Did city hall find a smoking gun in the Air Park soil testing reports? Many hope so.

By Pepper Parr.

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 15, 2013.  It was going to be a quiet slipping into the summer season Council meeting – but then a couple of things changed.

Much to the surprise of many the Private Tree Bylaw went off the tracks during the Community Services Committee meeting.  While the staff report didn’t satisfy anyone, there were those who felt that good debate would flush out what the issues were and that the right decision would get made.  That didn’t happen – Council voted 5-2 to basically shelve the matter. So expect to see significant debate on the Private Tree Bylaw decision that will come out of the committee report.

The major item should be the announcement the city made on Saturday – that there is a report from Terrapex Environmental Ltd. That will be released at the Council meeting.

City hall has wanted to know just what is in this landfill. A report to city council this evening is expected to reveal all. Was a smoking gun found?

Terrapex was hired to review the soil test reports that were submitted by  Burlington Executive Air Park.  Many thought there was something lacking in both the number of reports that were made available to the city and the content of the reports.  The results of the review were sent to the city Friday afternoon.  In the municipal world things tend not to happen very quickly – that wasn’t the case with this one.  As soon as the city had the report they decided to bring it before Council and let the public know what the city has learned.

It should prove to be an interesting report.

The rate and level of development at the Air Park facility on Appleby Line wasn’t showing up on the city’s radar set but when Vanessa Warren appeared at a city council meeting to delegate on the problem the wheels were put in motion very quickly and the city has been all over this issue.  They brought in the consultants needed to get details and hired very eminent legal counsel to guide them through the process of brining a developer to heal.  The speed with which the city has worked on this is very impressive.

Terrapex describe themselves on their web site as: “a dynamic and fully integrated Canadian engineering and geosciences company, providing specialized environmental consulting services.  Established in 1995, Terrapex has grown to a staff of more than 50 with offices in Toronto, Burlington and Ottawa, Ontario.

“Our primary areas of expertise include: site assessment, facilities decommissioning, contaminant management, environmental regulatory compliance and management systems, air quality services and waste management. Since inception, Terrapex has completed thousands of engineering and environmental projects for a wide range of private- and public-sector clients.”

Just what is underneath that piece of heavy equipment? Where did the landfill come from and was it properly tested?m Has the city finally got a solid grip and can now get some control over what happens at the Air Park?

Being located in Burlington was a plus – these people will know a lot about the local environment; where landfill comes from who the ‘no- gooders’ are and the tricks that get used to slip around the rules and regulations.

The city, for reasons that have not been explained, is not going to release the report until it gets presented to Council.  It would have been useful for north Burlington residents to know what the report has to say and also have a chance to think about what is reported and prepare some thoughts.  Local people will have wanted to delegate.

Is this report the smoking gun the city needs to clamp down hard on the Air Park people?  Or is it just a lot of consultant type baffle gab that fills pages to justify the invoice the consultants will send the city.

The meeting Monday evening is the last for this Council until September 3rd.  It would have been very easy for the city to keep the report under wraps and let it come out when everyone is back from vacation.  For this – kudos to city hall.  They are actually engaging and informing their citizens.  Having access to the report would have been nice.  As one wag on Appleby Line put it: “there is a council member who will have been on the phone to Rossi the moment the report was in her hands.”

In emails sent to anyone the city thought would be interested city hall said: “Burlington City Council will hear a presentation on the review of the available environmental testing reports of fill materials at the Burlington Executive Airport. Copies of the report will be available at the meeting. The council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the 2nd level of City Hall, 426 Brant St. Burlington.”

Should be an interesting meeting; the city certainly wants you to be there.

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1 comment to Did city hall find a smoking gun in the Air Park soil testing reports? Many hope so.

  • Pat Donovan

    And now Lisa Raitt is the new transport minister, replacing Denis Lebel. My guess is the airpark will expand