This week I attended a web-based meeting amicably chaired by local resident Jacques Hote-Host. The meeting was promoted by my councillor, Kimberly Chan. It was a chance for Pierre Wistaff, the long-time owner of Dunnderrosa, to address complaints lodged by local residents. I live in Kingsmere and came to learn more about what was going on.
About a half-dozen neighbours participated. They complained about noise levels, bright lights, blue-tinted water in the faux-falls, unsightly fencing and signage, traffic, destruction of mature trees, and blocked access to recreation trails.
When it was Pierre Wistaff’s turn, he explained that he has been operating the place for 22 years. He recently sold the bulk of the old Dunnderrosa golf course land to a developer, and then invested his “life-savings” in upgrading the old building and surroundings into what is now Dunnd’s Village. His vision is to build “a unique outdoor family experience for all ages.”
Pierre explained that the waterfall at the centre of the mini-golf is tinted with a compound that is 100 per cent organic. You can drink it, he assured the group….
I didn’t really understand the complaints about the fencing. A few speakers suggested that it was unattractive. Two suggested that the fencing was blocking a wildlife corridor. Really? In the 24 years that I have lived in Kingsmere, the only wildlife I saw in that “corridor” were drunk drivers and more recently, a gaggle of wild turkeys…. I know a lot of my neighbours maintain fencing around their properties. I have fencing. So why can’t Mr. Wistaff ?
Neighbours complained that the new business signage was too big and bold…. The signage is so discreet that I didn’t know until the meeting that the place had been re-named Dunnd’s Village. How are customers supposed to find the place if there is no signage?
Neither did I understand the assertion that Dunnd’s Village is creating traffic congestion.
…What I learned from attending this meeting is that I had some inaccurate assumptions about Dunnd’s Village. I did see mature trees being cut down. The business owner insists the municipality advised him to do so because the trees were diseased and a hazard. More than 100 trees have since been planted…. …Pierre and his wife [are] trying their best to build a viable business and eager to be responsible entrepreneurs.
The Disney-park wannabe feel of Dunnd’s takes some getting used to. But times are changing. … I hope Dunnd’s Village thrives and that Pierre is true to his word; he needs to make more effort to reach out to his neighbours, keep party noise down, and reduce the light pollution. …The municipality needs to continue its oversight to make sure bylaws are enforced.
Bob Vandenberg is a concerned resident of Chelsea.