Proposed Callander marina makes waves at meeting
Last night at Callander’s Southside Community Centre on Highway 654 West, about 12 residents came out to mingle with municipal staff for an information session regarding a proposed marina project, as part of the municipal Downtown Waterfront Revitalization Strategy.
This was the second information session, the first taking place on Monday, April 24. Upon release, the details of the marina were labelled a Marina Plan, but the municipality has been emphasizing that it is a strategy, not a finalized, ready to execute plan.
Mayor Noon mentioned the plan “is more of a marina strategy,” than a set-in-stone plan, and referring to it as a plan “really stirred a pot that we didn’t expect to stir.”
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Some residents were under the impression that the marina was ready to go and would be built soon. The municipality sees the strategy as a work in process, and these meetings were designed for public feedback as the strategy develops.
At issue was the proposed location of Pinecreek North Road for the marina. Residents on that road do not want it and they emphasized they were not consulted in the process. The municipality noted that these sessions were the opportunities for consultation, and that no set plans to develop had been made.
“A marina is a long-term plan,” Mayor Robb Noon said, adding it could be decades away. The goal of a municipal marina has been on council’s books for the past decade. As outlined in the project management strategy, the marina would offer “year-round safe and effective public access to the navigable waterways for transportation and recreational purposes.”
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The Municipality owns a lot on Pinecreek Road that’s about three acres. However, the land is rocky and the pitch to the lake is steep. Developing the land to make it suitable for a marina could be prohibitively expensive. A topographical study is planned to be completed within the next thirty days or so.
Locals noted that Pinecreek Road has only one access point from the highway, culminating in a cul-de-sac of residential homes. Their concern is that a marina would cause too much congestion, disrupt the neighbourhood, and property values would be affected.
One resident noted that the very mention of their road as a possible project site has devalued their homes.
Some questioned if the project was even warranted, to which the municipality emphasized that a marina was a long-term goal it wants to prepare for now.
Neighbours suggested building the marina on Park Street, near the boat launch in Centennial Park. The water is shallow, but the shore could be dredged. The municipality could wait until a new development builds – after all, this is a strategy looking toward the long-term – and when that occurs, the portion of land set aside for public use could be used for a marina project.
This way, those who buy homes in that new area will know exactly what they are getting into. A common refrain from the Pinecreek residents was that essentially, they did not sign up for this, they had heard nothing of it, and they do not want any such development in their neighbourhood.
Mayor Robb Noon listened to the concerns, all of which will be returned to council and staff. He explained that the strategy is an ongoing endeavour, and public input will influence decisions.
The Municipality emphasized that “Council has not adopted the Strategy, it has only been received.”
“Council had directed staff to seek public input on the Marina Strategy,” municipal staff detailed.
Further, “the Municipality is at the preliminary stages and although a second marina at Pinecreek is identified, the feasibility of this recommendation may not be practical. Pinecreek Crescent was identified in the Strategy due to its size, location, and current ownership status.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca