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Public survey launched for Belle Vue proposal

Updated: Feb 14


Both the Town of Amherstburg and the Belle Vue Conservancy are asking people to fill out the survey at www.talktheburg.ca/bellevue. The BVC is wanting to see "guaranteed public ownership."


The Town of Amherstburg has launched a survey via its “Talk the Burg” website regarding the proposal for Belle Vue and is looking for public feedback.

The Belle Vue Conservancy, the group that has spent several year’s fundraising for the manor’s preservation, also wants people to provide public feedback to the survey and also wants the property to remain in public hands.


Town council approved last October that a proposal from Amico and the Loop Family advance to the “next steps” with deputy CAO and director of development services Melissa Osborne stating public feedback was part of the motion.


The proposal, should it be developed by Amico and the Loop Family, would see restoration of the 200-year-old manor including six hotel rooms and a spa inside of the historic building itself, a separate 24-unit hotel building, pool, event space/public gallery, restaurant and 52 semi-detached homes in 26 buildings. The property is located at 525 Dalhousie St.


Resident input will be part of the report that will go back to town council later this spring, Osborne indicated, and the public input includes what the public wants to see not only with regards to the proposal, but the issue of whether Belle Vue should be owned publicly or privately.


The ownership question was a bone of contention last fall during debate on the matter around the council table.


Questions on the public survey involve where in town people live, what services within the proposal would people use, how often people would visit the property to walk around, what types of programming would be held in the event/gallery space, what publicly available events hosted by the town would be of interest, whether the town should make it a priority to retain ownership and, if the town does keep the building, what reasons they should have for doing so.


Part of the upcoming report to town council will also feature a valuation on the land, the viability of the proposal, challenges and risks that lie ahead, what the economic benefits of the proposal could be as well as the survey.


Osborne said the property is important for the community and indicated they want to consider all factors.


“We’re hoping in the May timeframe (to complete the report) but there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Osborne.


Regarding the Belle Vue Conservancy (BVC), Osborne said the objective is to meet with them as the intent is to ensure all donations made and acknowledgements paid for to be recognized going forward.


“We are looking to set up a meeting with the group,” said Osborne.

The survey can be found at www.talktheburg.ca/bellevue and residents are asked to complete the survey before March 6. Osborne said last Friday morning the survey already had over 60 responses.


“The resident engagement on the project is very important to council,” said Osborne. “We certainly hope to see a lot of responses from the community. We want to give it as much time as possible.”


The Belle Vue Conservancy met last Friday and has issued a statement on their stance regarding the proposal and the survey.


“Currently, Belle Vue is owned by the Town of Amherstburg. Under the Amico/Loop proposal, they would take ownership of the manor and property.

This would mean no public access, other than what the business would allow. For the past seven years, generous public donations have already been used,” the statement reads. “The Conservancy supports the concept of a business utilizing the property as a hotel, spa etc. with the provision of guaranteed public ownership. Belle Vue Conservancy encourages you, the public, to fill out the survey on the Town of Amherstburg page ‘Talk the Burg’ keeping this in mind.


You will have to create an account with them to do so. We hope that you will take the time to review all the information provided before completing the survey.”


Should anyone have questions for the BVC, the statement concluded they can be contacted at info@bellevueconservancy.com.


BVC members Bonnie Deslippe, Robert Honor and Debra Honor told the RTT they are hopeful there will be hard copies of the survey made available.


“A lot of people don’t have access to a computer,” said Debra.


The town has stated people can contact 519-736-0012 or accessibility@amherstburg.ca if they need assistance to complete the survey.

Robert stated they understand the business component of the proposal but emphasized public money was put into the purchase of the site with funds raised by the BVC used to replace the roof.


Maintaining public access is a priority of the BVC, they add, as they would want guarantees the public would still be able to use the property.

“We understand as a business, there are certain areas that won’t be available to the public all the time,” said Robert. “But there are areas that should be.”



Timing of the repairs of the manor itself is also a concern for the BVC, with Debra fearing “demolition by neglect” if there are any delays in restoring the historic building.


“Belle Vue has to be done first,” she said, noting there is no heat or electricity at the building.


Vandalism and theft have also been problems at the site.


“We want to make sure people’s voices are heard,” said Deslippe. “We’re hoping the town will do an open house like they’ve done with the Malden Centre Park plan.”

 

By Ron Giofu

 

 

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1 commentaire


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17 févr.

This survey is written in such a way that indicates that this is already a done deal. There has been no thought as to the nature that will be destroyed and the properties that will lose their value. And I don't believe that the manor will ever be turned into a luxury spa. And the hotel they are proposing is not for families.

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