Citizen committe takes a whack at city council; not a knock out punch.

October 28, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ONThe Burlington Waterfront Committee released a statement this morning smacking city council for two of its recent decisions.  Committee spokesperson Gary Scobie said:

 “For the second time in just over a week, the majority on Burlington City Council supported conflicting actions and embarrassed themselves on a waterfront issue.  First Council decided to sell public waterfront land to private interests when Council’s stated goal is to acquire such lands for the public good.  Then it confused a 35-year-old vision of a park with the reality of today and allowed a community outside Burlington to determine the fate of destruction for a community inside Burlington.”

From the left: Bob Wingfield, Gary Scobie, Jeff Martin and Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.  All, except for Martin are members of the waterfront Committee.

“Our volunteer committee of citizens from each ward continues to support Beachway Park and the beach community co-existing as they have since the park’s inception and the acquisition/retention of actual waterfront property to enhance and promote public access.”

That and $5 will get you as decent latte in this city but not much more.  The statement was released exactly one year before voters in Burlington will troop to the polls.

There are now a number of groups that are lining up their resources to take their issues to the public while the city creates an Insight Burlington service to hear what a panel of 5,000 people think.

These groups and the panel should get together somewhere and enjoy one of those $5 lattes – perhaps we won’t need an election.

 The Burlington Waterfront Committee gave birth to itself when the city sunset the Waterfront Access Protection and Advisory Committee.  It claims to have representation from every ward in the city, which we believe, and holds regular, open to the public meetings.  Ward 2 Councilor Marianne Meed Ward was instrumental in getting this committee off the ground and runs it out of her office.

This is however, an independent committee – Meed Ward doesn’t run the show.  There are some very strong-minded people on that committee who believe the waterfront matters and work towards ensuring the public will is not lost at the city council table.

There is also a small group of citizens taking a hard second look at the decision council made to sell waterfront property to private interests.  Expect them to bring a stiff argument to a table somewhere; either in a courtroom or at a tribunal.  They are wondering if there is an Ontario Municipal Board case to be made.


Creation of waterfront committee

Sale of Water Street road allowance

Regional Beachway Park decision.

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2 comments to Citizen committe takes a whack at city council; not a knock out punch.

  • tony millington

    Can we stop with attacking City Council, we are one of the highest rated City’s in Canada.

    Perhaps if the full disclosure of the past had been circulated to the Community there wouldn’t be this backlash. Two of the opposing delegations I spoke to were a little embarrassed after learning the full details of the previous court case regarding fencing etc etc.

    Lets move on !!!!

    Editors note: Mr. Millington sent us portions of the Court decisions some time ago and we decided not to publish anything because we did not have the full story. If Mr. Millington is prepared to provide the complete document for all the court decisions the public can be fully informed and perhaps we can then move on. At this point all the public is seeing is what others want them to see.

    • In Your Face

      One court case does not necessarily set a rule for taking action and decision making on another matter, regardless of similarities.

      All matters must be treated on their own distinctive characteristics, notwithstanding what some may refer to as precedents already being set (“embarrassed opposing delegations” were likely misled by a partial release of details, and not every citizen is experienced in dealing with these types of issues). Past court case decisions should really only be used for reference purposes, and enlightenment.

      As I suggested before, if this matter simply revolves around prescriptive rights/adverse possession, and perhaps boundary and fencing issues, then there is not one definitive solution. With that logic, the governing body responsible for dealing with property rights (in this case, the City), must assert itself as being in control for the public good, and not be bullied by legal opinion threats based on some previous ‘mystery’ cases.

      For one thing, a private citizen cannot take title to Crown lands under any circumstance; only the reverse is true. Similar concepts apply to municipalities.

      This full details must be disclosed in order to put this issue to rest. The most relevant information are the actual facts specific to the three privately owned properties, the city lands, the MNR lands, and the lake; previous court case results are secondary.

      I continue to reinforce that the decisions made in support of transferring these lands were made as a direct result of ‘non-absolute’ legal opinions on obscure property rights laws, completely in favour of private land owners. It is possible, that the councillors had incomplete information to base a fully confident descision, but, it is their responsibility to obtain full knowledge upon which to base a decision.

      A full and transparent release of details will relieve the pressure on the council and the city decision makers. This type of situation can provide other citizens with valuable insight into property rights, and how lawyers should be used as tools and not as leaders.

      Another issue is the valuation of the city owned lands to be transferred to the private property owners; somebody at City Hall has to disclose the formula, if not the actual sale price(s). This second part to the overall equation is going to be an interesting story.

      Mr. Millington may claim that this City is rated high in Canadian rankings; what has that got to do with uninformed council members who continue to make decisions behind legal opinions?

      Everyone should agree with Millington, that full disclosure of details should have been circulated; that would be a good start. Millington knows his way around town, so, his opinions should be given respect; the city should take Millington’s advice and disclose now, its not too late.

      Nice pier by the way; can’t wait to see the final legal bill.