PMAD basics

Seems there’s confusion over the Montreal Metropolitan Community’s master development plan, better known by its French acronym. I was the only journalist from our region at the public hearings on the West Island and at the plenary in St. Constant, where our MRC delegation explained why Vaudreuil-Soulanges needed changes to the draft PMAD. We didn’t get them, but the passage of time and the provincial government’s election vows and austerity measures have further muddied the waters. All this to say there’s plenty of slack. This is far from being a strait jacket.
PMAD basics:
One size fits all, so there’s one PMAD for 82 MMC municipalities. Out here, half of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC municipalities are in the MMC because of a formula which determines how many of their residents work and shop on the island. Once in, there’s no way out. Blustering and threatening to sue will accomplish nothing because the PMAD is fixated on the following precepts:
Urban sprawl costs money.
Bigger isn’t better because it means more roads to maintain, more services to instal and upgrade, etc.
Montreal Island is choking to death in its own traffic, most of it from commuters who refuse to use public transit because they live too far out and the services aren’t as fast and reliable as driving oneself or carpooling, even when we factor in the average 2.5 hours a day commuting.
Farmland, greenspace protection and doubling down on densities in already populated areas are the three main goals.
There’s been considerable flap about Transport-Oriented Development (TOD), as if the town of Hudson abandoned its one train a day it would somehow be exempted. That’s not how the PMAD works. If you’re served by any form of public transit, such as the CIT shuttlebuses, even if your burg is within a 15-minute commute of a railway station or express bus terminus, chances are it will be characterized as a potential TOD. For example, St. Lazare and Les Cedres don’t have train service to their territories but both are within the MMC and both urban cores are considered TODable.
Having followed the PMAD since its inception (Hudson, like most VS MRC municipalities, can kick itself for not having gotten involved in the process early enough) I think we have to alter our way of thinking.
Being labelled as a TOD doesn’t force a town to develop, but it does require subsequent development to adhere to unreasonably high densities. This is why it’s best that Hudson plans for a few high-density projects in the sewered part of town. Half a dozen multi-unit residential projects on Main, Cameron and Lakeview would go a long way to satisfying the PMAD’s densification goal without substantially altering the unique character of the Quartier francais.
Ellerbeck, R-55 and the zoning already approved for Sandy Beach would add the number of doors required to defray the cost of the sewer/water infrastructure currently being downloaded on a fraction of the town’s ratepayers. The current tax burden split is neither smart nor equitable.
Proper planning is the key. Rather than blowing dough on pie-in-the-sky wish lists, municipalities have to be frugal, careful stewards of the public purse. Forget the skateboard parks and the vanity publicity. Concentrate on lasting, sustainable investments in commercialization and public convenience, such as a dedicated, covered outdoor market and more, better-planned public parking. What about that secure pedestrian path alongside Main and Cote St. Charles, before somebody is killed or seriously hurt? Get the planning right and everything else will follow naturally. Above all, learn to live with the PMAD by seeing at as an opportunity to be seized upon.

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Hudson: Another fiscal crisis?

I have in front of me documents dealing with the Town of Hudson’s finances, beginning with the Prévisions budgétaires 2014. This is the official version of how the administration spent the budget it adopted Jan. 20, 2014. It was filed with the municipal affairs ministry Feb. 4, 2014 by then treasurer Sylvain Bernard, another of the growing list of victims of Hudson Town Hall’s lethal revolving door.

I have yet to see the 2015 version. It was supposed to have been filed by now but I’m told it has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. I hear the failure to file is provoking another crisis at town hall. Municipal affairs isn’t known for its patience, especially in dealing with a municipality that can’t seem to get its act together. We shouldn’t be surprised if Hudson is assessed a penalty for late filing. I’d counsel less emphasis on unimportant stuff. Stick to the basics, like feeding Quebec the numbers they want, when they want them.

