Citizens weigh in on new waterfront plan

Nick Seebruch
Citizens weigh in on new waterfront plan
Michale Tocher of thinc design at the first open house consultation for the new Cornwall Waterfront Master Plan on Wednesday

CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall organized an open house on Wednesday, June 20 to discuss the update to their 2007 Waterfront Master Plan.

thinc design, a Toronto based urban design and landscape architecture company has been hired by the City as consultants on the project and were on hand at the open house to get feedback and answer questions.

Michael Tocher, a partner with thinc design said that this meeting was one of the first steps in their process of recommending a new masterplan to the City of Cornwall.

“We were really impressed with how great the waterfront network is,” said Tocher. “We feel it is a great waterfront trail system and we want to preserve and enhance that.”

Much of the 16km waterfront is currently owned by the federal government, who announced their intentions earlier this year to sell all of their waterfront holdings in Cornwall.

Rachel Parkin, a representative of Transport Canada, which currently owns the lands, told Cornwall City Council in April that the government was under no-obligation to give the City first right of refusal when selling the lands. In other words, the government will sell the land to the entity that gives them the first, best reasonable offer.

Tocher said that so far, they would recommend to Council that the City preserve public space along the waterfront.

“Most waterfronts don’t have what Cornwall has,” he said. “You really want to preserve and protect that system of public spaces. That’s what waterfront is for, public space.”

“There is a real movement in urban planning to preserve public spaces,” Tocher went on to say. “It is about finding appropriate places for development.”

Bill Beattie, a 12-year member of Cornwall’s Waterfront Committee was at the open house on Wednesday afternoon and gave some of his thoughts on the future of the waterfront in Cornwall in an interview with Seaway News.

“I’m of the opinion that the government should be giving it (the land) back to the City of Cornwall,” he said. “Obviously what a developer would want to do is build on it.”

In 2017, C.H. Clement Construction announced a plan to build condos along the waterfront around Marina 200, a plan that would have encroached on the bike path and the Legion Ball Park.

“People should get along with people,” said Beattie. “But if anyone tries to move those ball diamonds they are in for a good fight. Those ballparks are the nicest ballparks in Eastern Ontario and it would be a shame to interfere with that.”

thinc design will be holding its next open house in November and hopes to present their draft of the new Waterfront Master Plan to Council in the Spring of 2019.

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