Summerheights Golf, Cornwall, Ontario

OPINION: Public land should be for the public

By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: Public land should be for the public
A top down map of Legion Park showing the ball diamonds removed and replaced with a small forest and promenade.

On Monday night, thinc design presented their proposals for the new Waterfront Plan to the Planning Action Committee (PAC).

PAC heard a range of over 70 recommendations that thinc is proposing for the waterfront from Guindon Park in the west, all the way to the Nav Centre in the east.

At this point, these are just recommendations, no one has made any final decision on what the future of our waterfront will look like. Even when they do, I don’t think most of these recommendations will come to life within the next five years.

That being said, before the end of 2019, Council will approve a new waterfront plan in some form and it is my opinion that the waterfront should stay welcoming to the public as possible and as open as possible.

Many of the recommendations from thinc do follow this theme of preserving and promoting public space. This includes their advocation for a new entrance to Lamoureux Park on Water St., a stargazing area in Guindon Park and even the recommendations for dog parks along the waterfront are all good steps, I think, in developing that space for all the citizens of Cornwall while promoting tourism.

Even some potentially private ventures, like a waterfront spa near the canal, are a good idea. A waterfront spa would not be overly intrusive, and it is a business that would likely be welcoming and potentially used by the majority of the population. On top of that, I believe that a waterfront spa would make a lot of money and could be a strong tourist attraction for the city, but that’s another opinion column on its own for another time.

Areas where I do have concern are the lands that thinc has earmarked as “Future development parcel”. The implication I get from this designation is that the development is private. As I mentioned in reference to the waterfront spa, some private development can enhance the waterfront space for everyone, others do not. Restaurants and shops will grow our economy while keeping our waterfront open to everyone, condo developments will not.

Another area of concern for me is the proposed change to the Legion Ball Park that the park be transitioned into a “Passive waterfront Park Space”. I strongly believe that any attempt to move those ball diamonds will be met with stiff resistance from Cornwall Minor Baseball, and from the Cornwall Legion. The fact that just this past summer, Cornwall hosted the senior softball provincial tournament in that park, is just one example of its continued relevance and importance. It would benefit the city the most if Cornwall Council and administration worked cooperatively with Cornwall Minor Baseball and the Legion to develop the park as partners in a way that satisfies the majority of stakeholders.

What are your thoughts on the new waterfront plan? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

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Jenni MacDonald, Dominion Lending, Cornwall, Ontario