Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council decision to sell waterfront land- but majority do. Was Council wrong?

November 2, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   Making a democracy work is not easy.  Politicians have that difficult task of listening and then finding a common ground that meets the needs and aspirations of as many people as possible.  There are very few great politicians – the man that got people to see things the same way more than 150 years ago and crated this Canada we have today was one of the very best.  It can be done.

Last month your city council was given a Staff Report  with three options on what to do with some land that it owned next the edge of Lake Ontario between Market and St. Paul Streets.  The land has all kinds of history and a lot of legal stuff attached to it.  Whenever there is something of value – know that there are people who want that value for themselves.  That is part of human nature – it’s not good, it’s not bad – it just is.

This view is available to anyone who wants to wander down St. Paul Street.  If the land is sold to private interests – it will become private.

One option was to keep the land and develop it into a small parkette, a second was to perhaps lease the land and a third was to sell it.

What the public didn’t know before the Staff Report was released was that there were people very interested in buying the land for their exclusive use and they apparently lobbied city council extensively.

They apparently had the land assessed to give the city some sense as to what the land was worth.  All this was done without any public awareness.

During the city council meeting at which your city council voted to sell the property, city general manager Kim Phillips agreed that the city had not done the job it is paid to do when it failed miserably to fully inform the citizens.  Her self-serving comment that the city failed to live up to its normal high standard surprised many.

The city’s decision to sell is a matter of record now.  During the next six months city staff will do the paper work that has to be done to first buy the land that belongs to the province and assemble that into a package that includes the land the city owns, agree on a price and then close the deal.

It of course is not going to be quite that simple.  Deeds in that part of town are filled will easements given, conditions – almost anything a lawyer can think of.  All those have yet to come to light.

Add to that a group of citizens who are meeting to look at some way to put a stop to the sale.  What was a local issue has taken on a broader meaning for many.

So what did this mean to the average citizen?  It’s never easy to tell.  When it looked like the province was making real plans to ram a highway though the Escarpment close to 400 people filled the Mainway Arena.

How many care about that small bit of land on the waterfront between Market and st. Paul Street.  We are not sure but we do know that more than 100 took the time to send the ward Councillor Marianne Meed Ward an email setting out their views.  Not all were against the sale.  We have published them so that they are part of the public record.

The number of the emails required us to break this into several parts.

October 14, 2013 1:42 AM To: Meed Ward, MarianneCc:

Subject: Re: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

To:Marianne Meed Ward and Mayor Rick Goldring

In response to the issue of the parcel of land on the waterfront between Market St and St. Paul St., I am in favour of keeping it as public land. As a resident of Burlington for twenty plus years, the more of the lakefront open to the public the more we are seen as a city that cares for it’s people. As to concerns about vandalism and drunkenness, there are trails along the waterfront in some of the nicest areas of Oakville, behind some very nice homes. And the people that stroll along those trails are those that appreciate opportunity of gazing out over the water, enjoying the view. I am sure those of us that live north of Lakeshore Road in Burlington, would appreciate the chance to sit at the water’s edge in this area and enjoy the view, perhaps take a picnic lunch. To be honest, I never realized that this was public land, and so have not ventured down either Market St nor St Paul St. How wonderful to open that parcel of land up as a parkette for others to enjoy.

I agree that it would be hard to get any of the land back if sold to the property owners.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 3:04 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: keep shoreline

your thoughts mirror mine. Conflicts with what is being said about Beachway. Keep the land.

Just because some one comes wanting to buy, doesn´t mean this is a reason to sell.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 7:23 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: [Possible Spam] public lands

Marianne, I don’t think those public lands should be sold.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:15 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: City….

I think the City should keep the land Market/StPaul

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:00 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Goldring, Rick Subject: waterfront land

I think we should retain these lands in public ownership for all the reasons given by others, which I will not repeat.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:01 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Parkland acquisition at Market / St.Paul st.

