Don Watt: Letter to the Council of the Municipality of the Village of North Hatley – 2015.07.02

Would you please address the following issues at the next council meeting. 

Here are the answers we received to the questions addressed to the Council July 6, 2015 :

1) Since we have been considering this project for several years now, can you update us on the current size and scale now under consideration?

Answer: The Council will not comment before the PPU is made public.

2) What is the total sum of money spent by the Council to date , 2011 through 2015, on the Plan de gestion, PPU,  technical reports by EXP,  environmental & other technical studies, and legal expenses related to these issues?

Answer: We do not have that figure on hand.  

(Paul Saint-Pierre commented that he totaled it from Council meeting minutes to be more than $79 000)

3) How much of this will be funded by the MRC?

Answer: None

4) What portion of this has been funded by the developer… i.e. how much money has he actually contributed to date toward these expenses?

Answer: Nothing to date.

5) If none has been collected to date from him, how much money are you expecting him to pay and when are you going to collect it, before issuing building permits or after?

Answer: The Council expects to receive only those funds spent directly on the project, to be paid before issuing building permits.  Items such as the EXP studies, PPU applications, legal fees are to the village account.

(The reader may recall that in June 2014, the Council indicated all these expenses were for the developer’s account)

6) If, for some reason, the developer declines to cover these expenses, what steps are planned to collect them? I note that he is now offering for sale some of his recently acquired property, before anything is actually built.

Answer: The village will receive nothing from the developer.

7) What independent real estate advise have you had with respect to the feasibility of this project given its flood zone location and size and the expected effect on real estate prices for the rest of the village ?

Answer:  The council has not received any expert real estate advice.

8) Though the financing of the project is the responsibility of the developer, who have you consulted for financial advice so the Council knows that all the pertinent issues have been properly addressed by the developer ?

Answer: The Council has received no expert financial advice!

9)  Which major financial institution will provide the financing for this project or is there a major tenant involved to financially anchor the project?

Question not addressed 

10) Are you now prepared to give us a detailed study of the tax relief benefits of this development?

Question not addressed 

11) What are the plans to protect the village financially from any litigation resulting from this project running into difficulty financially, both during construction and later on, should it not generate sufficient revenue to meet the developer’s expectations, or be in default of taxes owed to the Village? I am not referring to any bonding requirements during the construction phase, which I understand is part of the requirement.

Answer: The Council has not given any special consideration to this, other than to not act on issuing of a servitude on the flood zone properties, as recommended by their legal adviser at the time in 2014.

Thank you

Don Watt

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2 thoughts on “Don Watt: Letter to the Council of the Municipality of the Village of North Hatley – 2015.07.02”

  1. Laliberte really hasn’t shown much concern for the town at all here either. It is almost clear that any project in the hands of this man would put the town at great risk and subject to litigation! It is always going to be a flood zone and it should be addressed accordingly.

  2. Commentaries from North Hatley professionals:

    “The answers are unfathomable. There is no way that any professionally run government should fail to do the minimal things you have asked.” – TW


    “This strikes me as an instance of stonewalling along with a lack of competence. It is surprising that their expectations of reimbursement by the developer are so vague, and it is equally astonishing that the municipality has not received real estate or financial advice!

    “Council must be held to all the steps and formalities required prior to the issuing of any permits, all must be done with complete transparency, and the PPU should be studied not only by fanhca but by a lawyer, on our behalf, who specializes in real estate matters.” – J-EG


    “It strikes me that the Council (through no fault of their own) does not have the expertise to deal with such a large and complicated project.  In my experience with similar projects, when a developer is asking for significant waivers to zoning and other restrictions, then the town is in a position to require outside professional input at the developer’s expense..  

    “My recommendation is that the the town engage professional peer reviewers, at the developer’s expense, to help the town evaluate the zoning, environmental, architectural and financial feasibility issues associated with the project.  If the developer is worth his salt and he thinks the project is truly viable, he will be amenable to this relatively modest expense.  It should be a comparatively small line item within what seems to be a very large project budget.” – MW



    “Review of the PPU by a Council subcommittee made up of residence with expertise in planning and real estate to make a recommendation to the council;

    “Description of the development potential by the town council (or subcommittee) of what is proposed. i.e.  height, density set backs, parking spaces, type of use that would be allowable under the proposed PPU.” – SK

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