thinc design currates thoughts on waterfront

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
thinc design currates thoughts on waterfront
Rita Jodoin participating in the Waterfront Open House, placing stickers on 12 favourite ideas (Shawna O'Neill/TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Community members had the opportunity to share their thoughts and place a sticker on 12 of their favourite waterfront design proposals today at Cornwall Civic Complex between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“Today is all about what we have heard and what we are recommending,” said Mike Tocher, partner with thinc design. “We have 77 recommendations and we want to know what the public thinks of those 77. So, there’s panels explaining those in further detail…and we are giving everyone the opportunity to place a dot on the 12 that are the most important to them.”

thinc design has been contracted by the City of Cornwall to update the City’s Waterfront Plan and has recently held two public outreach sessions to gauge thoughts on future development possibilities. thinc has divided the waterfront into five areas of focus: Guindon Park, Canal Lands, Lamoureux Park, Harbor to College and East Front.

“We got a lot of good feedback. We heard from a lot of different people…we got a really good sense of what is important to people in Cornwall and that’s the key thing,” said Tocher. “I think what we’ve heard from the public so far is that people want to see a protected waterfront that is publicly accessible, that sort of thing. So, all of these recommendations are keeping in mind with that.”

Tocher believes some areas of the waterfront would be suitable for development, but he thinks these spaces would not block off public access. He doesn’t believe anything too controversial has been proposed and is reminding the public that regardless of what is chosen to be developed, it may not come to fruition for a number of years.

“This plan gets revisited after 10 (years). So if something is (planned for) 25 years out, it’s going to be looked at at least two more times under this process, but we don’t want to lose any (recommendations) along the way,” said Tocher.

The main concern brought forward to Tocher so far is the destruction of ball diamonds along the waterfront.

“I think there’s a real opportunity in the future for the ball fields to have a complex that is state of the art. Somewhere you can have tournaments. Right now, what’s there couldn’t host tournaments and I don’t know if it could ever be configured in a way that could,” he said.

Tocher believes that some objections are short term as in 20 years from now it will be hard to predict what the concerns of residents are and what is developing in the city.

“People generally don’t like change, no matter which community you’re in. But…change happens regardless, so you have to steer the change to what you want and you have to accept a certain amount of change, whether it’s your waterfront, or a huge property for development. You can’t say you don’t want it to happen because eventually it’s going to happen…” said Tocher.

“This is really about what people in Cornwall want to see,” he added.

To view a comprehensive overview of the proposed changes to each section of the waterfront, click here.

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