In view of the money the City has already squandered on the pier, I think the cost of acquiring this valuable parkland pales by comparison. As a resident of this area I have always enjoyed spending time looking out over the lake. Judging from the activity I see at other similar parkettes along the lakeshore I am not alone. I have lived in Burlington since 1954 and in that time I have seen a steady increase in high rise development along the lakeshore mostly due to private landowners being bought out by developers. It is necessary for the city to acquire this property if only to have control over future development. Thank you

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:10 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront

Hi Marianne,

Excellent newsletter as always. Thank you for the extensive work that goes into producing this.

With regards to the St. Paul/Market Street waterfront properties, I support retaining the municipally owned parcel. Waterfront property is scarce enough as it is and the city should keep what it has. Moreover, I am extremely doubtful that the city would get anywhere near the market value of the land.

If it were to be sold, the city should get the difference between what each of the properties is

worth with and without waterfront. This is unlikely because an appraiser will give you a number based on a landlocked piece of property which is absurd in this case.

I would be interested in buying the property at the ‘landlocked’ price.

Perhaps it should be auctioned off so that community groups or someone other than the homeowners would have the opportunity to buy it. Selling at at the landlocked price will be a tremendous windfall for the residents at the expense of the city and municipal taxpayers.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:19 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Property


I completely understand why the three property owners would want the land – to increase the capital value whenever sold and to put their control over the land. These are the two natural and classic drivers of people – greed and fear ( I do not use these two words with their negative connotations ).

I strongly believe that the property needs to remain as a public entity – the value accrues to all in Burlington if you look at this in a more holistic view as opposed to a locally optimized view. The concerns you have listed can be rectified and should be rectified. If the three owners decide to go to court then fight the legal action fully & vigourously. If they win the case, then there will be others in Burlington and all across Ontario that will use this as a precedent for their own acquisitions.

As a principle, in the Big Island of Hawaii, all waterfront properties are “owned” by all people. Individuals and the resort hotel developers had access to and maintained the beachfront property but they were open to all. It was refreshing and enjoyable. Once in private hands, our waterfront lands would never come back, and the residents of Burlington would be denied access to a unique piece of Lake Ontario.

Burlington has been a great example of keeping waterfront open with significant benefits accruing to the city and to the people – most of whom cannot afford waterfront property ( in my mind , this is what a portion of my property taxes are for ). It needs to continue that way.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:44 AM To: Sharman, Paul; Goldring, Rick Subject: Sale of waterfront land


I do not support the sale of waterfront land at Market St & St. Paul. I my opinion the city should be doing everything it can to preserve waterfront access for its community not rewarding the few wealthy who resort to legal threats to get what they want.

If you look at Oakville’s most recent waterfront endeavour, South Shell Park, it is a perfect example of how public park trails can co-exist with residential properties. Sheldon Creek Trail in Oakville is another good example of a public pathway along the waterfront behind houses. They have managed to provide waterfront access without incidents of violence and vandalism, why do you think Burlington couldn’t achieve the same?

The sale of this land is simply moving backwards towards goals which the residents of Burlington would like to achieve. I doubt anyone you ask would say they want to reduce waterfront access, except of course those who live on the waterfront who have a definite conflict of interest.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:59 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront Park Land Purchase

Hello Marianne,

We have lived downtown Burlington and previously Oakville for the past 20 years.

One of the things we have so enjoyed about Burlington vs. Oakville is the waterfront park access for walking, biking, kayaking on the lake etc. It is one of the major draws for us to Burlington.

I believe that this type of short sited thinking will not auger well for future home investment for the area and future stakeholders. It is not upholding the original intent for the waterfront.

I believe the statistics for dead end parkette’s for vandalism is higher than a continuous waterfront. This does not seem like a valid concern. Perhaps all of the money to develop these dead ends could better be used for current park development and maintenance.

This would be the thin edge of the wedge. What next……..squatter’s rights’. So in summary we do not support this land transaction.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:09 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Bulletin

Dear Ms. Ward:

Thank you for sending out the News Bulletin. It is really appreciated being kept up to date at what is happening at City Hall.

