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Monday, January 30, 2023
Editorial: Clearing the air on NOTL vs. Marotta

Last week’s editorial about the legal battles between the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and developer Benny Marotta touched a nerve.

To be clear, there is no suggestion by this paper that caving in to every potential legal battle is the right thing to do. It is, however, foolish to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to fight what looks like a losing cause.

If there’s something we don’t know about why the municipality strongly feels it will win the series of legal battles with Solmar and Two Sisters which lie ahead, the paper welcomes the information. We did not see such evidence in the town’s court submissions.

We are not legal experts but we have read all the town’s submissions and found the municipality’s arguments weak, the affidavits from professionals full of qualifiers and maybes. And in almost every exhibit presented in the town’s affidavits alleging Marotta destroyed heritage attributes, the same attributes are listed for all four properties. Perhaps the court will see that as significant, but our reading of the documents, and the counter arguments Marotta filed with the court, led us to believe that the town’s case is on thin ice.

Hence the editorial opinion expressed last week. 

Like most of the community, we don’t want to see random, unnecessary development, nor do we want to see heritage attributes lost. That is wrong. What we question is the wisdom of pursuing what, based on the evidence we have seen, seems to be a weak case.

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