Letter to the Editor:
The following is a letter that was sent to Saugeen Shores Councillors regarding the proposed Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) to be located on Port Elgin Main Beach.
Since the original idea and support for the CCV development occurred, a multitude of events have taken place within Saugeen Shores, with the developers and around the world, all working against the success of the project.
Never, since the CCV idea was put forward, has any form of survey taken place, which directly asked the populace of their support or opposition to the build. The project was
given the go ahead with hopes that the presented lease protected the municipality and the project would be executed to a successful conclusion.
Today, one has to wonder if this project can really succeed, whether citizens know of its progress and if commitment to this project should be re-assessed by council.
Some of the projects largest setbacks include;
(1)the withdrawal of one of the 6 backers to develop the project (as he felt the project would not be successful),
(2)the pandemic and its possible long term affects on gatherings and tourism,
(3)continued shortfalls by the developers to complete preconstruction schedules (and I would guess the CCV group will present another pandemic excuse and ask
for a further extension prior to June 2021 deadline),
(4)continued escalation in costs of lumber and
materials which will elevate developers costs to complete the project as promised and accepted by council,
(5)shortfalls in the Shoreline beach hazard assessment as presented by the developers to the SVCA and SVCA’s denial of approval for the project (the developer groups report was so lacking that the last 32 yrs of water level criteria were never included in their report),
(6)peer review (by Zuzek Inc.) of the beach hazard assessment, which indicated future dangers associated to any buildings, vehicles and pedestrians in the present construction zone, and
(7)continual neglect on promised timelines by developers (failure to pay security funds as directed by lease approval and request/approval to move construction start dates and rent by 6 months)
In light of all this, council needs to re-evaluate and reassess the CCV project. I am hoping that council would support this process by supporting a citizen driven survey, with inclusion and circulation on the Saugeen Shores website. This survey would finally assess real support or opposition to the CCV, especially in light of the ongoing development events and the present world events.
This project is about to impact one of the greatest assets to this community during very adverse times and the public should have new input because of the changes; this includes both residents, property owners and visitors, which was all mandated in the Beach Master Plan.
Recently a survey was circulated on the town website in relation to the branding of Saugeen Shores water towers and was open to residents or visitors alike; surely the beach development, should at least garner the same amount of time and effort through a survey, to ensure this development is wanted by the community and its possible success will only occur by that want. All present signs point to the complete opposite.
The peer review of the beach hazard assessment is so impactful, that citizens should also be made aware of its findings and adverse effects from erosion, high water levels and danger to people, vehicles and buildings before any of this project moves forward.
Support of the survey does not change this project at present, but may make more citizens aware of the scope of this project and give council a feel for the present support to make this project work; without support, it is doomed to failure.
I would suspect many businesses that are struggling to stay open must be wondering why there is still so much support for this CCV project.
We hope that this council will be supportive of a citizen survey on the town website if presented by delegation and that the results could be provided to council to guide their support or question the need to continue with the CCV project. At the very least, knowledge is power.