Formerly NAV CANADA’s NAV Centre, the DEV Centre and its DEV Hotel and Conference Centre is the largest hotel and conference center in Eastern Ontario. A business and recreation hub that many of us in Cornwall have frequented over the years, the DEV Centre sits on 75 acres of land along the St. Lawrence River.
Jean-Pierre Poulin, CEO of DEVCORE, the new landowner, has been sharing his vision at the Eastern Ontario Municipal Conference held at the Centre this past week and indicated he is in high-level discussions with Akwesasne as important neighbours and partner in the development of the waterfront strategy. In a statement Jean-Pierre noted that he intends to build the development plan collaboratively, “the DEVCORE group also intends to work with the City of Cornwall and others by implementing a steering committee. This will ensure stakeholders’ thoughts are heard throughout the process.”
One question that has been asked a lot is, “What will happen to the Stone House Built in 1850?” Ritchard Brisbin of bbb architects confirms that residents of Cornwall and area can rest assured that the Stone House will be included in the planning to keep it intact.
The DEV Centre’s Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations, Kim Coe-Turner, was with NAV Centre for 15 years before the DEVCORE acquisition and transitioned over.
“I’m very excited. There is lots of opportunity for Cornwall with the DEVCORE acquisition, it’s going to be a great thing,” Kim shared, “The DEVCORE group is just very happy to have such a warm welcome in Cornwall. This will bring tourism and build more homes that are so needed in our area.”
It’s no secret that there is a real need in Ontario (and in our region specifically) for good workers. As NAV CANADA did in the past, DEVCORE has been working with Immigration Canada over the last 5 weeks to receive new Canadians, many of whom are seeking asylum.
These immigrants come from many places, including Africa, South America, and Turkey and are very relieved and happy to be here. Right now, there are approximately 350-400 people on-site. DEVCORE is working with several local agencies, including Red Cross, to help the resettlement process and help people get working permits.
One of the issues with attracting and keeping workers in the area is not the number of jobs available, it is the lack of affordable housing that has been strongly affecting the residents of Cornwall, both old and new, since the pandemic.
Part of DEVCORE’s plan is to build two waterfront residential units, seniors’ residence and a low-rise residential development behind the main conference center. Also planned are transitional housing and these units will serve as short-term rentals for people who are coming to the area for work and may also include some units that are geared to income.
Other plans in the pipeline include a lot of public realm space such as a linear park, beach and marina, botanical gardens and green space, and a hotel outside of the main Conference and Training Centre.
When it comes to design, DEVCORE is focused on environmental sustainability. They plan to reduce their carbon footprint with innovative technologies and energy methods, like the 1VALET system, to create smarter homes and buildings.