Sandy Beach: the core problem

Sandy Beach boardwalk.JPG
Sandy Beach Nature Trail, with the bridge and boardwalk financed in part by developer Hans Muhlegg. Would we be having this discussion if Hudson had made a conservation plan a priority?

The core problem in the latest Sandy Beach debate is Hudson’s lack of a conservation plan which presents developers with a set of ‘facts on the ground’ before they submit subdivision plans to town hall. One can’t but help wonder whether this soap opera would have played out differently if successive administrations had made it a priority instead of a tedious bureaucratic chore.

A conservation plan consists of two elements: a detailed flora/fauna inventory of wetlands and woodlots, and an administrative framework to ensure the protection of the municipality’s most environmentally sensitive areas.

The first element, the Technika-HBA wetland/greenspace audit was presented to a handful of residents at a special meeting in June 2008. Nicanco Holdings Inc. president Hans Muhlegg was among those present. You’ll find it posted at the bottom of this page.

The CIMA+ Conservation Plan, which you’ll find on the town’s website, was presented to residents last August. It can’t be adopted by council and married with the MRC’s master development plan until approved by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Action against Climate Change, then subjected to a second public consultation. As I write this it still sits with Quebec.

The Technika audit was carried out by a team of biologists between April 25 and September 3, 2007. A followup visit took place in May 2008 to confirm findings. The team visited 63 wetlands and woodlands found throughout Hudson’s 2,185 hectares, leaving out only those which are already zoned as parkland or too small to characterize. They narrowed their list to 15 woodlands and 26 wetlands.

Two of those woodlands (Bi-11, Bi-15) and one wetland (MH-10) are part of Nicanco’s Sandy Beach Holdings. Among the threatened, vulnerable or at-risk species either present or possibly present: Climbing Fumitory (adlumia fungosa), Maidenhair Fern (adiantum pedatum), Putty-root Orchid (aplectrum hyemale).

All or parts of all three appear to lie within the 20% greenspace allocation Nicanco undertook to deed to the town as a result of the adoption by referendum of Bylaws 408 and 409 on Sept. 30, 2001. Apart from this surveyor’s map, I can find no record of a cadastral transfer. (I was given a photo of the beach servitude surveyor’s document, but this isn’t a transfer of property.)

Sandy Beach wetland added.png

The following paragraphs are taken verbatim from the Technika-HBA audit. (I highly recommend that anyone wishing to understand this file takes the time to read the audit I’m posting. You’ll need it to crack the map code, which includes references to threatened, vulnerable and at-risk species.)

Wooded areas

Parmi les 15 boisés d’intérêt sélectionnés pour la classification écologique, deux boisés se
distinguent des autres avec des pointages nettement supérieurs; il s’agit du Bi-3 (97 points) et du Bi-8 (82 points). Les autres boisés d’intérêt présentent des pointages allant de 34 à 64. Le pointage attribué à chacun des 8 critères en fonction de chaque milieu est présenté au tableau 13.
Le boisé d’intérêt Bi-3, notamment de par sa grande superficie (contient deux secteurs), la
présence de trois espèces floristiques à statut précaire, la présence de milieux hydriques et le caractère majoritairement naturel du milieu environnant, a obtenu la plus forte valeur
écologique. Le boisé d’intérêt Bi-8 vient en deuxième place et est caractérisé par un vieux
peuplement inéquienne d’une grande superficie contenant une grande biodiversité d’espèces floristiques ainsi que deux espèces floristiques à statut précaire. En troisième place, le boisé d’intérêt Bi-11 est caractérisé par son niveau de rareté, sa biodiversité floristique, la présence d’un cours d’eau permanent qui font de ce peuplement un milieu à forte valeur écologique.

