Friday, June 14, 2013

Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Neighbors of Burlington Executive Airport (CZBA) complain of ongoing fill activity

June 14, 2013
Burlington Post

By Julia Le

Burlington resident Vanessa Warren spoke to a Halton Regional Council committee meeting on Wednesday (June 12) to voice frustration felt by local residents over fill activity taking place at the Burlington Executive Airport. 

Appearing as a delegate on behalf of the newly-formed Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition, Warren told planning and public works committee members how over the last five years her and fellow residents’ concerns about the impact of heavy trucks on Appleby Line and the fill activity taking place on airport property have fallen on deaf ears. Up until very recently, no one, she told committee members, was willing to take action because of confusion over whose responsibility it is to regulate the air park.

Warren said aviation typically falls within the federal government’s jurisdiction, but it’s unclear whose responsibility it is for keeping the air park owner accountable for what is taking place on the air park site.

Last month, the City of Burlington began looking into the matter to try and enforce its site alteration bylaws at the air park, she said, adding the city is in the midst of trying to determine what is exactly going on with a steady stream of dump trucks carrying loads of fill and who has the authority to stop it.

Warren said residents grow continually worried about the environmental impact the unknown fill may be causing. Showing a picture of one resident’s property line adjacent to a fill pile that continues to pile high day-by-day, she said flooding has become a problem for the air park’s neighbours, to the point where one can’t even farm a portion of their property.

The impact is also felt by residents complaining of noise and dust at all times of the day.

Reiterating a point one resident made at a Burlington council meeting earlier in the week, she said a lineup of dump trucks 12-15 deep can often be seen from the front of this resident’s home waiting for the gates to open to the air park. With that also comes honking, shouting, swearing and public urination, she alleged.

Warren pleaded with the region to do what it can to address the concerns.

“Please take a clear position on the air park (fill) dumping operation and expansion as you have with other incongruous plans in the region like the Niagara GTA highway,” she said on behalf of the coalition group, that is comprised of the Airpark Residents Association, Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment and other citizen action organizations. “Do everything you can to stop the dumping, mitigate the damage and stop further dumping and expansion on agricultural land and protected countryside.”

Other requests made to the region included determining how an air park can become a location for fill.

Warren’s presentation was followed by more than an hour of discussion by councillors.

Halton Region’s Commissioner of Legislative and Planning Services Mark Meneray told committee members the region is working closely with the City of Burlington to see what steps can be taken to address the situation.

“I can assure as well that, again subject to any jurisdictional constraints we have, the region is very tenacious in protecting agricultural land and the region, ensuring that fill is not placed in such a way that it would impair the ability of farm to operate,” he said.

The committee also reviewed a memo by regional staff expressing safety concerns about the most southerly entrance to the air park that seems to have significant truck traffic entering and exiting the site. The region has requested that the airport submit an application to modify the existing entrance. As part of the application, the owner will be required to submit a traffic impact study and safety audit.

Committee members unanimously supported a motion moved by Burlington Councillor John Taylor to enact a bylaw that will immediately suspend and close access to Appleby Line — a regional road — from the most southerly access of the Burlington air park until the application is dealt with.

The motion will go before regional council next Wednesday for formal adoption.


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