Please print my open letter to Mr. Southworth,
Dear Mr. Southworth,
On Feb. 22, 2015 you wrote a letter to the Association of Little Harbour Property Owners stating that you intend to proceed with your marina project “without additional consultation with Little Harbour.” The justification you offered was that certain ALPHO members have over-dramatized effects of the project and based remarks on things they knew to be untrue. I’m glad you were careful enough to qualify your statement with “certain ALPHO members” because I am certain your statement does apply to everyone in Little Harbour.
I would expect a businessman who leads a property development company bearing his name to react in a more measured fashion than to outright reject local input. A person in your position should understand that people sometimes overreact when offended by the actions of others. You need look no further than your own reaction to opposition to confirm that point. Since it appears as though you’ve been offended, perhaps you’ll be able to appreciate that some people are offended by your plans for a large marina complex in Little Harbour.
It would surprise me if this was the first time you’ve ever encountered opposition to a development project. But it is clear that there are competing interests at stake. The path to resolving conflict usually begins with an airing of concerns. That is what is being done, so it’s surprising that you seem to be taken aback by that. I also find it surprising that anyone with your experience would think that a single meeting could mitigate every concern that residents might have. You cannot be a naive man, so your actions make it appear as though you’re the type of developer who is simply unwilling to hear, let alone address, the concerns of local residents.
You have painted Little Harbour residents with one very broad brush by severing communication. I know many residents to be rational and well-reasoned. Here are several reasons you might want to reconsider your position:
- Government officials are on record as saying that communities need to have a voice in development plans.
- It appears that, upon meeting a modest amount of opposition, you decided that communication wasn’t important after all (a decision that might be viewed as convenient).
- Some might interpret a single meeting with locals as an attempt to check the box that says you got input from the community (until you didn’t like the input).
- Some might conclude you are only willing to have a dialog if it’s a one-way dialog where your plans and terms are quietly accepted by residents.
Little Harbour Property Owner