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LaSalle Park Marina seeks joint venture loan, letter of support (Apr. 18)

LaSalle Park Marina
Rendering of proposed expanded marina with permanent wavebreak.

The LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) is seeking federal and provincial funding, and a $4 million loan from Infrastructure Ontario (IO), for its plans to build a permanent wavebreak and additional 100 slips for the marina (currently 219 slips). The marina has requested the city write a letter of support, signed by the mayor, for the IO loan. IO lending rates are lower than rates for sport and recreation organizations.

The LPMA has also requested a $250,000 loan from the city repayable over 10 years in Joint Venture Financing for Finger Dock Replacement.

Both requests are supported by staff and require committee and council approval. See dates and details below under Next Steps.

Information and links to documents on the detailed design of the permanent wavebreak, the conditions on the project imposed by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and risks to the city and the LPMA of the wavebreak project are below.

Six organizations within the community depend on the marina:

  • LaSalle Park Marina
  • Burlington Sailing & Boating Club
  • BSBC Open Public Sailing School
  • Iron Duke Sea Cadets on water summer program
  • City of Burlington’s free public trailer boat launch ramp
  • Burlington Able Sail for residents with physical challenges

My Take: I’m supportive of the request for the Joint Venture loan, though have asked what the interest rate would be if the loan was not provided by the city. I am less convinced about the letter of support for the IO loan, given city staff have not had an opportunity to verify the LPMA’s ability to repay. I have a number of questions about what the letter locks the city into, so will make my decision once those are answered.

Your Take: Do you support the requests? Reply or leave a public comment by clicking the link below?

Request for Letter of Support for Permanent Wave Break Loan

The LPMA says both Federal and Provincial funding are necessary for the construction of the wave break, estimated to cost $12 million. LPMA has indicated to staff that a Joint Venture Loan from the City is not required. If LPMA is not able to secure sufficient funding from other sources and requests a Joint Venture Loan in the future, the request will be assessed based on meeting the criteria of the Joint Venture Policy and impact on the City’s debt ratio.

Proposed Funding Source:

Federal Government                             $ 4M

Provincial Government                        $ 4M

Infrastructure Ontario Loan/City    $ 4M

Total:                                                    $12M

The ability of LPMA to repay a loan of this magnitude has not been evaluated by city Finance staff.
Request for Joint Venture Loan for Finger Dock Replacement
Sixty of the marina’s finger docks will become unserviceable, dropping marina capacity to 120 vessels. This would make the marina unviable, so the LPMA is planning to replace its finger docks. The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $370,000.
There are two types of docks within the Marina: main docks and finger docks. All  docks are floating and made of wood. The main docks provide boaters with access  from the shore to the slips where the boats are tied up. Each main dock has a number  of smaller docks referred to as finger docks. Finger docks define slip areas and provide a walkway from each boat to the main docks. There are approximately 106 finger docks in the Marina.

LPMA has spent over $735,000 over the past 10 years to replace main docks and finger docks and with this proposed replacement, will have replaced all in-water infrastructure in that time.

In June 2015, LPMA submitted an application for Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) for funding to replace 60 finger docks and was successful in securing $109,000 for this project.

LPMA has requested Joint Venture Financing from the city of $250,000. The city’s Joint Venture Loans policy requires loans to be paid back to the City over a 10 year period including interest and that 10% of the project cost is required as an unsecured down payment. The CIP grant satisfies the 10% down payment requirement in addition to the $11,000 being provided upfront by LPMA.

Funding Source for Finger Dock Replacement Amount
Canada 150 Community Infrastructure $109,000
Joint Venture Loan from City $250,000
LPMA $11,000
TOTAL $370,000

Finance staff has reviewed LPMA’s financial statements and confirms that LPMA can meet a 10 year loan repayment schedule with an estimated annual payment of approximately $28,197 at 2.25% interest for the next 10 years. The additional debt can be accommodated within the City’s existing debt limit policy.

