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Niagara Falls
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Letter of the Week: Development, sure. But it must fit in
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

The comments by Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa and Coun. Maria Mavridis to counter the criticism by resident Bob Bader (published in a story June 20 headlined, “Mayor and councillor push back against hotel criticism”) are not at all convincing.

In fact, they are simply self-serving comments, in many cases irrelevant, and made to justify their voting decision.

As Mavridis has said, there are 19,000 residents in NOTL. However, what she does not say is that NOTL is not one community but is made up of several communities.

Each one has its own priorities as well as those that are common and council should recognize this when voting on a particular issue.

Old Town, for example, is the location of most heritage and historical assets which, to many residents, need protection from development.

However, Zalepa and Mavridis have not shown in any way by their comments that they have given any serious thought to or acted on any official plan heritage principles.

Nor can they really argue against basic common sense, which indicates the proposed hotel is not a good fit for the residential community and is not a benefit to the residents, even though as elected officials their obligation is to these people.

Mr. Bader’s comments are neither unfortunate nor offensive and his voice needs to be heard.

It reflects the opinion of many who see some on this council and the unelected staff as favouring developers and their constant demand for amendments to the official plan for their financial benefit.

They are not acting in the interest of the residents or of those trying hard  to protect the heritage and historical value of NOTL.

This is not being anti-development, as some would like to claim, but it does call for development that is sensitive to the heritage and historical values of NOTL and the surrounding areas.

However, this is not a council that represents the opinion of the residents, as recent events have shown.

This council knows it has a moral responsibility to represent residents in all matters concerning municipal affairs, including heritage issues that are unique to the Old Town.

This is not the case with Zalepa, Mavridis, Erwin Wiens, Wendy Cheropita or Adriana Vizzari, who are either unwilling or do not have the ability to fullfil this obligation or even use basic common sense when making important decisions.

This is shown in the online survey by The Lake Report that showed extremely low approval ratings for these individuals. With such low rates they clearly do not have the confidence of the electorate and should consider resigning.

Derek Collins

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