Wetlands

Des trente-cinq milieux humides présents sur l’ensemble du territoire, 26 ont servi à la
classification écologique. Le milieu humide MH-25 se distingue des autres avec un pointage de 87. Il est suivi par les milieux humides MH-8 et MH-10 qui ont un pointage similaire de 82. Le pointage pour les autres milieux se situe entre 74 et 29. Le pointage attribué à chacun des 8 critères en fonction de chaque milieu est présenté au tableau 14.
Le milieu humide MH-25 est une tourbière boisée qui, notamment par sa rareté, sa grande
superficie, sa biodiversité élevée et son hydroconnectivité avec un cours d’eau permanent et un autre intermittent, a obtenu la plus forte valeur écologique.
Juxtaposé au boisé d’intérêt Bi-6, le milieu humide MH-8 est un complexe de milieux humides composé d’un marais à quenouilles et roseau commun ainsi que d’un marécage riverain. Présentant la plus grande superficie, ce milieu humide contient une grande diversité d’espèces floristiques, de même qu’une espèce floristique à statut précaire. Il est en lien hydrologique avec la rivière Viviry et présente un bon potentiel de mise en valeur.
Le milieu humide MH-10 est lui aussi un complexe de milieux humides, situé aux abords de la rivière des Outaouais. Composé d’un marais riverain et d’un marécage arborescent riverain, une partie de ce milieu est comprise dans l’ensemble des parcs et espaces verts de la ville d’Hudson.

Most of Hudson’s most environmentally sensitive and biodiverse wetlands and woodland lie outside the urban core and fall under the protection of the Commission de protection des terres agricoles (CPTAQ). For example, Bi-3 and Bi-8 are both in the west end to the south of developed areas. MH-8 is part of the Viviry Valley Conservation Area. But, as you’ll discover trekking through these documents, a number of others are in the direct path of a developing urban core.

The Technika-HBA audit’s conclusion doesn’t mince words.

Les 63 milieux naturels cartographiés et caractérisés présentés dans ce rapport possèdent une valeur significative due à leur rôle écologique important et aux services rendus à la
collectivité. De plus, la caractérisation effectuée permet de mieux connaître la valeur
exceptionnelle de certains milieux et présente ainsi un bon outil pour l’élaboration d’un plan de conservation et de gestion des milieux humides et naturels du territoire de la ville d’Hudson.

The following is the Technika-HBA audit: rap-s88002

The following are the eight maps appended to the audit: rap-s88002-feuillet8rap-s88002-feuillet7rap-s88002-feuillet3rap-s88002-feuillet2rap-s88002-feuillet6rap-s88002-feuillet5rap-s88002-feuillet1rap-s88002-feuillet4

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43 thoughts on “Sandy Beach: the core problem

  1. Artfully captured, once again… Thank you Jim… Thinking and discussing the what ifs and why nots of this Town’s elected and managers’s disdain for the natural beauty, fragility and irreplaceable qualities of Hudson’s embedded ecosystem hurts me deeply. Over time, I have come to appreciate how when you overlay this intricate web of local wetlands, flora and fauna through walks, Google maps, ArcGis online, the 2008 survey maps, even if reduced to a partial portrait for political causes, when juxtaposed in thought and experience with the presentation of a past expert resident on the formidable land formation and erosions which have shaped our land, the river’s laceful edge and the carving of the Viviry down to meet the river, its valuable water retention basin, when I try to imagine what the mounded/filled strip the train tracks might represent to the natural flow of local water, I see an irreplaceable respiratory and circulatory system, I see a playground network for people young and old, for their four-legged companions, our friends and wildlife. I see health, I see necessity. When looking at our Zoning map which ignores the beauty and intrinsic value of our land, which appears to strive to fill, raise, flatten and disfigure, mixing uses from one side of the street to the other, breaking any opportunity to create a moment, a space, a node, an opportunity to generate play, business, meetings or being, I shake my head and wonder how did we got to this point? Our planning program is a garment full of holes and mis-matched corners with little shape left or reasoning except that more than one developer approached the Town and said: “I want…”. , many times. You are right Jim, it starts with a policy, an objective, a decent planning program where the coherent, central vision of the Town is translated into land use planning. The pre-2009 Planning Program, or what is left of it, looks like it tried to be flexible, while offering guidance as it recognized the natural value of place. Then there are patches that seem written in a different hand… where regulations got chopped up and simplified while developers devised their own local ordinances which they impose on their neighbourhoods. Hudson has a unique opportunity in its natural heritage, in the spine it acquired close to a century ago, the train linking it still to Montreal, then as far as Ottawa. Hudson has managed to keep one foot in remote semi-wilderness while remain connected and stimulated culturally and intellectually by the big city. A unique place, must it be exclusive, or transformed into a ‘life style’, a Disneyfied version of the frayed edges we love as they are? Do we need a boardwalk to get to the beach? Is this because someone simply messed up and forgot to take into account the average water line in establishing the servitude? Sorry for the length, on the train home, looking forward to walking through the Sandy Beach area as I make my way to the train tomorrow morning to do it all over again… 😉 You are doing wonders in bringing these issues into the electoral platform, thank you.

