any resident until March 5th of this year.  Several residents were aghast when they heard this and are in the process of scowering their records to put forward evidence that refutes the statement made.

Barbara Sheldon didn’t think the statement the city put out was “as strong and aggressive an approach as I had hoped it would be.”  “Every day” she added Rossi continues to bring in truckload after truckload – today there had to be a couple of hundred trucks.  Now he’s got carte blanche for at least another two weeks.  Sheldon believes the meeting on July 17 or 18th “will be stalled by Rossi’s people until early August, if not later.”

Burlington city hall tends to shut down for much of August.

The city has hired Toronto lawyer Ian Blue to work with the city’s legal team. Blue met July 3 with Glenn Grenier and Brent McPherson, the lawyers representing the airport, and will meet again with airport representatives on July 17 or 18.

Blue is Ian Blue, the lawyer Burlington has hired and Grenier, is Glenn Grenier, a Burlington resident and a pilot and the lawyer the Air Park has hired.  Vince Rossi has beefed up his legal team with an additional lawyer from the same firm: Macmillan.  It will take two lawyers to one-up Ian Blue.

City council has seen Grenier before when he over-reached to impress Council with all he knew about things aeronautic and basically saying the city didn’t have a hope in hades of winning so give up now.

City manager Jeff Fielding wasn’t buying that and on three separate occasions during the Council meeting advised the Mayor to dismiss Grenier and send him on his way.

What has Burlington totally ticked is the way the Air Park people have handed the situation.  At that meeting Councillor Craven asked Grenier: “Why is your client such a lousy neighbour”.

The city’s legal strategy will have been determined – we will see very little of that strategy – these guys are great poker players.  “Burlington” said the city media release ” is moving forward with a legal strategy to address concerns regarding noise and fill activities related to construction at the Burlington Executive Airport on Bell School Line.”

Blue will look for ways to chip away at the “federal jurisdiction” the Air Park has been relying upon the thumb their noses at the city, and make no mistake about this, the very senior level of city hall is furious with the way they are being treated.

To see a piece of construction equipment this close to your kitchen window was seen as a deliberate and provocative attempt to intimidate property owner Barbara Sheldon.

The Mayor is taking a softer political line with statements suggesting that can all be worked out through dialogue and compromise but people like Barbra Sheldon don’t see much compromise when there is a massive piece of machinery parked less than 50 yards from her kitchen window on a hill of landfill that she doesn’t think should be there in the first place.

Most in the community see the parking of that equipment as a deliberate and provocative intimidating act on the part of Vince Rossi.

Mayor Goldring called the damage done appalling when he first saw it.

The city arranged for a meeting of the Rural Burlington Green Coalition as a first step – which may be the only step between the community and the air park owner.  Vanessa Warren believes a community wide meeting needs to take place to explain to a wider public the seriousness of this problem.  Should there even be an airport in north Burlington and if the answer is yes – then how big should that airport be?

Many believe this is a decision the city and Region should be making and not an individual entrepreneur who has found a loophole in the law that allows him to bypass any city involvement.

The city has hired Toronto lawyer Ian Blue to work with the city’s legal team. Blue met July 3 with Glenn Grenier and Brent McPherson, the lawyers representing the airport, and will meet again with airport representatives on July 17 or 18.

The work being done now came out of a direction from city council June 10th, to develop a legal strategy.  It was among the seven recommendations approved by City Council, which include:

The city’s legal staff will develop a legal strategy to address the concerns expressed by City Council and citizens regarding issues with the Burlington Executive Airport and report back to City Council on July 2, 2013

The city’s director of engineering will, by September, review and update the city’s site alteration bylaw 6-2003 to reflect best practices

Mayor Rick Goldring and City Manager Jeff Fielding will jointly contact the federal Minister of the Environment to request soil testing of the Burlington Executive Airport property

Mayor Goldring will work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to lobby the federal Minister of Transportation and other relevant ministries to develop a process to allow municipalities to have input on airpark land filling operations and expansion plans

The city’s director of finance will arrange a meeting with MPAC representatives and the affected property owners beside the airport property regarding current property value assessment 

The general manager of development and infrastructure will request the owner of the Burlington Executive Airport to provide the city with a complete site and grading plan that minimizes impacts on neighbouring properties and will request that the owner modify existing grades to minimize impact on neighbouring properties

The director of planning and building will have staff enforce the city’s dust suppression bylaw 50-2008 that requires consideration be given to neighbouring properties when construction processes generate dust. Staff will also enforce the provisions of the nuisance and noise control bylaw including after-hours enforcement and issuing offence notices as necessary.

