I want to applaud Brian Marshall for his Oct. 19 column, “Embracing Glendale through a more inspired design,” where he questioned the rationale of approving four highrises up to 25 storeys high on the White Oaks property.
He went on to ask how equitable it is to have Niagara on the Green serve as a “sacrificial lamb” for this type of metropolitan development.
He recognized how such changes will inevitably alter the Niagara on the Green neighbourhood and landscape.
As he said, it will stand out as an “island of typical GTA urban suburbia isolated from the rest of the town by its completely different character and severed from the rural/natural landscape of Niagara-on-the-Lake by dint of the development’s dominant, up-thrusting, inner-city design.”
Not only will this design alter the Glendale neighbourhood, I believe it will permanently alter all of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
This issue is not isolated to just the Niagara on the Green area. It impacts us all.
As we see NOTL’s population increase in size and expand in future years, the settlement areas in NOTL will eventually blend together where the borders will be indistinguishable, just as we have witnessed elsewhere in the Niagara region.
So we need to ask ourselves if this is how we want to grow.
Similar to Mr. Marshall, I am not opposed to development in Glendale; however, the White Oaks proposal, in my opinion, significantly conflicts with the collective cultural and tourist-focused reputation on which our community thrives.
Town leaders have an opportunity to envisage and approve a future for all of Niagara-on-the-Lake that preserves the historical feel of our buildings, fosters community pride and encourages further tourism as a destination that differs from other communities.
Furthermore, they need to ensure that future development is aligned with the Glendale secondary plan to “establish a preamble to Old Town that reinforces and enhances Niagara-on-the-Lake’s image to visitors.”
As Mr. Marshall wrote, development should “integrate Glendale into the general NOTL community that reaches out into the natural and rural character of our landscape” that we know and love.
Anything that deviates from this is shortsighted and detrimental to our whole NOTL community.
These monumental decisions will impact the future of our town forever. Let’s do it right.
Niagara on the Green