SUBMITTED BY MICHAEL HOWE.
Dear Lord Mayor-elect Betty Disero and council-elect,
The Niagara Foundation is profoundly disappointed and frankly shocked to learn of damage to historical attributes of the Randwood Estate as well as the large-scale removal of trees on the property.
These actions, reportedly undertaken at the direction of the current owner and developer of the property, in our view, demonstrate wanton disregard for what makes Niagara-on-the-Lake a special place.
After what we understand were repeated and widespread requests for the Town to stop the developer’s actions, we were relieved to see the Nov. 16 notice posted on the Join the Conversation website regarding an investigation by Town officials and heritage consultants.
The notice also confirmed “significant damage” to the Dunnington-Grubb landscape features as well as efforts to take “appropriate legal action available.”
The Niagara Foundation urges the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to vigorously pursue all legal avenues to stop further destruction including seeking injunctive relief; require the owner to make good all damage to heritage attributes of the site; and seek maximum punitive damages available under the Heritage Act, including directors of the responsible companies associated with the owner.
We also encourage the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to investigate the role provincial bodies (e.g., the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority) could or should be taking with respect to the Rand Estate and other lands in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In this regard we applaud the question directed to the minister of municipal affairs and housing, by Niagara MPP Wayne Gates, as a positive step to engage multiple levels of government in dealing with out of control development and developers.
The Niagara Foundation looks forward to working with the incoming council and assisting you in finalizing a new Official Plan.
In the meantime we need to ensure development and actions by developers that are inconsistent with our community are opposed in the strongest possible way using whatever tools the Town may have at its disposal.