I’ve already voiced my concern: last year’s numbers don’t add up and there’s no way they can be tweaked. The town has burned through two treasurers for undisclosed reasons. Transparency on this issue would be welcome.

Thirty months

Now that Hudson’s former town manager is behind bars for 30 months (we can discount that by half and maybe more under various jailtime reduction plans, and yes, they can be combined) one hopes the current administration will come to realize there’s no point in continuing to beat a dead horse.

I’m assuming the town carries insurance for the $1.1 million Louise Villandré admitted to having stolen. I asked DG Jean-Pierre Roy that question at the January council meeting. He didn’t seem to know and said he would get back to me (he hasn’t). We can hope.

More to the point is the way the mayor and council carry on about the bag of troubles they inherited as an excuse for why they can’t move forward. Mom used to call it the Crown of Thorns Syndrome: it’s your fault I’m a failure. To her credit, Villandré never blamed her crime spree on how, when her husband was dying of kidney failure, she had been approved as a donor, only to have it discovered as they were prepping her that she had breast cancer.  It all happened about the time when she supposedly began cutting herself cheques. Others accused of far more heinous crimes have been declared not guilty by reason of insanity.

Most of us are guilty of blamecasting in moments of weakness and despair, but it makes for a lousy municipal mission statement. If/when we fail, it’s not our fault, so get off our backs. Drop the blame crutch, folks. Move on.

The way I figure it, Villandré should be out of prison next October, about the time Hudson residents are preparing to decide who their next mayor and council will be. All the more reason why this administration should stop wasting time and money on peripherals, such as sanctimonious mission statements, implausible strategic plans and threatening to sue anyone who steps out of line. They should concentrate on getting the town back on track, which means hearing what people have to say and not just pretending to listen.

Above all, they should give public recognition to the contributions of their predecessors, and yes, that includes the selfless Louise Villandré – until a combination of tragedy and temptation triggered something I’ll never understand. To err is human; to forgive is divine.

 

 

 

Put water on the table

No discussions about development in Hudson, Rigaud and St. Lazare should exclude the impact on the water table supplying our drinking water.

A study released in June 2015 found that precipitation falling on Rigaud Mountain and the Hudson and St. Lazare plateaus represents 41% of the total replenishment of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges aquifer, the water table supplying drinking water to more than 100,000 Vaudreuil-Soulanges residents. (FYI, St. Lazare is the largest municipality in Quebec entirely dependent on well water.)

The chief concern expressed in the Programme d’acquisition de connaissances sur les eaux souterraines (PACES) report is that the zones with the highest replenishment rate — Mont Rigaud, Hudson and St. Lazare — also happen to be the most vulnerable to contamination.

The study was carried out over a two-year period by a multidisciplinary team from the Université du Québec à Montréal, École Polytechnique and GéoMont, the agency mandated to map the Montérégie using satellite data. Their methodology and models are well explained and accessible to anyone with a scientific bent.

Here’s the PACES final report (en français seulement): rapport_final_paces_vaudreuil-soulanges

My English summary:

– About 105,000 Vaudreuil-Soulanges residents living in 18 municipalities get their drinking water from artesian wells. (The other 35,000 get their water from the Ottawa or St. Lawrence rivers.)
– Those 18 municipalities suck 11.2 million cubic metres of water a year from the underground water table, equivalent to a sheet of water 14 millimetres deep covering the entire 814-square-kilometre Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC.
– St. Lazare is far and away the biggest consumer, averaging 2.8 million cubic metres a year, followed by Vaudreuil-Dorion at 2.1 million (VD draws most of its drinking water from the Ottawa River) and Rigaud, at 1.7 million.
– Hudson’s 5,400 residents come a surprising fourth, consuming 1,123,024 cubic metres a year.
– Our region consumes 20% more water than the Quebec average, with 56% going to residential, 33% for industrial/institutional and 11% for agriculture, most of that to grow sweet corn, a notoriously thirsty crop. (That 33% residential/industrial usage is misleading; this sector draws only 58 percent of its total consumption from public water networks because many have their own wells pulling from the same aquifer.)
– The aquifer is replenished by precipitation averaging just under 1,000 millimetres a year.

