Meetings all month in North Hatley over $60 million project
Three important meetings will take place in North Hatley this month, all concerning the $60 million dollar downtown development project proposed by developer Richard Laliberté. The project is to build a multifloor building, possibly as high as five stories, including apartments for seniors and condominiums, on land near the municipal parking lot. The town has applied to the provincial government to have the land de-zoned as a flood zone but has not yet received an answer.
The first meeting will take place this Thursday and has been organized by the recently formed Action North Hatley, a group of North Hatley residents who are opposed to a project of this size. “We’re not against development on the site but against this kind of high density development. A lot of residents are aware there is some kind of project but they have no idea of the magnitude and the look of it. Now many residents are worried or upset and they would like to be more involved in the decision making,” commented Michael Grayson, one of the founding members of Action North Hatley in an interview with the Stanstead Journal.
During the meeting, members of Action North Hatley will discuss environmental issues related to the size of the project, the visual impact on the town, the increased traffic in the town, etc. “In March of this year an agreement in principle was given to the promoter. The main reason for this meeting is to make people aware of what’s going on,” added Mr. Grayson. The meeting takes place this Thursday, August 7th at 7:00 pm, in the North Hatley Community Centre at 3125 Capelton Road.
The town is holding two of its own meetings about the development project this month, informational consultations that have been organized by the promoter. “We urged Mr. Laliberté to hold the meetings in the summer while the summer residents were here, and told him there was a need to reassure the population about what the project will be like,” explained North Hatley mayor Michael Page. “We have been working hard to prepare for these two consultations. We’re holding two of them in case some people can’t go to the first one.” The consultations have been organized with an “open door” concept. The Town Hall will be open all day on Sunday, August 24th, and Saturday, August 30th, and people will be welcome to come and go as they please, consult all the posters related to the project, and speak one on one with Mr. Laliberté if they have additional questions. “Myself and a few of the councilors will be in and out throughout the consultations to answer questions too,” said Mr. Page.
“I’m not opposed to anyone forming a committee and I think it’s only natural that residents have concerns. But I feel it’s bad timing for their meeting, too early. They should have waited to see if our meetings would answer all the questions,” added the mayor.
When asked if he had come across much resistance to the project among residents, Mr. Page answered: “No. Honestly, everyone agrees that something should be done there; it’s an area that needs to be fixed up. If people have concerns they can also write to the Town Hall on the website and we will answer them.”