Ignoring Waterfront Master Plan an insult to those who created it says reader

To the Editor:

Sun, Sand, Shoreline and Sunset

As a part time resident of Port Elgin for many decades I have always been excited each summer to see what the town has added at the beach and in the North Shore Park area. There is always a new improvement to the pathways, benches, landscape and dock. Our tax dollars are spent wisely, and much appreciated.

Now there is a new Cedar Crescent concept and I detest the idea and the procedural steps the local government has taken to make this happen. Local governments do not normally function in this manner without months and years of interviews and meetings and suggestions from their citizens. Have a look at any Ontario waterfront community and realize the due diligence that has been done. I believe this government has taken about 10 years to come to a decision about a community pool.

In my frustration to understand how political this issue has become, I carefully looked at the Waterfront Master Plan. It is an amazing document built with care and concern for our sandy beach, mixed-use shoreline and adequate opportunity to view the sunset. (We have been watching it in awe from ground level for decades, so I’m not sure why we would require a tower.) This Master Plan is obviously a very professional document built with environmental concern, consideration for residents and tourists, budgeting and a gradual improvement as tax funds allow. I am good with that. Perhaps the train station building and mini golf are next to be updated, but only in the present location as the plan suggests, by a lease holder that wishes to use that space. To ignore the Waterfront Master Plan is an insult to past government and the creators of the program.

As a suggested 50 year lease and various tax breaks are part of the proposal, I continue to be frustrated. If these are options I hope the children and youth of the community are being involved and given a voice. They will have to live with the concrete jungle at their sandy beach. They will have to be challenged with all the problems of a project going wrong.

I do not know if the Saugeen Ojibway Nation are stakeholders as they are in many projects along the Huron Shore. Are they involved in this decision? If this was an issue at Gobles Grove or Southampton, would the politics be different? Why is this discussion happening in the winter months when the seasonal taxpayers are not present for meetings and sharing their input? Final question, if the train ride is to be extended 2 km, wherever would that go? We have a speeding, noisy trolly that disturbs us multiple times each day, now a train on the roads?

I am totally in favour of change. I believe our community must be updated and kept attractive for the tourists. With all my being I truly hope that Mayor Charbonneau and his council will make a conscionable decision they can live with for the next 50 years.

Yours in meeting friends and family on a warm, friendly beach for many years to come.


Wendy O’Neill