Update from SORE (Save Our Rand Estate) regarding appeals related to Ontario Heritage Act in Niagara on the Lake; also: Rand subdivision concept announced by SORE

I have been sharing updates regarding land use decision making in Niagara on the Lake for some time. My friend Mike James lives in Niagara on the Lake having moved there from Brampton some years ago.

I got to know Mike when he was principal at Munden Park Public School in Mississauga during the years I was teaching there. In years after we both retired, we organized many Jane’s Walks in Long Branch and New Toronto. Mike grew up in the latter community.

A Nov. 3, 2021 message from SORE (Save Our Rand Estate) reads:

Benny Marotta folds his tent on CRB [Conservation Review Board]

In the latest (self-inflicted) wound, one of Benny Marotta’s comp‎anies informed the Conservation Review Board on Tuesday, Nov. 2, that it was withdrawing the challenge to the Town’s Notices of Intent to Designate 200 John Street and 588 Charlotte Street under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Our supporters will recall that after the previous Council issued those Notices in August of 2018 for all four properties comprising the Rand Estate, Mr. Marotta’s companies initiated a challenge to the Conservation Review Board.

Several months later Mr. Marotta changed lawyers and his new lawyer initiated a Superior Court challenge to the legality of the Town’s Notices. That court challenge was ultimately soundly rejected on all grounds by the Superior Court and the Marotta companies then withdrew their Conservation Review Board challenge with respect to 144 and 176 John St E.

They maintained their CRB challenge however with respect to 200 John and 588 Charlotte, presumably in no small part because the Town has an outstanding prosecution against the Marotta companies for their outrageous clear-cutting of large parts of 200 John and 588 Charlotte in November of 2018.

That challenge has now also been withdrawn.

We have lost count of how many legal battles Mr. Marotta and his companies have initiated and then lost or abandoned concerning the Rand Estate. This is just the latest.

SORE and we assume the Town will be considering seeking costs from the Marotta companies for dragging them through years of a now-abandoned CRB challenge.

We also expect the Town to now vigorously pursue the Heritage Act prosecution ag‎ainst the Marotta companies for the 2018 clear cutting. A potential remedy for the Town in the event the prosecution is successful is to reinstate the illegally destroyed heritage landscape and mature trees.

Rand subdivision concept announced by SORE

SORE has on Nov. 3, 2021 also posted an article on its website:

Rand subdivision concept announced by SORE

An excerpt reads:

Since the unveiling of Benny Marotta’s utterly atrocious subdivision plan for the back half of the Rand Estate, SORE has had its team of experts hard at work to determine what form of residential development ‎might be feasible on this iconic estate.

Our supporters will recall that the Marotta plan calls for 191 densely packed residences and a re-engineering of the site’s natural drainage. The result is a grade elevation of up to 10 feet, obliterating the heritage landscape on the site as well as much of the built cultural heritage landscape features of Randwood.

SORE’s team of experts has been able to come up with a preliminary subdivision concept ‎that we believe to be feasible for the Rand Estate. That concept is presented below.

Its main features are a‎s follows:

Virtually no grade elevation from current

All built heritage attributes on the site are conserved

Most of the remaining designed cultural heritage landscape and ‎mature trees are conserved

Public pedestrian access to experience and enjoy the heritage attributes of Randwood ‎is provided at 200 John and 588 Charlotte

The linear axis from John Street to the “Whistle Stop” on the Heritage Trail, including the “memorial garden”, that was a central feature of the designed landscape at Randwood is preserved and enhanced for public and resident enjoyment

The primary access to the site is provided using an historic access route between 144 and 176 John Street

The number of residential units is reduced ‎from 191 to approximately 70.

Part of SORE’s ‎team is the renowned urban design firm Brook McIlroy. Some of our supporters may recall that that firm was retained by the Town in 2010 to provide a peer review of the proposed Romance Inn proposal. Of interest, both principals in this firm have roots in NOTL.

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