I agree with you totally on keeping the waterfront every last inch of it that now belong to the City or even if some of it belongs to the Province. Once sold and built on you have lost control of it and eventually they would most probably become highrises. People need to have places to walk and enjoy nature, be it sea, lake woods ot mountains. Cities are becoming overcrowded, which is really laughable in a country that is so large as Canada. We fail badly when we overcrowd the southern part of our country and neglect the northern. Also we use our best farmland for buildings. Never thinking of the future. It seems that most of our politicians of every party and all level of Government lack foresight, and their eyes seem to be blinkered like horses that they only see dollar bills or grandiose surroundings.

 Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:19 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more


Thank you for the update.

No to the sale of the Parkette Land. I expect the owners knew the land belonged to the city when they bought their property. It was their choice & money to fix the shoreline (aka future planning?). Shoreline property always has & always will be a prized ownership right & more power to someone who can own it outright but when you have an issue like this the city must retain ownership.

 Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:29 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Park land

I do not use this property and I don’t know who does but is it going to be bid on? What if someone else wants this property? Legally can this just be sold to the homeowners without others having a right to buy? I for one do not think any parkland should be sold.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:31 AM

To: Goldring, Rick; Dennison, Jack Cc: Meed Ward, Marianne Subject: Water Front Property

Rick and Jack

Re The city’s Community Services Committee (which includes all members of City Council) voted 6-1 to sell the property to the three homeowners, and only retain the street ends at Market St. and St. Paul St. as “Windows to the Lake” for public use. This recommendation heads to council for final approval.

We should not be selling our public waterfront property to private interests, ever. I am quite surprised by this as we have limited public access and parks on Lake Ontario

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:55 AM

To: Dennison, Jack

Cc: Goldring, Rick

Subject: sale of public land on the lake


Please do NOT go ahead with this plan. To sell off public land instead of maintaining it as park is truly shameful behaviour. Surely the home owners were aware that this was public land when they purchased their lots. Sadly, this latest in a series of questionable decisions has just ensured that neither of you will receive my endorsement next time we go to the polls.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:57 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Feed Back on Market/St Paul Land


I really appreciate the newsletter updates you send out. You have to be the most organized and informed Councillor.

I normally agree with you but your take on the retaining these lands I think is flawed. Why ?

My take:

• That area is relatively unknown for the majority of Burlington.

Agree – the area is known to the locals, and would be of the scale of a “local” parkette.

• There are other waterfront “windows” that are already available.

Agree – the goal here though is to facilitate a path. When land along the shoreline is subdivided, severed or otherwise redeveloped, the city can take 5% along the shore for a path (in both Planning Act and Official Plan). It may take a long time, but worth the effort.

• Why get into a protracted legal dispute with people who have already sunk money into protecting those lands, and who likely have the financial means to extend the battle?

I am very disappointed about talk of suing the city, however the legal case clearly stated that the homeowners built the seawall on public land, at their own risk. Further, there is some doubt whether any action could be taken 20 years after the fact. Sometimes this is what it takes to protect public lands.

• It’s unrealistic to anticipate a connected string of parks running along the lakeshore, behind the most desirable properties in Burlington.

See my note above, re “windows”

• I think the resources can be better spent improving the Beachway Park.

I see it as a both/and not an either/or – we have $9.8million in a dedicated fund for park development – more than enough for the $102,000 it would cost for the parkette. This is what the fund is there for! And lots left over for other parks, too.

Which btw I do agree … we should leave the few private dwelling alone there. I’d rather the city spent $10 M improving infrastructure in Burlington.

There are a lot of roads in Burlington in terrible shape.

Agree. We are working on improving the infrastructure funding.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:57 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Re: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land

Dear Marianne,

I agree with you; the land should NOT be sold. If the City has no immediate plans for it, at the most it could be leased for some reasonable period, say 10 or 15 years. Much can change in that time.

