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County developing a vision for Picton harbour

pictonharbour

A draft vision for the Picton Harbour was presented to adjacent property owners in August for comment and questions to complete the research and consultation phase in preparation to finalize a report. Visitors and stakeholders were surveyed in December, 2015.

While long considered a key asset for the County in attracting boating, fishing and sailing tourism, there has been little in the way of strategic development efforts. To that end, the Picton Harbour Development Sub-Committee was formed and tasked to develop a vision by the Community and Economic Development Commission.

The harbour’s strengths include sense of place, proximity to downtown and as a well-protected harbour. Identified weaknesses included water quality, limited public access and no public attraction.

“Picton Harbour is an under-utilized asset in our community,” said Treat Hull, sub-committe chair. “We aim to engage the public, build partnerships and interest amongst our residents to really promote this gem at the heart of the County.”

At a public consultation, the sub-committee outlined its general goals, as well as short-, medium-, and long-term priorities for the harbour.

“Our hope is to make the harbour a vibrant waterfront meeting place for residents and visitors which contributes significantly to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of Picton and the broader County,” said Hull.

Building, operating and maintaining public infrastructure such as the boat launch, docking, boardwalk, and parking were a few of the general emerging priorities for the harbour.

In terms of short-term priorities, way-finding signage and food trucks were discussed as key opportunities. Medium term priorities included the introduction of public WIFI, improving pedestrian access, developing boardwalks and introducing historical interpretive signage. Development of nearby properties and future marina expansion were seen as long term priorities.

Participants’ feedback, which was recorded by County officials and will be taken into consideration in the preparation of the final vision report.

Public comments included requests for an escaltor or cable car from top to bottom; a public square at the harbour including dining, a pub, include an historic lighthouse and market square with vendors. A few requested cyclist-friendly areas, a covered pavilion for music and live events, extentions to the boardwalk (and no extensions to the boardwalk), a focus on the water quality and “a really good cleanup” of the area; a public pier for walking and fishing, and keeping development to the head of the harbour and leaving the remainder natural. A few participants also requested improvements to the Hill Street Park and nearby water purification plant land.

“The County sees Picton Harbour as a real growth opportunity,” said Neil Carbone, Director of Community Development. “We’re committed to turning these priorities—this vision—into reality. There are some action items that the municipality will naturally take the lead on, but we’ll also be here to assist private sectors that wish to contribute to the development of the harbour.”

Presentations are to be made this fall to the Community and Economic Development Commission and council for consideration in the 2017 budget.

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