OPINION: A step forward on the waterfront

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By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: A step forward on the waterfront
Rita Jodoin participating in the Waterfront Open House, placing stickers on 12 favourite ideas (Shawna O'Neill/TC Media).

In two weeks, this Council will have been in-power for six months.

In six months council has addressed a few campaign issues. Switching to a ward system was looked at for a hot minute early on then quickly dropped. A cannabis by-law is in the process of working its way through to completion, but the most prominent issue from the election campaign still looms large, namely the waterfront.

There have been a few open houses about the waterfront, a presentation or two, but no reports or by-laws have yet to pass that change anything about the City’s approach to the waterfront, that is, until tonight.

On Monday, Council considered a motion from freshman councillor Todd Bennett. Bennett’s motion asks administration for a report on the feasibility of having temporary pop-up shops along the waterfront.

This is an idea that’s being imported from the City of Belleville, who introduced the idea in January of having temporary pop-up shops along their waterfront this summer.

I think this is a great idea. This will give people a chance to see what our waterfront could be if it had a permanent, or seasonal boardwalk. It gives eager entrepreneurs a chance to grow their businesses in our city, and the best part of all, is that it could be temporary, which would mean that if we don’t like this change to our waterfront, then it would be easy to change back.

That being said, there are of course, going to be a few caveats to where these pop-ups should be. For starters, the City does not own most of the waterfront. The bulk of the waterfront lands are in the hands of the federal government, who claim they intend to divest the land to whoever offers fair market value. Also, the market cannot displace the ball diamonds in Legion Park. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but those ball diamonds were very busy all last week.

What might work is having these pop-up shops just west of Marina 200 along the perimeter of the Civic Complex’s eastern parking lot.

What do you think readers? Should we have pop-up shops along the waterfront this summer? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

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