Some good ideas came out of a virtual meeting that wasn't all that well attended

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 3rd, 2021



Convinced that there is actually going to be a summer that doesn’t have us in some level of lockdown, city hall people held a virtual community meeting on what could and should be done with the Beachway that was flooded with a level of traffic last summer that had not been seen in decades.

With few places open for walking around and a requirement that we keep six feet apart and wear masks – and at the same time try to get outdoors for some exercise and a chance to upgrade our mental health, the city was open to new ideas.  The city hall types wanted to hear what people thought should be done.

Many of the people using the park are believed to be people who were not Burlingtonians which rubbed some the wrong way.

The virtual event was a bit like a workshop; staff from Transportation, traffic, parks and recreation and tourism were taking part to explain what they were doing, as well as what they were up against.

beachway web cast

The virtual meeting was designed to get public input on how to handle the problems – though public take-up was low, there were some very good ideas. The Beachway traffic is close to being out of control.

Parking and waste removal were top of mind for those who did call in. The take up by the public wasn’t as high as Mayor Meed Ward had hoped.

There was a note that spaces on the call were limited to 500 – nowhere near that number – yet there were some good ideas.

When it was suggested that the Beachway be limited to just people who lived in Burlington, Mayor Meed Ward pointed out that the Beachway was a Regional park operated by the city.

That means having to take in the “rabble” from everywhere.

Charging for parking is something we are likely to see come the summer. The rate mentioned was $20 a day – $2.50 an hour. How those amounts are going to be collected wasn’t talked about.

Beachway - two storey + roof deck

This house was torn down – just an empty plot of land. All part of the Region’s willing seller – willing buyer program designed to remove all of the homes in the Beachway. It could serve as a temporary parking lot.

One call had a really good idea: Use the spaces that used to have homes on them before the Region began buying them up – they are now just vacant lots. The suggestion was to turn them over to one of the service clubs who would handle the parking and split the income with the city.

Given that we are dealing with municipal administrations there were problems (the Region owns the land) – the grounds would have to be properly prepared which would cost and thee is no budget in place to cover that cost.

We did learn that there are conversations taking place with the Region.

There are plans to put Ambassadors in place who will travel in pairs and patrol both the Beachway and Spencer Smith Park explaining the rules to people. Parking bylaw officers will also be well represented.  They will be wearing uniforms – no hats or badges said the Mayor.

Beachway washrooms

The Pavilion, which was badly in need of an upgrade will reopen around Victoria Day. Washrooms will be available.

The Pavilion is undergoing upgrades – washrooms will be operational by summer time.

City Staff are looking into ways to get mobile food vendors in the space.

Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Glenn, apologetically explained that the “healthy food” mandate they had in place will give way to products that are more popular. The vendors can’t make a living selling kale with dressing on the side.

French fries and ice cream will do it.

There are a lot of unknowns including whatever the province and or the Public Health Unit decide to impose.

Parking - municipal cash grab

Parking tickets get handed out when people decide they can park wherever they wish. This was in the west end of the Beachway – some of those houses in the background were torn down.

The job on the public health side is to do everything possible to keep us all safe; parks and recreation needs to find ways for creating things people can do while traffic needs to exercise some control over the parking.

Staff are looking into pick up and drop off locations where people can be driven into the park and be dropped off at a location where they could put all their ”stuff” and get driven out of the Park when they are ready to go home. Cumbersome to even think about.

A number of people wanted to see much better maintenance – the grounds get to look pretty tacky at the end of a busy day. The suggestion was that roving maintenance people be on hand to do the clean up throughout the day.

Staff would like people to realize that when they bring waste into the park, they should be made responsible for taking it out with them.

A lot of educating to be done – and these things cost money.

Using electric carts to move people in and out was mentioned, shuttle buses brought out the fact that one of the bus routes runs from the John Street terminal right through the Beachway. Parking in the city is free on the weekends – could work.

Council will be getting a report on Tuesday – the option will be spelled out along with the costs.

The virtual event was to take the pulse of the community and see what they had to say.


The Mayor monopolized the microphone – partly because the ward Councillor didn’t have much to say – the Beachway is in his ward – he should be THE champion for that part of the city.

The Beachway is in ward 1 and while Councillor Kelvin Galbraith could be seen – the public didn’t hear all that much from him.

For much of the webcast it sounded like the Mayor was the prime input person – she asked the questions, guided those who were calling in and passed things along to Staff.

The one really “hot potato” was finding a way to reserve the park for Burlingtonians – no one wanted to touch that one.

Sitting in the background is the work being done on a Master Plan for the Beachway that began in 2015. Council is scheduled to receive a report on that sometime in the fall.

Beachway - Full park

Almost every foot of the Beachway park will look differently if the Master Plan now in the works actually gets done.

What Meed Ward consistently calls the jewel in the city’s crown” is going to begin to look a lot different in five years.

Hopefully we are out of public health restrictions by then.


Related news story

The Master Plan for the Beachway

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1 comment to Some good ideas came out of a virtual meeting that wasn’t all that well attended

  • Helen Donohoe

    I attended the meeting. At no point was there any allusion to visitors who might be categorized as “rabble.” It was simply noted that many are from out of town.