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Niagara Falls
Saturday, July 13, 2024
Letter of the Week: Let’s focus on realistic solutions, not just opposition
A rendering of the proposed four-storey hotel at 228 Queen St. HUMMEL PROPERTIES INC.

Dear editor:

The battle of the Titans vs. the NOTLers continues unabated.

The Titans want big hotels, big event venues, high-end condos, affluent customers, high traffic.

NOTLers want none of that.

What do the NOTLers want? Perhaps what they want is for nothing to change.

If that is the case, it’s clear an agreement between the Titans and the NOTLers will continue to elude us.

But if the NOTLers are willing to recognize the need and accept residential and commercial development to proceed, what would that development look like?

As a fellow resident I would guess single-detached housing or attached housing might be acceptable, so long as its architecture and landscape planning fits with the surroundings.

The impasse between the two camps is: size, height and density of project proposed. And in some cases architectural design.

The Titans want more hotels, more convention centres, more parking.

What the NOTLers should wish for is more housing — more affordable housing — that would enrich and diversify our aged community.

But frankly the more vociferous among them hardly speak of that. Their message is simply a loud and angry push back on what the Titans are proposing.

No reasonable alternatives are considered or proposed that I know of.

We had a developer who was planning on building a three-storey condominium complex on King Street. He was turned down and scared away.

Let’s look at what is happening now with that very parcel of land. A proposed four-storey hotel, with much higher density of traffic and commercial business.

I ask you: Why was the original developer scared away by our vociferous group? Why were we not able to reach an agreement with that builder?

I, for one, would have approved of a tasteful housing project in the midst of our heritage town rather than one more gaudy and pretentious-looking four-storey hotel.

At this point I must confess that in spite of their best intentions and efforts, the group of residents who show up and speak up at meetings have put but a small dent on the development of this town.

Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

It’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over again. The Titans have money, power, connections and lawyers who know how to circumvent local challenges.

It is time for all of us residents to come together and to agree on a realistic, mutually beneficial and livable plan.

Development will continue as it must, unless we believe we are residents on “The Truman Show.”

The question is size, density, type of development. Yes, those factors are important. Yet we need to recognize that both residential and commercial developments will continue.

Developers are seeking the best return on their investment. We are seeking the best possible outcome for our community. And let’s not forget that the best outcome for our community could mean better economic returns.

Let’s be frank, most of us will not be around 30 years from now. What legacy, if any, are we leaving to this community?

We need more young people, more children in our community if we want NOTL to survive.

The alternative is “The Truman Show,” or to put it in actual terms, 30 years from now this will be a ghost town where people come to take pictures and buy an ice cream.

They may even come to stay overnight and imagine how life might have been 50 years before.

Folks, development of vacant land will happen whether we like it or not. We need to be part of a planning committee with ideas and acceptable compromises.

Three-storey condominiums should be acceptable compromises, as should three-storey commercial developments.

Why can’t we agree on that?

Lydia Madonia

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