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Niagara Falls
Friday, June 14, 2024
Letter: Hoping new council will be open to discussions on development
Letter. Supplied

Dear editor:

A dark cloud has been lifted from Niagara-on-the-Lake.

After four years of constant criticism and a lack of communication with the town, smearing of my family on social media and in the community, I hope the new council will be open to more communication.

Over the last four years, groups like SORE (Save Our Rand Estate), backed by Lord Mayor Betty Disero, have been ruthless to my family.

SORE representatives have used words like “grotesque” and “criminal” to describe my family’s plans.

What kind of individuals personally attack an entire family without knowing them or ever really having a continued conversation on the issue, all over a development proposal?

SORE and Disero fought us at every turn, creating constant roadblocks and never made the effort to sit down as members of the community and business owners to come to a resolution so we could all identify what is in the best interest of the town overall.

We have gone through the application processes and provided updates on our plans, often to just be ignored by the town and the mayor.

Based on the election results, the majority of NOTL residents agreed that change was needed.

Congratulations to our new Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa.

In the end, communication is what’s needed. That never happened with Disero. She never once sat down with me in the past four years to discuss the Rand proposal and/or come up with a solution. As a family company, we were open to adapting our plans.

It’s not a surprise.

She ran her 2018 election campaign against me personally and she couldn’t be seen having conversations with someone she used for her campaign’s agenda.

Instead of protecting the town’s and the taxpayers’ interests, she protected the interests and the agenda of her supporters (SORE).

That is not good behaviour for a town’s mayor whose sole focus should be what is in the best interests of the entire community.

By acting in such a hostile manner, Disero and SORE lost the election.

All she did was pile on legal fees and chaos. It has cost the town and myself a fortune and accomplished nothing but heartache and division.

It was not fair and just.

We hope the bullying tactics, harassment, defamation and insults used by social media groups that favour Disero will come to an end now.

To disagree and challenge something is one thing. However, to attack and defame and spread misinformation is extremely dangerous behaviour that has shown the level of intolerance of a small group of community members.

Cultural heritage aspects of the Rand Estates have and will always be respected as they relates to what is best for the use and the overall landscape plan we are designing. We hope to improve on what is currently there so it continues to flourish over time and continues to be a landmark.

We take great pride in everything that we do as a family-owned and operated company and for someone to assume that we have such disregard for the beautiful heritage landscape and properties that we own and have paid for is disparaging and disappointing.

So, we as a family look forward to working with the new mayor and council to propose and bring forward what we think will be beautiful additions to our town.

And we are looking forward to keeping the dialogue open and ongoing.

Benny Marotta

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