An Amazing Recovery
The Trumpeter Swan is an incredible North American bird brought back from the brink of extinction by a dedicated group of volunteers. The LaSalle Park waterfront in Burlington has now become the overwinter home to the largest concentration of Trumpeters in Ontario, due to the park's rare winter habitat. This is a special place and a special breed that deserves protection.
People can visit LaSalle Park in late fall, and throughout the winter, to see these beautiful birds. (map)
Unfortunately, a proposed marina development at LaSalle Park may threaten the wintering grounds for 200 of these magnificent birds (1/4 of the provincial population). The building of a permanent wave break and the addition of another 120 boat slips may result in negative impacts for the swans. As a result, a Trumpeter Swan Coalition was established to:
- raise awareness among citizens,
- monitor this proposed development, and
- raise concerns with City Council and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and
BurlingtonGreen supports the Coalition in their efforts to protect the swans.
- March 2017: Read our "Eco-hero of the Month" newsletter article recognizing Bev Kingdon for her decades of work helping to restore and protect the swans.
- Feb. 2017: It was a fantastic turnout at the annual "Meet the Trumpeter Swans" event on a beautiful Family Day, Feb. 20, 2017, at LaSalle Park. Approximately 1000 people, and roughly 100 swans, were in attendance. The Trumpeter Swan Coalition, the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group, and BurlingtonGreen were present to interact with the crowd and inform them about the swans, as well as the proposed marina expansion. Thank you to all who attended.
- Oct. 2016: Read an overview of the marina expansion issue in a Hamilton Spectator article here.
- Sept. 2016: Burlington city staff issued a financial report which casts serious doubt on the business case and financial viability of the marina expansion project. City Manager James Ridge also issued a report with a number of recommendations on next steps, in light of the financial report. The City is going to pause, take control of the project proposal, and do a deeper analysis before proceeding further. An excerpt from the Burlington Post reads, "Ridge said it shouldn’t be one of Burlington’s joint venture partners taking the lead on a capital project of this magnitude. Instead, part of the financial analysis that will now take place will assess how the marina fits within Burlington’s recently approved Strategic Plan." Read Burlington Post article here for a thorough overview, Hamilton Spectator article here. A particularly concerning finding from the City reports is that the LPMA doesn't qualify to be receiving joint venture loans from the city because it doesn't meet the requirement of 80% of its membership being residents of Burlington.
BurlingtonGreen believes that the city should not be making such a significant decision on a financially risky private entity proposal, that has far reaching and likely irrevocable implications without first preparing a master plan for the park, a key part of which includes gathering meaningful input from the public about what activities and infrastructure are highest priority. BurlingtonGreen delegated to the City C&CS committee on Sept. 12, 2016, as did the Trumpeter Swan Coalition. View our submission and the City's webcast of the whole LPMA discussion from our Advocacy Archives page here (see. Sept. 12, 2016).
- May 2016: The LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) requested a letter of support from the City of Burlington to help access federal and provincial funding for its planned permanent wave break. Council voted to proceed with the letter of support. Read an article in the Hamilton Spectator here, for more details. BurlingtonGreen's position is that the City should not be providing endorsement or making such a significant decision about a private entity proposal (the permanent break wall and marina expansion) that has far reaching and potentially irrevocable implications without first preparing a master plan for the park, a key part of which includes gathering meaningful input from the public about how they want to use the park going forward. Read BG's full position statement here.
- 2015: The Coalition reviewed the environmental studies report that was compiled for the marina expansion and found that it did not adequately address the serious impact the project could have on the swans, and thus asked the Ministry for a higher level of environmental assessment. You can read the Coalition submission here.
On July 21, 2015, Minister of the Environment & Climate Change, Glen Murray, turned down the request made by the Trumpeter Swan Coalition, Conservation Halton and a private citizen for a more thorough assessment. However he did order the creation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee that would include the Trumpeter Swan Coalition. He indicated that the project can only move forward with the committee’s participation in the creation of an Aquatic and Terrestrial Environmental Monitoring and Mitigation Plan to, “address any potential impacts from the project on the aquatic environment and/or overwintering Trumpeter Swans in the vicinity.” The imposed conditions do not exclude the possibility of denying further environmental approvals if the project does prove harmful to the swan population and their habitat. The committee’s involvement will be crucial in highlighting those potential issues and ensuring appropriate actions are taken. Read the issue media release here.
Learn More, Get Involved
BurlingtonGreen will continue to advocate for increased public awareness and input on this project. Ultimately, since LaSalle Park and the Trumpeter Swans are such an important part of our community, it will be up to the people of Burlington to decide what kind of future they want for this beautiful area. Let our City's leaders know what you think about this issue. You can find the Mayor and Councillors contact information here.
- Presentation to the Burlington Waterfront Committee
- "Save the Trumpeter Swans" brochure (double-sided)
- Hamilton Spectator article and video of the "Meet the Trumpeter Swans" Family Day event, Feb. 18, 2014
This page is part of BurlingtonGreen's Greenprint for the Future awareness and advocacy program.
The program, covering a number of local issues, is made possible
thanks to funding from MEC.