It appears that the adjacent land owners would benefit through a sale by increasing their property values, but that is not the City’s concern.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:08 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront land

I for one do not think the city should be selling any property that is on the water. There will never be more waterfront made and the cost to keep it is very little.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:20 AM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Waterfront land sale Hi Marianne,

I agree with your view that the waterfront land between Market St. And St. Paul St. should be retained by the city, and NOT sold to private homeowners. I think your vision of securing a continuous waterfront with/for public access is the best use for this prime property. I strongly believe that the waterfront is one of Burlington’s greatest treasures, and should be safeguarded, not only for our generation, but for future ones as well.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:24 AM

To: Goldring, Rick

Cc: Lancaster, Blair; Sharman, Paul; Dennison, Jack; Taylor, John; Meed Ward, Marianne; Craven, Rick

Subject: Consider Oakville

Please reconsider the issue of selling public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St., running behind three private homes.

As public land it will be available to local residence to visit the waterfront in a very different type of park than the beach, the pier and promenade and the existing windows on the lake. As a park, this will make a quiet area suitable for private reflection and quiet conversations, something well needed in our hectic world.

My husband and I moved to Burlington in 2002 and we love it. Prior to our move we lived in a freehold townhouse that was situated on the lake with the Waterfront Trail (unpaved) between our home and the water. The trail cuts to the lake just west of 3rd Line, and follows the waterfront to Bronte. The residence often cut the crass in front of their homes and planted flower gardens outside their fences to make a very pleasant environment for those using that section of the trail. There are also benches positioned along that section. In the 7 years I lived there there were only two problems with people using the trail. One was dealing with people who let their dogs off leash to run free. The other was when it was proposed that memorial trees would be planted on the trail that would block residents views. Memorial benches were allowed instead of the trees. You can easily see this section of the trail on Google Maps.

If you look on Google Maps at the waterfront from the most easterly street in Oakville, (Arkendo) you can see a park that runs between the lakeside homes and the lake. I have visited this park on an beautiful summer morning and enjoyed the serenity. I know many local residents who do not front on the lake walk to this park. Having known people who live on this street and speaking about it, I believe parking has not been a problem as few people know it is there. I also understand that the residents who back on the park take pride and ownership to keep the area safe, as it is their best interest to report any rowdy behavior to the police.

If you follow the shoreline a short distance west you will see Carrington Promenade. The street view easily shows the access. You can also see swimming pools and gardens on the private properties.

Chancery Promenade is next west, then a short promenade off Bel Air Drive, then Esplanade Park, Raymar Park, First Street Park, (from Allen Street west) Dingle Park, then George Street Park. This gets you to Lakeside Park at the harbour. These parks have homes backing onto them.

Why are you looking at selling the land on the lake east of downtown and trying to buy land on the beach strip? In my opinion you should not sell the land under consideration and follow Oakville’s example of creating as much public access to the lake as possible.

We live on the lake. I know the joy we have, (as well as our neighbours, visitors and people we chat with on bike rides along the lakefront), watching people enjoying personal watercraft, from simple kayak’s to power boats. Sitting watching a sunrise, swans gliding by and the ship traffic that visits Hamilton are all pleasures that small parkets offer Burlington residents.

Please vote to keep and develop for public use, the publicly owned property between Market St. and St. Paul St., running behind three private homes as Oakville has done successfully.

Thank you for your attention and consideration

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:45 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

Thanks for the map of the parcel of public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St.; I never knew it even existed. Sell it, take the money and run.

Please cancel all the neighbour studies; if the beach community (and it is more of a true community than many of the other so-called communities in Burlington) does not have its own “character” than I don’t what does.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:04 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: City shoud keep and develop the Waterfront Land Marianne,

I support keeping and developing the waterfront land and turning it into a park. Private residents have enough of the land already. Selling it means that very few will enjoy it. Keeping it means many can explore it for a very long time.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:15 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: lake front property


We live on Green St Burlington, would like to inform you that we do not want the city to sell  the water front property. It is public land and belongs the people of Burlington. We all deserve to view the beauty of the lake, we should be adding walk ways not taking them away.

Thanking you for your time.

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:34 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Proposed sale of public waterfront land

Hi Marianne,

I am a new resident having just purchased and moved to Burlington from Oakville. I reside in your ward on First Street.

The reason I am sending this note is to pledge my full support for your stand against selling waterfront property. I am horrified that the mayor and other councillors have indicated support for this, which as your note suggests, it simply does not make sense to let go of waterfront lands.

