A report presented to Cornwall City Council by the Department of Planning, Development and Recreation recommended that council vote to designate the municipally owned vacant land at 504 Fourth Street East (former site of Bob Turner/Joe St. Denis Field) for future affordable housing development.
This land was earmarked for future affordable housing development as part of the council-approved Housing Revitalization Plan. Some factors that make it an ideal spot for future development include full municipal water and sanitary sewer services available on site that can support medium to higher density development as well as an existing bus stop on the North side of the property on Fourth Street East.
To preserve the naming of the previous athletic site(s), the report explains that a future housing development would be named Bob Turner Court, while parkland built to serve the neighbourhood and surrounding areas would be named Joe St. Denis Park.
This land redevelopment also aligns with the city’s Recreation Master Plan, which identified the potential relocation of the Joe St. Denis Football Field in 2009. The Recreation Master Plan Update adopted in 2021 features the recommendation to install a multi-use artificial turf field with lights at the Benson Centre – an estimated $3 million dollar project.
Ultimately, council chose to defer this recommendation from the Department of Planning, Development and Recreation, seeing as the property in question is also being considered for the proposed Cornwall Youth Space.
“We understand that housing is something that we have no choice but to approach in an… I want to say… aggressive manner. We need more housing,” said councillor Good with a caveat.
“I’m very troubled by the prospect of losing inner city parkland in order to create such housing. I believe there are alternatives in order to achieve both of these but were not going to get back this park space once we lose it.”