Who knew what when: That’s what much of the argument between the city and the Air Park is going to be about.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013.  So – they’re going to court.  That’s a place where the wheels turn slowly and evidence gets dragged out of people one sentence at a time.

The city of Burlington and the Air Park have each sued one another and now begin the process of pulling together all the papers that will get put forward as evidence.  Each side will prepare their witnesses and the lawyers will prepare their questions.

Somewhere along the way everyone might decide to play nice, nice and each party will back off a little and decide to settle this disagreement out of court.

Burlington and the Region have said they just didn’t know what was going on up at the Air Park.   That would be nice if it were true but they did know.  They were told in April of 2009 when the Air Park held a neighbourhood meeting.  According to the Newsletter the Air Park put out the city’s planner was there, although they don’t name the person. 

Ward 6 Council member Blair Lancaster held some of her community meetings at the air park which was certainly a nice setting. Lancaster maintains that she had not hard from any of her constituents before March 15th of this year. The evidence suggests otherwise.

The claim Oakville’s city planner was there as well and that the then council member for Ward 6 was also at the meeting.  They misspell her name (Carol D’Emelio) but claim she was there along with 60 “neighbours”.

In its April 2009 Newsletter the Air Park reported as follows:

The Air Park publishes a Newsletter for its clients.

“As you might imagine, the neighbours of the airport have an interest in what happens next

door, or here at the airport. Recently we have been doing some preparatory work on the

west side of the airport including creating a road that will eventually access Appleby Line

and be the main road into the airport and to the proposed terminal building near the infield

of the airport.

“The neighbours rightfully were asking questions of ZBA actions and we were dealing with many rumours and untruths, so Feb 17th at Spectrum’s classroom we held a neighbours information session and presented the future plans of the airport.

Over 60 neighbours were in attendance, as well as Councillor Carol D’Emelio from Burlington City Council, City Planners from Burlington and Managers from Halton Region.

Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Air Park has always played the politicians as hard as he could. At one point he had Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion sending fax messages for the Airpark from her office the Minister of Finance. In this picture, undated, he has Halton MP Lisa Raitt attending an event, believed to be a Christmas party before she became a Minister. Only time will tell if the influence is going to work for Rossi. Raitt is now the federal Minister of Transportation which is responsible for the oversight of Canadian air parks.

“We addressed untrue rumours such as our intention to build a “Fuel Depot”, or a “Hotel Complex” on the field. We also addressed the untrue rumour that we are expanding th Length of the runway (while this would be nice, operationally there would be little advantage).

“Some things that were discussed, and that we all have a responsibility to abide by are operational issues and noise management. The Neighbours routinely observe, as do we, aircraft flying too low on final, or not obeying the 5 degree turn departing Rwy 14.

“We’d like to remind you that your considerate operation helps the airport live in harmony with those closest to us: Our neighbours!”

Was this just good corporate PR or did the airpark really reach out to the community?  Has there been any undue political influence in the past?  did the city know what was happening around their airport?  Should they have known?

Are there any limits to what an air park owner can do on an operation that is federally regulated?  And just how environmentally damaged is the land fill that has been dumped on the site for the past five years?

And what is the Region doing to test the water that the environmental report from Burlington’s experts has said could be tainted?

The Regional medical Officer of Health has a responsibility to ensure that the health of the community is secure.  There is ample evidence to suggest bore holes should be drilled to test the makeup of that landfill.

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2 comments to Who knew what when: That’s what much of the argument between the city and the Air Park is going to be about.

  • Raymond

    Cant wait to vote Blair out!

  • Stephanie Cooper-Smyth

    “We also addressed the untrue rumour that we are expanding the Length of the runway (while this would be nice, operationally there would be little advantage).”

    Considering what they recently declared to Regional Council, neighbors and media, about their reasons & advantages to extending the main runway, the long trail of ‘untruths’ uttered by Mr. Rossi and his staff got its start a very long time ago.