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Jun. 23, 2021 | Wednesday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Little hope Marotta will scale back Rand Estate plan

Dear editor:

I agree with the sentiments expressed in your editorial, "Rand Estate deservea better," May 6, concerning the controversial residential development of the Rand Estate as proposed by Solmar (Niagara 2 ) Inc .

It seems to me that for some time now Save Our Rand Estate (SORE) has repeatedly advocated for the responsible development of the historic and iconic Rand Estate that you refer to and clearly support. (This is not a case of anti development or meddling in private business although some choose to see it as such).

However , it is difficult to see why this local citizens group, which is supported by several hundred residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and elsewhere should be vilified by some, as you claim, for its efforts, except perhaps for those who do not value the preservation of the historical  assets of the Rand Estate, including obviously Benny Marotta, even though he agrees that this is a special situation.

Those with any common sense realize that once these precious and historical assets are destroyed they are gone forever.

As you have indicated, it seems that Mr. Marotta is attempting to cram as many houses into a subdivision as he can get away with, without regard for the immediate neighbourhood and its valid and genuine concerns.

I also agree with you when you urge Mr. Marotta, out of respect tor the Rand Estate history, to make it special and not just another subdivision – which common sense tells me is completely inappropriate.

However, this is no doubt just wishful thinking when reading the front-page article  ("Marotta unveils 191-home subdivision plan for Rand Estate"). 

Mr. Marotta feels the subdivision is appropriate and suitable when compared to other developments. This is really a senseless argument when, again using common sense, the iconic Rand Estate is unique and is not in any way comparable to other developments in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

Mr. Marotta's credibility and sincerity is not held in very high regard by a great number of residents and others, as the record shows, and on many occasions in the past it has been questioned.

So his claim that SORE objects to everything are his words only and to the best of my knowledge lack any veracity. He also claims, again in his words, that:

a ) His development is more suitable to Niagara-on-the-Lake than other developments. (Irrelevant for the reason above.)

b ) It is a lot better than previous developments. (Irrelevant for the reason above.)

c ) In answer to a question as to whether he would consider adding more green space and making this a legacy project, his reply is that there is no need to increase green space since there is already a lot. 

d ) He claims he has offered to work with the town and is open to its suggestions as to the most suitable solution for the development. However, we have heard this many times before, but his actions, both past and present, contradict this offer and do not support any level of sincerity.

These are contradictory, senseless and irrelevant comments made without thought by the developer and offer little in the way of encouragement that any reasonable compromise is possible when dealing with Mr. Marotta and Solmar (Niagara 2 ) Inc.

Derek Collins