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Cost of new floating wavebreak at LaSalle Park Marina paid 100% out of city’s Hydro Reserve fund

Not fair to other community groups expected to contribute to capital upgrades

At our June 18 meeting, City Council voted 5-2 to pay 100% of the cost of a new floating wavebreak at LaSalle Park Marina, using up to $4 million from the Hydro Reserve fund. The city is the sole shareholder of Burlington Hydro, and revenues from Hydro go into the fund. Its purpose is for community infrastructure and special circumstances debt for legacy projects.

A motion was approved to seek up to $500,000 from the marina toward several projects, including  electrification of the marina, finger docks and/or the wave break. The marina will pay an annual fee to the city for the replacement of the next floating wavebreak, expected in 28 or so years.

Council supported my motion to establish a Stakeholder Advisory Committee and ongoing monitoring/mitigation plan for the impact of the new wave floating wavebreak on the Trumpeter Swan population that winter in the marina. These were conditions imposed by the Minister of the Environment for a permanent wavebreak, but not required for a floating wavebreak. I’m glad council saw their importance, and supported the motion.

My Take: I (along with Councillor Taylor) did not support the community paying 100% of the cost of the new floating wavebreak, drawing down reserves intended for infrastructure.

Some in the community have misrepresented my position as being against the marina. I support having boating facilities here. The issue was never about whether or not to have a marina; it will continue as it always has. The issue was about who pays for the new floating wavebreak.

We ask our other community groups and users, which are also volunteer-run and have provided a valuable service to the community for decades, to pay a portion of costs for capital upgrades. I believe it is reasonable and fair to ask the marina users for a contribution, and unreasonable to ask the taxpayers to give up $4 million in a reserve set aside for infrastructure improvements.

I brought a motion (lost) asking the marina users to contribute $500,000 toward the wavebreak — money we were told was raised specifically for that purpose. The motion was watered down and now includes other items like electrification and finger dock replacement — even though the finger docks are new and electrification or similar upgrades should be paid for out of annual fees. I supported the motion in the hope that at least some of that money would go toward the wavebreak (but there’s no requirement for that).

I also put forward a motion at committee (lost) that would provide the marina a loan to pay for the wavebreak over 28 years (the expected life of the new wavebreak). This time would allow ample opportunities for fundraising, fee adjustment at the marina, grant programs or other means to pay for the next wavebreak.

Text of the motions and vote from the council minutes is below:

  • Direct the City Solicitor and Director of Finance to explore early termination of the joint venture agreement with the LaSalle Park Marina Association and report back to Council on the legal and financial implications of an early exit and a funding source(s) to fulfill the city’s obligations; and

 

  • Direct the Director of Parks & Recreation to negotiate a revised relationship agreement with the La Salle Park Marina Association for managing/administering all boating activity at the marina as well as the maintenance and replacement of all structures behind the wave break including the docks, and any other ancillary equipment as soon as possible; and

 

  • Direct the Director of Parks & Recreation to initiate discussions with the Hamilton Port Authority, the LaSalle Park Marina Association and the City of Hamilton regarding opportunities to secure moorage space at Hamilton Harbour for the members of LaSalle Park Marina Association if moorage space is required during the purchase and construction of the new wave break; and

 

  • Direct the Executive Director of Capital Works to initiate a request for proposal for the design/build of a floating wave break as soon as possible; and

 

  • Approve funding for design/build of a new floating wave break at LaSalle Park Marina to an upset limit of $4,000,000 to be funded from the Hydro Reserve Fund, contingent upon the signing of a long term agreement with the LaSalle Park Marina Association; and

 

  • Direct the Director of Parks & Recreation to review the city’s current agreements with other marina stakeholders with a view to identifying any changes that may be required as a result of this proposed course of action, and report back to Council; and

 

  • Establish a Stakeholder Advisory Committee and consider an ongoing monitoring and mitigating plan as outlined in the Minister’s conditions; and

 

  • That staff negotiate $500,000 contribution for the LaSalle Park Marina to the wave break, electrification and/or fingers docks, as park of the negotiation on a renewed agreement.
IN FAVOUR: (5) Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster
OPPOSED: (2) Councillor Meed Ward, and Councillor Taylor
CARRIED (5 to 2)
  • Moved by:Councillor Meed Ward
    Seconded by:Councillor Taylor

    That staff negotiate a $500,000 contribution from the LaSalle Park Marina to the new floating wave break as part of the negotiations on a revised agreement.

    IN FAVOUR: (2) Councillor Meed Ward, and Councillor Taylor
    OPPOSED: (5) Mayor Goldring, Councillor Craven, Councillor Dennison, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Lancaster
    LOST (2 to 5)
  • Moved by:Councillor Dennison
    Seconded by:Councillor Sharman

    That staff negotiate $500,000 contribution for the LaSalle Park Marina to the wave break, electrification and/or fingers docks, as park of the negotiation on a renewed agreement.

    CARRIED (7 to 0)