To the attention of Mr. Jacques Demers
Prefect of the Memphrémagog MRC
- I do not understand why we are preparing a management plan in order to avoid having to respect the flood zone regulations for a project that is in part built in a 0-20 year zone and in part built in a 20-100 year zone, with an encroachment which is important and not negligible in both zones. The laws protecting flood zones which are adopted to protect the environment are modified here by a management plan to overturn the general regulations. One thing is certain, there will one day be a problem, so why elaborate a management plan in order to build a problem from scratch.
- I remember 1994, when Main Street was under water and we could not use the bridge, but had to go drive around via Ayer’s Cliff. Obviously, this kind of flooding happens only on occasion, but it will happen again, it is only a question of time. In the context of changing climate conditions, we are told that heavy rains will increase even more. The zone in which we want to build a project is a sector which has already been modified and backfilled but is nonetheless still a flood zone. What one removes from a flood zone in terms of volume is replaced by a modification to the zone somewhere else and all one does is shift the problem.
- I do not understand why we are building a problem from scratch in a small charming village where one comes in order to benefit from the charm of a Heritage Village. Building a 210 unit housing project in a village that has about 400 housing units is obviously modifying it in a substantial way, especially when it is in a small zone in the heart of the village. We are proposing to destroy the charm which made us settle in North Hatley.
Why create a problem by doing a risky project with underground parking, of which there is not one single other example in North Hatley and then take measures to limit the risk. For me, it is a question which will arise, the question is whether it is in 5 years, in 100 years or in 20 years, but the law of averages applies. I would like to remind you that in Cannes just a few years ago, several persons drowned when basements were flooded and they simply wanted to get their cars out of the underground parking.
- I do not understand why we would build a project which does not in any way respect the morphology of the village. We are speaking of 5 and 4 storeys. Can you imagine a 5-storey building between the small brown church and the blue 2-storey building? 5 storeys is approximately 2 and a half times the height of the existing buildings. 5 storeys would be the only building of that height in North Hatley.
- I do not think that to complete such a large project will allow the village to solve the village’s financial concerns. One is no doubt under-estimating the impact that such a project will have on the roads, the infrastructures at an intersection which is already fairly congested.
- An acceptable project would be one that respects the morphology of the village :
- We are being proposed a project with an FAR of 50%, this is what we do in downtown Montreal with numerous projects with an 8 to 12 storey density.
- We are told that there will be no opening in the wall of the foundation and yet what of the garage door?
- There is no discussion regarding the protection of trees which will endangered because of their backfill.
The proposal is therefore to destroy the charm which made us settle in North Hatley.
It is a project which does not hold up, there is no need to build in the flood zones nor to build this type of density in a village like North Hatley and there is no need to modify this picturesque aspect of the village which has a charm known to all.
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