Feb. 19: Family Day with Trumpeters and Update

From Liz Benneian, Trumpeter Swan Coalition:

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Family Day Event on Monday, Feb. 19th, from 11 to 2 p.m. at Lasalle Park in Burlington. We have posted this on our Facebook page (Trumpeter Swan Coalition) and we hope you will share this through your social media. It’s a great opportunity to bring family, friends and neighbours out to view the swans and learn more about them. The Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group will be there and hopefully we will have a chance to see swans being banded and tagged. It’s also an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about the plans for an expended breakwall and marina that threaten this critical over-wintering habitat for the Trumpeters.

Update on Breakwall and Marina Expansion

As you know there was a financial review of the Lasalle Park Marina Association’s (LPMA) business case called the Grant Thorton report. It was presented to Burlington’s Committee of the Whole of on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. We hoped it would put a nail in the coffin of this project. Unfortunately, it seems like most members of Council read a completely different report. Only Councillors Marianne Meed-Ward and John Taylor voted against the motion to have staff come back to Council with a plan as to how the breakwall and marina expansion could proceed. This is despite the fact that the report noted:

  • The project as proposed would cost more than $14 million though the exact costs aren’t known as all the required engineering studies have not been done. The total has already doubled from when the project was first suggested.
  • Burlington would not own the project if completed. It would belong to the Hamilton Port Authority (HPA).
  • Lasalle Park is not owned by Burlington. It’s owned by Hamilton, and the lease runs out in 2022. The water lots for the marina are also leased by the City of Burlington. That lease runs out in 2020.
  • Because the city wouldn’t own the project, it would be highly unlikely any level of government would give them a loan unless the HPA was involved as a guarantor.
  • The LPMA would require a loan of $4.67 million with a 25-year (!) payback period and the rest of the project would have to be funded by Provincial or Federal governments (i.e. taxpayers paying for a small group of boaters for improving facilities of a private club).
  • The report also said: “traditional, alternative and private lending may not be available due to the size of the project and the fact that there will be insufficient future cash flow to service a $14 million loan.”
  • If Burlington gets money for this project from higher levels of government, they are unlikely to fund other critical infrastructure needs of the city that have already been identified and prioritized by Council.
  • The marina serves, and would continue to serve, mostly people who are not from Burlington.
  • Boater occupancy would have to grow by 70% to 90% for the LPMA to pay back the loan.
  • The LPMA couldn’t meet the 10% required by the Town’s Joint Venture Project.

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