I am not an advocate for developer Benny Marotta.
I have never met the gentleman, any of his family members or, to my knowledge, any of his employees.
Mr. Marotta has been the poster child for the many local builders regularly ridiculed by opponents of development.
One recent letter wondered about his plans for all the properties he owns in Niagara-on-the-Lake. A simple answer might be: “Developers develop.”
Land ownership is their currency – it’s how they stay in business.
My father was a home builder and developer. As a then-naive youth I once questioned why he decided to purchase a farm.
“You are a home builder, not a farmer,” I said.
“Today a farm, within five years a residential development” was his reply. “Without land to develop, I’d be out of business.”
The federal and provincial governments have all, in concert, agreed that there is a critical housing shortage in Canada.
Accordingly, we will likely witness an unimaginable building explosion over the next five to 15 years. The Golden Horseshoe and NOTL will not be spared and some communities might become unrecognizable as a result.
Visionary tenured developers have positioned themselves to meet this challenge. Marotta (Solmar), Gatta Homes, Hummel Properties and others fit this category.
Rather than fight the inevitable growth and be in constant conflict with developers, we should work in concert with them to achieve a common goal of continuing enhancements to our community.
Litigation and the attendant extended development horizons, increases the cost of the end product to the consumer and contributes to inflationary housing costs.
If “timing is everything,” I would suggest this is not the time to aggressively challenge developers.
Finally, for a reader to suggest our new lord mayor and deputy mayor are in the hip pockets of the developers is being disingenuous at best.
Where would NOTL be today without developers? Think of the Shaw and wineries, among others.
Many in town are living in the past instead of embracing the future while preserving the past.
Delaying development will just inevitably mean even higher prices for buyers.