I am writing in response to the letter from Blair Cowan, (“Let’s share NOTL with others who want to be here,” March 9), in which he asks: “How come people are against sharing our beautiful town …”
No one is against sharing.
Issues around development have never been about that and it’s time to shut down such an erroneous and divisive narrative.
Productive discussion is not served by Manichean thinking or such disingenuous claims. Opposition to an inappropriate project hardly means people don’t want to share.
Niagara-on-the-Lake enjoys a unique status and wonderful features – lots of golden eggs. Future development is about ensuring responsible, contextual projects that don’t kill the goose.
NOTL is rich in non-renewable history and heritage and remarkable geography, plus so much more.
So far we’ve seen a number of lazy proposals that disrespect and erode the very features that allow this area to thrive.
It’s also apparent that the attempt to waste valuable resources through disrespectful action is on the table. And it doesn’t matter what the developer’s name is.
In this information age, there is no excuse for poor design or the failure to recognize larger implications. Long after a developer walks away with their profit, the town is left with the aftermath of their work, both good and bad.
Peller’s proposal for Riverbend is a beautifully conceived project in a great location that makes sense. The attempt to put a hotel of mediocre design on a site targeted for a community facility does not.
High-priced condos are more likely to end up as short-term rentals than a home for a full-time resident. The height, mass and density of the proposed building disrespects existing bylaws and flies in the face of all that makes NOTL so attractive in the first place.
If someone truly loves this town, do something that won’t be an infrastructure and tax burden for citizens. Make it beautiful to look at, with the kind of openness and landscaping NOTL is known for.
The Shaw needs affordable accommodation for actors and staff, as does the hospitality industry; citizens need a clinic and wellness facilities. There are many possibilities.
At the very least, recognize and respect the beauty and deep history and heritage of Ontario’s first seat of government. Propose better.
My hope is that as a new member of the town’s urban design committee I can work with others to help the community gain clarity of NOTL’s official plan and vision for the future while steering growth and development in a manner that continues to respect this important historic region.
Contrary to what Mr. Cowan claims, this resident is happy to share. Just please don’t make a mess.