Two aspects of the study should be of particular interest to those concerned about water quality and quantity:

The PACES team found total dissolved mineral content in samples from more than 50 testing sites throughout Vaudreuil-Soulanges to be far higher than provincial norms (58.5%). Calcium is 34.8% higher; iron, 31% and sodium, 25%. But it’s the manganese level (30% higher than approved levels) that causes the team the most concern, so much so that it rates a mention in the introduction. The report quotes a 2011 Quebec study which linked higher manganese levels with lower IQs among young children. This was the reason behind Quebec’s decision to approve Hudson’s water filtration plant as part of the 2008 waterworks upgrade — so that manganese could be precipitated out of the water supply. On a positive note, our water has nitrate levels well below provincial norms.

The second aspect of the study deals with the rate at which the aquifer is being replenished, and from where. The aquifer beneath the southern half of the county lies beneath a thick layer of impermeable clay, making it what is classified as captive or semi-captive, relatively protected from contamination but slow to replenish. They get a sizeable percentage of their replenishment from the Glengarry hills of southeastern Ontario.

The researchers discovered the marshes, bogs, swamps and fens found in Hudson, Rigaud and St. Lazare are far more efficient in replenishing the aquifer, with 41 square kilometres of wetland and forested areas supplying 41 per cent of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges aquifer’s total replenishment. But because they’re better connected to the water table, any contamination is also more likely to find its way into the aquifer.

The PACES study went unnoticed when it was released last year, because there is no agency in Quebec with a clear mandate to protect underground water sources. Vaudreuil-Soulanges, like most regions of Quebec, has its Conseil de bassins versants (Rigaud’s Mayor Gruenwald is a former COBAVER-VS president and currently sits on the board) but the COBAVERs have no teeth.

In 2014 the provincial government adopted its Reglement sur le prélevement des eaux et leur protection, setting threshold levels for the risks of contamination of underground water sources, but there’s no indication the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Battle Against Climate Change (I kid you not) is making our most precious resource a protection priority.

Call me madcap, but I’m thinking the three municipalities in Vaudreuil-Soulanges with the most to lose from contaminated water should make it a factor.

$218,201.08

frais juridiques ville

The document I’ve posted here was generated by the Town of Hudson. It appears to be a spreadsheet of legal expenses incurred up until January 31, 2016, a total of $218,201.08 for approximately 18 months.

According to this, the town’s legal expenses fall into four main categories:

– grievance mediation and/or litigation with residents, former employees and subcontractors (Pine Lakers, ex-DG Catherine Haulard, former treasurer Sylvain Bernard, former technical services director Trail Grubert, former labor-relations advisor Judy Sheehan, former town auditors Bourassa Boyer);

– legal advice on governance and policy issues (Montreal Metropolitan Community, Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC, etc.);

– representation at numerous criminal and civil proceedings (Louise Villandré’s trial on criminal charges, complaints from or regarding citizens, Quebec Municipal Commission hearings into alleged irregularies committed by elected officials);

– actions threatened and/or initiated as the result of alleged libels, defamations and assorted insults.

The first two categories are unavoidable in any municipality, but to this extent? According to this spreadsheet, proceedings against Haulard alone account for  $100,000. An ethical lawyer will advise the client to consider the cost of litigation versus the cost of reaching a settlement. Judges usually advise mediation in civil actions because they have a front-row seat on unreasonable plaintiffs, fee-grubbing lawyers, obstructionist defendents and jammed dockets. The worst-case hypothesis is a plaintiff with bottomless pockets. In Hudson’s case, one gets the impression this administration is prepared to push everything to the limit in the knowledge Hudson’s taxpayers will always pay the bill.

