By Jack Wilson
Ayer’s Cliff municipal council unanimously approved a bylaw changing the building permit regime for the zone including Ripplecove Inn at a July 3 meeting. The bylaw still requires approval from the Memphremagog MRC before coming into force. If approved, it will require Ripplecove Inn and any future developments in zone “Rec-5” to submit a vision of a completed development before obtaining building permits. Ripplecove Inn developer Richard Laliberté has vocally opposed the plan, including at a public consultation held June 19.
Ripplecove Inn is the only commercial property in the “Rec-5” zone. Since the bylaw exempts residential properties, the change will only affect Laliberté’s property. Laliberté has pointed to this as evidence that the town’s city council is targeting him specifically and has called the bylaw “discriminatory.” His campaign against the bylaw dominated both the public consultation and a June 5 council meeting.
Town representatives, including Urban Inspector Marie-Andrée Gosselin, have responded that the plan would also apply to future developments in the area. Mayor Simon Roy has repeatedly said that he has no grudge against the developer.
Laliberté has been redeveloping Ripplecove Inn since he bought it in 2017. Some locals have opposed the project, criticizing the cutting down of trees and densification of the area. While many spoke in support of Laliberté at the June 19 consult, others supported the bylaw and criticized his development.