Shorewalk urges everyone to attend the Public Planning Meeting being held on January 25th inside council chambers at town hall. A presentation will be made concerning the rezoning application jointly submitted by the Town of Fort Erie and the Molinaro Group (developer) to permit a Public Private Partnership in the development of the currently town owned Bay Beach properties.
A link to the Town of Fort Erie website provides information concerning the application, and the proposed plans should it be approved as it is currently proposed.
We encourage all Shorewalk members to read the information, draw their own conclusions, and feel free to register as a delegate to speak openly on your feelings towards this proposal. You can also express your sentiments to your local councillor as this decision at the present time is in their hands. Anyone not comfortable with speaking in a public forum can submit their comments in writing to the Town Clerk prior to January 25th.
Shorewalk will be appearing as a delegation at this meeting but will not be stating whether Shorewalk as an organization is for or against the development. We have heard loud and clear from many members – some who are against any waterfront property being developed into anything other than passive parkland wholly owned by the Town – and some who believe this development enhances the current shoreline access at Bay Beach which currently only exists through a narrow chain link fence opening.
It is not the mandate of our organization to condone or condemn waterfront property development – there are many credible organizations that have come forward to make these arguments - we instead must work to ensure that the tenant our association was founded upon is upheld – this being to promote and enhance public access to Ontario’s Great Lakes shorelines. We will be submitting comments on improving the access at Bay Beach in either scenario: the development proceeding or the Town Council choosing to reject the zoning application and pursue alternative plans in the future. Shorewalk has seen alternative plans for the site and many accomplish similar objectives while maintaining the property as 100% public. We look forward to assisting these groups should council opt for their implementation.
At the January 25th meeting town council will hear loud and clear that regardless of which direction they choose, the Ontario Shorewalk Association will work diligently and effectively to ensure that access to the shoreline is strengthened, not diminished, both at Bay Beach and throughout the rest of Greater Fort Erie.