The city is grinding away with the limited regulatory tools it has while legal counsel looks for chinks in the Air Park armour.

The Air Park continues to dump landfill on the site.

The residents fume.

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Off duty police officer spots suspicious behavior and calls it in; three arrested for phony credit card scam.

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 4, 2013.  Shortly after 4:30 p.m., yesterday afternoon, an off-duty Halton officer was shopping in a grocery store in the area of Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road, Burlington, when he observed a man attempting to purchase pre-paid credit cards with what appeared to be a counterfeit credit card.  After several attempts to complete the transaction, the man was unsuccessful and left the store. 

 The officer observed the man get into a waiting vehicle containing two other occupants and flee westbound on Upper Middle Road.  The vehicle was stopped by responding officers in the area of William O’Connell Boulevard and a quantity of fraudulently obtained merchandise, counterfeit credit cards and associated documents were found within.

 The three men face a multitude of charges including:  Conspiracy to Commit Fraud, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Personation, Possession of Counterfeit Credit Card, Possession of Counterfeit Mark (two counts) and Fraud Under $5000 (two counts).


 Azki MOHAMED (21 years) of Burlington

 Nisanth VISITHTHIRAMOORTHY (20 years) of Toronto

 Mithunan VAMATHEVAN (19 years) of Woodbridge

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Is there anything about living in rural Burlington that excites you? You don’t live there OK – does something up there excite you?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 3, 2013.  Imagine!  A city Councillor with more than 20 years at the Council table asking you for your opinion on what gets you excited about living in the rural area?

John Taylor represents Ward 3 which takes in that part of  rural Burlington on the west side of the city limits over to Walker’s Line then from Derry Road down Dundas with a patch that reaches down to the QEW.  This is John Taylor country – and it is served very well.

John Taylor has been at the business of municipal politics for a long time. He once thought of seeking higher office – but that time has past. He work diligently for the people of ward 3 and now wants their opinion on living in the northern part of the city.

 Taylor is seldom at a loss to give you an opinion on whatever happens to be crossing his mind – even if you don’t ask for that opinion.

Burlington publishes City Talk,  a news magazine, three times a year filled with “fluff” for the most part but it does serve as a link from city council to the wider community.  Waste of good paper from our point of view but that doesn’t mean they are going to stop publishing the thing.

Each council member gets some space to put in whatever they want to tell their constituents – just the good stuff though.  You will have to look very hard to find anything the least bit controversial or provocative between those covers.  Pure vanilla – paid for with your tax dollars.

The ladies love him. He charms them and he listens to them; never patronizes them. That’s why he gets smiles like this one from Georgina Black, the consultant who led the then new city council through its Strategic Plan back in 2011.

Taylor is taking a slightly different approach to his part of City Talk – he wants to know what it is about living in rural Burlington that gets you excited.  He has a number of reasons for asking the residents of the northern part of the city what gets them excited about – there is currently something to get very excited about – the attempt on the part of an entrepreneur to build an airport with little, if any, input from city hall or the economic development corporation.

Taylor is looking for your opinion.  This is an excellent time for everyone in the city to tell a council member what is important about the rural part of the city.

Lot of hay taken off these fields – but not very many cattle out there.

There are those within the political go on about the agricultural industry – there is no such things as an agricultural “industry” in rural Burlington.  There are a couple of very successful fruit operations and the equestrian people have made that part of the city a great place to operate.  Don’t expect to very many cattle in that part of the city.  Couple of places where there are some chickens and a several that have a couple of pigs.  Some fruit operations but for a stretch of land that is pretty good from a soil perspective – we don’t really exploit that opportunity.

A lot of hay is taken off those fields but you will seldom see any soybeans and not a lot of corn.  Farming in north Burlington is a bit of a stretch.  Nice place to live – well not if you are on Appleby Line with all those trucks trundling load after load of land fill into the airport development.

So – what is there to be excited about north of Dundas/Highway 407?  Councillor Taylor would certainly like to hear what you have to say.

Several months ago the city`s planning department held a half day Saturday session during which people gathered to talk about rural Burlington in what was billed a Rural Summit. What was very interesting, and revealing, was that the problems surrounding the dumping of landfill on the airport property didn’t get mentioned.

Perhaps this appeal for the things that excite people will bring more to the surface.Put your thoughts together and send them along to his very able assistant Sheri Wainman.

