Boardwalk project littered with mistakes


Sir: I am responding to the article “Peeking Inside the Boardwalk” from the Feb. 23 Chatham Voice.

After reading this article, I was left with one thought – what a nightmare this development has become.

It is hard to believe that this project has been going on since 2010. I respect the BIA, councilors, and journalists for their hard work and efforts, but there are several issues here that need to be addressed so that this does not happen again.

  • While Victor Boutin has invested $20-30 million in this project, I disagree with Brian Chute’s excuse that “he does it his way” and that is what is taking so long. Any competent developer/business person plans and delegates so that a project that should take two years does not take longer than seven. Furthermore, after almost seven years nothing is sold in this complex.
  • There have been a lot of mistakes made. Someone poured the wrong mixture of cement and now it has to be removed and redone? Balconies had to be retrofitted? Footing had to be reinforced? Again, a competent crew would not let that happen. It honestly sounds like that building might fall into the Thames River some day.

I wonder if Boutin needs an expert in engineering and project management here in Chatham to oversee the day-to-day operations.

  • I would like more information on the quote from Darrin Canniff stating that, “There’s a lot of money being spent in the community because of this.” I just don’t see it. Nothing has been sold. There are no new residents. There are no commercial enterprises there yet.
  • “We try to use local crews but when we can bring people in from Toronto for half the price, what can you do?” Is this really true? Who is working for half-price? I would think it would be more expensive to hire a crew from out-of-town since they would incur and charge relocating costs such as housing, meals, and equipment transportation.

I do not want to see this happen again. You may be aware that there is talk of developing a vacant lot at the corner of Indian Creek Road and Lacroix Street into two 36-unit apartment complexes with underground parking and a pool with retractable roof next to The Links of Kent Golf Course. I believe an out-of-town developer has drawn up a plan that includes more than just this “Phase One” but has not yet applied for rezoning to high density housing.

I attended a neighbourhood meeting recently about this proposed development and was dismayed to see the plan for these buildings and underground parking on land that once suffered regular and excessive flooding. I believe that lot is back-filled to road level. This sounds like another nightmare to me and I know very little about construction.

I do hope that the Boardwalk reaches completion soon and people move in (both residential and commercial). I do hope that the complex enjoys a long and prosperous economic life.

Please do not begin any more projects in Chatham without thoroughly investigating who is developing, why they are choosing Chatham, and evaluating the viability of the project. Chatham is a wonderful community that could use new real estate projects to accommodate the growing number of people from out of town that choose Chatham as a retirement community due to lower housing costs, great amenities, and awesome community involvement.

Kim McDonnell





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