It’s the third and fourth categories that should concern us. In April 2015, District 1 councillor Rob Spencer filed a complaint with the municipal affairs ministry in regards to certain actions taken by a member of this administration. Municipal affairs, after analyzing the complaint, referred it to the Quebec Municipal Commission (CMQ). A hearing is imminent. Spencer says he’ll comment once the allegations are public.

In July, Spencer made a complaint to Quebec’s lobbying commissioner, the body which ensures people lobbying on behalf of business interests are duly registered. Again, details have not been made public and Spencer is declining comment.

Spencer continues to sit on council but has made it clear he will not take part in closed-door meetings with the mayor unless the proceedings are recorded. He confirms he has received three lawsuit threats, the latest  Nov. 24. Spencer’s name doesn’t appear on this spreadsheet, but if you look closely you’ll see some information has been whited out. This suggests to me the administration doesn’t want taxpayers to know the true cost of the town’s defence in the CMQ hearings.

You’ll also find a short list of names of residents whose crime appears to have been to question this administration’s actions in social media. None of those named complain of having received a lawyer’s letter or other communication so I presume the putative plaintiffs are banking on libel chill to silence dissent. Is this what passes for public discussion in Hudson? More to the point, the use of libel threats to silence dissent is on soft legal ground in Quebec as the result of the case of a Grenville dump owner’s efforts to silence opposition.

I have expressed concern this administration has juggled the 2016 budget to create a contingency fund that would allow them to write endless cheques to lawyers for whatever ill-advised legal adventure they decide to launch. Believe me when I say the people will be watching closely.

 

 

 

Coconut oil

As the result of swimming at the Pointe Claire pool, I’m learning the secret to ageing well is staying healthy and watching one’s diet closely. One of our discoveries: coconut oil. We use it as we would oil, margerine and butter and we’ve noticed a difference in our metabolisms. More lean muscle mass, less fat, fewer aches and pains.

We’re not alone in our respect for coconut oil. This column ran in the Gazette Vaudreuil-Soulanges back in June, 2012