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The Burlington we live and believe in – it happened right here – in our town.

By Debra Pickfield.

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 2, 2013.   They were doing something right.

It was 9:30pm on Friday night at the 7-11 at Guelph Line and Prospect St.  First day off school, long days of sunlight, the weather cooling off after a few warm days.

Teenagers were in the store collecting their snacks for parties and I happened to stand beside three 11-12 year old boys with long-boards, trying to decide what drinks to buy with the little money they collectively had. 

Carmelita, cashier at the 7-11 convenience store at Guelph Line and Prospect, knows the three boys who were in her store. we’d like to know who they are. Can you help?

They raced over to the refrigerator to pick their drink and in their haste were a little too clumsy and before you knew it a drink was on the floor leaking away.

What happened next totally surprised me.  Fully expecting them to leave the bottle or hide it and then take another one, the leader of the three boys said “OK – we’ll have to pay for this one – let’s pick it up and tell them what happened.”  Not one of the friends disagreed or complained.

They did exactly what they said they would do, and I was trying to suppress a grin that desperately wanted to come out.  These kids did what I struggle with – taking accountability for their actions even though no one was looking.

I wish I knew who they were – their parents/guardians/teachers need to know what an exceptional job they are doing raising three great young boys.

Carmelita, the cashier at the 7-11, knows the boys well since they are often in the store.  She put it well – “they are always honest about how much candy they buy – some people try to sneak more – but these boys always play it straight”

Thanks guys – you couldn’t know how good you made me feel to watch that scene unfold the way it did.  In my world you absolutely rock.

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Bateman students wins Art in Action Scholarship; plans to start at University of Guelph in the fall.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, JULY 3, 2013) For the second year, Art in Action presented a scholarship to a Halton Region High School student intending to pursue a full-time, post-secondary education this fall.

Samples of the work on display during the Art in Action studio tour – always during the first weekend in November.

Art in Action is a self-guided studio tour that takes place every year on the first weekend of November in Burlington.  If art and craft appreciation mean anything to you – note the dates.  The tour will introduce you to new art and get you out of the house and meet really interesting people.  This year will be our third and we wouldn’t miss it.

Darlene Throop, Art In Action, Michelle Nguyen, Scholarship Winner and Regan Heffernan, Principal, Robert Bateman.

This year’s winner Michelle Nguyen, a student at Robert Bateman High School, received a scholarship of $1,500.00 as well as free admission to participate in the Art in Action November Studio Tour.

Nguyen intends to pursue her artistic and design interests and the University of Guelph in their Landscape Architecture program in September,

Burlington public and catholic schools were invited to participate by putting forth an applicant and including three digital images in the application.  The turn out this year was less than promising, (shame on those schools who didn’t dig a little and encourage their students to take part).  The Art in Action group feels there will be a better response next year.  Let us hope they are right.

There are very few privately funded groups that use their own funds to provide scholarships for promising students.  Things like this need to be both encouraged and responded to.

For additional information contact, Teresa Seaton at  tmseaton@cogeco.ca

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City hires legal talent with a very impressive pedigree; probably costing us a fortune but the price will be worth every penny.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 3rd, 2013.  They went into closed session and stayed there for well over an hour while media cooled their heals in the foyer.

This was the first time city council members got a chance to talk one on one with the legal hired guns the city has hired to steer them through a very sticky set of situations related to the Air Park problem.

Ian Blue, a lawyer with an expensive pedigree that will serve the city well in a critical fight.

Ian Blue of the firm Gardiner Roberts is said to have significant experience in constitutional law matters, including experience in airport fill disputes in Ontario and was involved in the New Tecumseth and Scugog disputes.  These two were situations where land fill on airport lands were part of the difference of opinions that brought the lawyers into the room.

Blue is a Queen’s Counsel, an appointment he was given in 1985 when the honorific mattered, and a senior counsel and advisor on complex energy, electricity and environmental law matters that have administrative-law, business-law and constitutional-law issues.

He has acted for both private sector and public sector clients. He has appeared before all levels of courts in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and the Yukon and before both levels of the Federal Court. He also has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, he has appeared before the National Energy Board, the Ontario Energy Board, the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board, before arbitration panels and other regulatory bodies.

Blue has been a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and as a past Chair of the Administrative Law and Environmental Law Sub-Sections of the Ontario Bar Association.  These are significant positions within the legal profession.  This lawyer would have run circles around Glenn Grenier, the lawyer Vince Rossi has hired to spin tales of what the city can and cannot do in terms of regulating what happens to land in the Escarpment.

