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Council endorses long-awaited downtown revitalization action plans

Prince Edward County councillors have endorsed much-anticipated revitalization action plans for five downtowns along with sign, facade and streetscape design guidelines.

The report of the Community Development Department was before Committee of the Whole Wednesday.

The project, started late in 2014, included numerous surveys, reports and studies to identify opportunities for growth throughout the County’s downtown centres in Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, Consecon and Rossmore. The five key ratepayer and business associations identified issues of signage, facade improvement, beautification, streetscaping, business retention and expansion, marketing and promotion. County-wide guidelines are also included that look after concerns in areas beyond the five downtowns.

Though intended to be a two-year project, Neil Carbone, Director Community Development, told councillors there were several “hiccups” in late 2016 and 2017 – losing the co-ordinator earlier than expected and a lengthy absence while staff attempted to fill in.

“There was a period of about a year, year-and-a-half where we had not a lot of activity, and there was a lot of concern there, but we stayed in touch with community groups and re-engaged late 2017,” said Carbone.

The purpose, he said, was to set strategic priorities and gain ideas that are realistic and achievable.

“It’s intended to guide and encourage local involvement in downtown revitalization activities… These are not just the responsibility of the municipality, they’re not just the responsibility of the business associations. There are a lot of stakeholders… who knew they needed to be a part of these activities,” he said, noting there would be involvement with others such as community groups and recreation associations.

Evan Nash, president of the Wellington and District Business Association, recommended councillors endorse the actions plans.

“We’re lobbying you a whiffleball here,” said Nash, who was one of the many involved with the project. “Go ahead and just hit it out of the park. It is a really well put together proposal. If you look around there’s a lot of band-aid solutions going on; stuff that isn’t working as far as getting our villages and towns on track and steering them in the direction our community wants them to go. This was actually boots-on-the-ground, people standing on the street talking to people in our town. There were meetings, there was well-conducted research done… local volunteers invested a lot of time and effort into it.”

The merit of the report, said Nash, speaks for itself. “It’s an excellent opportunity for all of us.”

Picton Business Improvement Association manager Sarah Doiron agreed council should endorse the plans.

“This plan has already seen the completion of some really fantastic initiatives,” she noted, including the improvements at Benson Park, including the washrooms to which the BIA contributed $25,000.

“Benson Park is a beautiful, welcoming space that is already being well-used by community members since its completion this summer,” she said. “We have some very exciting future plans for public events in Benson Park in 2019 and beyond.”

She also said the BIA is working on wayfinding signage with a focus on four key areas – from the harbour to downtown; to and from Market Lane; better parking signs, connections to the Millennium Trail and the development of a town square at the Armoury.

The plan, she said, does a good job of bringing the five communities together “to achieve a unified vision for the continued livability of these neighbourhoods, as well as the visitor experience in the County.”

Click here (to go to agenda item #6.3 and click on the report) to read the more than 300 pages of information on the County-wide and five-downtown action plans; survey results and stated issues of concern.


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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    ADJ – good questions, but the dock and the park are own by the municipality. The cash box for pay as you go has to be there for well over a year – closer to two. If my memory is correct, they replaced the old wooden one with a very well made metal one at that time.

    However, by making this point about the dock I wanted to highlight how council established its priorities – it all about who can organize the biggest crowd to attend a meeting – it has nothing to do with maintaining and repairing what we have and use. As you have pointed out – it is in one of the best fishing areas in the province, now with very limited access. But there are also safety issues that need to be addressed too. I’ll be interested in seeing what they do now that it has been brought to their attention.

  2. ADJ says:

    Would this boat ramp be under the Quinte Conservation care? Recently I read where they had put up pay as you go boxes at the Countys boat ramps as a means to help cover costs of the boat launches. Regardless, this facility should have been repaired/replaced long ago. It’s located in some of the best fishing in Ontario.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    Susan, you are right about Councillor Gale being responsive – apparently he has asked about these repairs for some time, with no support from council. Despite who does or doesn’t respond, this facility should have been repaired two years ago. When I asked the municipality recently about it, I was told that they hadn’t even looked at it yet to do a cost of repairs. This is now two years after the fact! Yet they spend money on trails and downtowns – zip on basic repairs.

  4. Susan says:

    For the Northport docking, you should be speaking to Councilor Gayle. He is very responsive. Failing that go to Roberts!!

  5. Fred says:

    You are right. Seems like an unfair tax upon Picton residents. Probably could be challenged as discriminatory.

  6. Argyle says:

    If you have to pay to park in Picton, the same parking regulations should be in effect in Bloomfield and Wellington……..

  7. Sid Wells says:

    I live in Northport and I agree with Dennis who has stated nothing has been done for the Public boat launch. It is an eyesore I see every day. I saw drawings of the proposed signage, on Facebook, just 2 days ago and they looked great if you lived in downtown Toronto, Vancouver, or Mount Pleasant cemetery. (Montreal would run at the sight of them). The County’s rural history and old world charm that draws the tourism here is rapidly being destroyed and are not represented at all on these monolithic tombstones in my opinion. I wondered if our artist community was even consulted for input before accepting the signage. Sad at this decision by council.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    I believe in sharing my taxes and I do support the need for improved downtowns. HOWEVER – I also expect to see the local businesses and absentee landlords step up and pay a little more. Sorry, this attitude of they pay taxes too isn’t good enough. It will be their businesses and incomes that will improve – not ours.

    For the last two years, since the high water damage occurred to PEC shorelines, the public Boat Launch in Northport still sits there in the same damaged state – very limited use, temporary fencing with bright red road pylons to block the public. Yet, over a year ago, the municipality erected a beautiful metal cash box for the boaters to pay to use this disaster. Really?? Now Council wants to rebuild downtowns, when they can’t take care of what has been there for years – or the basics. Maybe they should place nice metal cash boxes in front of the downtown businesses too? Why not?

  9. Cindy Menzies says:

    I noticed the hanging plants downtown Picton this year were absolutely beautiful.
    Great Job.

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