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  2. Well said by both . The Technika HBA study was not really expensive (45K) , was fairly exhaustive on data but short on strategy. At TPAC from 2009 to 2012 we continuously recommended the report be used to formulate a template for future development in our Town. Nothing was ever done at Council level and to be fair needed the expertise of an involved planning dept. to initiate it. Didn’t happen. I have on my property a B-8, MH-4, Bi-3, MH-A, B-5, MH-3, B-7, and an MH-7. I guess the word Bingo! comes to mind but levity aside this report still needs to be studied and implemented. I would be pleased to have these areas enshrined in perpetuity as undevelopable , untouchable. I know other landholders feel the same and now is the time . It is running out as an older generation gets ready to hand off their legacy . We can’t save it all but we could still salvage our Town as a place where species other than our own matters.

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    1. Brian, a handful of conservation minded owners could start a bank of land in trust for current and future generations’ access and use. In my wanderings, I have come across Conservation group representatives, biologists, planning experts who do this readily in other MRCs… My question remains: why not here? At what level is the political blocage taking place? Is it a lack of knowledge? of exposure? or affinity with the natural environmental? I agree, Hudson needs a vision, a master plan which centers on the natural qualities of Hudson, the heritage and diverse neighbourhoods, how these feed each other and enhance the overall picture. From there, regulations and zoning can be rethought looking to mitigate development goals and natural value. Natural assets and development potential ought to be woven into an artful urban fabric instead of lopping off significant limbs (sacrificial zones) and ignoring the rest or bumping up the core mindlessly as our Town has been doing steadily since the early 2000. One of my favourite reads on how development has taken shape in this Town is in reading various CPTAQ’s justifications and approvals of some de-zoning and/or permission to cross through Agricultural zones over the past 20 years. One finds therein the gradual justifications given for the gnawing away at Agricultural zones in a plaintive ‘we have no other choice’ mindset I have heard already too often in this Town. As often discussed, Agriculture and the ways it is practiced, its potential and growing interest among the next generation returning to the source are changing. Hudson has a unique gift, an opportunity to use its unusually rich and arrable land/soil in an industrious way which goes beyond over-cultivating it, pumping it with pesticides, generating OGM produce and lobbying the government to have it zoned white as the only valuable form of response to an increase in population to come. When will we stop behaving as in the divide and conquer era but instead focus on the gift amongst us already, looking to grow public access through fields, forrests, streets, parks, across streams, wetlands, to live, ski and walk freely across this beautiful territory. Do we really need manicured trails to do so? More noise, more gas/diesel, more unnecessary equipment/weight on what we’d like to preserve as wild, ecologically sensitive, fragile and delicate? What does all of this mechanization say of us and who we are? I feel strongly that if you want manicured trails, you go to St-Lazare or Mount-Royal, while if you are looking to wander in nature, ‘un dominated by man’, you come to Hudson. My take, my rant of course…

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      1. We’re so far behind on these land use issues, but also so far behind on development we need to save ourselves fiscally.

        As Jim and I determined in another thread, since 2000 Hudson’s expenditures have more than tripled while our population has dropped. And we’re not addressing a growing infrastructure deficit.

        The result of our lack of land use planning and our terrible fiscal challenges will likely be some hasty bad decisions if no one pays attention or no decision if no reasonable balance can be sought.