Blue is also a prolific legal writer and speaker on practice and legal topics and is a contributor to various lawyers’ publications.  He has also assisted in drafting federal legislation and Ontario legislation and was the draftsman of the Gas Distribution Act, 1999, as well as regulations made under that act, for the Province of New Brunswick.

Ian Blue studied at Dalhousie University – one of the very best law schools in the country.

This guy writes the law that the rest of us have to follow.

He is costing the city a very pretty penny but they would appear to have gotten the right guy to steer council through very complex matters.

Now – why does all this matter?  After all – there are really not that many people impacted by what Vince Rossi is doing with his Air Park.  If that is your thought – re-think.

What Vince Rossi is attempting to do is completely circumvent the city’s authority to determine how the community grows and what kind of community Burlington wants to be.

If there is an Air Park along the lines of what Vince Rossi wants – that decision gets made by the community.

If Burlington is going to have the kind of air port Vince Rossi wants to develop – Vince Rossi is going to have to do that development in concert with the city and follow the by-laws the city has in place. economic development is a city and Regional domain – not that of an individual entrepreneur. Mr Rossi has some expensive lessons to learn.

This city did not want a highway rammed through the Escarpment and it fought to ensure the provincial government listened to what we had to say.

Burlington had grown to the point where they no longer wanted to be an extraction site for the aggregate industry and fought to ensure that Nelson Aggregates was not given another permit to pen up a second quarry.  That fight cost the city millions but there will not be another quarry.

Now the city has to fight again to prevent an entrepreneur from deciding, by himself, how this city is to develop.

If there is to be an airport of any significant side – that decision will be made by city council and the Regional Council who will inform and educate its citizens will decide what kind of development takes place.

Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Executive Air Park at a meeting with members of the Rural Burlington Green Coalition

The public is not yet fully aware of just what the ramifications are should an airport that is anywhere near what Vince Rossi wants to build.  Mr. Rossi has to learn that the “community” makes these decisions – not a single entrepreneur who has managed to convince a bank to loan him $4.5 million.  The TD Bank, the people who put the $4.5 million mortgage on the property, has some explaining to do and in the fullness of time they will pay a price for their decision.

For the immediate future, the city can take some comfort in know they have someone with the depth and the experience to take on this task.  The man is also incredibly well-connected.  He served as Legislative Counsel to a former President of the Privy Council, the Honourable Alan J. MacEachen, P.C. who was Government House Leader.  THAT is impressive.  It would seem evident that Ian Blue sees merit in the battle Burlington has on its hands and has decided to bring his talent to bear on that problem.  Lawyers of this calibre get their pick of what they choose to do; that Blue decided to take this one on over many others that would have come his way speaks volumes.

Finally Ian Blue studied at Dalhousie University where Constitutional law is taught better than anywhere else in the country.  Blue also served in the Canadian Army.  The information in his profile suggests that he is a Maritimer as well – and that never hurts.

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Shane Cooper got left off the list; our apologies.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July  2, 2013.  Somehow we missed one – there were xx people arrested and charged with various offenses last week and we reported on that occurrence but Shane Cooper got left out of that editorial roundup.  We wouldn’t want Mr. Cooper to feel left out – so here is what they nailed him for:

Shane COOPER (41 years) of Carlisle.
Conspiracy to traffic (2 counts)
Trafficking (Cocaine)
Trafficking (Marihuana) 2 counts
Possession for the Purpose (Marihuana) 3 counts
Possession for the purpose (Cannabis resin) 2 counts
Possession of Cocaine
Possession of Oxycodone
Possession Hydromorphone
Produce a controlled substance.

The first part of that series of arrests is detailed in a previous report.

Police in the Region spend the bulk of their time on traffic offenses and drug raids which usually includes the Guns & Gangs Guys as well.  The two seem to go together.

Elsewhere in the paper we pass along the view of our columnist Ray Rivers who thinks some drugs should be legalized.

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Should marijuana be made legal? One man’s opinion.

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 2, 2013  Canada was the first nation in the world to ban cannabis, back in 1923, driven to action by a transplanted Alberta magistrate, eugenicist and racist, pen-named ‘Janey Canuck’.   A prolific Maclean’s Magazine columnist whose book, ‘The Black Candle’, warned about the dangers of “Chinese opium peddlers” and “Negro drug dealers;” she convinced legislators to adopt prohibition without a word of public debate.

