Burlington Airpark case may set key environmental precedents

The owners of a small private airport are challenging the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to regulate the quality of fill that is being placed on airport property over the last few years. They are also challenging the jurisdiction of the municipality to regulate development on the airport property.

Tests conducted for the City of Burlington indicate that some of the newly placed fill may exceed Ministry of the Environment criteria for clean fill. Local residents are up in arms about what they perceive to be dumping of hazardous materials on the airpark site.

The matter is likely to be considered by a court later this year. If the court rules that an airport of this size and type is under exclusive federal jurisdiction, as the airpark owners reportedly claim, consequences could include:

designation of more private lands as airports in order to avoid environment ministry and municipal oversight; and

introduction of federal environment regulations to control activities that impact the environment on airport lands.

GallonDaily will update this article as the courts rule on this important matter.

A City of Burlington staff report on this topic is available at http://cms.burlington.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=26674

A City of Burlington press release on the fill situation is at http://cms.burlington.ca/Page11450.aspx

Commentary from the Mayor of Burlington is at http://www.burlingtonmayor.com/tag/burlington-airpark/

A local community environmental group, BurlingtonGreen, addresses the issue at http://www.burlingtongreen.org/advocacy/715-learn-about-the-burlington-airpark-issue-4.html

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