Steward of Sheldon Creek supports social activist who told the story about by law abuses.

opiniongreen 100x100By Vince Fiorito

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I agree with Doreen Nicol’s recent Burlington Gazette article.

City policy appears to harass people doing their part to fight climate change, the biodiversity crisis and environmental toxification problems.

Not only do Burlington’s current property standard by-laws appear to conflict with City Council’s recent climate change emergency declaration, they may also conflict with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Species At Risk Act.

Imagine if Canada’s Group of Seven artists were held to the same standards as Burlington’s property standard bylaw, and they could only paint landscapes that were dominated by neatly mowed lawns.

Grp 7 art

Landscape design, like painting, is an art form, which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

purple flower - skyscraper

World class examples of native species based landscape designs, that would violate Burlington’s current property standards by-laws.

Burlington’s by-laws and policies currently empower people who don’t understand or deny the existence of serious environmental problems. These people will pressure untrained city staff to mow what appears to them to be weedy unkempt looking lawns. Burlington residents shouldn’t have to fight with the city to be responsible stewards of the Earth. Some of them will inevitably take the city to court and seek damages and compensation.

butterfly on plant

Urban monarch butterfly

If city staff fail to recognize habitat for endangered species (Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies or New Jersey Tea for Mottled Duskywing Butterfly),then their actions could violate the Species At Risk Act and the city could risk fines up to $1,000,000

Also, modernizing and upgrading city property standards policies and by-laws, should include solutions to long term neglected environmental problems.

City policies and by-laws must encourage and assist property owners to clean up old dumpsites ASAP, like this one contaminated with old pesticide and petrochemical containers behind Creek Way in The Orchard.

garbage in creek

Located next to Sheldon Creek along the South Service Road, between Appleby and Burloak.

abandoned construction site

Current City property standards also ignore dangerous derelict buildings.

City property standards allow local businesses to dump industrial effluent into our watersheds with impunity. The above has been reported repeatedly to all levels of government, and is legal. Residents living down stream from environmental problems must have a right to know.

They should not have to use the Freedom of Information Act to access information that the city be collecting and sharing. Ignorance isn’t bliss for children playing or fishing downstream.

salmon 1 horizontal

Rainbow Trout caught 200M downstream from the Harvester storm sewer

salmon 2 vertical

Chinook Salmon aught in Sheldon Creek near New Street – about 1km downstream from Harvester sewer.

sewer pipe with grate

Harvester storm sewer

Burlington must modernize and upgrade city policies to solve climate change, the biodiversity crisis and environmental toxification problems.

The city must have policies to inform residents of reported problems that may affect them and pressures property owners to remediate serious environmental problem or face punitive measures.

Burlington must protect and create habitat for the Halton region’s 48 endangered species, manage the health and improve the vitality of the city’s ravines and wildlife corridor system, give Burlington residents a “Right to Know” about local environmental problems and make polluters pay to clean up their messes.

This issue is an opportunity for city council and Burlington residents to treat the climate change emergency as an emergency.

No one should have to fight with the city to prevent future generations from inheriting a resource depleted dying planet.

Vince FitorioVince Fiorito is a Burlington Resident and Founder of Friends of Sheldon Creek.  He has also been named the Steward of Sheldon Creek by Conservation Halton.

Related news stories.

Activist points to significant by law abuse issues.

Resident wins argument over milk wood in her garden.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly

2 comments to Steward of Sheldon Creek supports social activist who told the story about by law abuses.

  • Eve st Clair

    Under the Municipal act and most municipal by laws’ a Property standards /By law officer may enter exterior of a property without owner’s permission to observe a by law infraction so the trespassing charge does not come into play here . In terms of clean ups ,Mr Fiorito’s group does may be on City or provincial property which definitely would fall under their realm to clean up however they may not have the manpower to clean up right away

  • Alide Camilleri

    I am deeply puzzled by a city council and its staff that on the one hand declare an emergency and then goes about destroying the very things hat can help to avert disaster. A greater part of my property is geared to help native species to survive and flourish. If anyone ever tried to enter it, I would charge them with trespassing. And a city that does nothing to clean up the kind of mess that Mr. Fiorito shows above does not deserve being called the best city in this country.

Leave a Reply