One of the very reasons I moved to lovely Burlington was the better waterfront access than Oakville and I am horrified that a sale is even being considered in this instance. I wish you the best in your quest and look forward to meeting you sometime soon.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 4:08 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Dennison, Jack;; Taylor, John; Lancaster, Blair; Goldring, Rick


Importance: High


I live at on Lakeshore Road, across from the lakeside property being discussed. I urge you all to vote to maintain the shoreline property under city ownership. The city has no business even contemplating selling any lakefront property. The public should have maximum access to the waterfront. The city through its council should be looking to increase this access, not reduce or further limit it.

The property owners purchased their properties in the knowledge that there existed a ribbon of publicly owned land between theirs and the lake.

I agree with the view of Councilor Marianne Meed-Ward, who in my view is very much in touch with the views of Burlington residents.

The cost of maintaining the property is small and there appear to be funds set aside for such maintenance. So why sell? What is the benefit to the City? And by the City I mean the population of Burlington. If the land was to be sold, which it shouldn’t, what would be done with the funds realized? Probably they  would be lost in the general mix, i.e. no meaningful gain.

Please do not sell this parcel of valuable lakeside land at any price

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:26 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne


Re proposed sale of City Land between Market and St. Paul. Yes, sell it to the homeowners at fair market value for “prime” waterfront properties. The “window” on St. Paul has been used by our family for the past 46 years without any need for benches, parking, etc. Use any surplus funds available to enhance Pt. Nelson park (eg: a bench by the play structure would be nice, maybe some improvement in the landscaping).

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 1:39 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

As always, thanks for giving us the updates and for identifying issues. Having read your summary, here are my thoughts.

Sale of Waterfront land

I really struggle with the value of retaining this relatively small parcel of land. It is not connected in any way to any other parkland and I don’t see the location catering to desirable use relative to the cost associated with developing it. I don’t reside close to it so I don’t have an emotional or vested interest, so can’t take a stand on not selling it. That said, fair market value needs to be secured on any sale.

Beachway property

I continue to support leaving the property in the hands of the current owners on Beachway.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 1:47 PM To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Comment on your newsletter Marianne,

As always your newsletter is very informative. This one in particular touches on several issues on which I would like to offer my feedback

First of all the sale of a parcel of public waterfront land between Market St. and St. Paul St. Having reviewed the material from the waterfront committee I can see no advantage to the city to divest itself perminently from any waterfront land. Even if the parkette is not created immediately it seems prudent to keep the option open, possibly with a short to mid term lease to the effected property owners. There is no more waterfront land being created and my crystal ball is unclear on the future possibilities.

The second concern is the removal of the community on the Beachway. The cost of removing there residents seem excessive to add public park space that isn’t directly on the waterfront. I am not aware of any proposals for new beach facilities for this relatively small area that would enhance the public waterfront experience. We use the beachway regularly and find the residents in no way detract from the experience. We do however feel that the fact there are always people there provides a deterent to bad behavour especially at night or off peak times.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:21 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: RE: October 2013: Council poised to sell waterfront land; Region recommends removing homes in Beachway; changes to Fairview project, and more

Happy Thanksgiving Marianne, hope you have a great day.

I am with you as far as not selling this small but important piece of land

First of all, when someone threatens legal action if they don’t get their way, my back goes up immediately as that means they feel they can bully the city into doing what they desire.

When these homes were built and sold and resold, the owner knew where the property lines lay. I can see why they would love to purchase this waterfront area as the value of their homes would rise immensely, certainly a lot more than they are probably willing to pay.

You can never have enough waterfront parkland. As the saying goes, They aren’t making any more of it. The population of Burlington is growing and we need every square foot we can keep. The notion that this area will be a haven for vandals and drug users and so on is a problem that our police can handle and if those homeowners are vigilant than they should call the police if they notice any wrong doing.

I am tired of the city giving in to a small number of should I say, well to do citizens. This issue is not of a resident wishing to purchase an empty lot next door as was the case I believe in Toronto with Mayor Ford, but we a looking at public property on the Lakefront which is how it should stay.

