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Dec. 3, 2021 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Why did committee give developer extension to do needed work?

Dear editor:

Regarding your story, "Most repairs to Rand Estate delayed till May," Oct. 14: Is it simply a case of naivety, reluctance due to a lack of resolve or perhaps even obstructionism?

It is not clear to me, although others probably have their own opinion.

However, we have an appeals committee that agrees to a delay and postponement of a Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake order (with perhaps more to come after another meeting on Nov. 23) so as to accommodate a contradictory developer whose past record is well-documented and raises the serious question of trust, ("Randwood owner denies demolition by neglect," The Lake Report, July 11, 2019.)

The whole issue of heritage values and their preservation that led to the NOTL order in the first place has been created by Benny Marotta's negative attitude and to his deliberate neglect (contrary to his previous and contradictory statements) of the Rand Estate properties.

So why this accommodation? After all, the record shows he has owned the property since 2017 and claims in the meantime to have carefully maintained it.

Given his proposal for high-density housing and a hotel at the site, it is not difficult to see the obvious tactics in his appeal of the order.

Heritage preservation is not in his development plans and is obviously an impediment to him. The record to date is really self-evident and the necessary repair work specified in the order is completely due to his neglect. So again, why the accommodation?

This committee of adjustment has an obligation to demonstrate a firm resolve in facing this aggressive and contradictory developer in the preservation of an iconic and valuable heritage asset for the benefit of all residents.

Otherwise it will probably disappear, or at the very least become unrecognizable, which would be an immeasurable loss to everyone.

In my opinion, Solmar Developments cannot be relied upon to carry out its obligations promptly under this order unless it is absolutely forced to do so.

Derek Collins