Members and supporters of Burlington Save Our Waterfront achieved a major victory for community engagement Monday, as city council unanimously passed the Burlington Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee. As soon as we get information on how you can apply to serve on this committee, we’ll post it here.
Hold on development discussed Feb. 8, 6:30 pm
More than 20 Save Our Waterfront supporters attended Monday’s council meeting. Michelle Bennett, a dedicated member of our organizing team, stood beside me as I presented to council our support of the advisory committee (full text of my delegation is below). We also asked for a hold on development in the Old Lakeshore Road area while the advisory committee consults with residents on a better plan for this key area of our waterfront.
To my pleasant surprise, Councillor John Taylor asked that discussion on the possibilities of a hold on development be added to the agenda for the next Community Development Committee meeting, Mon. Feb. 8 at 6:30 pm.
So, we’ll be back in chambers next week to hear that discussion, and invite you to join us.
After months of waiting, things are now beginning to move along quickly – thanks to you speaking up for our waterfront. Congratulations, and thanks for your support. We wouldn’t have come this far without you.
Save Our Waterfront’s delegation to City Council, Feb. 1
To: Members of Council, city staff
From: Marianne Meed Ward, chair, Burlington Save our Waterfront
Date: Feb. 1, 2010 council meeting
Re: Delegation by BSOW in support of agenda item to approve the Burlington Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee
Mr. Mayor, members of council, staff, I’m pleased to be here this evening to provide new information related to the formation of the Burlington Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee.
I’m speaking this evening as chair of Burlington Save our Waterfront, a group of 2000 residents who have been asking for community input on the waterfront, and have specifically been asking for an citizen’s advisory committee since last fall. With me tonight is Michelle Bennett, a member of our 12-person leadership team.
Once again I’d like to thank Councillors Thoem and Goldring for their work on the initial terms of reference draft, and Mayor Jackson for getting it on the agenda quickly. And I’d like to thank all members of council for your unanimous vote in favour of the waterfront advisory committee at last month’s Community Development Committee meeting.
Tonight we’re asking for council’s vote in favour of establishing the Burlington Waterfront Access and Protection Advisory Committee.
I’d like to speak to four items that were not covered in my remarks at the CDC meeting:
1. First, the composition of the committee. Since Save Our Waterfront began asking for a waterfront advisory committee last fall, a number of residents have given us their name to be passed on for consideration. Some of these names have already been passed on to councilors Thoem and Goldring, but new names continue to come in. I’d like to pass these names on to you tonight.
There are 24 names on this list, from every Ward, representing a diverse cross section of the community. These are dedicated citizens ready to serve their community. We understand each person will need to formally apply and be interviewed. Once the application information is available, we will post it on our website at www.saveourwaterfront.ca.
2. Second, I’d like to speak to comments made by some councilors at the CDC meeting around the need for “diversity” of perspective among members selected for the advisory committee. Save Our Waterfront welcomes that diversity, within the broad goal of the committee, which is around “access and protection of the waterfront.” Diversity outside that goal would be counterproductive – You wouldn’t select someone for the transit committee who wants to shut down Burlington’s transit service, any more than you’d select someone for the waterfront committee who’s not dedicated to preserving our waterfront, and securing public access where possible and appropriate.
3. Third, Save Our Waterfront is listed as a liaising group within the terms of reference, and we look forward to collaboration with the waterfront advisory committee. Our role will be to continue to let residents know what’s happening on the waterfront, how they can give input to the waterfront advisory committee, and how they can get involved in securing a community-led vision for our waterfront.
Save our Waterfront began with three goals in mind:
i. to seek a hold on development in the Old Lakeshore Road area,
ii. while the community could be consulted on a new plan for the area,
iii. via, but not limited to, establishing a citizen’s advisory committee on the waterfront.
After tonight, we trust we will have achieved our final goal of an advisory committee, and that group, in cooperation with ours, will go a long way toward seeking broad community input on the waterfront.
But there is still the matter of a hold on development, and that brings me to my final point.
4. Save Our Waterfront is officially asking council to secure a hold on development in the Old Lakeshore Road area until the advisory committee can do its work of seeking public input and developing a community-led plan for this area. We’re aware an Interim Control By-law cannot be used again till 2011. However, our zoning by-laws allow for a hold on development under certain circumstances, including when assembly of land is required, as is the case under one development option for the Old Lakeshore Road area.
Because of changes this council made in 2007 to increase the height of buildings in the Old Lakeshore Road area, this part of our waterfront remains at risk of development at any time. It would be heartbreaking for the community if this area was developed before the advisory committee had a chance to consider appropriate development and seek community input.
So, to conclude Save Our Waterfront is asking council to vote for the waterfront advisory committee tonight, and then to direct staff to look into ways to secure a hold on development while the waterfront committee does its work.