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Niagara Falls
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Letter: Zalepa didn’t declare Rand conflict during 2011 rezoning vote
Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa says he has a conflict of interest on the Rand Estate.

Dear editor:

Despite Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa explaining why he has not participated in any discussions concerning development at Randwood, he has failed to convince me that his recusal is necessary, (“Zalepa following legal advice in declaring conflict on Rand,” The Lake Report, Jan. 18).

Mr. Zalepa lives at the corner of Charlotte Street and the Promenade. None of his property lines border the Rand Estate and the nearest section of the Randwood wall is about 200 feet away.

In 2011, when he was a town councillor, Mr. Zalepa lived in the same house on Charlotte.

Yet he voted that year when the official plan and zoning amendments to change Randwood from residential to commercial zoning came before the council without even a mention of the fact that he lived nearby.

I would like to know why he felt he didn’t have to declare a non-pecuniary reclusion in 2011 but does so in 2024.

In 2011, Mr. Zalepa and other councillors met several times with residents of Christopher Street and Weatherstone Court who were decidedly against the zoning change.

Each time, he assured the concerned residents that he would vote against the change.

However, at the meeting in December, he voted in favour of it along with councillors Collard, Dick and Flynn. Councillors Bau-Coote, Kaiser, King and Mazza opposed it.

With a 4-4 tie, Lord Mayor Dave Eke broke the tie by voting in favour (and notably failed to win in the next election).

If Mr. Zalepa had recused himself in 2011, the official plan and zoning changes would not have occurred.

And it is very unlikely that Benny Marotta would have bought the Randwood property if those changes had not been approved, thereby saving the town the millions of dollars it has spent and will spend on litigation brought by Marotta.

Elizabeth Masson

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