Letter to the editor 1, Nov. 21, 2019

Open letter to Hudson Mayor Jamie Nicholls and councillors

I am writing you with extreme concern about Hudson’s proposed zoning changes to multiple properties.

This 30-metre buffer zone will adversely affect many including my mother’s property at 467 Wellesley.

In her case your proposed rezoning will encompass her entire house, workshop/garage, and some of her front yard. Note that her land is well above the stream she overlooks. In elevation, I estimate her house sits a good 25 feet above the flood zone.

The harm this will do to her investment is untold. As your urbanist stated in the consultation meeting regarding this new proposed law, should her house or workshop suffer catastrophic damage, she would not be permitted to rebuild. In addition, any grass cutting, flower beds, ornamental shrubbery etc. would not be permitted to be maintained or trimmed, either at the front or back of her house.

I believe that if the Pine Lake damn was maintained and honoured in the legal contract the town signed, her house would likely have a value of well over $1 million in today’s market. She now faces further erosion of the value of her home if not total devaluation. Would a bank give a mortgage to a home that essentially could become irreplaceable?

How would insurance be affected? Would it change her policy to high risk? Would her septic system (in front) be repairable/replaceable in the future?

She, up to now, has not wished to pursue legal action against the town regarding breach of contract concerning Pine Lake but this by-law will be a tipping point. She is the only surviving property owner who signed the Pine Lake association’s agreement to turn over the management of the lake to the town for no less that one dollar. This contract, in its entirety, was accepted with the intent of protecting the homeowners surrounding the lake. With this new proposed encroachment buffer by-law, if it passes, the tipping point will be reached. We will fight tooth and nail to protect our family home and investment.

The actions – and lack of actions – by the Town of Hudson has caused undue stress to our family.

We are supportive of plans and proposals that would preserve our natural local ecological environment. The natural setting is why we moved here in the first place.

With Pine Lake in mind, the beautiful balanced ecosystem has already been breached with the loss of the lake. My parents used to have multiple species of song birds, waterfowl , predator birds , mink , otter, beaver, frogs, fish, turtles, newts and salamander, fox and deer, not to mention some unique and protected fauna which I think has been lost.

The stream at the back of her house used to be wide across to ‘Olson’s Point’ where as a youth I spent many house canoeing the lake. At that time we could launch from her back yard.

This feature was lost many years ago with the silt fill that washed in. The last two times the lake was dredged they did not dredge her section. If you look at the town’s Pine Lake map on the website the ‘new’ lost lake area is represented. Her section is no longer a boggy area, the ground is firm. It is only wet for a short period after flooding rains or the spring melt. The water course that remains is a small stream 99 per cent of the year, and a flood zone for the remaining one per cent. We were greatly saddened to witness this loss.

Furthermore, my extreme concern extends to the manner in which this proposed zoning by-law is being hidden from those directly affected, which is deplorable. The rezoning map is almost illegible and has been shared on a few Facebook groups of which most residents do not necessarily have access to. It is not published on the town’s website.

At the town’s recent public meeting it was not described on the notice as a major rezoning to hundreds of residents.

The honourable thing would be to send all affected residents a registered letter with a clear and legible map to their individual property along with a detailed explanation of what the rezoning would do to the usability and value of their homes and land. Then invite all to a public consultation before any vote should be considered.

In closing, I feel the town has surely identified items that could be worked on to improve and protect our natural surroundings. Number one would be to bring the town’s sewer system to the areas already identified as sensitive wetlands and bogs. Prior to the public meeting I talked with Councillor Rikley-Krindle and he identified degrading asphalt roofs as a major pollutant to our sensitive ecosystem. Perhaps the town could entertain a positive stance in this by negotiating a creative federal grant backed subsidy to replace asphalt roofs with metal or more modern Tesla glass roof tile. A re-roofing project could likely be one that would bring wide support and standing to the town for initiating a positive and publicly supportable commitment to the environment rather than a combative sneaky land control grab from the taxpaying residents.

Regards,

Jen Baumeister on behalf of my family and mother, Susan Mercer

Hudson

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