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Niagara Falls
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Letter: We already have plenty of quality hotels in NOTL
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

Councillors who voted for the Marotta hotel referred to an unapproved draft tourism report stating we need more high-quality hotels in Old Town.

Yet Tripadvisor just named the 25 best hotels in all of Canada and Niagara-on-the-Lake has four of them. More than Toronto. And we need more? Obviously a flawed report.

This report also says we need more general commercial zoning, yet there are thousands of square feet available at the Village, commercial zoning at the intersection of Mary and Mississauga streets can be extended in almost every direction as it’s an area in transition to commercial.

Plus there are already several sites in town available for hotels such as at the Village and Peller Winery, Pillar and Post, Charles Inn, Rainer Hummel’s approved site, the vacant hotel property on Ricardo beside Queen’s Landing and the land beside the Shaw Club Hotel on Picton.

The hospital site is also ideal for a hotel as it’s beside two hotels and the Shaw Festival Theatre. It’s obvious that the worst site to develop and rezone is the school site.

The character and charm of the town is a result of previous developers following the rules, which limited all building heights to three storeys.

This hotel will be at least 19 metres high or equivalent to a seven-storey building with 2.7-metre floor to floor heights. It shouldn’t be allowed anywhere but Glendale and the QEW, and certainly not beside two-storey heritage homes in Old Town.

In 2017, council and staff had the rare opportunity to study and recommend the best way the school site should be used and zoned for the benefit of the community.

This recommendation would be explained to the owner of the land so they wouldn’t waste time on incompatible uses, heights or zoning.

It appears, however, that the developers have prepared designs for the most inappropriate buildings possible for a residential property.

The building is wrong in style (European Beaux Arts), in scale (twice the height of the existing major hotels), and in zoning (this land in the official plan is to be used for housing).

The community should demand an explanation from staff and council as to how they were influenced to make such egregious decisions.

If councillors think they were given more power through Bill 185, they should understand that it is a bill “cutting red tape to build more houses.” This hotel reduces the number of housing units in NOTL.

Wayne Murray
NOTL

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