Coconut oil and NOVA
Back in February, I read a piece by Dr. Joe Schwarcz in the Montreal Gazette about coconut oil and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Joe was cautiously optimistic there might be a scientific basis to the use of medium-chain fatty acids to overcome the inability of the Alzheimer brain to metabolize glucose.
I didn’t give it another thought until Maureen Young dropped by the office to get a copy of her mom’s obituary. We got to talking about Lorna, who taught many of us either in Grade 1, in music class or in the choir at Wyman.
The obituary said Lorna Bell Chadwick Young passed at home May 15, surrounded by her family and that all who knew her are invited to a celebration of her life Canada Day weekend. What it didn’t tell us was how coconut oil gave Lorna’s family their mother back for the last three months of her life.
Alzheimer’s has been described as a living hell from which death can be a merciful release for both victim and family. Lorna had been going steadily downhill for some time. There’s a family joke about how they’re all ‘forever Young,’ but the radiant woman with the incredible voice who gifted her family and so many others with music was being gradually robbed of everything in life.
Maureen’s story begins in a hospital ER, where her failing 87-year-old mother spent four days in a hallway last year. “Everyone that went to touch her, she thought she was defending herself and when she couldn’t anymore, she just checked out. It was just horrible…it took us six months to recover from that, so we knew we could never do that again.”
With the help of NOVA Hudson’s nurses, the family brought Lorna back to Maureen’s home to spend her last days. “Even so, she kept deteriorating,” Mareen recalls. Between Christmas and February, Lorna forgot how to eat out of a spoon or drink from a glass. “She’d bite the glass. Her eyes were vacant…it was really, really….sad. She was threatened by anybody who tried to change her, or anybody who came near her.”
Then Maureen got an e-mail from former Hudson resident Stevie Stephenson, whose dad Hugh was principal at Mount Pleasant Elementary. He’d been reading about Dr. Mary Newport, a neonatal pediatrician whose husband Steve had begun developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s in 2004. In 2008, Newport had an epiphany — certain fatty acids transformed by the liver into ketones might be able to replace the missing blood sugars. She fed Steve two tablespoons of coconut oil and saw a dramatic improvement.
The next day, Maureen began feeding Lorna coconut oil, a tablespoon in the morning and another in the evening. She swears the results were immediate, but within a week, there was absolutely no question. “She started to wake up. She was present in her eyes. She started moving, she started eating, she started co-operating, she started laughing and smiling and walking! I could walk her by holding her hand. It was a miracle and it kept getting better!”
Maureen said the NOVA Hudson nurses told her they’d never seen anything like it. “We had mom for three months. And it was her again. She would smile and say think you and ‘that’s delicious.’ It was absolutely remarkable. Little Lolobelle, Coral’s little daughter, could sit in her lap and watch cartoons with her.”
One day, while Maureen and Karen were changing their mother’s diaper, Karen started to sing a sacred choral piece. “Mom started to sing with her in harmony. It would just make us cry, it was so beautiful.”
Another milestone — Lorna was watching an old Abbott and Costello movie. “She was laughing, enjoying it, interacting with it, telling the girl to watch out for Dracula behind her.”
When Rosalie, Doug and Isobel’s youngest would come over and play the piano for her grandmother, Lorna would conduct her with her hands. “She’d put a little pressure on her hands to show the nuances… she was right there with her. She’d clap and clap afterwards…she so appreciated the music right to the end, when she hadn’t even been able to hear it before.”
When Lorna passed, it was beautiful and easy. “She was present and she knew she was loved, she wasn’t frightened, we sang to her right through her last breath, Dougie, Karen and I, and we just held her and sang her out. That was such a gift to us — the coconut oil and NOVA.”
Maureen tells Lorna’s story for others struggling with Alzheimer. “It’s terrible that we don’t have her now, but we did have her. That’s what I’m so grateful for. It made it possible for me, Karen and Dougie to keep her here, where she was happy, where the cats could sit on her lap, and be happy, rather than stuck somewhere all on her own.”

I followed up with this in September 2012:

A followup on my column a couple of months back about how several spoonfuls of coconut oil a day gave Lorna Young’s family their mother back: A Brown University Medical School research team has added compelling new evidence to support the theory that Alzheimer’s is a metabolic disease and unhealthy eating habits are a root cause.
The researchers found that insulin and its related proteins are produced by the brain as well as the pancreas. Their hypothesis is that a new form of diabetes (they labelled it type 3 diabetes) is the result of a drop in brain insulin levels. Unlike types 1 and 2, it doesn’t affect blood sugar, but the team found that many type 2 diabetics have protein deposits in their pancreas similar to those found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer sufferers.
The findings strengthen the evidence that people with diabetes have up to 65 percent more chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A Sept. 10 article on the study in The Guardian notes: “About 35 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease worldwide; current projections, based on the rate at which the population ages, suggest that this will rise to 100 million by 2050. But if, as many scientists now believe, it is caused largely by the brain’s impaired response to insulin, the numbers could rise much further.”

Hudson’s trust problem

Are we too cynical? Not trusting enough? Unwilling to let the inherent goodness of humankind shine through?

That appears to be the message emerging in this latest debate over a proposed senior’s residence.

People who say we should be taking this on faith have short memories.

There’s a big piece of land zoned for a continuing care seniors campus at the corner of Côte St. Charles and Hillside. Hudson taxpayers on the hook for the sewer system will pay in perpetuity for the roughly $1 million it cost to extend the sewer line to R-55.

Last I heard, the owners were asking something like $3 million for the land.

What nobody mentions is why Hudson doesn’t already have a beautiful seniors’ campus on that site with apartments for autonomous and assisted living and an Alzheimer’s wing for 24/7 care of dementia patients.

