Sounds kind of like that fantasy of a wall Donald Trump keeps yammering about
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted October 2nd, 2017 on Niagara At Large
What if yet another development firm floats yet another proposal to build a high-rise condo tower in the Niagara, Ontario lakeside community of Port Dalhousie, and few Niagara residents outside of those living in Port Dalhousie itself, pay much attention to it.
That pretty much sums up the way this Niagara residents, who got swept up some 13 or 14 years ago in the first proposal for a condo tower condo in Port Dalhousie, feels about the latest condo proposal that was the subject of a recent public meeting I chose not to attend in the Port town.
I mean, let’s face it. For people like me and for many heritage buffs across the Niagara region who were concerned about the fate of an officially designated ‘Heritage District’ in Port Dalhousie if a huge condo complex – assaulting a previous height restriction bylaw of about two and a half storeys by rising more than 20 storeys in the air – was constructed inside it, the horses left the barn on this issue.
They left within the last 10 or so years when one of the high-profile cornerstones of that heritage district – a Port Mansion hotel that arguably added significantly to the area’s historic character – was demolished to make way for whatever fantasy plan for a condo tower was on the books at the time.
I recall going to a number of the early public meetings for first condo tower being proposed – one that would rise practically 30 storeys in the sky above Port’s nice old stores, restaurants and houses – and one of the most frequently raised reasons a number of Port residents (many of them older residents in the area) raised for supporting the condo tower was that the Port Mansion, in particular, attracted large numbers of younger people who kept people up late at night with their noise and who left beer bottles and pee on residents’ lawns as they staggered back to their cars.It always sounded like a policing issue to me.
In other words, if you have a problem with drunks and rowdiness, then improve the policing in the community to do something about the drunks and rowdiness. But for a number of the residents at the time, a place like the Port Mansion was like a piece of cheese attracting rodents, and if the condo tower meant getting rid of the cheese and maybe getting a little more business and a year-round theatre in the community too, then they supported the condo tower.
There was an infamous line that American troops sometimes used in Vietnam when they were approaching a village where they feared a few enemy snipers might be hiding among the civilians – “We’ve got to burn this village down in order to save it.”
Well, the burning took place and all I saw again this past summer was a shallow crater in the ground where the Port Mansion used to be and the proposed phantom towers is supposed to go, and an out-of-place bunker-like building nearby that is or was an office space for selling condos.
So when I received email for a few people in the Port Erie this past September, inviting me to attend another public meeting on yet another condo tower plan, I gave it a pass.
For one thing, the stakes aren’t as high as they were 13 or 14 years ago when all the pieces of the old heritage district in Port Dalhousie, including the Port Mansion, were still intact, so it isn’t as important an issue, unless you happen to be living within eye sight of where this latest proposed high-rise would go.
And finally, we’ve heard so much about one ‘Port tower’ plan after another over the past decade or two, that this latest one now has about as much gravity to it as that wall Donald Trump keeps saying he’s going to build and get Mexico to pay for it.
As for Port Dalhousie, as it is now, at least all those hooligans making late night noise and peeing on lawns that places like the old Port Mansion were said to have attracted now appear to be gone.
Maybe you have to burn a village down in order to save it, but it seems like a helluva price to pay for a little peace and quiet.
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