News

Gananoque to consult with residents on three projects

Two have already been examined by municipal working groups: The Town Park refurbishment project and Lowertown redevelopment project. A third project – the marina rehabilitation – is still some ways away, as a working group is only just being struck as of the beginning of this month.

This is the second public consultation on Town Park, and it seeks further clarity from residents on five options the town’s working group has put forward, partly informed by the earlier consultation that took place in October and was presented to council in November.

“After the November 17th motion identified moving forward with Option Three, it was decided that the working group go back and refine the final plan in response to the feedback received, and the working group has done that,” said Kari Lambe, manager of community services.

The working group included three members of council – Mayor Ted Lojko, and Councillors Dennis O’Connor and Mike Kench – and three members of staff including Shellee Fournier, chief executive officer, Paul McMunn, manager of public works, and Lambe.

Previous public feedback identified three main areas of concern: Financial, green space, and the heritage of the site including Town Hall and the bandshell.

With those criteria in mind the working group has come back with five options, all of which provide for a “square” off King Street in front of Town Hall, although smaller than originally proposed. This feature builds on the need for more formal outdoor event space and/or gathering area to accommodate such things as farmers’ markets and weekend events, according to Lambe.

Besides the different size of “square,” the other differences in the options provided include different locations for the fountain and the war memorial.

“We need a sidewalk up from King Street, along Park Street along the Town Park side of the street,” said Coun. Adrian Haird, adding that he has some concern over the cost of the five options which range from $375,000 to $550,000.

“The prices seem unnecessary at this time and this stage of the game. I’m of the opinion that we need to just put some pea gravel in the play area, some sod and a few trees and shrubs and that’s it,” said Haird.

Lambe also pointed out that, depending on the amount of excavation that has to be done on the site, it’s likely the town will have to do an archeological assessment and that cost has not been factored into any of the prices.

“I’m good with supporting a motion to get more public feedback,” said Coun. Dave Osmond, echoing the majority of council.

The second public consultation will seek residents’ feedback on options for improved parking provisions in Lowertown. A Mayor’s Lowertown Taskforce Working Group, made up of three members of council and four members of the senior management team, has been meeting since last summer on this issue.

The working group looked at opportunities for improved on-street parking on Water Street between Main Street and Kate Street, while also enhancing traffic flow to ease congestion during peak tourist season. The group also identified improvements to truck and trailer access to the Lion’s Boat Launch and improvements to sidewalk and pathway infrastructure among other things.

Two options will be presented for public consultation.

“The main difference between Option One and Option Two is with respect to Market Street and the direction of flow on Market,” said McMunn.

Option One shows traffic flow on Market Street, from north to south. This would allow St. Lawrence Street, between Market Street and Main Street, to remain as a two-way roadway, as it is today. The second option looks at changing the traffic flow on Market Street, from south to north. This option would alter St. Lawrence Street, between Market Street and Main Street to be a one-way roadway, from west to east. The option also creates 11 additional angled parking spaces on the north side of Water Street, and would incorporate bump-out sidewalks at the intersections, and alter truck-staging areas and flow.

“There are certainly so many things to consider here, I’m anxious to see what the public thinks of this,” said Kench, adding: “I’m skeptical of a one-way in front of the Heritage museum and am concerned about the brick bump-outs, so let’s get it out for public consultation.”

Once the Town Park consultation is completed, the town will move forward with the Lowertown Redevelopment consultation. The two consultations will take place at different times.

“The Town Park public consultation will be done first. Given the pandemic we are adjusting how we consult with the public to ensure it is delivered safely. A short video describing the project is being created. Once it is ready we will then start the public consultation,” said Lambe.

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The town will seek public input by reaching out through public notices on the town’s website, social media, and the radio, explained Lambe. Residents will be directed to the website where a video link will be available as well as all the plans (as presented to council) and a feedback form. Given the pandemic an in-person consultation is not possible, said Lambe.

“All of the feedback received will be reported to council via a staff report. Start and end dates for consultation have not been finalized,” said Lambe.

A little further out is the Marina Rehabilitation public consultation. However, this one won’t be coming up anytime soon, as a working group has only just been struck to examine the options that were presented in the Marina Master Plan, and come up with a cost analysis of the various options, according to Lojko.
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