I am writing in response to your gloomy article, “In-depth: How new Ontario law curtails town’s power over development,” (The Lake Report, Feb. 23).
It cited the probability of our Niagara-on-the Lake council losing control of planning protections due to Bill 23, which would, if realized, cast a pall over long-held hopes of residents and 50 years of town planning to protect “the home of early Canadian history” that people from across the country and around the world come to see, learn about, enjoy and respect.
Then in a most welcome contrast, your March 9 edition featured an op-ed article (“Bill 23 doesn’t curtail town’s say on development,”) by Niagara Foundation president Lyle Hall, who clearly pointed out the misconceptions in the earlier article.
More importantly, he challenged town council and NOTL planning staff to use all the planning tools at their disposal to fight, and possibly win, at an Ontario Land Tribunal hearing.
With this in mind, surely our lord mayor and council will rise to the occasion and turn down the precedent-setting four-storey King Street hotel and Mary Street condo development proposals.
After all, Ontario politicians, planners and the public know a crucial provincial aim is affordable housing, not hotels and high-end condominiums.
As well, Region of Niagara planners have stated several times over the past three years that they are counting on the well-planned Glendale community to provide for housing – including apartments – to substantially fill Niagara-on-the-Lake’s projected 16,000 population increase to 2051.
For NOTL council to champion this view and win at the Ontario Land Tribunal would be a setback for local developers who are hoping to cash in on the supposed Bill 23 open door.
But far more importantly, it would be a win-win situation for those all across Niagara-on-the-Lake who care about history, environment, tourism, jobs and community spirit.