The following was published as Duff’s Corner, Gazette Vaudreuil-Soulanges, March 29, 2011:

The Anbars have left the building
This past week has been a crash course in business ethics and no, that’s not necessarily an oxymoron. I’ve been delving into the transactions that somehow transferred ownership of the 15.5-acre site of the long-promised continuing-care seniors’ campus from a group of Hudson investors to the family foundation of one of Canada’s largest commercial landlords. Every twist and turn in this financial soap opera is fully documented on registrefoncier.gouv.qc.ca, Quebec’s online real estate transaction registry.
• February, 2005: A federally incorporated numbered company with Frank Royle as president pays $665,000 plus $100,000 in GST and PST for 15.5 acres at the corner of Côte St. Charles and Hillside.
• August 12, 2008: An Alberta incorporated company with Dan Anbar as president borrows $1.6 million from Montreal-based Rosenberg Family Foundation (RFF) for 13 months. Collateral: the $1.8 million assessed value of the land.
The 24-page deed of hypothec suggests this was never meant to be anything but a bridge loan which would allow Andev to find permanent financing for the Hudson seniors’ project. The interest rate was steep — 15 percent for the first 12 months, increasing to 18 percent as of August, 2009, with principal and interest due Sept. 12, 2009. That works out to almost $800 a day — hardly the kind of loan that a prudent business person would seek out.
• August 13, 2008: Royle’s company sells 14 lots to Anbar’s company for $975,000. The deed of sale includes a condition that Anbar begin construction of the first 20 units within a two-year period. It also includes a resolutory clause that says if Anbar fails to start the project by August 13, 2010, Royle and company have the right to repossess the land at no cost.
Summer, 2008: Work begins on Hudson’s sewer system, including a half-kilometre extension of the line up Oakland to service a 172-unit seniors’ campus. Cost: $600-$700 a metre, as much as $500,000 value added to R-55 courtesy of generous Hudson taxpayers. By November, the work is winding down.
• August 7, 2009: Anbar and RFF agree to extend the loan maturity date to Feb. 12, 2010. The interest rate is upped to 17.5%.
• April, 2010: Lawyers for RFF serve Anbar at his Highland Park, Illinois home with notice they’re about to seize the Hudson land. Anbar owes a month and a half of interest — $36, 295.84. He has 60 days to come up with $1,636,295.84.
• October 10, 2010: Anbar voluntarily signs the land over to RFF, ending any chance Royle’s group has of exercising their resolutory clause.
I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out why the Hudson group didn’t exercise their right to repo the land once they realized Anbar was a no-show. If the resolutory clause that forms part of the August 13, 2008 deed of sale didn’t carry enough legal weight, than why didn’t the sellers demand a lien on the land as a guarantee Anbar would deliver?
But when one re-reads the mortgage agreement between Anbar’s Alberta company and RFF, it becomes clear — Anbar wasn’t going to get the loan unless RFF had clear title to the land if he defaulted. A re-read of the deed of sale backs that up, explaining that in order to ensure Anbar gets the loan, “….Vendor does hereby grant priority of rank of all its rights stipulated in its favour in this Resolutory Clause, in favour of the Rosenberg Family Foundation.”
Frank Royle blames RFF for Anbar’s failure. If Anbar was the white knight who was going to ensure assisted care in perpetuity for Hudson’s seniors, why was he having trouble borrowing a paltry $1.6 million, and at such high interest? The Hudson group referred to the loan in their deed of sale, so they must have been aware of the terms. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to have fronted Anbar the land so that they could repo it if he crashed?
Looking back, I can recall an uneasy feeling. Here’s a paragraph from our August 29, 2007 story on the well-attended zoning consultation meeting:
“There were some probing questions, beginning with a query as to what insurance the Town had in place in the event of CRL’s bankruptcy. [Mayor Elizabeth] Corker, obviously somewhat taken aback, waited until the end of the meeting to note: “Council feels quite comfortable with CRL’s reputation and we should also feel comfortable, and go home and get a good night’s sleep.”
I’ve been leaving messages for the Anbars all over North America for the past two years. Last week, I was contacted by a developer who knows them. I asked him to relay a message to them. He called me back the next day to say the Anbars aren’t taking calls from Quebec, but their message was simplicity itself: “The Anbars are unable to build in Quebec.”