Next Steps:

The Community & Corporate Services Committee (C&CS) will consider the request for a letter of support for the IO loan, and request Joint Venture Financing loan for the finger docks replacement April 18, 6:30 pm, Council Chambers, 2nd floor, City Hall. Read the staff reports on these items in the agenda for the meeting here: C&CS April 18-2016

Recommendations from C&CS will go to Council for final approval, May 9, 6:30 pm,  Council Chambers, 2nd floor, City Hall.

Residents can register to speak at committee and/or council here: Register as a Delegation

To read background documents and previous staff reports on the marina, visit the city’s website dedicated to this project here: LaSalle-Park-Marina-Wave-Break-Study


LPMA seeks to proceed with detailed design of wavebreak
LPMA is now looking to proceed with detailed design for a permanent wave break, which is estimated to cost $350,000. All costs associated with the detailed design including staff time, will be paid for by LPMA. Any costs associated with implementing conditions imposed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (see below) will be considered part of the project costs and funded by LPMA.
It is estimated that the process to design and construct a permanent wave break will take approximately three years. Currently, this project has not been identified in City staff’s work plan. Workload priorities would need to be re-evaluated based on staff’s involvement in this project.
There are a number of risks to both the city and the LPMA for the wavebreak project, including ability to secure funding, LPMA’s ability to repay loans, continued damage to the floating wave break and loss of members and insurance, city staff workload, and future use of the marina, given the lease between the City and Hamilton for LaSalle Park expires in 2022.
There is a public boat launch at the marina, which would not be protected if the marina and wave break are not in place.
The full list of risks to the city and the LPMA is detailed below.
Trumpeter swans wintering at LaSalle Park.
Trumpeter swans wintering at LaSalle Park.

Environmental Assessment & Conditions Imposed:

An environmental assessment (EA) was completed for the marina, which evaluated four options and concluded the permanent wavebreak to be the best.
Members of the community requested an additional EA from the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The minister determined that an individual EA was not necessary but did impose several conditions on the project to protect the environment, including the formation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee to review the design of the marina, with membership from Conservation Halton, the Trumpeter Swan Coalition and others.
If the Project is found to negatively affect the aquatic environment and/or overwintering Trumpeter Swans in the vicinity, the proponents must notify the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch to identify what measures will be applied to mitigate the negative effect(s).
The full list of conditions is below:
  • the Proponents will form a Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the purposes of disseminating and exchanging information and discussing issues and concerns raised by its members.
  • Representative(s) from the following organizations will be invited: Conservation Halton, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, Trumpeter Swan Coalition, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Stakeholder Group, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.As well, the Proponent may invite other members of the public and/or agencies/ministries that expressed interest in the Project.
  • Invitations will be sent out for the Stakeholder Advisory Committee prior to the initiation of detail design for the project.
  • A Terms of Reference for the Stakeholder Advisory Committee will be established by a third-party Facilitator selected by the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Coordinator.
  • The Stakeholder Advisory Committee will begin to meet during the detail design and continue to meet as required.
  • A minimum of one Stakeholder Workshop will be held during the detail design phase.
  • The third-party Facilitator will facilitate the workshop.
  • Prior to construction, the Proponents will prepare an Aquatic Terrestrial Environment Monitoring and Mitigation Plan to monitor project’s effects on the local environment, including effects to acquatic plant growth and water circulation within the marina, and any impacts on fish and bird species in the vicinity of the marina including the local overwintering Trumpeter Swans. Mitigation will be proposed where necessary. The Plan will be prepared in consultation with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and submitted to the Committee for review.
  • If the Project is found to negatively affect the aquatic environment and/or overwintering Trumpeter Swans in the vicinity, the Proponents must notify the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch to identify what measures will apply to mitigate the negative effect(s).
  • Once the conditions above have been satisfied, the Proponents shall notify the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch.
To read background documents and previous staff reports on the marina, visit the city’s website dedicated to this project here: LaSalle-Park-Marina-Wave-Break-Study
Summary of Risks Associated with Permanent Wave Break Project:

A permanent wave break is a large scale in-water project that presents a number of risks to both LPMA and the City.

