Freeman Station inching its way to its newest home. Shiny new sign is ready to be installed at the site on Plains Road.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  August 14, 2012  When you don`t hear very much about a project – do you assume it`s dead?   Maybe there are people back there beavering away and there will be great news any day – real soon.

Or should you worry that there are some problems and begin asking some questions.

The Freeman Station – where is that project.

Well – there has been some movement.  Not much on the surface but James Smith says he has a copy of the lease from the Ashland Corporation saying the land to the west of their main plant in Burlington is now leased to the city for the excluded use of the Friends of Freeman Station.  That`s good news – isn’t it ?

The sign will tell you where the station is going to sit – and that’s a step forward. Next step – getting the Joint Venture Agreement with the city in place.

On the surface that is good news.  The Friends of Freeman Station have had a big sign 8 feet by 4 feet that will get put up on the site in the very near future announcing the new home of the station.

So – what`s next.  You’ve got a lease, then have a sign with your name on it that you’re going to put up on the property – you call the moving van don`t you and you move in.

Not so fast – this is municipal politics.

The next step is putting together a Joint Venture Agreement between the city and the Friends of Freeman Station.

There was a time in Burlington when these things were done on a handshake or a wink and a nod; maybe it took a call from the Mayor`s office  – those day are over.  The city now has a template for all the Joint Venture Agreements it signs.  The core part of each agreement is the same with the document modified to meet the specific needs.

The Burlington Soccer Club has a Joint Venture Agreement as has the Burlington Gymnastics Club.  Each is fundamentally the same with the details for each written to meet the situation.

The Friends of Freeman now meet with the city to work out just what will be in the agreement setting out who is going to do what and who will pay for what.

Smith will meet with General Manager Scott Stewart and they will work out the details. The document will go back and forth a few times and then to a Council Committee and then to city Council and right after that the Friends of Freeman get the keys and they can move the train station.

Well – not exactly – the city will do that actual move.

But once the building is sitting on a base on the leased property – the Friends can begin working on the transformation of the building.  In the world of government – be it federal, provincial, Regional or local – the wheels turn slowly.

In the meantime they will begin looking for a new engineer to help them with the structural issues – the engineer they had retired.

The Friends of Freeman do have some fence mending to do – there are still a number of people at city hall who have quite a bit of clout and aren’t all that keen on the idea of the station going anywhere.  Some of them haven’t gotten over the disappointment with what they thought was a solid decision to put the thing at the northern edge of Spencer Smith Park.

But that’s another story.

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