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Niagara Falls
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Letter: Marotta should sell off part of Parliament Oak to town group
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

On July 13, in an op-ed piece (“A hotel is only option to preserve public access,“) the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Lake Report, Richard Harley, stated that council should allow the developer of the Parliament Oak property to break the bylaws of the town and approve a monstrous hotel because it’s the only way to justify the price he paid for the land.

Certainly, council and the community have no responsibility to ensure that the developer will maximize the profitability of his investments. Changing the bylaws might be in developer Benny Marotta’s best interests but it would definitely not be in the community’s best interests.

As an aside, Mr. Harley waxes poetically about the public greenspace but, as the proposed hotel has insufficient parking, I fear the pretty little parkette on Regent Street would soon be paved over.

The most environmentally unfriendly act in development is to tear down existing usable buildings, taking huge piles of debris to the landfill and then manufacturing new materials for the new construction — which creates more pollution and destroys our natural resources.

I think the developer should consider selling the existing school site to a community group to be reused as a badly needed community hub and a school.

He could then retain the balance of the land facing Regent, Gage and King streets and develop it into single-family residential lots.

An existing community group had offered the same $8 million to purchase the property from the previous owner but that company sold it to Marotta, probably just to spite the town for not approving its proposal.

I think that this community group might still be interested in acquiring the west side of the site, leaving the other three streets available for Marotta to develop as housing.

This would yield a significant profit for the developer, who could get credit for giving the town what it needs.

Wayne Murray

Editor’s note: The July 13 op-ed piece did not suggest the town should break any bylaws (or change any zoning) because of the amount of money paid for the property. What was suggested is that anyone who expects the developer to build a community hub or similar institution after paying $8 million for the property is not in touch with reality. The op-ed made several other coherent points about why council should allow a hotel on the property and how residents should fight instead to ensure the greenspace is kept as promised. To suggest we said the town should change laws to help the developer is incorrect.

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