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Jul. 7, 2020 | Tuesday
Local News
Residents attended the courthouse to show support for town
One of the stone arch entrances to the Rand Estate. (FIle photo/Dariya Baiguzhiyeva)

Richard Maxwell, who lives on the Promenade, not far from the Rand Estate, was among dozens of NOTL residents who packed the courtroom Monday and Tuesday to watch the proceedings over the future of the historic Old Town property.

For Maxwell, and many of the others, it was important to be in the St. Catharines court “just to show support for SORE,” the residents group that’s joined the town’s legal battle against the proposal by Solmar Development Corp. and Two Sisters Resort Corp.

“And I don’t like what they’re going to do with the Randwood Estate. It’s totally wrong to have a seven-eight storey hotel and 400 cars parked in that area,” said Maxwell.

His major concerns with the project are “oversight on houses, the traffic increase that’s going to come along. There’s going to be an entrance off Charlotte Street and then John Street. It’s just not appropriate for the area.”

He said he’s also not impressed with the initial designs of the hotel, or the subdivision planned to go behind the development.

As of Tuesday afternoon he said as far as the court case was going, he thought the submissions were “marginally in SORE’s favour.”

“I think if (developer Benny Marotta) had gone along the lines of Trisha Romance, with a boutique hotel rather than a Holiday Inn, I don’t think he would have had any problems.”

The other thing he disagrees with is the “clear-cutting that was done,” he said.

“You could not see a building on the Rand Estate from the heritage trail. Now you can see everything,” he said.

Bob Bader, who also lives in the vicinity of the development, said he was also in the courtroom to support of the town and SORE.

“This is an important decision for the town and I think it’s good for the people of the town to support our council and mayor,” Bader said.

From what he heard in court he said he thinks the town’s argument is “very cogent.”

“I don’t see how the judge can rule any way other than for dismissing the motion. Apparently from what the lawyer was saying, it doesn’t make any sense that we’re even here.”

He said the main thing that convinced him the town will win is “simply that the notice of intention to designate is not a bylaw.”

“The process has been skewed from day one, because the developer seems to think that he can push everybody around, including the citizens, council and our mayor. And it’s nice to see that we’re actually banding together and saying, ’No, there’s a process.’ “

If the property owners object to the town’s plan for a historical designation for the site, then they should take their fight to the Conservation Review Board, he said. “And then maybe you can work with the town in the recommendations of the (board).”

“It’s dumb as far as I’m concerned,” Bader said.

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