You can’t fight City Hall – Especially in Cornwall – City Fails residents of Glengarry Apartments – Cornwall Ontario October 13, 2009

Normally this entry would be filled with video clips and photos inspired by the words and actions of our Cornwall City Council and Mayor.

I’m not doing that tonight, because frankly tonight I’m very disappointed.

Today was a let down.   It showed the lack of vision by many on council and the lack of truly caring about the fragile balance that makes community’s work.

Of course this is all my opinion.    None of the decisions made tonight were wrong.  They weren’t corrupt.  They weren’t Evil.    A few of the opinions I thought were lazy or purposefully obtuse.

Cornwall is a community in transition.  It’s not quite a big city,  and not quite a small town.   It has a lot of older housing, much that many people would consider sub-standard especially as you get closer to the centre of town and especially when it comes to multi units.  IE Apartments.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Cornwall is a dynamic place with a unique situation that in the post Domtar world there are going to be all sorts of opportunities that can be created and exploited.

That being said if its leaders don’t show vision and care we can end up with an unruly mess.

The Glengarry Apartments are a nice 150+ unit complex near the center of the town.   Housing a lot of seniors, it’s close to medical services and shopping with easy transportation access.

Tonight the City Council voted to allow that complex to go Condo.   It probably will take 20 or 30 years for that to fully be implemented.    There are laws to protect current tenants, but as their leases end for one reason or another those apartments will be converted to condos and sold to the highest bidders.

How that will impact those still there will remain to be seen but the impact on Cornwall is going to become more and more apparent.

With less apartments being built than condos and a natural attrition of sub standard housing where will people who can’t buy a condo move to?   If you took those current residents and forced them to find alternative rentals what would  happen to the rental market in this city as it’s not that big to start with?

And by adding these units what will happen to the condo market?  Will it slow growth of new units as developers wait for supply and demand to even out?

In the same evening Cornwall City Council agreed to a petition to delay the Ceasing of Truck Traffic on Richmond Drive.    I felt that it was a very sad move.   Councilor Rivette asked if this was just a delay tactic or were there some real options to discuss, but none were put forward and residents of the street will have to wait longer as the needs of a few area businesses look like they will supercede them again.

Council tonight also gave the contract to redo the city’s website to an Ottawa contractor even though there were several local bids including the company that currently holds the contract.  For a group that talk about the need to keep young people in Cornwall and build our population base how does sending a $25,000 contract to Ottawa help?   One of the reasons given was that this company does other municipalities sites.   If you don’t give locals the opportunity how will they ever be able to win such a contract?

Don’t get me wrong.   I don’t “blame” council.   Nobody’s done anything wrong or broken any rules.

But for a community that keeps talking about “Spend Locally, Buy Locally” shouldn’t we be bending over backwards; especially with our city tax dollars to keep it local whenever we can?

So folks; no photos or video tonight.   Tomorrow is another day.   And hopefully some of us will remember nights like this at the next election.   If you want Cornwall to grow;  if you want our families to stay in Cornwall, and help build its future, and if you want to see a true gem of a city evolve you need the leadership to help get you there.

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1 Comment

  1. Coming from Akwesasne, where people make their own decisions on how to develop their property, I fail to see how it is of Cornwall City Council’s concern over whether or not a particular property owner decides to rent units out as apartments or leases as Condos. Why does the developer or owner need approval from City Council in the first place?

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