Sale of waterfront land hasn't become a major issue - but at least one candidate wants to keep it alive.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

October 17, 2014



Why didn’t council stop the sale of public waterfront land?
Council votes 6-1 to sell waterfront land.

Market - water street lots Ziegler-drawing

Many people want a public path along the edge of the lake between Market and St. Paul streets; the property owners want nothing of that idea.

Jennifer Hlusko, a candidate for the ward six seat on city council uses social media to communicate. A day isn’t complete without at least one, usually several links that she passes along. We never get to hear what Hlusko’s view is on the issue she is covering – she is just passing along good information.

Hlusko is a very intelligent woman; a little on the brittle side at times but this woman is on top of the facts.

She recently did a piece on the decision city council made to sell a small strip of land on the waterfront which, if completed, will put an end for a long, long time to any hope for a waterfront trail that this city could have.

We wondered just what kind of coverage this story had been given by the print media and are grateful to Hlusko for pulling all the local coverage together.


Will the average Tom, Dick or Harry keep the right to walk this piece of land. City owns part of it – but have decided to sell it.

Other print media

• Oct 16, 2013: Burlington Post: Burlington council decides to sell waterfront property
• Oct 3, 2013: Burlington Post: Burlington considering selling public waterfront land to private hands
• Oct 24, 2013: Hamilton Spectator: Little: Waterfront public land up for sale

Burlington Gazette

• Jul 28, 2014: Waterfront Property for Public Use – it can happen if the public makes enough noise
• May 26, 2014: The sale of that waterfront land isn’t a done deal yet – a citizens group will be delegating against any extension at council this week
• Nov 2, 2013: Citizens speak – hundreds of them. Not all disagree with Council – but majority do. Was Council wrong?
• Oct 16, 2013: City Council votes 6:1 to sell waterfront. Public may never know what the selling price will be
• Oct 8, 2013: How city council managed to vote to sell waterfront lands and what some people want to do about that
• Oct 7, 2013: Part II Why does your City Council want to sell waterfront property rather than create a stunning lake front parkette?
• Oct 5, 2013: Part I Is your city council about to sell your birthright? Waterfront land just east of the downtown core may be sold
• Jan 1, 2013: Waterfront Advisory Committee sinks slowly into the setting sun
• Jun 6, 2011: Access to the Waterfront? Not everything you might think it is

The deal to actually sell the land has not closed. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is involved in this as is one of the candidates for the office of Mayor.


Janice Connell spoke for herself and her neighbours at the council committee meeting last week.  The neighbours are seated behind Ms Connell

Janice Connell spoke for herself and her neighbours at the council committee meeting where the sale of the land was discusses. The neighbours are seated behind Ms Connell

Peter Rusin served as an adviser to one of the property owners – there are three of them with Janice Connell serving as the public face at city council meetings. It was her husband, Mike Swartz who issued a veiled threat to council about a law suit. Statements like that always send a chill up the spines of council members who see a large legal bill that they have to explain to voters.

Rusin has said he served as an advisor to Swartz and that the file is closed.  If Rusin is to serve as Mayor – he will have to be much more transparent than that.

The Mayor`s decision to sell the property doesn`t square with the concept of a waterfront that is accessible to the public or as a resource to be shared by the public.  Burlington is still of the view that wealthy private interests can get what they want from this Council.

It is a very complicated matter but the people of Burlington aren’t stupid – tell them the whole story and they will let you know what they want you to do on their behalf.



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7 comments to Sale of waterfront land hasn’t become a major issue – but at least one candidate wants to keep it alive.

  • Anthony Pullin

    Here’s a list of councilors and candidates who would choose to overturn Council’s decision to sell City owned waterfront property as derived from the following source;

    Anne Marsden
    Katherine Henshell
    Margaret Steis
    Marianne Meed Ward
    Andy Porecki
    Lisa Cooper
    Jeff Brooks
    Carol Gottlob
    Jennifer Hlusko
    Vanessa Warren
    Angelo Bentivegna

    Others indicated that they would “vote to complete the sale but move that all future decisions on the sale of waterfront land be taken only after broad consultation and public engagement”.

    So much for ‘it’s never too late to do the right thing’. Analogous to taking a cookie from the jar without asking and declaring that you’ll never do it again, but ‘I’m gonna keep this one’. Perplexing but revealing.
    Of note, Mr. Rusin can’t comment on this particular matter, presumably because of his involvement. All incumbents (excepting Meed Ward) chose to hang on to their cookies – just this one time.

    • Blair Smith


      You can add James Smith, Ward 5 candidate, to the list of those who would vote to overturn the sale. Mr. Smith’s response to the Waterfront Questionnaire was delayed in being posted (explanation provided online at the BWC website,

      Again, in the interests of complete transparency, I am a member of the Burlington Waterfront Committee.

      • Anthony Pullin

        Glad to know that James is on the list. That is good representation for Ward 5. The candidates on this list have set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

  • Gary Scobie

    Notice the Burlington Post’s July 29, 2014 article on the Burlington Waterfront Committee’s request for an official investigation of the process leading to the decision to sell this waterfront land was omitted from the list of articles on this subject. Please add this reference. Thank you.

    Burlington Waterfront Committee

    Editor’s note: It was not our list. We picked it up from Hlusko.

  • I say that the “land sale to the self-identified “entitled owners” is just plain wrong.

    There is a vision of being able to walk along the lake FRONT – not the Old Queen”s HWY #2 – Lakeshore Road.

    There should be a stricture upon Council to up hold efforts that have reaped benefits [Thank you, David Crombie – for starting it all} – why should we squander what has been planned for the good of all – for selfishness for an InDUHvidual’s preening.

  • Hans Jacobs

    I recall Rick Goldring saying something about this being one of those “tough decisions” that council has to make. That’s nonsense: the decision was easy but the judgment used to create it was seriously flawed.
    Any councillor that voted in favour of it should be ashamed for this betrayal of the public’s trust.

  • Resident

    I support Jennifer Hlushko in her efforts to bring to light the details of this disgraceful situation. When will the people of Burlington hear the facts behind this hidden agenda action of the present city council?