 So it was fitting that Maclean’s, in a recent issue on cannabis, reviewed the facts, acknowledged the error of its ways, and is now calling for legalization.  The facts can be summarized as follows:

 1.  Safety.  Well nothing is perfectly safe, but puffing ‘weed’ is safer than drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or adding salt to your steak. It is not addictive, doesn’t ‘gateway’ to other drugs, and smoking doesn’t cause cancer – in fact, may protect against it.

 2.  Wasting resources.  I thought this would appeal to fiscal conservatives, but alas!  Enforcement is costly, so is imprisonment and so are the courts.  People behind bars aren’t contributing to the economy, they are draining it.

3.  Protecting Children. Despite prohibition, more Canadian children have tried ‘grass’ than anywhere else in the west, including decriminalized Spain.

4.  Eroding societal values.  If the law is an ass, people will ignore it and hate the cops.  Legalization would kill black-markets and gangsters faster than a speeding bullet.  And aren’t prisons just training academies for inmates wanting to become better criminals?

 5.  Provincial budgets.  The LCBO gives1.2 billion dollars a year to the provincial government, in addition to the 13% HST and 10% licensing fee.  Why wouldn’t we want to regulate the production and sales of recreational cannabis and use the revenues to pay for public services?

 ‘The Black Candle’ was wrong, but it is never too late to do the right thing.  Back in the early 1970‘s The Royal Commission on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (LeDain Report) called for de-criminalization of cannabis.  In 2002 a Senate committee reported that “… drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment…” and also called for legalization.  Chretien and Martin started drifting towards de-criminalization but then Stephen Harper, another transplanted Albertan, like Ms. Canuck, came along to reverse progress.  Drug enforcement is back big time.  Today growing six hemp plants will get you an automatic 6 months in the big-house.

 Richard Nixon’s war on drugs in the US was an absolute failure.  Jails are half-filled with drug inmates, drug crime is at an all-time high and drug use in America has never been higher.  In light of this, many states have taken action to start decriminalizing drugs.  Washington and Colorado, are legalizing, developing infrastructure and rules for cultivation and marketing.  The US feds, like their Canadian counter parts, have ultimate jurisdiction, but they’re not interfering.  Is that because their last three presidents were self-proclaimed potheads?

 Stephen Harper claims to never have smoked ‘pot’.  So his head should be clear – right?  Not at all.  Last year, addressing the Summit of the Americas, he admitted “…that the current approach is not working. But it is not clear what we should do.”  Still ignorance hasn’t deterred him from going back to what doesn’t work – aggressive criminalization. 

 Since the Conservatives came to power in 2006, drug-related arrests have mushroomed by 41% and over 400,000 people have been arrested.  And, Harper can’t even articulate why.  In a 2010 YouTube clip the PM miserably failed to make a single coherent point in defense of his neo-con drug policy – just ended up mumbling something about drug cartels. 

 Now, if Harper is concerned about drug cartels he needs to visit Mexico.  That country used to have one of the toughest policies on drugs anywhere, which ultimately led to its deadly drug wars.   The wars became so vicious that the Mexican government has now decriminalized small quantities of all major narcotics. 

 Of course, Mr. Harper should have gone to learn the Mexican experience before he saddled us with his ill-advised, retro drug laws.  And why not take along his conservative ally, Rob Ford?  Toronto’s controversial mayor might be interested to know that smoking crack-cocaine is now legal in Mexico. 

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat after which he decided to write and has become a  political animator. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

The views of the author are his alone

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City has a big part of its Air Park team in place – announcement will be made at Council.




By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  June 26, 2013  The city has done its best in meeting with the residents in north Burlington, both individually and with the coalition that was put together by Vanessa Warren and called the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition (RBGC) that is pulls LARA, PERL, and COPE into one tent.  The north Burlington community did the same thing with the Niagara GTA fight – they formed SEHC – Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition that had more than 10,000 people who would sign petitions, take road side signs and write letters.

City Hall for its part is happier working with coalitions – it gives them a pipeline to a large number of people with clearly defined leadership.

The RBGC has worked diligently to press their case against the expansion work being done at the airport at both city and Regional council meetings.  Burlington is certainly with its residencts, and the Region, while certainly not fully behind the residents, is not doing anything to get in their way.  The Conservation Authority seems to be lost in a fog that it created.

