Battle for Hastings Drive by Jean Hamel

Earlier this year, the OLA eNews was contacted by Jean Hamel who owns a lot on Hastings Drive, Long Point. She and her family are being prevented from building on this lot, which was zoned as Hazardous in 1986 following a severe storm which destroyed or damaged dozens of houses on Long Point. Some rebuilding has happened but Jean’s lot is still restricted. She has set up a GoFund me page to assist with applying to the Ontario Municipal Board to have her lot rezoned to permit building. This is her story.

In December 1985 a storm hit Long Point, located on the north shore of Lake Erie. Some homes were damaged on Hastings Drive and one of them was ours. We were told by the authorities to tear down what remained, that the road would be closed, no rebuilding would be allowed, and the area was re-zoned Hazard Land.

My father wrote to his MP, MPP, and anyone else who would listen about this situation: no insurance pay out, and harassment for even visiting our property. He eventually gave up ever seeing this situation put right.

In August 2013 we visited our property with our two children to go for a swim. Someone called the police on us and we were asked to leave.

This has to stop. This is our land.

We are calling upon Norfolk County to re-zone this road. It has been over 30 years. Other parts of Long Point, with the same issues as Hastings Drive, were deemed Hazard Land after the storm but have since been re-zoned! The Hazard Land designation is expropriation in all but name.

But it goes beyond money. This land represents much more to us: our childhoods, and our memories, of long lost family, enjoying summers at the beach, exploring and respecting nature, and taking care of our land. It is who we are, and it is where our hearts remain.

Imagine if the people affected by Hurricane Sandy were told they could not rebuild? That they could never again do anything with their land? The County has added insult to the injury of the storm by preventing us from using our land as it was intended. They have callously disregarded us for decades. It is time to right the wrongs.
If you own land and believe you should have some say in what happens to it, please help us get this zoning changed back to what it was. All of Long Point was affected by the 1985 storm, but Hastings Drive continues to be unfairly stigmatized.

Thank you.

Note: The OMB has forced Norfolk County to re-zone other properties in Long Point. It can be done.

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