Windsor City Council has decided to locate the beacon housing Streetcar 351 in Legacy Park near the Caron Avenue Pumping Station. Council voted seven to four to follow the recommendations of the manager of parks development.
Administration suggested the new location after neighbours near the original location appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal due to its height obstructing the view on Riverside Drive.
The historic streetcar was built in 1918 and later purchased by the Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Railway.
"This will be, on a daily basis, the most well-used place along Windsor's waterfront, which is an absolute gem," said Mayor Drew Dilkens, who was among those who voted in favour.
Coun. Rino Bortolin, who represents the ward where the beacon will now be located, said it will serve to attract more people to the downtown.
"The fact that we've moved it basically into the downtown area is what I think makes it a better fit and a good fit for a few reasons," said Bortolin, who also pointed to the fact the height will be lower than Riverside Drive and not impede the view of the river.
Bortolin pointed out that that was one of the stipulations in the 20-year-old Central Riverfront Implementation Plan (CRIP).
But Coun. Kieran McKenzie opposed the location because he says the streetcar facility, which will be 4572 square metres., will be way bigger than the 610 square metres outlined in the CRIP, and it goes against the theme of that beacon location in the CRIP too.
"The theme of that legacy beacon being a return to natural processes," said McKenzie. "We're not tinkering around the edges of what it is that's being proposed here. We're doing fundamentally the opposite of what the Central Riverfront Improvement Plan outlined for us in the document that we're presumably following."
Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac also opposed the location, suggesting replacing the aging skating rink in Charles Clark Square with the streetcar facility. She said the rink is going to have to move and that means moving the concession stand there as well. But putting the streetcar there would mean they wouldn't have to move the concession stand.
"Not only would we achieve some kind of savings in terms of what that project is going to come forward as but we would move it to the downtown area," said Gignac.
At the beginning of the discussion, Mike Cardinal from the group Rally for Our Riverfront suggested locating the streetcar next to the Chimczuk Museum because the Legacy Park location should be left to recognizing the remains of an historic CP Railway station and control tower located there.
"And I think the public needs to have a kick at the can for this, to kick the tires to approve what's being offered here," said Cardinal.
The playground now on the site will be moved 300 metres east to Dieppe Park. The Legacy Beacon will not only feature the gallery with the streetcar but will also feature a terrace, washrooms and concession stands.
It will however cost $1 million more — $8.4 million — due to the cost of additional building site work.