Reader urges others to contact Municipal Affairs about bylaw change
I feel the need to address the mayor’s response to my concerns (“Harbour Grace mayor responds to letter lambasting regulation change,” Dec. 9) regarding the recent proposed bylaw change put forward to assist a developer to evade the town’s bylaws. The mayor indicated that their focus is to bring new business and affordable housing for seniors to Harbour Grace. However, what he should have said is that the town has adopted a policy of development at any cost. With this proposed bylaw change, the mayor and some of the councillors have declared open season not only on seniors, but all property owners in the community.
The mayor stated that the town standards will be followed; however, what he failed to say is that as result of this bylaw change, developers will not have to meet the town’s standards, so essentially there will no longer be standards. There are risks associated with a policy supporting development at any cost. What has not been made clear to the residents of Harbour Grace is that this bylaw change has the potential to affect every property owner in the community. If your neighbour chooses to sell his or her property, and a developer buys that property, the developer can tear down the house and put up 10 units on a property designed for a single-family home. The developer will be able to obtain a permit under the guise that it is a seniors development, but there are no regulations restricting residency to only seniors. Property owners will not have any recourse should this happen to them. The town has given away its regulatory authority to stop inappropriate developments that may put at risk the value of people’s homes and properties and their personal safety due to the fire risks. The fire safety issue will not only be a concern for the seniors living in these types of developments, but it will also be a concern for whoever is living next to the development.
This amendment is not good for anyone but developers. Good regulation ultimately results in a prosperous, attractive, and wellplanned community that meets the needs of its citizens. I urge property owners and concerned residents of Harbour Grace to contact Keith Hutchings, Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs at email@example.com . Ask him not to approve an amendment that discriminates against seniors and puts the value of your home and property and personal safety at risk. — Sean Ash writes from