The City of Windsor is looking for the public to weigh in on plans to revamp Sandpoint Beach and surrounding area, a project that was accelerated by council due to concerns over safety.
A proposed redesign for the city's only beach — located close to where the Detroit River meets Lake St. Clair — was revealed at a press conference on Thursday.
It includes plans to move the beach from its current location to Ganatchio Park and improvements to the amenities including a new playground space, fishing point, picnic area, covered pavilion and upgraded kayak launch.
The project is expected to cost in excess of $5 million.
"I believe that residents will be impressed by what is on the table for this important city-operated beach park," said Mayor Drew Dilkens.
"Sandpoint Beach is a unique space for families and water sport enthusiasts alike, and the proposed design reflects the excitement that this place inspires while keeping safety and accessibility as top concerns."
The city had been planning to do an assessment of the area in 2024 but Ward 7 Coun. Jeewen Gill put forward a motion to immediately forge ahead after a man drowned at the beach in May of last year. His life is one of several that have been lost at the location.
"The tragedy — the one that happened less than a year ago, and the ones that happened previously — helped to inform the incredible work that we're discussing today," Dilkens said.
Windsor's commissioner of community services, Ray Mensour, explained that the city is looking to apply for a Blue Flag certification — an international standard for safety, water quality and sustainability among other factors — but the current beach doesn't meet the criteria.
"The present location of the beach, in proximity to the strong currents and deeper water of the Detroit River, limits its use and the programming opportunities that can be offered," he said.
The proposed new site of the beach, about 200 metres to the east of the original location, is set further back into the landscape than the original location and is also sheltered from the west by a bump-out that features a splash pad.
The city is hosting two public information sessions on the proposed design on May 19, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., at the Riverside Sportsmen Club. The city said information will be posted to its website after the in-person events, and residents can view the designs online.
"The design that will be presented on May 19 includes a host of new safety features from railing, barriers, lifeguard equipment, signage and more," Gill said.
Once public feedback is collected and reviewed, the final design will go back to council for approval.