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Niagara Falls
Friday, February 3, 2023
Letter: Like gateway project, town survey is deeply flawed

Dear editor:

This letter was sent to all members of NOTL council.

I wish I did not have to write to each of you individually but I find this the only way to express my opinion on what has been called the Niagara-on-the-Lake Gateway Project, but which turns out to be a “Queen and Mississagua Enhancement Project.”

The media reports of the July 26 town council meeting indicated the public could express their opinion about the gateway project on the town's website. I logged onto it, scrolled down all the announcements on the left side of the screen, found nothing, so went through the Twitter announcements on the right side and the eighth one down, dated Aug. 4, informed me I could take a survey on Join the Conversation between July 28 and Aug. 22.

I found a 12-question survey which informed me that in December 2019 an “incredible donation of $250,000” had been made by the Gerald Kowalchuck Family Fund to enhance the entryway to Old Town.

Nowhere in the survey was there a space provided for me to state my opinion as to the appropriateness of spending $250,000 on a strip of town-owned land at the end of Mississagua Street.

 Instead, I had to answer questions about whether the planned 40-foot-wide wall was too wide or too narrow, of what material I'd like to see it constructed with, what should be on the 25-foot high obelisk representing a lighthouse built in 1803 and torn down 11 years later in order to build Fort Mississauga, still in existence more than 200 years later.

If there was a space in the survey where I could have expressed my opinion on this entranceway, I would have said the following:

1. Instead of a 40-foot-wide wall, I would like to see a six-foot-wide sign made of wood saying, “Welcome to Niagara on the Lake, Settled c. 100 A.D. by Mound Builders, Resettled c. 1780 by colonists from Britain and North America.”

2. No obelisk representing a lighthouse that only existed for 11 years.

3. Cherry, peach, pear, and apple trees representing what Niagara is known for across Canada: its tender fruit trees. Think of all the canneries that used to exist in Niagara-on-the-Lake as well as the old photos of multiple bushels of fruit lined up at the Niagara and Queenston docks to be placed on steamers and sent to Toronto.

Surely this envisioned entryway would cost less than $250,000. Hopefully, the remaining funds could be used in NOTL's many parks (Queen's Royal, Simcoe, Memorial, Rye, Ryerson, Queenston, Virgil, and St. Davids) to provide new plantings, benches and playground equipment.

Elizabeth Masson

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