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Council approves Picton harbour boardwalk project

By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Prince Edward County council will work with Sandbank Homes to construct a new boardwalk along Picton’s harbour front, as it poses long-term benefits to residents and visitors.

Council agreed Tuesday night to fund $250,000 toward the project upon completion as it will facilitate boaters coming into the harbour and offer residents and visitors access to the water.

“It’s going to be a community asset that people can enjoy,” said Graham Shannon, president of Sandbanks Homes.

Shannon said the new walkway is a win-win for council and the community and he hopes to see the project complete in two years.

“Essentially it’s a ‘no money down’ situation because it’s being funded by development charges from our own projects,” said Shannon.

Representatives from Sandbanks Homes staff have been working with members of council to formulate a plan to replace the existing dock that connects Bridge Street to the town dock.

Council approved a motion to give the public and the committee an opportunity to make recommendations to council on boardwalk safety, landscaping, seating, safety, and any related costs.

“This motion provides council with an opportunity to be proactive, involved and engaged in bringing that information forward,” said councillor Brian Marisett.

There were concerns raised from various councillors on the timing of the request and the cost the project could potentially place on the community.

“I don’t like that the request came directly to council and not to the committee of the whole,” said councillor Dianne O’Brien.  “Where will the money come from?”.

Commissioner of Corporate Services and Finance Susan Turnbull said there is 1.4 million dollars in the development charge reserve fund that will pay for council’s share of the project.

“It does mean that there will be less money to draw for roads, public purpose equipment, library services, etc,” said Turnbull.

Turnbull said the money should be restored within five years through new development charges.
Councillor Janice Maynard said the public should have access to the water but the boardwalk isn’t a necessity.  She doesn’t agree with taking the money from the reserve fund.

“At this point I cannot see how this council and the residents of this county can afford that nicety,” said Maynard.  “The development charges are meant for things that far supersede a boardwalk.”

Councillor Bev Campbell said the existing dock has to be replaced because the aging walkway imposes safety and legal issues.

“If you have ever walked on the boardwalk you’ve been doing it illegally because it belongs to Sandbanks Homes,” said Campbell.  “It needs to be rebuilt to become a safe and attractive place for residents and visitors.”

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  1. Gary Mooney says:

    Capt. Chris — thanks for your heads up on this funding possibility. I have passed on your information to the Mayor, several Councillors and the Commissioner of Finance.

  2. Capt Chris Holder says:

    The government of Ontario has an new $11,000,000,000.00 infrastructure grant program that is designed for this. Trenton is planning to build a 300 plus slip marina with this money. Projected cost $12,000,000.00. I can’t believe that this municipality and Sandbank Homes isn,t aware of this. I got this info on line with help from Dan Taylor. Come on please, Picton Harbour is the best harbour in the eastern part of Lake Ontario. The boaters will only come if the facilities are their to look after them.

  3. killashandra Ree says:

    Councillor Bev Campbell says that if we walk on the boardwalk now, it is illegal. She should know – she lives there. It didn’t used to be the case: when the town of Picton first built the boardwalk on the privately owned Tip of the Bay property. It was with the understanding that the town would maintain it for the people. That changed after amalgamation and the ‘County’ tried to force then owners of the Tip to bring it to code or fine them.

    Just a year or so ago, at one of the public planning meetings for revisions to the Picton-Hallowell plan, we were told that the waterfront on all three sides of the harbour, from the public boat launch area, past Tip of the Bay, along the Harbour Inn and all by the townhouses where Councillor Bev Campbell lives and further up that shore, had been granted public access, and it only required minor development to connect the docks/boardwalks together.

    So when did council rescind that access? Isn’t this the very same councillor Campbell, who was campaigning for re-election on a ‘give back the harbour to the people’ platform? Why did she not speak up for the people, when the right to use these boardwalks was rescinded? Or is this a case of NIMBW (Not In My Board Walk)?

  4. Doris Lane says:

    Council does not have money to waste on boardwalks in the harbour. They are so much in debt now that it is scary. Maybe they could have paid down some of the cost of the water treatment plant so those of us who live in Picton do not have to pay an arm and a leg for our water etc.
    Oh well nothing changes and look at the main street in PIcton with all the stores being closed. Not a great place to live. We do not need access to the main street when there is becoming less and less to go to on the street.

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    Re Bill’s comments, I was at the meeting last evening. There were 5 people who voted against the boardwark proposal, including all three Ameliasburgh Councillors.

    The way the funding will work is that the developer will pay up front for the County’s share of the boardwalk cost, and the loan will be repaid without interest to the developer by reimbursing them for development charges paid on the residential units built. If no units are built (very unlikely) the developer won’t get repaid.

    In the final analysis, what is happening is that the development charges from this project are being spent on the project itself, rather than being allocated to fire, ambulance, library, recreation, etc.

    It was pointed out that when there has been public input about improvements to central Picton, public walkway access to the harbour is always at the top of the list, but nothing ever gets done. What won over 11 Councillors was that this was a once-only opportunity to ensure such access to Picton harbour in perpetuity.

  6. Bill McMahon says:

    I was so hopeful that the current crop of sitting councillors would live up to their potential and really be a cut above the previous crowd, but in reality they’ve turned out to be nothing but a clone of the Gang that went before. Just what is it, the Karma of the room, the chairs they sit in, the water they’re drinking down there?
    (Lord knows that stuff continues to cost the rest of us in the County plenty) Come on Council, take those blinders off, at least make an effort to access your God given peripheral vision. Prince Edward County is the sum of its wards. IT IS NOT JUST PICTON! But here we go again sucking hugely scarce dollars from the development charge reserve fund to placate a handful of folk for a handful of months in Picton. Commissioner of Corporate Services and Finance Susan Turnball, pretty much says it’s no big deal. $250,000 that could be used for roads, public purpose equipment, library services etc. throughout the entire County, could easily be earmarked for the boardwalk, and oh yeah, it should be restored within five years. Not will be restored, but should be restored….. What do you folks on County Road 3 think? $1.4 million miraculously uncovered in a reserve fund, whereby $250,000 can be thrown at a boardwalk project for a private developer in Picton, yet there is no funding to tackle the mess that is Rednersville Road. Does this make sense to you? Based on this article, Councillor Janice Maynard appears to be one of the few on council that comprehends the absurdity of this decision. She recognizes that the development charge funds should be allocated to the entire County’s needs, not wants of a privledged few.

  7. Paul Wallace says:

    This is welcome news. The current docks are dilapidated and dangerous. Any visiting tourist or boater would be appalled that they are in such disrepair. The news docks and boardwalk is a start to restoring Port Picton as an inviting place to visit. If the Villenieve property sells I hope the new owner would have some vision to continue the boardwalk along that properties edge and give the public more reason to make a visit to the waterfront.

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