Letter to the editor 3, Nov. 6, 2014

Dear Editor,

I read your article titled ‘Vaudreuil-Dorion residents unhappy with campground development’ (Your Local Journal, October 30) with great interest as I live directly opposite the site. Thankfully, the illegal clear-cutting of the site last week will now perhaps make both citizens and the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion pay a little more attention to the plans and intentions of the owners. When I moved here the campsite already existed and I have no problem with the continued operation of a seasonal, well-managed campsite.

However, even on the owner’s own website promoting the project, these units are described in English as “Caravan-Houses.” The term “house” is important. To my (admittedly limited) understanding, the owners could only ever build one house with a foundation on that piece of land. Yet, it appears acceptable to both the developer and city that 31 Caravan- houses –without a foundation - be “built” on the site.

If the site is deemed suitable to support only one house’s occupants, water requirements, sewage, and parking space requirements how can it be also deemed acceptable for 31 owners with presumably 31 vehicles, 31 toilets and 31 wells? Socially and visually, how does this physical concept fi t with the very tight limitations now placed on the other residents of the street in this “protected” neighbourhood should we want to build extensions or even change the colour of the house siding?

Yet, the city’s Comité consultatif d’urbanisme approved this project – without, to my knowledge, any consultation with the residents affected. There are also other issues that make me question the rationale of the project. For many months, the site did not mention that the owners of these “houses” would not be allowed to live there in winter (this has now been rectified following pressure from the city).

Yet, the website very clearly emphasizes that the houses are “insulated for four seasons.” Why would a buyer pay the additional expense if he/she never expects to be able to occupy it in winter? Or, do they expect 31 owners to have a certain weight with the city to get some changes made to that provision in the future? Or, do they suspect the city will not act anyway come October each year?

Again, on the owner’s own website, the question is posed “Do you want to own your own chalet?” Is a chalet not a type of house? What do I know? It also needs to be asked how a marina for, presumably, 31 possible boats, can possibly fi t into the Ministry of Environment’s plans for protecting the waterways and local nature.

In my opinion, the only way such a marina can operate is if the river bed is deepened. Would that be allowed? It would seem to go against everything I have heard in recent years – but, even putting the Charbonneau Commission aside, stranger things have happened. I can only hope that the City and the Ministry of Environment now hold the owners of the project tightly accountable for their plans, intentions and actions and that the vision of this neighbourhood as being protected includes protection for the citizens who live here. Time will tell.

Yours Sincerely,

Mark Hollingworth