Today’s reality is the disappearance of beaches says reader

The Splash Pad consultant, who recommended the Northshore location, admitted, after the fact, that he did not visit the location. The Waterfront Master Planʼs recommendation was main beach.

The 2014 Concept Plan relocated the Station north of the beach condos. After the fact, the consultant stated that it was town staff who insisted on this change despite this plan supposedly being generated by the public. The Train lease offer would have allowed the town to sign a five year lease and walk away at any time.

Concerning the village plan, facts, not just opinions have been presented to council. The 2017 Ontario Ministry of Tourismʼs study states that only 2% of beach visitors used a theme park (village plan). The most telling
statistic is 0% would use a conference centre. The three-year study was based on 6.5 million visitors.

In a world of environmental awareness, council has received a list of billion dollar properties adamant about maintaining their environmental value. Perhaps the most famous is Central Park in New York City.

Council knows that this community swells to 40,000 people in the summer months. A recent Ontario study stated that the bulk of travelers migrate to beaches. We have a 100 year tourism history and a business
community that still relies on this summer influx.

Council has also seen recent photos where the entire beach has been covered with wave surge. The planners of the promenade never thought sections of the walkway would be destroyed by water but that is todayʼs reality and 1.4 trillion new gallons of water in Lake Huron will do
that. It is still rising. We have already lost considerable real estate to water levels. What has also been forgotten is the aftermath of a ʻbig lakeʼ on a windy day. What used to be sand beach is now stone quarries.

Recently, developers pointed to using the existing volleyball courts as towel space once the courts are moved. Remember that stakeholders were not included despite the Master Planʼs recommendations. This area
is a toxic dump site that was never properly cleaned up when the water treatment factory was torn down.

Instead of plans to redefine towel space, reclaim beach area using native sand this community sits on and properly maintaining this public property, a proposal to cover 160,000 sq. ft. (village plan) is
apparently the priority. The sad irony is knowing that the administrators responsible for poor beach maintenance standards are the very same pushing hard to get the village plan started.

When facts that would support development in the publicly approved “future site” are ignored, it is difficult not to question the motives of those in charge. A 50 year lease with exclusive control of public property by private investors that DONʼT frequent the beach is bizarre.

Accountability? A recent letter writer asked the question, “who is running our town?”

Wayne Mc Grath
Port Elgin