Public consultation delayed
Marina and Park des Cèdres proposal Info to public delayed
Plans for redeveloping the Marina pavilion and Park des Cèdres are to be shared with the public at a later date than the previously announced April 18. The proposed plans were to be shared with Aylmerites at a public consultation in mid-April, but a city spokesperson told the Bulletin, April 5, that the event has been delayed until “later this spring”.
Organizations with activities at the Marina or the park were invited to a private consultation, February 28, to give feedback on the proposed changes to the city park. With three of Aylmer’s four councillors new to the project, the city spokesperson explained that councillors need more time to study the plan. “Councillors need to be updated on the details of the proposal before a public consultation,” a Gatineau spokesperson told the Bulletin. “A presentation at council on this is slated for the next few weeks.”
Following the February 28 presentation to organizations, several softball players, sailing club members and other park users raised questions on the redevelopment plans. Removing the ball diamond, along with the bathrooms and canteen there, were alarming for many of the 3,000 players and their families.
For the sailing club, several elements in the proposal need revisiting. One is accommodating the sailboat lift, used to take boats in and out of the water. The lift is on wheels and motorized – it also brings the boats to winter storage at the northeast portion of the park. Members point to a danger having public traffic interact with the lift, as it is not designed to brake quickly, nor move with agility. “Drivers who have been enjoying the park for a few hours may hop behind the wheel and not be aware of danger around the lift,” said a club member. “We do everything we can to make sure the lift is used safely, but the reason it is an area cut off from the public is because there are specific dangers involved in its operation.” Furthermore, moving the sailboats’ route may conflict with the hydro lines, which are not slated to be moved.
Aylmer district councillor, Audrey Bureau noted that the delay of the public meeting is useful so that residents can be better heard in the consultation. She went on to explain that the redevelopment is a two-phase process. “The pavilion-restaurant building will be demolished in the fall of 2018,” Bureau explained in a press release. “with a spring 2019 build start date for a pavilion that will house the sailing school, a new restaurant, a locker room, a rest area and an equipment rental facility on the ground floor. Upstairs will be community rooms.” Councillor Bureau went on to note that Phase 2, the park redevelopment, has no budget nor timeline established.
Parking and traffic
Park users are divided about the proposed parking area. The Amis de la Marina spokesperson, Jean-François Lacombe, told the Bulletin that from what his group has seen of the proposed changes, “cars are at the centre of the plan.” He noted that “sustainable development is, they claim, at the heart of the city’s priorities. But this isn’t reflected in the redevelopment. We don’t see pedestrian access along the feeder streets, Cathcart and Harvey, we don’t see a bus shelter on Front; but we do see that existing parking is being moved because of aesthetic considerations. Folks using the boating facilities have very specific needs for parking their trailers and it looks like the planners want to move the trailers from view.” Mr Lacombe added that sailing and boat trailer parking are the type of parking needed on site; visitor parking should be part of a global transport strategy that includes a transit plan that functions well and is well marketed.