What makes the Halton Region work is that it is a livable community. You won’t find this kind of a property in many other places in the province that are as close as we are to Toronto. We are going to have to fight to keep it this way.

The case for no airport was summed up best at a Regional Council meeting with Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said the thing that makes our part of the world what it is – is that this is a livable place – and with an airport this large – we will no longer be livable.

The Buttonville Airport is due to close – the Air Park people saw an opportunity and rather than work within the system they chose to use the fact that they are indeed federally regulated and played that angle to get them to where they are today.  But that gig might be up. The municipalities are up in arms, the Region will go along with them.  Is there a provincial point of view?  Noted is that there hasn’t been a word from Burlington MPP Jane McKenna – expect her to come out with a “if there are jobs then it is good”.

The residents now know they are going to have to do what north Burlington always has to do – get into the trenches and fight just the way they did with the Niagara GTA highway battle and the fight to prevent the Nelson quarry from getting a permit to open up a second quarry site.

This situation came to the city in a bit of a rush even though the dumping of landfill had been going on since 2008 – the problem dget into the trenches and fight just the way they did with the Niagara GTA highway battle and the fight to prevent the Nelson quarry.idn’t manage to reach the ears of city council until around March of this year.  There are residents who claim they have been writing and making phone calls and getting little in the way of response from Councillor Blair Lancaster in whose ward the development is taking place.

The changes are not easily recognized when you drive along Appleby Line.  There are just the two property owners who have been badly hurt by landfill that comes right up against their property lines.

One resident whose property is not currently impacted by the landfill but will be if the proposed extension of the north south runway goes forward, formed a coalition and began making delegations to the city.  That put the fat into the fire and the city began to look into the problem – and found there was a massive jurisdictional mess that no one fully understood.

However, when city hall began to look at the problem it did manage to move rather quickly.  City manager Jeff Fielding put the problem into the hands of city manager Scott Stewart.  One of the first things Stewart did was organize a meeting of the residents and the air park owner Vince Rossi which, in the words of Vanessa Warren, chair  of RBGC, “it was pretty futile”.  Warren doesn’t believe there is going to be any progress with Rossi.

The city  decided to move forward on several levels which included trying to work with the air park owners, then working with the newly formed coalition  (RBGC) and at the same time develop an overall strategy that would include determining what the legal options were.

The Burlington Executive Air Park had sent legal counsel to city hall to explain that the air park was regulated by the federal minister of transportation and that they did not have to comply with whatever rules, regulations and by laws the city or the Region had in place.

Glenn Grenier, legal counsel for the Air Park did his best to explain that the city had no jurisdiction with Air Park development. The city wasn’t buying that story and sent him packing.

That didn’t go over all that well with the city and during the delegation of Glenn Grenier, the Burlington resident, pilot and legal counsel for the Air Park, the city manager advised the Mayor to dismiss the man – send him home – the city didn’t need to hear him explain what his client didn’t have to do.

Lawyer Glenn Grenier hears some choice words from Burlington city manager Jeff Fielding while city lawyer Blake Hurley and Nancy Shea Nicol, on the right, listen in.

After that Council meeting city manager Jeff Fielding had a ‘corridor conversation’ with Grenier during which he made it very clear that the city was not going to be told by anyone how it was to run its affairs and that if the Air Park could not behave as a responsible corporate citizen it could not expect any cooperation in the future.    

The city then set out to get the legal talent it needed to figure out what it could do and what its possible options were.

The city has now secured the services of a person who fully understands the way things aeronautical work at the federal level and happens to be a lawyer as well.  The name of that person and his bona fides will be released at city council’s meeting on Tuesday July 2nd.

Don’t expect to learn all that much about the strategy the city will have developed – that will be explained to council in a closed session.  Our city solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol keeps her cards very close to her chest.

In the weeks since this issue first came to city council there has been a burst of activity that has included presentations to the Region where they went along with closing the south gate to the site but residents say the trucks just go in other entrances.

It would seem that the differences of opinion are moving to some kind of stand-off – with the city doing everything they can to get a stronger grip on what goes on at the Air Park and doing what it can to enforce its by-laws while the Air Park does as much as it can to stick to their position that they are federally regulated.

Mayor Goldring is setting up a meeting with Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion whose fingerprints seem to be all over this project.  “Butt out Hazel” might be an appropriate phrase but Goldring is just too polite say anything like that.

The city can’t get much going with the Conservation Authority people who are apparently sitting on a document that will determine if the Air Park can buy the property to the north which would them give them the room they need to extend the runway and dump more landfill.