        Reasonable balance comes hard to Hudson.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim, thanks for clarifying these things.

    It’s easy to presume that inaction is because of a lack of knowledge or thought.

    We have the knowledge, we have the thinkers, we just don’t have leadership who can engage those two assets into a future plan. The proper description of this syndrome where significant facts are repeatedly ignored is found under “I” in the dictionary. It’s called IGNORANCE.

    We pride ourselves on being GREEN because Dr. June Irwin waged an unwavering intellectual war or repetitive words over years if not decades and finally a Council acted on her demands and banned pesticides. We were, notice the past tense, lauded nationally for being so Green. We even went to the Supreme Court, surely without $700K in legal costs and defended our actions.

    Since June Irwin, we’ve been basking in her sunshine, we’ve been patting ourselves on the back for our Greeness, but can’t plan and build a contiguous network of trails, can’t protect wetlands, can’t approve acceptable development where we need it, and have an escarpment ready to slide we will build on soon and we lack water.

    The greenest thing we have left is our St. Patrick’s Day parade. It’s not enough and our current lack of priority on a defined and acceptable plan have us gridlocked and bickering.

    Leadership encourages and sometimes forces discussion between opposing thoughts and forges compromises for common good. We sorely lack leadership, but we’ve sure got an expanding herd of Unguided Technocrats delivering little of substance at great cost because no one facilitates the necessity of a middle road to the future.

    Our solution has been to vilify those who ask complex or uncomfortable questions, kick them off of TPAC and other committees and isolate them as the difficult ones.

    They are in fact the ones we need to bring to the table with all other sides.

    We get out of government the exact work that we the citizens put into it. And as a collective, we’re failing to make progress. It’s not for lack of knowledge, it’s not for lack of thinking, it’s all about lack of leadership. But it must be a balanced and tough leader who is firmly anchored in the middle ground of responsibility and transparency.

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    1. As always, Peter, you remind us we’re playing 18 holes and every swing counts.
      Over the past several weeks I’ve had conversations with people I have criticized. It’s one thing to know how things are supposed to work and quite another to understand how and why they don’t. It’s humbling.

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      1. Yes, but the important point is that we’re those who are involved in these outside discussions are teaching each other, educating the collective to a common purpose.

        Leadership should be pulling idea people into public Town Halls monthly group thinks.

        Example, we’ve been told by people who should know that flood plains changed, forcing a re-think of Sandy Beach.

        This week I learned that flood plains didn’t change, Hudson just finally learned that we had the responsibility to identify and protect wetlands, clearly ignored in round one of Sandy Beach because we were IGNORANT when we first approved Sandy Beach. I say it still needs to go ahead, but we need to significantly satisfy the naturists among us and we’ll be a better place with perhaps a smaller development. The developer won’t make as much, he should have built quickly before we got smarter.

        There’s a fear when talking to passionate knowledgeable people, most of that is rooted in our natural fear of looking stupid. Compromise to the center ground will be the only thing that saves us control of our future. But compromise requires discussion and consideration that each of our own ideas are imperfect and can’t work without the consensus of other passionate and different people.

        Face the water and look far right and that’s our future if we fail to govern ourselves responsibly.

        Hudson doesn’t need a Mayor we need a Town Group Therapist

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  4. LOL, I’ll vote to that!
    Thank you for turning the Ecotrolley around you 3…
    So where to next? Monthly public meetings where all residents are invited to meet, learn and talk on Bill 122? Bill 102? Truth and Reconcilliation at the local level?…
    What would be your choice of topics? Would these not be towards Policy definition for Hudson 2017-2021?

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    1. Honestly, I don’t have time to ponder the ramifications of this or that piece of legislation on the local body politic. I can usually figure it out for myself in half an hour, digest the implications and move on to other matters. I loathe meetings and see them as a last resort. Five minutes would be perfect but even sociopaths have to pretend to be nice sometimes. Oh, and screw reconciliation. If I step in anyone’s toes it’s their problem.

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      1. I apologize for posting this but I’ll leave it up to remind myself not to be an asshole. I wrote it while I was very angry at something involving the town but I can’t say more. Women wisely choose to talk things out while men lash out in their anger and impotence. When there is no action verb, I go nuts.

