SOUTH STORMONT, Ontario – Cruises, bike path development, a waterfront restaurant and lookout, fishing, pickleball and yoga opportunities, as well as a gazebo are just a few of the ideas discussed for the South Stormont Waterfront and Recreation Plan between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
About 50 locals attended South Stormont Township Hall, diving into discussion, planning and concerns about developing along the municipality’s waterfront.
“This meeting is really your meeting,” said Jon Hack, Company Director of Sierra Planning and Management Consulting Group. “It’s important for us to understand what is important to you.”
Hack said that the public gathering was essentially the launch of a dialogue to better direct a plan that will be presented to Council in spring of 2020. Leading up to that date, there will be two more public consultations, increased online discussion and a public survey that will be open until Sept. 27.
Public consultation is the largest component of the Plan, according to Hack. A few residents raised concerns that the company was ‘putting the cart before the horse’ in terms of gaining access to develop on the waterfront lands with organizations like the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. Other locals encouraged that the company apply for grants to fund projects from various government groups. Hack reassured that funding and building challenges would be addressed throughout the creation process.
“The timing is fantastic…we’re starting that inventory collection and understanding of the (waterfront assets) in some detail,” said Hack. “You can’t gain access to anything unless you have a proposition…it’s also important to see if it can be (affordable).”
Consultant Lindsay Cudmore discussed that the municipality did have a Recreation Masters Plan created in 2007, which saw many proposed projects completed, such as the implementation of new soccer fields, outdoor recreation courts, outdoor program opportunities, accessible facilities and the development of parks. A Waterfront Plan, proposed in 2005, will be revisited to explore the feasibility of uncompleted projects.
Although 20 per cent of South Stormont’s population is comprised of residents aged upwards of 65 years of age, the municipality has seen a 3.9 per cent increase in residents from 2011 to 2016. Cudmore said the increase is greater than what Cornwall and SDG has seen as a whole.
Locations in which the Plan will focus on include Farran Park, 125 Acre Park, the Long Sault Parkway and Lakeview Park.
McGillis voiced frustration with frequent comments comparing South Stormont’s waterfront to that of Brockville’s or Kingston’s.
“I feel very confident we are going to move forward in a positive way now…we have this consultant firm, they’re doing a great job so far,” said Mayor Bryan McGillis.
To find out more about the Plan, visit the Township’s website here.