Is this a site for just a few or will it be retained for all? Citizens could be the ones to decide.

October 12, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It usually comes down to the money – you sell what you have if things are kind of tight or you bank a couple of bucks when you’re flush.

Will this view exist for a couple of families or will it be one that can be shared by anyone who wants to walk down to the waterfront and just sit and enjoy the view. Citizens could be the ones to determine what happens with this land.

As Burlington rolls towards putting together its 2013-2014 budget Council knows where the shortfalls are and they know all too well what the tax revenue problems are as well – and they are not good.

The city has a serious shortfall on the Industrial, Commercial, Institution side that can get made up in a couple of way: raise the residential, cut costs or find new money and that property on the edge of the lake between Market and St. Paul Street looked really tempting – so tempting that they took the opportunity to sell that land and ideally use some of it to offset that massive underfunding on the infrastructure.

Two of the strongest proponents for selling the land are guys that have been on Council for more than 20 years each – they need to take some responsibility for the infrastructure deficit – they let it build up.

Having done that they are now prepared to sell of lake front property and hide behind the argument that the city doesn’t need another park in that part of town.

There was once a very strong community organization called SOW – Save our Waterfront. They had more than 2000 members who paid to be members of the organization.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has always worked with groups of people in the community. Here she works with some of the Friends of Freeman Station. It was her initiative along with support from Councillor Lancaster that put a top to the city selling the building for scrap. Freeman Station was saved – can Meed Ward do the same with part of the waterfront.

If there was ever a time to get out that crowd and make their views known to this city council this is it for that crowd.  The fight to keep the land is being led by Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.  SOW was very much a part of her election as a city councillor.  They were a force to contend with – do they have anything left?

This council will fold if 50 people protest – get 500 down to city hall and one might well see a different outcome.

We are into a lovely fall weekend, the weather is going to bless us and one of the days is called Thanksgiving Day.

Some on Council might be thankful that this little windfall of a property sale of prime city has come along and can solve the serious budget short fall for which they will choose to be thankful. Others in the city might use the Thanksgiving Day to talk to neighbours and friends and ask each other – is this what we want.

The public is seldom wrong.  There is an opportunity to plan and then present yourselves to the people you elected and let them know what you want.

You can also do that by doing nothing.  That too will be a message.

Part 1 of waterfront property sale background

Part 2 of waterfront property sale background


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