• James Armstrong

Preserving Hudson’s Sandy Beach and forest


PHOTO BY RODNEY LORICA

Residents of Hudson are presenting their concerns to elected officials asking them to try and find a way to save a stretch of pristine shoreline from possible development, preferably by purchasing it from the landowner.

Sandy Beach was a high on the agenda for those in attendance at the Hudson Town Council meeting on Monday, February 6. Resident Eva McCartney asked council if they recognize that some Hudsonites that have signed a petition want council to find a way to purchase the Sandy Beach property. “We have 10 per cent of the eligible voters in Hudson who have signed the petition,” said McCartney, referring to a petition initiated by Richard Grinnell asking council to hold a town-wide referendum on purchasing Sandy Beach. McCartney pointed out that in the last municipal election there were 4100 eligible voters in Hudson.

Pro-Mayor Deborah Woodhead, who was chairing the meeting in place of Mayor Ed Prévost, responded council was very aware of residents’ concerns about purchasing the property to preserve Sandy Beach. “In terms of a referendum, this is privately owned property, and Mr. Muhlegg (property owner and developer) has been attempting to do this (housing development) project for many years, “ said Woodhead. She noted the developer has met all of the demands the town has made over the years in terms of conservation studies and allocation of green space to the town. “He has given the town more green space than he had to,” she added.

McCartney replied she understands the owner has an interest in selling the property and negotiations should be opened. She also said funding for purchasing the property could come from other sources rather than directly taxing citizens.

Councillor Nicole Durand suggested it would be a good idea to wait until Muhlegg and his urban planner had a chance to present their project to the public on Thursday, February 16. That presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Center. “ I was going to suggest that we see their plan before we decide that it something we absolutely do not want,” added Woodhead.

IMAGE YLJ GRAPHICS

Hudson resident Jamie Nicholls challenged Hudson Town Council on the perceived value of Sandy Beach and the adjoining forest (outlined in red in the photo above) versus the municipal evaluation of the property in its entirety.

Resident Jamie Nicholls said the municipal evaluation for the main wooded lot is $1,561,100 and asked that council confirm that nothing had changed. “For the past year, I’ve heard the sum of $15 million bandied about by council and I thought this was the value of the property,” said Nicholls adding that council shouldn’t be promoting the developer’s price. “I find it disingenuous and I don’t think it was done purposely, but the citizens of this town believe that is what the property is worth,” Nicholls continued. Woodhead responded that it was the price the developer wanted for the property. “Precisely, and by repeating that you are lobbying for the developer,” replied Nicholls. “There is negotiation that can be done here,” he added.

Snow and Salt

Victoria Henderson reported that salt was being spread unnecessarily on streets in the vicinity of her home. Director General Jean-Pierre Roy replied he takes her report seriously and would verify the situation with those responsible. Jamie Nicholls asked if there had been any progress made on the salt management report. Goldenberg replied council had decided to tackle the snow removal situation first. “We are looking at the feasibility of an in-house snow removal program, whether or not it is cost effective,” he said.

Grant Applications

Council approved the hiring of Simon Coriveau for the task of pursuing grants and subsidies for infrastructure improvement projects. The contract period is 12 months with Coriveau at a basic cost of $58,500 with a ceiling of $65,000.* The price tag includes three possible bonuses for the successful completion of three projects at a rate of $2000 per project.

*Editor's note: The printed version of this story erroneously states the salary ceiling is $86,000. Your Local Journal regrets the error.

Mayfair Project

Council approved the second drafts of amendments to three by-laws. Two of the by-laws pertaining to zoning, 679-2016 and 680-2016 were published for public registry and garnered enough signatures to warrant a referendum. “The referendum is for a very specific area,” said Woodward. It will be for the residents in the Hudson Valleys development and will include properties bordering the Mayfair project. Changes to zoning by-laws would allow the subdivision of lots and the construction of semi-detached residences. The 12 lots are located on Mayfair Street in the Hudson Valleys development.

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