MORRISBURG – Consultants tasked with coming up with an Iroquois waterfront plan tried to smooth things over before dropping an ambitious price tag or an equally ambitious project.
“There are many, many opportunities for funding (from senior governments),” said Mark Brandt of Ottawa-based Mark Thompson Brandt Architect (MTBA) & Associates Inc.
It’s the same consulting firm, which penned the Morrisburg waterfront development plan.
After trying to pass off the delivery of the final figure to others in the South Dundas council chambers Tuesday night, Brandt dropped the total redevelopment cost for the Iroquois waterfront.
$3.8 million with the possibility of adding another $1 million to the project based on market costs.
“The community can embrace it and start to work it out,” Brandt said. “It’s not something that you’re going to snap your fingers and magically have next week or even next year,” suggesting the plan can be completed in financially digestible pieces.
The redevelopment includes doubling the size of the Iroquois beach area, which would be bookmarked by boating docks. Picnic areas would be tripled in size. The waterfront “bunker” would be transformed into a “pavilion” with seating on the beach-side.
On either side of the Iroquois Airport Airfield would be The Meadow – strategically cut wildflowers and plants to resemble to old village street layout.
“We like the idea of creating experiential moments that are part of zones of activity but that the whole is a identifiable, memorable place,” Brandt told South Dundas council Tuesday night.
The consultants talked about walking connections to areas including the Heritage Center which would feature improvements to the Carmen House Museum.
The redeveloped area of all lands south of Elizabeth Drive and from Carmen Road to the golf course, would be called “Iroquois Commons.”
“It’s a place for all residents and visitors to connect with these two great resources – the village and the waterfront, the river itself, that they come together in a common place,” Brandt said.
Brandt explained that the enhancements would be in a U-shape perimeter, leaving much of the area untouched. “A great majority of the acreage of the site is, in fact, totally untouched or very basically enhanced,” he said.
While it wasn’t in their mandate, the consultants also suggested “modest” improvements for stakeholders in the Iroquois Marina, in order to make it a part of Iroquois Commons.
South Dundas councillors and the mayor were “excited” and “impressed” about the proposal.
“I like it…I’m impressed by it,” Coun. Archie Mellan said. “It’s a great looking plan,” Coun. Marc St. Pierre added.
Coun. Bill Ewing quipped that now it was “finding the money to do it.”
The plan is now in the hands of the Iroquois Waterfront Development Committee to think out next steps.
Chairman Jim Wilson says the beach is going to be their priority but the community has to be involved too and they “will share and engage” with stakeholders and the public at large.
“The committee understands that it may take decades to fully realize what has been proposed. It is possible some elements in the proposal may never be realized at all,” Wilson said.