THEY WON! There will be a community in the Beachway Park and there might well be new single family homes as well.



September 12, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The residents in the Beachway Park have won their battle to keep their homes.  At the Community Services Committee of Council, during a mammoth session with more than 20 delegations, Council was given information that some of them just did not have.

Information that Council members should have dug out more than a year ago was brought to the surface by some of the most impressive delegations this reporter has heard in the last three years.

City hall staff were prepared for an overflow crowd and had set up speakers in an adjoining  room.  While the Council chamber was packed – there was room for everyone.

Community meetings, lobbying, challenging city hall positions eventually paid off. Here residents talk about the Beachway community as they wanted to see it continue.
On a very sad note, the woman in the orange and green sweater, Charlotte O’Hara Griffin, a long time city staffer who was involved in the Beachway project, died earlier in the week.  She would have smiled at the results.

A couple of the delegations were at the podium for extended periods of time while complex matters of property titles, willing buyers and willing sellers and  zoning were given a thorough going over.

What was clear is that a determined, focused and persistent electorate can bring about changes in early drafts of city policy.

Laura Durant, on the right, and her husband Glenn Gillespie, center, talking to a meeting facilitator who was prepared to evict them from a meeting. These two were a consistent and persistent part of the community effort to see a change in the minds of city council.

It was a full evening and there is a lot to tell.  Four points stick out:  (1) the draft of a motion Councillor Dennison clearly plans to present, details below; (2) the excellent comments lawyer Katherine Henshell made when she demolished the myth of a willing seller and a willing buyer situation that council members and staff at both city hall have bandied about; (3) the comment Real Estate agent Betty McMahon made when she said the value of property in the Beachway will jump 50% when the zoning mess is cleared up – and finally, this is true:  (4) Councillor Craven, whose behaviour was less than sterling was seen being escorted to his car by the security staff.  Who was he afraid of?

In the dying minutes of a four and a half hour meeting Dennison read the following: Recognize the continued existence of the residential community as adding value to the park experience and Update the Official Plan and zoning to reflect low-density residential.

Authorize the Director of Parks and recreation to work with the Halton Region and Conservation staff to complete a concept plan, environmental management plan, and detailed design for the Beachway Park component of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park that focuses on land already in public hands; build a plan based on existing publicly owned lands, with the exception of former residential sites in between private homes on either side of Lakeshore Road. Offer these sites for sale.

Authorize the Director of Parks and Recreation to send correspondence to Halton Region requesting that Halton`s Regional Council support the city of Burlington`s  “Vision” for Beachway Park and authorize regional staff to work with the City of Burlington and Conservation Halton on an implementation plan focusing on lands already in public hands.

Dennison told the audience that he had three other Council members who would support his motion when it is formally presented.  Councillor Meed Ward and Councillor Taylor will be onside.  It was not immediately evident that the Mayor was one of the three but expect him to jump on this wagon very quickly.

On this issue a plan, that was never really a policy but was always thought to be what the city would eventually do, was beaten back.  The will of Council responded to the wishes of the people – backed up by some solid data and even sounder common sense.

The Council Committee will resume their deliberations Thursday afternoon at 1:00 pm.  They could lose the will that was evident last night and have a change of heart – which would set this city up for a battle royale at city council September 23rd.

It was a good night for the city of Burlington.  We will report in more detail on this story once council completes its committee session.  We understand Councillor Craven got home safely.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to THEY WON! There will be a community in the Beachway Park and there might well be new single family homes as well.

  • Ride The Beachway

    Congratulations to the Beachway residents. The good guys won.

  • ken colombo

    Great coverage … It’s becoming more apparent in even in their SPARSE and RARE coverage, citizens of Burlington are prepared to make significant change in 2014. Our compliments for direct, incisive coverage of the interplay.

    Are we to assume two are headed for anger counseling? Ward 1 Councillor Craven and the ‘moderator’ who was prepared to evict?