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  5. Another thing to note:
    Nicanco has yet to receive a certificate of authorization from the Ministry of Environment to run the hydro line, water & sewer line from across the tracks and all down Beach Road. The 5 lots in the eastern sector are serviced by an extension of the municipal water line at the end of Sugarbush.

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  6. I really hate it when I hear people espousing the equation :

    Costs have increased = Must have increased density or higher tax rate

    The correct equation is :

    Costs have gone up = Must reduce our costs.

    We need to put our emphasis on the second equation. It is not easy, it is not sexy, it requires dedication and and a dogged process, but this is truly the answer to our dilemma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill, it’s not one or the other, but both. Here’s a thought: if the entire Sandy Beach development is built as is, Hudson’s population will still fall 200 short of what it was when this town was a bustling little regional hub.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Bill I agree, except when costs have tripled and we have no control of 40% of our budget, we’d have to eliminate virtually every dollar we do spend.

      We need to reduce costs and find a level of development to fill the remaining leaks and holes

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      1. Peter,
        I have been in Hudson for 30 years and have seen the administration move from small and efficient (Bradbury) to bloated and inefficient. In that time the services have not changed substantially (less garbage pickup), the population has remained the same and the infrastructure has deteriorated dreadfully.
        I have no idea how you can complacently say this is OK ? The citizens should be marching in the streets demanding it should be changed. The downward spiral has taken several administrations but this administration has allowed it to accelerate. I can imagine that the “run of the mill” citizen does not know what is happening to him or how to fix it, but you, as a successful entrepreneur should know that clear-headed leadership is needed. Supporting an inept administration only perpetuates the problems.

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      2. Bradbury’s shortsighted decisions (no sewers when it would have been cheaper, no strategic purchases of greenspace) continue to haunt us today. A failure of vision is as inexcusable as overspending on frivolities.

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      3. Come on , Jim that’s a little too easy blaming our current woes on Taylor Bradbury. Few municipalities had main line sewers back then and those that did exist were usually just nods to any sort of collection/purification before they were dumped into the Ottawa or St.Lawrence. As for green space acquisition are we really going back to that ” we could have had Sandy Beach for 200K” ? Mr. Bradbury kept a sharp eye on the purse strings and it’s what his generation clearly wanted. Volunteers did the rest of the community stuff. His staff clearly respected him and he respected them back. We weren’t as caught up in strategic plans and town visions back then because the grow or die mantra had not yet come to town.

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  7. Residential development in my view should not occur on the most valuable natural areas of Hudson. The simple fact that we are still discussing the viability of this project today only goes to show the lack of long-term vision and consideration of our Town’s planning for the irreplaceable value of nature’s infrastructure in our midst.

    Instead, development should be encouraged along the commercial downtown spine, in key nodes of mixed use along the length of Main Road. There are tools, examples and means to make this happen. This approach is understood in other parts of Quebec, why not here? Lack of imagination or heavy-handed pressure by the developers? Who is running this Town?

    TPAC, Council and the Planning department should be spending their energies on Urban core densification and development rather than on ‘paving paradise’.

    If we keep filling the ‘sponge’ portions of Hudson’s territory, flattening the ancient treed lots where irreplaceable spirit and views are present, what will be left of the public realm and the spirit of place?

    Sandy Beach/Pine Beach, if measured for its raw developeable capacity, without the site ‘corrective’ work required to make it viable for a healthy building’s foundation and underground parking, would certainly not be the logical answer. The flattening and raising of the land will surely have great long-term effect of the long-term viability of the trees and biodiversity around it. If the development was measured for its full life-cycle value to Hudson in terms of added annual taxes, added operational services required, strain on water and road infrastructure, loss of public attraction to people from the greater region, we would see that the $500K projection of added tax revenue in 7 years time is actually much lower. If we had an organized Management, we might be able to measure, to quantify what Hudson Valleys/Alstonvale and alternately what Whitlock West have added in value to Hudson. Perhaps, this study ought to be made before we are sold another flimsy justification of the guaranteed added value of Sandy Beach/Pine Beach development.

    Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the rules of access and use of the part of the Beach that will not be under water will incur a dwindling acceptability by the new residents. Growing private pressure will slowly erode and gradually wane people’s physical affinity to this place. This in itself is damaging with long-term effects on the spirit of place, generating growing divisiveness, ‘us’ against ‘them’, we own this place, they are tolerated attitude as we are beginning to notice in Hudson Valleys where dog walkers are growingly less tolerated. Hudson needs to be clearer as to its free access and open space rule. This needs to be made clear to new residents and developers: no fence, no need for divisive measures, be tolerant of the other’s free will or simply don’t move here. This is not an exclusive country club. Or, is it? What is the general population’s ideal? And then ask yourselves, is the PMAD designed for ‘exclusive’ communities?

    We need to stop thinking like NIMBY minded people looking to generate or belong to exclusive neighbourhoods, We need to start to reflect openly on a more holistic appreciation of land value, respectful for each other’s ownings, the collective domain and memories, We need to remain present and active in the major changes to occur on the territory. To repeatedly be told that We, the public, has no other choice, or to endure Council and Management’s repeated lack of imagination, of in-house talent, expertise or even gumption to look beyond the confines of our territory, instead adopting freely what is spoon fed to them by residential developers, is mind boggling to me and should be unacceptable.

    In ‘looking at the larger picture’, as We have been encouraged to do, does it still make sense in 2017 that an ecosystem that has taken centuries to come to be should be flattened and developed to close to 40% of its surface simply for a lack of ‘integrated’ vision and management…?… simply because Hudson’s management to date has not made adequate provisions for holding in trust and value the key areas of our territory?

    My question to you Jim: what is ‘municipal’ leadership? and where is it?

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    1. Bill Driver, I don’t support the current administration I accept that they’re the ones who got elected and while I hope for better in the future, I won’t wear them down with constant attacks. I work at being positive and open as examples, without restricting myself from criticism. We’ve gridlocked ourselves and it’s mot all the fault of the Council.

      My question to Chloe is why would any right minded person step into this swamp hoping to lead a populace without a common unified vision? We don’t allow them to lead, so they become monthly punching bags at Council and are chained to the legal bureaucracy of the MRC and Quebec. What a thankless and frustrating job they’ve taken on.

      We’ve been divided and all but conquered. We live in the past, unable to agree on the future. Leadership must have a purpose, but it must have a reasonable and open populace willing to accept change. We lack that willingness to change, but not changing is impossible given the past. The only option is to adjust to all past mistakes and steer the ship to a possible future within the confines of the law and the populace.

      Yet, we must accept the realities of the past, like Sandy Beach. I have encouraged each administration before to think about and help evolve as good a development as possible for Sandy Beach. So far the Prevost government is the only one that’s had a plan tabled. Perfect, no. A great basis for negotiation, a decent start. Thanks to the Corker government for dragging us into sewers kicking and screaming, they enabled a non-septic proposal for this fragile land.

      If the majority wanted to spend to buy Sandy Beach they’d be marching in the streets. The development will happen, how it happens depends on what we want blended with what’s possible.

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  8. While these are noble concepts, the reality of current standards and past agreements work against them. It’s hard to back out of a development plan approved in 2001 with a developer who has invested in infrastructure.

    Idealism is welcome, but to attain any ideal requires a well managed financial base. To do so requires cash we don’t have and a strong vision and will of a majority of people.

    Run for Mayor and Council, get elected and change things while wearing the shackles of fiscal and majority reality. I’m sure it’s every bit as frustrating as it looks from the outside.

    Sandy Beach will be built, barring an angel investor with deep pockets and a green heart.

    The meeting clearly stated that the various segments will be sold to to developers.

    Bring the right developer to buy the project and build to the standards you think are important and that will be the most certain way to improve Hudson while accepting that Sandy Beach will be developed.

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    1. Right on. No point arguing about the number and placement of deck chairs, especially when this crew is more concerned about funding the bands playing as the S.S Hudson goes down.