Burlington city hall basically shuts down during August – so whatever doesn’t get done in July will sit until September.  There is one situation to watch – what the Conservation Authority does with the application it has sitting on its desk.  City hall types have not had much luck in having a sit down with the Conservation people.  The RBGC people have no problem with Conservation sitting on the paperwork – they just want to be sure a document isn’t issued while everyone is away.

Things are sort of grinding to a halt and what was a dream and a pretty good opportunity might get caught up in the gears of different jurisdictions.  Time for some creative thinking.


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Tall ships line up off the pier as they prepare to enter Burlington Bay. Public getting some value out of the pier.


By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. June 28, 2013.  I didn’t see Rick Wilson out on the pier this afternoon with a telescope but there were around 100 people who were up on the observation deck or crowded around the rail of the pier watching the five tall ships manoeuver and getting in position to pass through the canal, under the lift bridge and into Burlington Bay where they were to sail around the bay letting people on both the Hamilton side and the Burlington side see these majestic vessels catch the light winds before they tie up at the various piers they have been given for the duration of their stay in Hamilton.

Wilson, a history buff who will, if you let him, tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the War of 1812 battle that took place on the lake just off the foot of Brant Street, or so some believe, that changed the outcome of the War of 1812 that lasted three years.

They weren’t easy to see but they were certainly out there; five tall ships lining up to pass through the canal and into Burlington Bay where they will tie up in Hamilton for the weekend.

Today, there were five tall ships, easing their way into the canal.  There were supposed to be six – no idea where that last one got to – but the five were out there on the lake.  Many wondered why the ships didn’t come in closer to the pier – wind was not all that good and they had to be far enough out on the lake to be able to line up in procession to get through the canal.

The public gets some value from their $15 million pier (true cost is going to be $20 million) as they watch Tall Ships prepare to sail into Burlington Bay.

It was expected they would all drop their sails as the went through the canal but at least one went through with all their rigging up.

The tallest mast on this ship had to have a hinge placed on it so it could clear the lift bridge that lets her into Burlington Bay.

The tallest of the ships, the Solandet,  had to put a hinge on part of their tallest mast – it was just a little too high to pass underneath the lift bridge safely.

The sky was a little overcast, weather muggy, rain off and on – not the best weather in which to see these ships.  They will be in Hamilton Friday through to Sunday.  Tours are available.

The expectation is that all the ships will sail out of Burlington Bay at the same time.  Exactly when that will happen isn’t all that clear.

There are more than a dozen ships taking part in what is billed as Tall Ships 1812 Tour with different ships showing up at different ports.  St. Catharines, Dalhousie are among those that will be visited.

The Niagara, one of six Tall Ships that will tie up in Hamilton after taking part in a sail past around Burlington Bat.

None of this matters to Rick Wilson, his mission, driven by his passion is to have a plaque set up on the Burlington Heights to replace the one  that everyone now agrees is just plain wrong.

Here they come.

Slip over to the links and read that tale of the role British ships sailing off Burlington played in winning the War of 1812 where ships  fired cannon balls and iron shot at each other.  For those who dive as a hobby – there are cannon balls to be found at the bottom of Lake Ontario –possibly  right off the front of Spencer Smith Park.

  Our colleague chose to catch the ships as the passed through the canal.  She made a better choice than we did.

Margaret Lindsay Holton has written for us in the past.  Some of her columns can be seen at:Terra Greenhouses and Are you nuts?

Tall Ships passed through the Burlington Canal under the Skyway Bridge mid-afternoon on Friday, June 28th.
Black and white photo montages by Margaret Lindsay Holton – Mid-career artist and author from the Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario, Canada.

Passing through modern history.

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Economic development is down to building on existing parking lots. Is this the best we can do?



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. June 26, 2013.  Economic development in the city has stalled.  Part of the reason is that no one knows how to give the people who are supposed to make economic development happen the enema they so badly need.  Burlington hasn’t seen a piece of good economic news for some time.

That may change but it won’t be because the Economic Development Corporation has done anything.  They have yet to get past setting out their governance standards and as a result have some members around the table more focused on their individual economic interests rather than those of the community at large.

Serving on the board of an economic development corporation means you leave your personal or employer related interests outside the room; that apparently is not yet the case in Burlington.

Head of the Economic development Corporation in Burlington, Kyle Benham hasn’t move the dial very much during his tenure.

