Float­ing new ideas

Sum­mer­side Sus­tain­able Tourism Ini­tia­tive up­dates city coun­cil on wa­ter­front pro­posal

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - HOT ONLINE - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN

There are plans afoot to in­tro­duce some unique at­trac­tions to the City of Sum­mer­side’s wa­ter­front.

The Sum­mer­side Sus­tain­able Tourism Ini­tia­tive (SSTI), a non­profit group run by a board of var­i­ous tourism in­dus­try stake­hold­ers in the Sum­mer­side area, hopes to in­tro­duce at least one wa­ter taxi to the city’s wa­ter­front in time for the 2016 tourist sea­son.

The shal­low-draft ves­sel, which could be so­lar-pow­ered, would pick up pas­sen­gers from a float­ing dock some­where along the wa­ter­front, such as Spin­nakers Land­ing, and take vis­i­tors to lo­cal places of in­ter­est - po­ten­tially, Hol­man’s Is­land and the beach at the In­dian Head Light­house.

It’s part of a pro­ject the SSTI lead­er­ship says has been on the books for Sum­mer­side since the re­de­vel­op­ment of the wa­ter­front started in the early 2000s, but which has re­ceived re­newed ef­fort in the past year. The group up­dated Sum­mer­side city coun­cil on its progress dur­ing the lat­ter’s monthly meet­ing Mon­day night.

“We have the plans in place to do it. We know, ba­si­cally, what that looks like and how it would op­er­ate. Tonight’s pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil was to de­ter­mine whether there are part­ner­ships lo­cally that sup­port the con­cept. If there is not, then we park it, but we think it’s worth con­sid­er­a­tion, and this coun­cil has been very sup­port­ive of our ef­forts for the last cou­ple of years,” said Arnold Cro­ken, trea­surer of the SSTI.

Cro­ken, who was ac­com­pa­nied by SSTI chair­man Ron Bar­rett, also ex­plained to coun­cil that the wa­ter taxi pro­ject is part of a larger tourism con­cept for the Sum­mer­side har­bour. Buy­ing and op­er­at­ing the ves­sel would sim­ply be Phase 1 of a po­ten­tially multi-phase, multi-year, pro­ject.

The vi­sion, in its en­tirety, in­cludes ren­o­va­tions to the In­dian Head Light­house to in­clude a pic­nic area and small gift shop, as well as shoring up the armour stones that pro­tect the his­toric light­house, a part­ner­ship with the Prince Alex Re­sort, which is un­der con­struc­tion at the western end of the city, and in­clud­ing the na­ture pre­serve on Hol­man’s Is­land and lo­cal fish­eries as eco tourism com­po­nents.

The var­i­ous parts of the over­all pro­ject have been es­ti­mated to cost a lit­tle un­der $800,000.

While Cro­ken and Bar­rett didn’t out­right ask coun­cil for a spe­cific dol­lar amount, they say that if the city was will­ing to con­tinue to sup­port the pro­ject that it would open up fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments and a more de­tailed fund­ing ar­range­ment would be worked out.

SSTI’s pro­posal comes as the city coun­cil and staff are in the midst of pre­par­ing the mu­nic­i­pal bud­get for 2016.

Sev­eral coun­cil­lors com­mented af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion that they liked the ideas pre­sented and gen­er­ally sup­ported them, but most also ex­pressed trep­i­da­tion at the price tag.

How­ever, they did like the idea of com­plet­ing the pro­ject in phases, sim­i­lar to how the city’s wa­ter­front board­walk was built.

COLIN MA­CLEAN/TC ME­DIA

Arnold Cro­ken, left, and Ron Bar­rett, rep­re­sent­ing the Sum­mer­side Sus­tain­able Tourism Ini­tia­tive, pre­sented a plan to Sum­mer­side City Coun­cil Mon­day night that in­cludes in­tro­duc­ing a wa­ter taxi to the com­mu­nity’s wa­ter­front and up­grades to the In­dian Head Light­house at the mouth of the city’s har­bour.

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