If there is a concern as to damage from the lake, then this concern should have arisen when these people either built or purchased their property as the lake has been there a lot longer than their homes.

I don’t feel that the demands of three residence should outweigh the rights of the public to continue to enjoy this park and the maintenance cost is minimal to what the city is spending on other projects.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:33 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Cc: Office of Mayor Rick Goldring; Dennison, Jack

Subject: Burlington Council poised to sell prime waterfront land

Hi Marianne

I  support retaining the land under public ownership and making it a parkette.

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Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 8:46:54 AM

Subject: Lake front properties


I think on balance that I agree with your view that any lake front property that is currently available or becomes available should be retained by the city although I can see the potential problems of the particular property at St. Pauls being used by vandals etc. Would it not be possible to reach a compromise with the home owners that would allow a footpath wide strip along the area in question

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 2:56 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Selling of waterfront land

Hello Marianne.

Once again thank you for taking the time to send out your Ward 2 newsletter. After reading about the city wanting to sell the waterfront property I must say I am in agreement with you. Do not sell the land, develop it into a parkette for all to enjoy.

Thank you,

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 4:25 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne

Subject: Lakefront

I am totally opposed to the sale of any waterfront land, especially to private interests which will bar citizens from enjoying access to the lake. The part now being considered between Market and St. Paul Sts. is one of very few waterfront areas available to citizens

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:42 AM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Craven, Rick; Lancaster, Blair; Taylor, John

Subject: Parkette Decision

As the population of Burlington increases, due to intensification, more citizens will be seeking the use and enjoyment of public waterfront areas, once sold we will ”never“ get them back. As I understand the situation, Burlington council recently voted 6 to 1 to sell off a piece of waterfront parkland known as the “parkette”. As a taxpayer I expect council to do many things, but especially taking a strategic view of valuable public resources and assets. As Councillors you are our elected stewards, are responsible for the planning and management of such properties and your transient legacy should not be to dispose of rare assets. Yes, there are costs to keeping and maintaining the “parkette”, but not all parklands have the same intrinsic value, and the cost in this case may be well justified,given the nature of the property in question. The “parkette” has ethical and philosophical value and selling it off may be short sighted.

If vandalism and drunken behaviour is the only justification for selling the land, we should dismantle the pier. During my first visit to the pier, shortly after it was opened, the number of discarded liquor, beer bottles and vomit present on the walkway took me aback.

As to the costs of developing the waterfront areas known as the “windows/parkette”, and not knowing the details of the financial deliberations, my questions is, is full funding of the area, a nice to have or a must have?

Dear Mayor and Councilors

I have received a color brochure produced by Marianne Ward regarding her desire to connect the two underdeveloped road accesses between St. Paul and Market St. I lived at Lakeshore and Guelph Line and suggest that it would be more beneficial to spend tax money upgrading the existing Park which has parking available, street sightlines and is much larger than a walkway between the two streets. This park could be improved with proper grading and improved equipment and seating etc without incurring expensive legal issues.

Agree Port Nelson needs upgrading. We can do both. The city has $9.8m in park development fund – money set aside specifically to preserve parkland. It is more than enough to cover the additional $102000 cost of the parkette.

It is my understanding that the proposed walkway would divide the existing seawall constructed by the 3 homeowners at their expense and contain the property that was back filled by them. It would appear to me that any effort to construct a pathway on this property would result in expensive legal case. The city probably doesn’t need the distraction and cost of another legal problem/action such as the one with the construction of the pier. The 3 property owner will no doubt want significant compensations for their seawall and property devaluation as well as ongoing property tax reduction.

It would be very disappointing if there was a law suit because the city chose to retain in public hands land that is and has always been public, and homeowners were aware of that when purchasing their homes. A court case dating back some 20 years determined that the seawall was built at the homeowners risk on public property, and no compensation is owed by the previous seller of the home involved in the case, or the city. If compensation is owed, the judge ruled, it would be from the Ministry of Natural Resources, which owns the shoreline. It is also unclear whether any action could be taken against the city 20 years after the seawall was built, given there are statues of limitations on certain filings.

