Weigh­ing in on the wa­ter­front

Open house for wa­ter­front ideas was well at­tended

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - FRONT PAGE - LOIS ANN BAKER lbaker@post­media.com twit­ter.com/loisan­nbaker

How to im­prove Corn­wall’s wa­ter­front has al­ways been a hot topic is­sue so it should come as no sur­prise when the city held an open house on Wed­nes­day which was well at­tended. Mike Tocher, an or­ga­nizer of the event from the firm Thinc De­sign, said it was clear that peo­ple care a lot about the wa­ter­front is­sues be­cause they be­gan ar­riv­ing to the open house early and there was a steady stream of con­cerned res­i­dents all af­ter­noon.

Tocher said the open house was to present the ideas col­lected from res­i­dents re­gard­ing the five ma­jor ar­eas of the wa­ter­front, Guin­don Park, the canal lands, Lamoureux Park the area from the har­bour to the col­lege and the east front area.

“We’ve done a lot of in­ter­views and we met with the pub­lic in June and the ideas are still at the gath­er­ing stage,” said Tocher. “That is what is listed here, a lot of what we heard. What we are try­ing to get peo­ple to do is to in­put more de­tailed com­ments on th­ese ar­eas.”

Tocher said the sa­lon at the civic com­plex was di­vided into the five ar­eas and peo­ple were en­cour­aged to visit the sta­tions and ex­press their opin­ions on some of the pro­posed ideas.

“We are try­ing to get peo­ple to fo­cus in and give us rec­om­men­da­tions,” he said.

Tocher said once all the in­for­ma­tion has been gath­ered he will come back to the city in the new year with the rec­om­men­da­tions.

“That’s not today,” he added. “That is what we are lead­ing up to. Today is still about ideas. No de­ci­sions have been made and every­thing is still on the ta­ble.”

Tocher said dur­ing the first round of talks, which were much broader and cov­ered the whole wa­ter­front, a lot of con­cern was re­gard­ing the de­vel­op­ment of con­do­mini­ums.

“That’s not the case,” he said. “We are not here to pro­pose de­vel­op­ment through­out the wa­ter­front and take away green space. How­ever, it is a big wa­ter­front and not all of it is park­land so de­vel­op­ment might hap­pen.”

Tocher said he didn’t think any­one wanted Corn­wall to stay stag­nant and some de­vel­op­ment was good for the city.

“I think the word de­vel­op­ment when used in Corn­wall could mean any­thing,” he said. “We are try­ing very much to keep­ing ac­cess, keep­ing the trail net­work, but that’s not to say that in the end, we are not go­ing to say if you want to do de­vel­op­ment, here is where it should go. We have made no de­ci­sion on that. We can’t rule out things that are loved by the com­mu­nity for the sake of tax dol­lars.”

Tocher said they have heard loud and clear peo­ple are not in­ter­ested in los­ing the ball di­a­monds for de­vel­op­ment, but there was the pos­si­bil­ity of re­lo­cat­ing them.

“We’ve heard a lot of peo­ple say we’d love to have ball tour­na­ments, but we can’t have them there (at Le­gion Park),” he said. “Maybe there is an­other lo­ca­tion that makes more sense.”

Tocher said those were the two key con­cerns, the ball di­a­monds and de­vel­op­ment of the wa­ter­front into con­dos.

Coun­cil­lor-elect Glen Grant has been on the wa­ter­front com­mit­tee and he said he thought this was a lit­tle like putting the cart be­fore the horse.

“It’s great to put a plan to­gether, but my goal this term is to ac­quire the wa­ter­front land,” he said. “Then we can de­cide on all this.”

Grant said the city should be stew­ards of the land.

“This land is not owned by the fed­eral govern­ment or the fed­eral agen­cies. It’s owned by the peo­ple of Canada and as such the fed­eral govern­ment is the stew­ard of the land and we could be­come stew­ards of the land,” he said. “Once we have stew­ard­ship of this land we can look at de­vel­op­ment.”

But Grant did agree the open house was a good project to know what could hap­pen af­ter­wards.

“This is a good ex­er­cise be­cause once we ac­quire the land, now we know what di­rec­tion to go in.”

LOIS ANN BAKER/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

Mike Tocher of Thinc De­sign at the Wa­ter­front Open House on Wed­nes­day Nov. 7, 2018 in Corn­wall, Ont. Res­i­dents were en­cour­aged to come by the civic com­plex to dis­cuss what pos­si­ble changes we could see on our wa­ter­front.

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