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Niagara Falls
Friday, July 12, 2024
Letter: Some intricacies of Randwood explained
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

I wish to comment on The Lake Report’s weekly articles on the Ontario Land Tribunal hearings into Randwood, starting with the April 18 issue.

Richard Hutton’s article says Leah Wallace worked for the town as a heritage and urban design planner from 2000 to 2012 and “was first retained by Two Sisters/Solmar back in 2017.”

The date 2012 is incorrect. Leah Wallace was the town’s heritage planner until her retirement in 2016 at which point Denise Horne, who testified on behalf of the town at the tribunal, took her place. 

Ms. Wallace became the heritage consultant for Solmar within a year of leaving the town’s employ.

The Lake Report’s April 25 issue talks of the testimony of a landscape architect retained by Solmar.

He stated that some of the structures the town has deemed of heritage value cannot be attributed to the Dunington-Grubbs, the well-known Ontario landscape architects.

There is an explanation for his statement. Many of the designs done by the husband-and-wife team, now in the University of Guelph archives, were not labelled. 

Leah Wallace, who studied the collection at Guelph in 2011, told me afterward that only a few of their designs were clearly labelled as being done for George Rand, the owner from 1919 to 1942. 

However, a number of others, she said, can be attributed to the Dunington-Grubbs because structures on the Rand Estate exactly replicate their designs.   

As to the appropriateness of using the so-called panhandle land as the access point to the proposed 191-unit Solmar development, I would like to explain why this narrow stretch of land exists.

Calvin Rand told me that, in 1991, when the front buildings on John Street were sold to William and Carol Fox, who used them to house the School of Philosophy, he realized he had no access to his family cottage, swimming pool and gardens.

He negotiated with the Foxes, who allowed him to buy the 18-metre-wide stretch of land between 176 and 210 John St.

Before Benny Marotta bought the back part of Randwood from Calvin Rand’s daughters, I occasionally walked, biked or drove down that strip of land.

Navigating it is difficult because there are a large number of trees and tree roots crossing the dirt laneway.  It is a shame that so many tall, mature trees may have to be cut down if Solmar refuses to agree to another entrance to the subdivision.

Before suspending the hearings until July 29, a tribunal member announced that a visit to the Rand Estate by the three hearing panel members had been cancelled. 

I certainly hope this does not mean they have made a decision before hearing all the testimony that will be provided by witnesses called by the town’s and SORE’s lawyers in July and August.

Elizabeth Masson

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