“We were very well prepared — able to pick up on discrepancies. It was extremely stressful, but worth it.” – Debra Jackson, one of the leaders in the residents’ fight to defeat the controversial towers plan.
A Report written and originally posted by the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee – a Niagara, Ontario-based coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to promoting planning that keeps our region healthy and livable for all
Posted March 12th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
It’s a WIN for the little guy!
Finally, after a four-year battle, the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) said no to the 29 and 10 storey condo towers proposed for River Road in Niagara Falls.
The development was opposed by nearby resident, Ken Westhues, and a group called Citizens for Responsible Development (CRD), formed and incorporate specifically to be granted party status.
The grassroots group of activists were determined to protect the natural heritage of the River Road. A major concern of the residents was the blasting the developer wanted to do to create an underground garage just metres from the Niagara Gorge. The development was also opposed by the City of Niagara Falls.
The towers were proposed for the block along River Road between Philip and John Streets, where the Niagara Falls Official Plan allows at most a 7-storey building. The development site, just north of the Rainbow Bridge, is currently vacant.
Critical to the effort to stop the proposal were: Ken Westhues and Debra Jackson, at the forefront of the fight, representing residents’ issues during the 2-week-long zoom tribunal and 4 years leading up to it; as well as people behind the scenes, analyzing presentations, preparing questions, writing submissions, doing research and attending 4 years of meetings — 15 group members and countless community supporters every step of the way.
“No lawyers or planners in our group but lots of other diverse skill sets coming together, says Debra. “Lots of work studying massive amounts of materials from the developer’s legal team, including the reports from their planner, architect, and geo-tech expert. We were very well prepared — able to pick up on discrepancies. It was extremely stressful, but worth it.”
The citizens involved also thanked city planner, Andrew Bryce.
The OLT has issued this decision in the midst of a broad, grass-roots movement across Ontario seeking abolition of the provincial tribunal and the CRD noted that movement may not exist if all the tribunal’s decisions in recent years were as respectful as this decision is, of the official plans, planning staffs, and city councils of local municipalities.
Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara (BCAN) is a collective of Niagara’s environmental groups and citizens that advocates for proven municipal best practices and policies that protect and enhance local biodiversity and combat climate change
For more on the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee-Niagara, click on – Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee – Niagara
Niagara At Large encourages you to read the following excellent report on the River Road Condo Towers issue. Read it by clicking on – http://www.niagarariverroad.ca/Condos.html
NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.
Supposedly, the NPC is an agency of the Government of Ontario which maintains the Ontario shoreline of the Niagara River. However, they don’t do much from what I’ve seen along the river to enhance and promote the environment. They seem to focus primarily on spending money on commerical tourist attractions than on the abundance of natural beauty we had. Since many of the commissioners are appointed by Doug Ford’s government, it’s no surprise to me that they ignore the environment and focus on development. They used to patrol the Niagara Blvd. daily and clean up the litter but I see very little of that. They are very secretive for a public commission.
This is hopeful. If only other city planners would pay attention to citizen’s concerns. Thundering Waters, aka Riverfront Community(?), the Richmond Forest and Frog Pond in Thorold, Waverly in ….. — all local planners in those communities should have a heads up.
4yr battle won by citizen groups extremely organized and totally prepared…So much gratitude is so deserving, thank you for your incredible work. Is it expected this developer will return with a modified plan especially since our City sold them River Rd Lane at a very questionable selling price?