SUBMITTED BY J. RICHARD WRIGHT.
I recall the original letter which spawned this issue of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Old Town residents against the good people of St. Davids. The letter was actually a comment on the quality of homes built by the developer who has bought land throughout NOTL and feels he should be able to build what he wants, where he wants and when he wants, without regard to municipal limits or the identity or character of the town. The original letter was certainly not an attack on people desiring to live in this amazing area, known for its history, its artistic colony, and its century’s old architecture. In fact, residents such as ourselves in Old Town welcome, respect and include new residents in areas such as St. Davids, Virgil, Niagara-on-the-Green (and any others I have missed) as full members of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The original letter was simply a comment on mega-developer Solmar Development Corporation’s purpose, which seems to be, to build high-density housing crammed together to generate maximum profit, and to hell with the unique character of the town. In fact, the developer has a long history in other areas such as Caledon in which he waged dubious war with local government as chronicled in the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail. Right now, Solmar (in its fifth legal battle with our town) is in court fighting the Niagara-on-the-Lake’s designation to include Randwood Estate properties under the Heritage Act which would limit the alteration or destruction of historically significant buildings contained therein.
Unfortunately, when developers such as this find a desirable area they often move in and bully local councils with limited budgets and build, build, built until they compromise, or even ruin, the character of the area which made it desirable in the first place. Then they find a new area to serve their greed. Their companies are essentially all about profit. If they were smart, they would study a town and then try to enhance it’s uniqueness and character with their projects. For instance, the Queen’s Landing is certainly an example of respecting the character of the town which leans more towards Colonial than Bauhaus.
Finally, let me add congratulations to The Lake Report and particularly founder/editor Richard Harley for taking such a large personal financial gamble to bring local news back to NOTL’s residents. Your paper certainly deserves our support and I, for one, will try to patronize your advertisers whenever possible. Thanks for doing an excellent job.