For generations, Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) has been defined by its historical significance and cultural heritage. Tens of thousands of people visit every year to be taken back in time and experience our local and national history. Few properties better represent these attributes than the Rand Estate, an important estate property that contains one of the best remaining examples in Canada of the work of the renowned Dunington-Grubb landscape firm.
The Rand Estate’s importance is no secret to local residents and visitors. But sadly, this site’s future is at risk. If a site like the Rand Estate, with so much significant historical and cultural heritage, is at risk so too are the many other unique properties and neighbourhoods that comprise our town. That’s where we come in.
Save Our Rand Estate – also known as “SORE” – was created to support responsible development, specifically of the Rand Estate. We welcome projects that respect the unique historical and cultural heritage of NOTL. At the same time, we are prepared to stand up against developers who show little regard for our cultural heritage and the Town’s Official Plan.
NOTL is what it is today, a national treasure, because of the efforts and foresight of those who came before us. This is yet another time for our community to protect our past and our future – and stand up for ourselves.
Since coming together as SORE, we have received widespread support from current and even former residents who are opposed to Benny Marotta’s ill-advised and self-interested development plans for the Rand Estate.
Shortly after his plans were first revealed, more than 800 people attended an overflow meeting at the Community Centre in January of last year. More than 30 residents took to the podium to speak against the proposed convention centre, hotel and high-density subdivision. SORE now has hundreds of NOTL residents signed up to receive information and updates. We’re incredibly grateful for your support and are working hard to support our new Council in its efforts to give our community the strong voice and firm hand it deserves.
Our core team, comprised of local residents and business owners, convenes weekly to monitor developments and plan SORE’s activities. This team includes Old Town residents such as David Bell, Tom Elltoft, Lyle Hall, Richard Howard, Peter Howe, Judy McLeod, Judith Patey and Alex Topps.
We have hired experienced lawyers and top experts to support our efforts and respond to the various legal challenges and appeals initiated by Mr. Marotta and his companies. None of this is cheap, and we are extremely grateful for the generous support of our core team and of other local residents. We particularly want to acknowledge Blair and Brenda McArthur, who have made a generous commitment to our shared cause.
Mr. Marotta and his supporters have attempted to brand Mr. Marotta as the victim and SORE as anti-development. He has questioned our motives and stated that we should “stay out of this”. He has a history of these tactics and has demonstrated his usual aggressive approach on the Rand Estate by clear-cutting hundreds of mature trees, as well as a portion of the protected boxwood hedge.
We are devoting our time and money to this because the Marotta proposal is unquestionably out of character with the Rand Estate, as well as the Town itself. We have the resources and the unwavering commitment to help the Town defend our Official Plan and the integrity of the Town’s planning process.
As engaged members of the community we welcome your questions and your support. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions or to volunteer your support and visit our website (sorenotl.ca), where you can learn more and sign up to receive regular updates.