CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall’s Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) heard about the final draft of the waterfront plan and got feedback from the public at their meeting on Monday, July 29, 2019.
The plan included 77 recommendations across the City of Cornwall’s entire waterfront, most of which is not owned by the city.
The plan was developed by the consultation firm thinc design, who have spent the past 18 months collecting feedback from the public about the new waterfront plan.
According to that feedback, thinc was able to identify a list of priorities for the future development of the waterfront including: more beach improvements, ice skating, improvements to Pointe Maligne, improvements to the waterfront trail and more food and amenities.
All of the 77 recommendations are estimated by thinc to cost $25 million. According to thinc design, elements of their plan could be implemented within the next 10 years, but that it could take up to 25 years to complete all recommendations.
“It should be viewed as a living document to be updated and adjusted over time,” said Michael Tocher of thinc design.
The plan did meet with some skepticism.
“There are a lot of items on there that in all honesty I couldn’t support,” said PAC lay member Ron Symington, citing discrepancies in the budget and the timeline. Symington suggested that an new committee be formed to go over the plan “with a fine tooth comb,” he said.
Mayor Bernadette Clement raised a concern over the harbour lands. The City of Cornwall purchased the lands in partnership with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) during the last term of council.
“You have it highlighted as a challenge and not as an opportunity,” she said. “I don’t agree, I think it is both. I think we have to be clearer that we co-own that. Even putting up a design is a little presumptuous. I think this is a great opportunity as well as a challenge and we should spell that out in the document.”
Councillor Claude McIntosh asked if Akwesasne had been presented the plan.
“We have to treat them as partners. It is a fifty-fifty deal,” he said, after hearing that the MCA has not seen the final draft of the plan.
Members of the public packed the Council Chambers for the meeting and PAC voted to allow them to give their feedback. One member of the public who did so was Mark Caddie of the Cornwall Lunkers Club.
He raised concerns about building more beaches along the waterfront, due to what he believes is historical contamination of the soil from previous industries that dumped chemicals in the St. Lawrence River in decades past.
Caddie also had concerns about where funding for these projects would come from, and how much input the public would have on them.
“If the public are going to be paying for it, they should have input as to what’s going on,” he said.
In terms of funding the projects, Councillor Todd Bennett raised the idea of favouring revenue generating recommendations for the waterfront first.
“I would focus projects that are revenue generators that could fund other projects in this plan,” he said.
The waterfront plan report will have to be approved by Council before it is adopted by City Administration as an official document. The full plan can be viewed online.