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  9. I have just reviewed two videos regarding new developments – one in Amsterdam and one in Sweden. My take-away from these is that really successful developments are multi-generational, multi-economic levels, with open access among all building units. As I look at the Sandy Beach proposal, this design is infinitely better than the original plan. If the owner of the land insists that he WILL develop the site Hudson must negotiate the best terms possible. by allowing him to change the design to this integrated model. My bottom line would be :
    Full and easy access to the beach area for Hudson residents.
    I am not sure that the design presented does this but ensuring this, prior to the by-law change should not be too difficult

    No additional burden on the Hudson Taxpayers. I believe that this should mandate that the developer provides an independent water system and “buy” access to our sewer system.

    I am with Chloe,-This is not the place to put this development. The whole area should be preserved for future generations, but I have the distinct feeling that the train has left the station. If it has, then we should insist that our citizens get the maximum benefit in recompense for what we will be losing

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  10. Idealism, noble… past agreement, fiscal reality… frustrating, angel…. standards ‘I’/you think are important…. accepting…

    Since I agree to almost everything you write and also love a good debate, here is what I draw from this potential for deeper exchange:

    I am not against development or I would be in the wrong profession.
    Developing in Hudson seems to boils down to simple math looking to project fiscal responsibility/money, laden with the burden of past poor governance and the current leadership mantra/asking us to accept mediocrity as the new Citizen Manifesto.

    My existence, that of my ancestors and the heritage I strive to maintain for my children is not founded on these values.

    We have just been through a decade of darker years of self-subservient management and development. This is but a bump in the road. It should not become the new normal.

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    1. So here’s the challenge: draft a policy that will cover the concerns at hand while serving as a template for a wider discussion encompassing ancillary dwellings, infill density and redevelopment. Of not more than 500 words.

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    2. Good morning Peter,

      I value your clarity, your genuine care, your kindness towards me and many others as we try to clear a path for Hudson 2017-2021.

      I am not the best spokesperson for any large group of people, meanwhile I am a good listener to those who often go unheard and who are dismissed. The under-dog. I know the un-heard are often those who know and care for this land from the most unlikely places as they ‘travel’ these parts, exchange with the people who do not stand on soapboxes, in essence, they hang-out in places where the grit of life happens. I value these struggles, these strengths, these perspectives as these are often not ready-mades easy to sling back at others or slap on as a glimmer of smarts.

      A group of us are working hard at putting into place a system that will be valued and recognized by the next electorate, a consultation platform where elected and the public will work together on key issues. Not all the issues, but to know when an issue will seize the hearts and minds of a larger portion of the population. What was that number you suggested in setting a target audience? 350+/-?

      This council continues to have the opportunities to bring on board and to consult key experts and people with experience in this community, volunteers on advisory committees. It is unfortunate that they only started doing this in the past few months, after the strategic plan was adopted. It is a mystery to me why the Environment Committee has not been re-instated. Also, why is TPAC not being asked to work on the Downtown core rejuvenation/re-development? Or on the PMAD and TOD compliance? Or on looking to improve on the Conservation plan submitted to date? Why don’t we have a Heritage Committee who could work hand in hand with TPAC, the Hudson Historical Society, Greenwood Living History and the Demolition Committee? Hudson is wrought with an intense and vibrant volunteer network, why not better weave this valuable social ‘ecosystem’ with the 4-year electorate cycle? Long-term heritage and aspirations versus short term perspectives? Today, these seem to hang-out mostly in separate playgrounds, only playing nice with eachother when subsidies are in play. Not a very resilient approach or attitide, in my view.

      I accept Jim review of the situation : we can banter back and forth in writing all we want, in the end it is the actions that will make a difference. As I am not an electorate candidate for a variety of self-induced reasons, I will place my energies and expertise in places where they can make a difference for the greater group: growing citizen participation.

      Today, a group of us are meeting at Mon Village to discuss Jim Duff’s 500-word challenge and what may be the next steps with regards to Sandy Beach/Pine Beach?

      Will you join us?

