Letter to the editor 2, May 5, 2016
Amongst the jumble of ill-conceived, extravagant, and unnecessary projects in Hudson's new Strategic Plan, the construction of an Arts Centre at Jack Layton Park must surely be at the pinnacle.
This proposal would not only add more traffic and disruption to an already crowded "nature reserve" but would appear to be illegal on its face.
The proposed centre is within the 20-year flood plain, according to the town's own maps (Plan 6 to Bylaw 525, the Planning Bylaw). The town, under the general law, has no authority to change or ignore the 20-year rule.
No building may be erected in the flood zone, according to the town's own by-law (By-law 526, Zoning, s. 705 ff).
Therefore it is illegal to build the centre where planned.
Moreover, the proposed site is designated "Contaminated Land" on the Town's same Plan 6 (it was formerly an underground fuel oil storage depot).
Is this really where we want our adults and children to enjoy the arts?
And there is more. Assuming parking is needed, the Zoning By-law states that all parking lots must be "well-drained" (in the middle of a swamp in the flood zone?) and covered with "concrete, asphalt or interlocking bricks" (Bylaw 526, s.515).
The town is already in contravention of its own by-law, as the parking lot now at the park is not covered as required, but is rather a mixture of mud, gravel, potholes and dust.
The town would now have an unpalatable choice - continue to violate its own by-law or construct a vast and costly sea of concrete.
And so, a new Arts Centre to be built on contaminated land in the High-Velocity flood plain, in blatant violation of the town's own by-laws, and with parking nightmares - Is this really what the residents want and need?
Or, should we not clean up our finances and governance, restore and improve our basic infrastructure, and stop pretending to be something we are not?