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Niagara Falls
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Letter: Town passed its new official plan and now it’s up to region

Dear editor:

I am writing regarding the opinion piece, “Provincial changes mean town must allow secondary dwellings on NOTL properties,” (May 5), by Rainer Hummel, NOTL resident and developer of dozens of housing projects in Niagara Region.

If Mr. Hummel wishes to cast aspersions on the functioning of the municipal governance of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake he should check his facts, and I would expect The Lake Report should have done its due diligence with respect to the facts.

Perhaps you forgot The Lake Report’s own headline coverage on the front page on Aug. 22, 2019, “It’s official: NOTL adopts New Official plan, 25 years later.”

That new official plan was adopted by council Oct. 22, 2019, and duly submitted to the Region of Niagara early in 2020 and as Mr. Hummel, and surely your experienced political reporters, should know the region has held up approval of all new municipal official plans until it has finalized its own new regional official plan and obtained provincial approval of its own conformity with provincial laws and policy statements.

Interestingly Section 10.13.1 in the new Niagara-on-the-Lake official plan speaks specifically to “the development of second residential units provides opportunities to increase the supply of affordable rental accommodation in the town.”

If Mr. Hummel had tuned in to the most recent town council meeting, he would know of Scott Robinson’s excellent presentation and that council is proceeding to incorporate provisions for secondary dwellings in the bylaw review and update currently underway to simplify the process so residents will not have to go through a confusing, costly process to create such units.

Perhaps Mr. Hummel’s lawsuit against the town for having the temerity to issue an interim control bylaw to pause development after getting elected in 2018, on the platform of producing the new official plan clouded his memory of its passing.

One would have thought Justice James Ramsay’s comments in dismissing that suit “that council wanted to preserve the Old Town’s heritage and considered the matter urgent, freezing the status quo, considering studies and public input amending the official plan and then repealing the interim bylaw, that was essentially what they were supposed to do” would have refreshed his memory.

Bob Bader


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