Quite why the city’s banker or the local cable company are on that board is beyond me.  The banker’s marching orders are to make sure they don’t lose the city banking business and the cable company wants to be sure it gets the brownie points it needs to maintain the federal government license they have to operate their business.

There are more than a couple of people on that Board who know what has to be done and in the fullness of time they will succeed in totally reorganizing the Burlington Economic Development Corporation and getting it to the point where it is effective and fully focused on the job that has to be done.

That process seems to be taking quite a bit of time.  There are some timelines the most significant of which is the AGM next April at which time expect to see a new chair in place.

Burlington city manager Jeff Fielding came to us from London, Ontario where he was able to maintain development growth. Here he is seen at a London Council meeting where he moved things along rather smartly. He’s in the process of doing the same thing in Burlington. Fielding sits on the BEDC board.

The city can`t afford to continue experiencing the current state of economic affairs.  City manager Jeff Fielding advised council recently that he expect ICI (Industrial, Commercial, Institutional) tax revenue to be less in 2013 than it was in 2012; not a sustainable situation for the city.

Currently the Economic Development Corporation is a stand-alone operation that gets some of its funding from the city but had to do a significant amount of funding on its own – at which they did rather well by the way, but that funding work took the focus off the really important stuff – getting new business into Burlington.

The governance  discussion is believed to be revolving around dissolving the existing structure and bringing economic development back into city hall, where it used to be when Don Baxter headed up that work.  He is now a consultant working with corporate clients in the Fort McMurray, Alberta part of the country as well as serving on the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Parking lot # 3 on the corner of Caroline and John Street will be re-developed as a structure that has several levels of public parking.  The city will look for an organization to partner with on this.  Is there revenue is selling the naming rights to the building?

The city for its part is pushing on a number of levels. They have decided to work towards getting better use out of parking lots 3, 7 and 8.  The thinking is that the city would look for a partner to build an above ground parking lot on #3, at the corner of John and Caroline, that will serve the shopping plaza just north of Caroline – which should soon be given a major make-over, as well as some of the overflow from Brant Street.

The MedicaOne project, on the corner of Caroline and John Street,  which expects to break ground soon will have some underground parking – something in the order of 100 spaces but that will get used by the traffic to the medical offices and the condo owners in that project.

Situated on the corner of Caroline and Locust any structure on this lot would certainly crowd the Different Drummer bookstore.

Lot 8, on Caroline immediately west of Brant, snuggled up to the Different Drummer bookstore and lot  7, on Locust south of Caroline will be made “marketing ready” with the city looking for potential partners.  There is a property right beside lot # 7, to the south, that is up for sale and could become part of a land assembly.

Lot 8 on Locust Street is closest to city hall. It serves people who meet at the Upper Canada location where Regus has been located for years.

The city is hoping that if it puts its property in play developers will take up the opportunity and do some building.  The problem is that there has in the past been no one at the BEDC that knows how to bring players to the table and close deals.  That is a very specialized skill; a combination of hustle, diplomacy and the capacity to schmooze, bundled up with a person who has contacts or knows how to make contacts.  There have been some new people added to the BEDC staff but that corporation has chosen not to say anything about these new additions.  Not a good sign.

The city also has to make a major decision as to what it wants to do about its own space requirements.  The lease it has on the space in the Simms building, right across the street from city hall, is due for renewal – does the city continue to rent or do they build and own?

Does the city expand on the space it has on Brant Street by adding to the back of the building or putting office space on Civic Square? Or is there a new city hall in the cards for us?

Councillor Jack Dennison, who certainly knows about this kind of stuff, believes the city could have paid for an addition to city hall with the money they have paid in rent to the owners of the Simms building.

The city could, some think, build onto the back of the existing building or perhaps build into the current Civic Square space.  Or – and this would seem to be the preference of city manager Jeff Fielding, the city could build a brand new structure that would be designed for the city that is now a much different place than it was when city hall was first built.

Parking lots 4 and 5 on Brant and John Streets get all kinds of attention when conversations like this take place.

The last time Council took part in a ground-breaking event it was for a park in the Alton Village part of town. No tax revenue there.

What we are seeing is all kinds of buzz and chatter but there haven’t been any announcements.  The property that International Harvest is currently located on at Guelph Line and Harvester, will be vacated soon as they move their operation to Hamilton.  We are not only not bringing in new business but we are losing the good ones we had.

This situation has been ongoing for some time – more than a year.  Changes needs to be made when there is a situation that has our ICI tax revenue facing negative growth relative to last year.

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