Risks related to LPMA from LPMA’s perspective include:

  • Funding the detailed design and implementation of conditions without any funding secured for construction of a permanent wave break
  • The lease between the City and Hamilton for LaSalle Park expires in 2022 which creates uncertainty related to use of the land past 2022
  • Boats and Marina infrastructure may continue to be damaged without a permanent wave break as they have recently experienced a higher frequency of wave damage incidents
  • Continual wave damage affects LPMA’s ability to retain existing members and Insurance companies have indicated policies will not be issued for new boaters who use LaSalle Park Marina
  • Continual repair and investment in the floating wave break due to wave damage incidents negatively impacts LPMA’s operating budget
  • The marina may cease to operate if the floating wave break is not replaced with a permanent wave break
  • Ability to repay a Joint Venture Loan within the parameters of the Joint Venture Policy 10 year repayment requirement

Risks for the City include:

  • The lease between the City and Hamilton for LaSalle Park expires in 2022 and there is uncertainty that it will be renewed beyond that date
  • Administering insurance claims for damage to Marina infrastructure as a result of wave damage, (5 times in the last 4 years)
  • The public boat launch located within the marina would not be protected if the marina and wave break were not in place
  • Staff’s involvement in this project will be difficult to manage with other work plan priorities
  • The Able Sail program and other boating and sailing programs would not operate without the protection of a wave break
  • Debt limit considerations regarding approval of a Joint Venture Loan or any secured loan
  • Any modifications to Joint Venture Loan requirements to assist LPMA e. longer loan repayment schedule, would establish a precedent for other Joint Venture financing requests

Recreational Boating and Feasibility Study

A study in 2013, jointly funded by the city and LPMA ($6,754 each), analysed harbour capacity within the GTA/Golden Horseshoe regional and specifically Halton and concluded the need for 430 additional slips in Halton by the end of 2013, increasing to 2,160 by 2031. To read the methodology of the study, visit the link above to the city webpage dedicated to the LaSalle Marina.

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.

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  1. I would like to address some other sporting venues in the City of Burlington. How much money did the skaters pay for ice rinks ? Likewise players for soccer fields ? Swimmers for swimming pools ? I could go on about walkers in parks etc. Yes they do pay for using the rinks, pools and soccer fields. The boat owners pay for the use of their slips and haul out and lift in. There seems to be a misconception about boat owners, that they are all very rich. If you knew some of these people, you would be surprized that they are ordinary folks who like the water and are very committed to the environment. Up to date they have paid their way with the BSBC club house, the existing marina and other facilities at La Salle Park. The boaters do most of their own work in looking after the marina and also hire students to do some duties, as well as running a sailing school for the public.

    • All of Burlington residence can use the ice rinks…not all can use the Marina without belonging to “the club”…Every Child can use the soccer fields…how many can play on the Marina docks….Everyone in Burlington can swim in the swimming pools…the most I or anyone else can do is sit at the dock and view “the club”…and you can go on about the walkers in the park…EVERYONE CAN WALK IN THE PARKS, NOT EVERYONE CAN GET PAST THE GATE AT THE DOCKS WITHOUT AN INVITATION….and so you should pay your way especially when the percent of “Burlington” residence that belong to the club is under 50 percent and I’m being generous as it is a less… for the sailing club… limited sessions with limited enrollment…somehow 40 or a bit more partake .The marina was originally paid for by the membership…it was originally not geared to the “Yachts” of today..your location is not even in an area that draws out of town tourist, visiting boaters are not near any amenities so what money would they spend in the City…. .so you want government grant money and city backing of loan for the benefit of a few hundred people and you want to compare that with other venues that service hundreds if not thousands of people who actually live in Burlington. So you can try and say that your “club” is the same as a other venues in the City…its not….your club requires an expensive buy in and membership…sorry…not the same…..grant money is for the benefit of the whole, not the few.