Call me cynical and negative, but that’s why we must accept nothing on faith. The Lord helps those who help themselves and that includes taking care of business.

This followup ran March 30, 2011:

Hudson’s R-55:
Owners heedful of community concerns
HUDSON — Paul Vincent just wants to get the facts straight.
Vincent is the industrial and commercial realtor who has been mandated to sell R-55, the 15.5-acre parcel of land originally zoned for a seniors’ residence off Côte St. Charles.
He represents the Rosenberg Family Foundation (RFF), the issuers of the $1.6 million bridge loan used by developer Dan Anbar to buy the land from a Hudson business group in 2008. In February, 2010, Anbar stopped making interest payments and voluntarily signed the land over to RFF last October.
RFF’s offering price is $3 million. That represents $4.45 a square foot for 675,000 square feet, “which is below the offering price for comparably zoned land anywhere in the area,” Vincent points out. “If I had the same piece of land — 675,000 square feet — in Vaudreuil-Dorion, I would be paying a minimum of $10 a foot.” He cited as proof two large residential projects on Blvd. de la Gare either under construction or recently finished.
“Who can say to me that this land, at $4.45 a square foot, is expensive? We’re in Hudson! What are they talking about? This should prove the Rosenberg Family Foundation is not trying to benefit from what the people [behind the seniors’ residence] tried to do.”
The owners of the land are fully aware of the importance of the seniors’ project to Hudsonites, Vincent explained. “[The RFF representative] wants me to find a developer that will have the interests of the Hudson community at heart. The Rosenberg Family Foundation reserves the right to accept or refuse the offer, depending on whether the project being proposed for this piece of land fits within and benefits the Hudson community.”
But he also points out that land is on the market precisely because of Andev’s difficulty in obtaining financing for the project as originally conceived — a three-building concept offering autonomous living, assisted care and Alzheimer/dementia care to seniors.
“We need a vision of this community for the next 10 years and we need the help of all citizens of Hudson to make that kind of decision. Rather than saying no, show me some ideas on how we can say yes.”
Bylaw 516 specifies that the structures be part of a ‘residential complex for senior citizens’ but nowhere does it stipulate the levels of care — or that there be an Alzheimer/dementia care unit.
“A development for seniors, with care — that can be done with the current zoning in concordance with the wishes of the community,” Vincent said. “Autonomous and semi-autonomous at the same time.”
Reading between the lines, a revised project could include assisted care features, but not the Alzheimer/dementia component. “You have to understand that Alzheimer and dementia is a care unit that requires specialized doctors and nurses 24 hours a day. It’s very costly to do and I suspect it’s one of the reasons this project didn’t fly.”
He also questions the original plans to have on-site facilities, such as banks, travel agencies, medical consultation offices, pharmacy, hairdressing salon, convenience store, catering, restaurant/cocktail lounge, laundromat and other commercial operations.
“They’ve got to move, they’ve got to be active, those people. We can have a shuttlebus for those who need it but those who can should be walking into town and using the services there. I want to see 55 plus up to people our parents’ age. Do we want to close the door on them and say that’s it?”
Vincent, himself a Hudson resident, understands why some may not want to depart from the original concept. “I’m not going to confront them. We’ll deal with what comes up. We’ll let the community judge. I want to get the community involved in this project. I need your help!”

So what should Hudson do? Forget about R-55? Rezone it for single-family residential? I can guarantee you’ll run into a wall of resistance from neighbours who like the unbuildable purgatory next door. Such is Hudson.