Approved Waterfront Master Plan should be adhered to says reader

Dear editor:

Subject: proposal for beach by Pier Donnini et al

We are longstanding residents of Saugeen Shores and have owned a cottage at the beach since 1993. We have followed the master plan and the subsequent proposals for years and have serious concerns about the Cedar Crescent project.

Part of the master plan included yearly surveys as part of public consultation. Instead, we have had only one recent survey which gave us narrow choices, not suggested by us but clearly by those wanting to build at the main beach, which gave only the illusion of input from the stakeholders. A 50 year lease is unprecedented.

The premise that it will ensure success of a restaurant, one of the riskiest business ventures in existence, is at best disingenuous; at worst, mendacious. The public is not privy to a clear infrastructure or business plan, yet council is prepared to approve a lease and a project that many stakeholders are clearly opposed to. Why was there a plan showing a larger complex already prepared which was not shown to the public at last week’s meeting? If council had access to it, why didn’t the public? If council did not, then why is it prepared to accept a proposal they do not know about? Why did it mysteriously disappear off the town website?

At the last meeting, the proponents’ repeated theme was “just trust us”, despite the fact that no clear business plan is available. Another recurrent statement was that seniors and children would be permitted to use the buildings as “public”, “for free”, and that this would make money somehow. “Just trust us.” Sorry, somebody has to pay for upkeep, utilities, insurance, including but not limited to liability. It all costs money that either the partners in the project pay out of their profits from a business that statistically is likely to fail, the town i.e. taxpayers pay, or those members of the public using the facilities pay.

Yet another repeated comment, notably by both Mr. Donnini and Mr. Bird, was that there is “nothing to do” at the beach, something which they purport would justify a scaled down Blue Mountain Village at our main beach. Seriously? The thousands of people who amass at our beach every warm sunny long weekend all summer would certainly cast doubt on this.

It would appear that the residents of Saugeen Shores, including the residents who live at the beach, are in the process of riding a new one-way railroad straight to Cedar Crescent Village whether we like it or not. Surely, the message has been made clear that a large number do not.  We are not opposed to progress, economic development, or prosperity of local business and the community at large. We are opposed to a process which lacks transparency, which does not follow the principles of the master plan drafted more than a decade ago, and which is allowing a development that will change the appearance and character our most precious resource, the beach, forever.

In summary, we have concerns both about the process and the content presented and, I would add, not presented, to local residents, stakeholders, all, to date. The public needs and deserves a process that is transparent, respectful, legal. We need adherence to the already approved master plan. This is not what is happening.

David Hughes Glass