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May. 17, 2021 | Monday
Local News
Letter: Town was right to impose development freeze

Dear editor:

I would like to make one or two comments as a local resident concerning the Hummel Properties Inc. lawsuit against the Town of Niagara On The Lake.

The Lake Report has reported on two sides of the issue in separate articles dated April 1 and April 8, 2021. Leaving aside the fine details of veracity of the statements made and the legal validity of the arguments, which eventually will be settled by the courts, I without hesitation support the town in its decision to implement the development freeze.

In my opinion, the decision was made in good faith and became necessary (due in part to the inactions and failure of previous town councils) because of the appearance of uncontrolled and unwanted development, and the urgent need to properly assess and address this issue in the interests of the local residents (as well as the developer) whom town council represents.

However, it is also well known by many residents that the interest of some developers (while not all) is one of self-interest only and is not in the interest of the resident taxpayer.

I believe that Hummel is seen as one of these developers on the basis that this self-interest is clearly demonstrated by the complete disregard for local opinion in the case of his property located on Mississagua Street that has stood as an unfinished eyesore for years.   

The action taken against the town appears in my opinion to be that of an opportunist who sees the chance of increasing personal wealth, not at the expense of town council but from the pockets of the resident taxpayer.

Reference is made to the proposed development opposite the Old Winery with the claim that it was delayed as a result of the development freeze and that this could affect its viability.

This is somewhat difficult for many to see for the simple reason that since implementation, the overall value of the proposed development has no doubt risen substantially and even allowing for some cost increases as a result of the delay (which would be dependent on schedule) is probably now worth a lot more than when the freeze was implemented and then removed 10 months ago. 

Derek Collins