      Note: If any elected, past, present or future, would like to join us, you are warmly welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Smart man, and I concur.

    As you know, this is exactly where my ‘idealism’ falls apart, the 500 words or less part… but much agreed: we need a Public Manifesto.

    I will add this to tomorrow’s meeting agenda:
    You are all welcome to join a group of us who are meeting tomorrow at Mon Village at 2:30pm in the bar section.

    I believe that through the diverse expertise and strengths in Town, We will be able to draft a common vision for Hudson 2017-2021.

    I will send to you/post here for your input and editing comments, if you are interested in participating on this opportunity for a collective project, a charrette of sorts.

    Like

  12. ‘Charrette’ as defined in the Town Paper, see online ref: http://www.tndtownpaper.com/what_is_charrette.htm

    : ”A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.”

    Hudson needs more participation tools like these to mend the divide.

    Like

  13. As Bill and Peter say ,Sandy Beach in its entirety untouched by development is no longer a possibilty so the forces who don’t like what they saw at Mr.Muhlegg’s presentation have to be specific about what they want. Mr. Muhlegg and Mr. Perreault were quite specific. So those who want something different must not mope about the birds and the beach. They must be specific and that has not been something I have seen them doing beyond asking Mr.Muhlegg to donate his property to what they consider to be our greater good. Try getting 500 words together as to what they want there specifically and then , maybe, translate that towards a broader sense. Stay focused and less philosophical. I’ll start : I liked what I saw in the plan except : I want a wider beach servitude that will include the top of the bank above the beach and I want Mr. Muhlegg to install his own wells or river intake accompanied by his own filtration system. We have that precedent in Alstonvale and Hudson valleys. There ,50 words.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m not going to pretend that I have given up on stopping this altogether. But, here are my suggestions to modifications if all the other possibility fail. Much wider buffer between beach and project, including the existing trail from JLP. To compensate for setback could a land swap be an option?. The town owns a huge lot from the filtration plant to the train tracks. (currently a dump for another private project in town). Its a real eyesore and seems like a poor choice for town storage facility). Could this be a possible place to have a multi unit building (such as they are suggesting at the entrance of beach road). Could this be swapped in compensation of pushing this project way back from the beach. The location is right by the train, the IGA, medicentre, and walking distance to wharf, JTP and the property actually extends at one point to yacht club road. Possibly two entrances. No, it doesn’t have water views, but if you are aiming at retirees close to everything else they would need.

    Other priority is the false sense of security I get with servitude in perpetuity. Looking towards the future, this project could end up housing 1/5 of Hudson residents. I am sure their pressure could cave future administrations to pass a resolution privatizing this… and poof its gone.. almost as quickly as our access to the beach from Royalview could have been if the Omnibus had passed. Real protection of this servitude must be created – land trust?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That area you’re suggesting is unlikely to be a buildable one. Ask Brian Grubert, but it’s basically 20 feet of mostly organic debris dumped for years over wet base. Make a great park in the center of town though.

      Like

      1. Hi Peter,

        Where there is a will, there is always a way.

        One can build on structural piles and, depending on soil analysis and how contaminated it is, re-qualification can be done. Look at Toronto’s Brownfield redevelopment examples. Re qualified is a hot topic nowadays and there are incentives/funds available for this.

        Is it the most cost-effective approach when all required hoops are quantified? Probably not in the short-term.

        But the lack of long-term vision is what past councils are being blamed for, no?

        I would be curious in seeing the full list of why nots and budgetary costs and delays for this option.

        Why not? Is this not a place for ‘why nots’ to be proposed?

        Like

      2. Because the developer can’t get the same price per unit. Because nobody wants to look at a dump. Because the site is already a snow dump required by law. Be real, folks. Nicanco has a big fat bird already in hand. Why would he trade even for a deceased parrot?

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve covered municipal politics for 50 years. I can count on my fingers the number of consultative councils that worked. They worked because the mayor was secure enough to listen to advice, wise enough to separate good from bad, strong enough to make difficult decisions based on what she/he knew was in the public interest and generous enough to credit those around her/him.

    Liked by 1 person

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