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Advocacy Alert!! Letter to City Council regarding Dock Replacement Project – Tunnel Bay and Ernie Fox Quay

 

November 11, 2021

 

City of Brockville

1 King Street West

Brockville Ontario

K6V 7A5

 

Dear Mayor Kalivas and Councillors

 

On behalf of the Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce we wish to respectfully express our concerns with the City’s plans for the Dock Replacement Project – Tunnel Bay and Ernie Fox Quay (Item SR2021-207). Given the importance of a quality marina to attract people to Brockville, and the importance to the boating community locally, the Chamber is recommending the City act urgently and strike a committee of stakeholders, including representation from the Chamber, to advise Council on this issue.

The report presented at EDRTC in November indicates that the cost of the docks will be funded by debenture which ultimately is paid by Brockville taxpayers. The report also requested approval for staff to tender for the replacement docks. At this point with that process not having taken place, and the timeframes required to provide those docks, it seems unlikely the City could achieve this project within the next six months.

The Marina Market Demand Study Final Report completed in April 2018 indicated that recreational boating is a growing market of 1% to 3% per year, and indicated Brockville had the potential to increase its market share. The Marina currently hosts 99 slips, and the projections in the report indicated there was a need for 128-286 slips by 2028. Along with the slips, the Waterfront Ad Hoc Advisory Committee looked at capital improvements including a Harbour Redesign and the need for a Harbour Master. Since 2018 there appears to be no action on recommendations from the consultant’s plan, nor on recommendations of the stakeholders on the Advisory Committee to achieve additional slips.

Given this, the Chamber would ask that the City’s direction would be to focus on the recommendations of previous plans, specifically towards the provision of additional slips to accommodate both our community and visitors to our community. The Dock replacement project has not been part of any previous Council approved plans, but most importantly it does not add any needed slips. The Chamber also has a concern that the completion of a project of the size and scope required to provide a full-service marina appears unlikely to be accomplished given the short time frame involved. The Chamber is aware that the Tall Ships Festival is in June of 2022, and it is critical to have the harbour area in pristine and accessible condition.

Again, the Chamber wishes to request Council to consider the impact of this matter on our community. Making any changes that will require construction of docks and services required to service a seasonal marina, and the resultant new management appears to be a large undertaking given the time frames involved. Without a comprehensive business case that outlines the feasibility of this project it is difficult to determine if the proposed City project would meet the goals and needs of the boating community, or even a revenue objective for the City. We are at a critical juncture where a possible outcome could hamper Brockville’s ability to attract boaters, which then ultimately impacts our businesses who rely on ancillary business from the boating community.

At this time, it is recognized that there is currently not a permanent CAO in place, and currently no full complement of Councillors until at least December 1. But to reiterate, the key concerns for the Chamber at this time is the following:

  • There has been no public consultation, and no consultation with the stakeholders (boaters) as well as no information on the actual long-term impact to taxpayers
  • There has been no business plan created for the operation of a seasonal slip business and the projected financial implications
  • There is a likelihood that given the timeframe and the needs required, that there will not be an efficient and operational marina in place for the start of the boating season, and for the Tall Ships Festival in June.

The Chamber recognizes that the City is in the process of developing a new Official Plan, which would include the downtown waterfront. While it is unknown at this time what the recommendations will be for any development of the waterfront, more importantly without a financial estimate, it is also unknown to our community if the 2022 budget could accommodate the required costs of this project.

The Chamber thanks Council in advance for their thoughtful consideration of this matter and taking the appropriate actions in order to understand the impact on Brockville’s ability to attract residents and visitors, as well as ensuring the outcomes for our businesses and our community are ultimately positive in this matter.

Best regards,

 

Pamela Robertson

Executive Director

 

cc: Kent Henderson

Chair of Advocacy Committee

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