  2. There is a marina in Hamilton that can handle the parking of these boats and that’s all it is ….a parking lot for boats. After all this is Hamiton property on loan so any discussion of an expansion should be conferred with the City of Hamilton. Taxpayers should not be paying for private enterprise looking for a handout !

  3. I cannot support taxpayer funding from federal, provincial or municipal levels for this LPMA project. There are no public benefits in spending all of this money on a private boating facility’s infrastructure, yet they are requesting millions of dollars from us from each of our three tax pockets. There are also real concerns about the environmental impacts of expanding this private facility used by a small number of Burlington residents.

  4. I urge the committee to support the letter from Paul Smith on behalf of the 600-member Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, outlining several concerns about the detrimental impact of the breakwater on the harbor and fish habitat, and urging the committee not to commit to supporting the breakwater until alternatives can be re-assessed.
    I’m sure that many of these concerns are shared by the 160-member South Peel Naturalists’ Club, whose members are also following the issues closely.
    Another concern that’s been raised relates to the substantial, $8 million commitment being sought from the federal and provincial governments. I agree with observers who believe this money would be best invested in the ongoing and long overdue restoration of the bay through the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, to the overall benefit of the greatest number of people, as opposed to being spent to facilitate a project that would benefit a much smaller number of people.
    The recovery of the bay has been a painfully long process, taking literally a lifetime for residents of Hamilton and Burlington, and we should not be undertaking a breakwater proposal that could create well create what Paul Smith describes as a “a whole new set of problems.”
    Thank you.

  5. What is missing is a cost benefit analysis relative to other sites for a Burlington Marina. Therefore, NO to funding based on the biased studies and reports to date. I have stated for years Burlington Bay is well served by the numerous Marinas in Hamilton. Burlington and the residents would financially benefit from having a Marina on Lake Ontario. A lake based Marina down by the canal would attract tourism and the associated revenue as well as serve the service clubs, private boat owners and therefor residents of Burlington. Given Burlington is a destination there are beautiful amenities within walking distance of downtown, such as restaurants, cafes, shops. In stark contrast there is absolutely NOTHING in walking distance of The LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA). NO to funding in any form!!! It is not a cost effective solution to refurbish nor expand the LPMA. It has out served its useful purpose and it is time to move on to something bigger and better for the city – as opposed to caving to the needs of a group of self serving boat owners…

  6. The Burlington Sailing Club, Open Public Sailing School, Iron Duke Sea Cadets on Elizabeth Street, Able Sail for residents w/physical challenges does not use the “Marina” side for storage or their activities, I have never seen them on the left side seems to me their boats and launching and sailing out to open waters all takes place on the right side, opposite to the LaSalle Park “Private” Marina….the boat launch area is permanent, what has that got to do with LPMA….listing all the other things that occur at LaSalle Park is just bluff to make it look as if all that depends on the private club….that marina operated for years as is, it should remain as originally intended, for boats of modest size for the average boater and not pandering to huge boats that should be moored else ware.

  7. How did we ever get to a point where taxpayers are required to fund projects for special interest groups and then provide them space and services?
    If the LaSalle park marina association wants a marina they can buy land and build one themselves and leave the park for the use of everyone.
    Last year the LPMA left their wave breakers sitting on the public dock while the rotting zebra mussels created a stink. One would think they could at least clean up the stinking mess that the mussels made.

  8. How is the LPMA going to pay back this loan when they can only come up with $11,000 to contribute to the project. I think the LPMA should be paying for this themselves. Not sure how much this helps Burlington, when private owners, who can afford to own sailboats, are getting government handouts to build their marina. Not to mention the environmental effects of a half kilometer break wall. I think it is time to look at conservation – of taxpayer money and of the environment.

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