Letter to the editor 1, Feb. 23, 2017

Dear residents of Hudson,

I was unable to attend the February 16 ‘Information Session’ concerning Sandy Beach, but I was able to receive the Nicanco Holdings prepared documents; the written handout ‘Pine Beach Project’ and the new 2017 proposed site plan. The handout is written as if it is clearly answering questions of concern, but does it?

Has the town really ‘approved’ this project? I don’t think so. The town may have approved a project with 217 dwelling units, but that is a far cry from a building permit. They say they transferred a ‘park area’ of 19.14% of the land to the town, but I believe this area is actually about 100% wetlands, is in the 20 year flood plain, includes the Vivery River and is totally unbuildable.

I would say the area is more of a nuisance than a hardship for Nicanco. I am unclear about why the project was ‘interrupted.’ To find out would probably cost a lot in legal fees. All I can think of is that a developer knows that while he is waiting to develop a project, the value of the land only goes up and up. Not such a bad thing after all.

The part about the MMC plan allowing the project to jump from 217 units to 738 units is certainly a stretch of the facts. It is my understanding that the MMC regulations are not rigid and have all sorts of adjustments in the required number of units that can be made due to areas of interest, heritage sites, conservation issues, existing infrastructure, and the existing, special character of a town that should be protected. I also believe the town is still working on their new zoning plan along with the conservation plan, neither which has been fully reviewed or approved by the residents. Then there is the paragraph which has all sorts of numbers suggesting Nicanco is a white knight ‘transferring or protecting.’ Really?

I have worked with a number of developers and they usually don’t do anything they don’t have to, ever. Nicanco also says we are going to get all of this ‘without the town having to spend a cent.’ Didn’t I just read somewhere that the town will be spending $250,000 on improvements to the beach? Finally we get to the ‘benefits’ for the residents. I believe the ‘permanent’ nature park is unbuildable land Nicanco couldn’t use and didn’t want. I believe the ‘permanent’ access is a very narrow stretch of land which is mostly in the water, is owned by Nicanco and is subject to conditions they determine. I haven’t seen anything that says Nicanco can’t or won’t change the conditions of the ‘servitude.’

Has anyone seen a document that clearly shows 5,000 linear feet (almost a mile) of ‘public’ walking paths? We already have regulations protecting trees. As far as I know, approval can’t be given for a project of this size without sufficient sewers or water. Then the part I love; ‘generating $500,000 in taxes.’ Even if this project ever happens, which I hope it doesn’t, the addition of ‘about’ 300 dwelling units will require significant increases of town services from additional employees, to increased strain on our infrastructure, to snow removal, and to school classrooms.

I don’t believe there has ever been a residential development which has resulted in a decrease in property taxes no matter what the developer promises or much more tax revenue it generates. Finally, I believe we had a $500,000 surplus last year. Great!

This means we shouldn’t need to destroy a jewel of the town, a place enjoyed by residents and out-of-towners drawn to the beach for solitude and to commune with nature, a place that adds value to all of our properties and our town. I urge everyone concerned about this potentially disastrous impact on our town to write your councillor, the mayor, MNA, and especially to TPAC today, February 23 before they meet to discuss this project.

Please don’t let this become a project that you are told was approved at a special meeting or caucus. Make your concerns heard, demand more transparency and input by open meetings with real dialogue which results in real change.

Don’t forget, this is ‘your’ town and you deserve a right to decide its future.

Many thanks,

Richard Grinnell

Hudson

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