Neither St Paul St. or Market St. have suitable parking or turn around room at the lake potentially resulting in extra traffic and driveway access problems for the nearby residents. Additionally the police supervision of the area and maintenance will be expensive and potentially ineffective. The immediate area would have 3 parks including the 2 parketts within 2 blocks which should be ample to service existing residents natural desire to have a view of the lake. The downtown waterfront park should remain the focus of development

Not all parks in Burlington require or provide parking – small neighbourhood parks are intended for residents within walking distance. The windows and parkette here are of that type, and will encourage walk up visitors.

Regarding policing: There is occasional vandalism/parties in other parks in the city (Central/Beachway/Kerncliffe etc), but we don’t eliminate parks to solve this issue but rather take a variety of measures to combat the bevahiour and encourage respect for the parks.

I urge you to stand your ethical position of selling the property to the home owners and vote against the misleading attempt of Ms..Ward’s to make a fish bowl of the lakefront residences.

Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 5:35 PM

To: Meed Ward, Marianne; Goldring, Rick; Craven, Rick; Taylor, John; Dennison, Jack; Sharman, Paul; Lancaster, Blair

Subject: Burlington Council poised to sell prime waterfront land


We live on Lakeshore Rd. and have been following the debate on the new parkette planned for the waterfront east of Market street. We support the new Windows To The Lake as this will provide amazing access to the beautiful views of Lake Ontario.

However, we have some significant concerns regarding the new parkette.

1. This parkette is hidden from the main roads, offering a secluded place for parties, vandalism and noise. Can you imagine having this park directly behind your home, being subject to the noise and disruption? On the north side of Lakeshore we get our fair share of empty beer bottles on our lawn, so I can’t imagine what a mess this park will become.

There is occasional vandalism/parties in other parks in the city (Central/Beachway/Kerncliffe etc), but we don’t eliminate parks to solve this issue but rather take a variety of measures to combat the behavior and encourage respect for the parks.

2. Based on the state of Port Nelson park, at the end of Guelph Line, it appears that the city has insufficient resources to maintain a new park. Port Nelson is in serious need of repair, including better seating, regular clean-up, and the removal and pruning of existing trees and bushes.

Why don’t we clean this park up before we build a new one? After all it is only two blocks away and has parking.

Agree Port Nelson needs upgrading. We can do both. The city has $9.8m in park development fund – money set aside specifically to preserve parkland. It is more than enough to cover the additional $102000 cost of the parkette.

3. This summer we have gone through water main construction. Many times we had to park on side streets over night, causing inconvenience to local residences. Have vehicle traffic and parking limitations been considered for the new parkette?

Not all parks in Burlington require or provide parking – small neighbourhood parks are intended for residents within walking distance. The windows and parkette here are of that type, and will encourage walk up visitors.

4. The seawall at the proposed parkette poses both a danger and a liability. The probability of an accident seems very high.

Staff have recommended a fence along the seawall. That said, there are other areas of public waterfront that are not fenced (eg. Burloak), and other parks with high drops (eg Kerncliffe). There is no extra liability in this case from what we have at our other parks.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

The full collection of the email sent Councillor Meed Ward was too long for just one article.  The balance of those email is HERE.

Previous articles published:

Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront property.

Selling price fr waterfront property not announced.

Committee decision to sell waterfront property now goes to Council. 

Staff report advises city to keep waterfront property; leasing is an option


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1 comment to Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council decision to sell waterfront land- but majority do. Was Council wrong?

  • Frankie V. Kerr

    Before you can vote for or against the sale of these city owned properties, you first have to know what is going on! It seems the city conciliores always hide from giving open honest information when a hot issue rolls around. As a slowly aging, and property tax paying citizen, I dont want to hear about “age friendly” ideas being promoted by the members of council and that everything is well managed. I am tired of feeling treated in a patronizing manner by this city and concil. Just give me the facts, and then everybody submits an email. How can any of these emails be taken seriously if the information is being locked up and kept secret? At least this newspaper is better than the Burlington Post. I always thought the Post was the main source for politics in this city. This paper is much better.