Clear up some misconceptions

Seaway News

Dear editor,

We would like to clear up some misconceptions about an article in the Seaway News (M.P. Eric Duncan to Transport Canada: Stop Blocking Major Housing Project in Cornwall).

We were pleased to be able to meet with M.P. Eric Duncan and he was able to fill us in on the frustrating process of dealing with Transport Canada, that seems unwilling to even respond to the City for an answer on the status of its request for the small sliver of land required to permit road access to the proposed development. We acknowledge his efforts to resolve this matter as it constitutes a roadblock to Council making a decision on the development application.

While this is an important hurdle to overcome before any more time and effort is put into the development proposal, either by the City or the developer, it is important to acknowledge that the proposal itself should not simply be rubber stamped once the Transport Canada Lands are transferred.

The real issue here, that the press release has not acknowledged, is that the City has received major objections to the project and for good planning reasons. The developer has applied for major exemptions from all the local zoning requirements, including height (higher than the two existing chimney stacks), setbacks, green space, and parking requirements. In a nutshell, the proposal is way too big for the site, way too big for Cornwall and will disfigure our precious waterfront, that unlike many other cities, has remained free from ugly highrise development.

The question for City Council is, if major zoning relief is given to this project, then other developers would logically demand the same relief, leading to a wild west for the development process.

We urge the Seaway News to report on the planning reviews provided to the Planning Advisory Committee so that your readers can become fully informed about the magnitude of this proposal and the reasons why it should be denied.

This is a good location for housing but not at the scale proposed. Transport Canada needs to provide a timely transfer of the necessary lands and if the developers bring a more reasonable proposal that is within the current zoning, then indeed, the project could proceed without delay.

John Towndrow,
Stephen Alexander,
Glen Grant,
Manuel Stevens,

Cornwall, Ontario

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