Despite the opportunity to have the redundant school building razed and a commemorative park developed at no cost to the City of Niagara Falls, the City Council has approved development of the central US position.
On February 26, with only two Council members voting in opposition, three zoning by-laws were passed regarding the former school property: One rezoned the southern portion of the site to R5A Apartment use, another the northern portion to Open Space, a third the eastern portion to General Commercial.
The R5A zoning would permit the development of 30 apartments in the former school building, directly atop the path taken by the US 21st Infantry in the pivotal minutes of the climactic battle of the War of 1812. The area zoned R5A encompasses much of what Canadian military expert Don Graves referred to his, the definitive account of the battle, as the “killing ground.”
The General Commercial zoning is intended to permit the expansion of parking for a funeral home onto this “killing ground.” The lands slated for General Commercial zoning and conversion to a parking lot have always been green space.
The rezoning is intended to allow the majority of the school property, long held in public ownership, to be sold to private interests. Lands central to the US position would be lost to intense multi-residential and commercial use.
Visitors’ ability to experience the battlefield from the US perspective would be lost. The view of the US position from the British-Canadian position on the hill, would be severely constrained.
Graves describes, in Where Right and Glory Lead! : ’Drummond saw at a glance that the ground would make a good defensive position. The gentle southern slope of the hill would allow his artillery to transform the cleared fields in front into what a later generation of soldiers would call a “killing ground.”’
Future visitors standing where Drummond stood would be severely challenged to envision the “open sunlit area” into which Scott’s forces emerged. They would see parking lots and an apartment building where those forces charged and fell.
Both the R5A and General Commercial zoning by-laws are under appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
By popular demand, a petition has been created:
Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield, a registered public foundation, is currently accepting contributions to the Battlefield Defence Fund. These contributions will provide professional representation in support of our Ontario Municipal Board appeal.
Tax receipts will be issued for contributions of $10 and up
Public Foundation Registration Number 869831396RR0001
Send cheques payable to Friends of the Lundy’s Lane Battlefield to: 5993 Barker Street, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1Y5