The last public space on the waterfront of Lake Erie will mostly remain that way: public.
Port Stanley’s berm, the swath of land between Little Beach and the harbour, has its future mapped out now. Central Elgin has approved a $30-mlllion-plus plan to guide redevelopment of the town’s waterfront. Tom Marks, Central Elgin Deputy Mayor tells the London Free Press that it’s a “living document”. Meaning, changes and tweaks will be made along the way. But the big picture view of the next decade is finally done.
This is a big deal for locals and it has come after much deliberation and public consultation. Port Stanley is changing too rapidly for many long-time residents. The population is growing fast and on sunny long weekends, we don’t even dare to go into the village because it’s so busy with tourists. As one merchant told me last fall, “after Labour Day, we get to see the locals again!” But that’s what’s beautiful about it, too. As a former frequent visitor, I can appreciate how it’s a lovely break from the ordinary. And everybody’s happy when cash registers are buzzing.
The Master Plan includes a waterfront park and a walkway all round the Berm where there’s a dirt path now that gets awfully muddy sometimes. A plaza will be put in as a space for holding events. Commercial and residential developments are a part of the big plans, too.
Like the decisions on what to do, implementing the plans will take time. The Free Press reports that funding the projects will be spread over 10 years.
Add this to the private waterfront undertakings such as the transformation of the former Jackson’s Fish Market, the craft brewery and restaurant in the old Dominion building, and exciting times are coming!