Policy to acquire beach homes to committee Sept. 10 & 11

Budget & Corporate Services Committee, Sept. 10, 9;30am; Community Services Committee, Sept. 11, 6:30, City Hall

Burlington Beach residents lawn sign campaign.
Burlington Beach residents lawn sign campaign.

City staff are recommending council keep the acquisition policy for private homes along Beachway park, with a focus over the next 10 years on acquiring strategic properties on a willing buyer willing seller basis. The recommendation is detailed in a public report scheduled to be discussed by members of Burlington city council at the Community Services Committee, Wed. Sept. 11, 6:30pm.

Which homes are on the priority list for acquisition, how many and where the money will come from is not detailed in the public report. These matters are in a confidential legal report scheduled to be discussed in closed session the day before the Wednesday committee meeting, at the Budget & Corporate Services Committee, Tues. Sept. 10. Staff are recommending public release of the recommendations arising from the legal report after council votes in two weeks.

Next Steps

Both the Community Services Committee (dealing with the public report) and the Budget & Corporate Services Committee (dealing with the confidential property report) will discuss and vote on a recommended plan of action. Recommendations from both committees will flow to City Council for a final decision and vote, Mon. Sept. 23, 6:30pm. After that vote, staff are recommending public release of the council-approved recommendations arising from the legal property report.

Both committee and council meetings are at City Hall.

Residents can attend and speak at both committee and council meetings, but must register in advance to do so (details below).

Final decision at Halton Region

As Beachway is a regional park, the final decision will be made by Halton Region Council. All members of Burlington city council sit on regional council. The region will discuss the acquisition policy at the Planning and Public Works Committee, Oct. 16, 9:30 a.m., followed by a vote at regional council Oct. 23, 9:30 a.m. Both meetings are at Region Headquarters on Bronte Rd.

The Regional Waterfront Parks Advisory Committee, a citizens advisory committee, will also discuss the acquisition policy at their meeting Sept. 26, 9:30am at Region Headquarters.

Register to speak to committee/council:

To delegate (appear to speak) at a City of Burlington committee or council, contact the Clerk’s department at 905-335-7698 or complete this online form prior to noon the day of the meeting. If a resident has already spoken at committee and wants to speak on the same item when it comes to council, they must bring new information.

To delegate at a Halton Region committee, council or advisory committee, follow the steps in this Guide for Delegates here, or call 905-825-6000.

My Take: The acquisition policy needs to end now. Read the article for my top 10 reasons why residents should remain near the beach. I will be seeking an end to the blanket acquisition policy, the public release of the list of strategic properties and funding source, and getting on with upgrades to the existing park. The rationale is outlined below:

1. End the blanket acquisition policy. If there is only interest in a select number of strategic properties over the next 10 years, we need to remove the cloud of the acquisition policy from the other homeowners, as the policy has had a negative impact on them (see Item 9 in the Top 10 list ).

2. Publicly release the list of strategic properties, and proposed funding mechanism. If the recommendation is to release this information in two weeks anyway after council votes, there is no negative impact on the city’s bargaining power to release that information now. The public needs this information now. Residents need to know the entire picture of what is being proposed before any vote is taken, and before they appear to speak to committee to share their views on the future of Beachway Park.

In addition, the two reports – the legal property report and the overall Beach vision report – must be discussed at the same time, and in public session. As it stands now, the schedule is to discuss strategic land acquisition and set a potential direction for the park in closed session, a day before we hear from the public. These discussions need to take place at the same time, and all of it needs to be public. It goes against public participation and transparency for council to determine the future of the park in closed session, and a day before hearing from the public. There are already discussions underway about moving the legal report from the Tuesday Budget & Corporate Services Committee to the Wednesday Community Services Committee meeting, but that would require a motion at committee to do so.

3. Get on with upgrades to the existing park. We can’t wait years to improve the park. We need to get on with it now.

Your Take: Share your views on the Beach by taking the survey below, or filling out the petition. You can also register as a delegation to share your views publicly with committee and council.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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What's your take?

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