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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Port Stanley Aspirations 2.0

by Doug Harvey
Port Stanley Aspirations 20

Some say that a new year brings hope for a better tomorrow, but I say that all depends on who's steering the boat. Taking a look at that picture again from fifteen years ago sparks my imagination with a multitude of wonder that whispers in my ear what if:

  • The most important what if that I have, seems to happen sometime in the future when all that was empty, is now filled with something, be it high-rise this or high-rise that, something that will or not block someone's view, or take away from what's there already, or make that fit into some existing space with the right style or aesthetics with a pinch of an impeccable combination of current environmental practices. Will everyone be ready for it when it finished is the question.
  • Next on my list of what ifs deals with the thought of what would of happened had a developer purchased those lands on the west side of the harbour, where the domes and the silos were once located instead of Central Elgin and managed to make a deal with the Government of Canada to get the rest of the Port Stanley Harbour. Business does stuff to maximize profits and would have taken that approach of cramming in as much development as would be allowed by some Official Plan or fit into that space through a series of proposed planning amendments that would sooner or later get those necessary money making results that shareholders are looking for. Any thing that won't make money will disappear and be replaced with something that does.

    To make this all happen according to that master plan there would have to be a significant amount of lobbying to local government steering them in the right direction of change to build the necessary infrastructure to allow for all this new development to happen in the first place. When I think of it, this plan seems almost too familiar, hmm, interesting.
  • My last what if for now deals with what has happened so far, and what could have happened if a different agenda had been followed that changed only the timing but not the charted course that was talked about before Central Elgin got the Port Stanley Harbour.

    Some say that rumours of a plan floated around town long before the divestiture indicating a desire by locals to transform Port Stanley back into that position of importance that Port Stanley once had so many times before.

    Over those years many plans materialized which at the time seemed impossible to pass up, and some over time left a legacy of pollution that still haunts us today. Charting that perfect course seemed impossible but persistence finally ruled when the possibility of taking ownership of the entire harbour became a reality. Harbour options before and after divestiture included a site for a Casino, a Ferry Terminal, and a Submarine Museum which never became part of Port Stanley's draw to date.

    Tourism by far seemed to be the best tried and true avenue to success for Port Stanley to follow and using something we had like Port Stanley's Main Beach was in fact the best part of the plan. Turning our beach into a Blue Flag Beach seemed to happen pretty quick and with the annual upgrades and improvements to equipment, manpower and services offered since, I don't think that anyone will ever find a better beach on this side of Lake Erie.

    This is the point where I step back and wonder what if that original plan of taking the money received from the divestiture, which was only half of what was needed and waiting a few years by investing that money to accumulate enough funds before any repairs were done to our harbour. Using that famous rule of 72 for interest income, if your money is earning a 5 percent interest rate, you’ll double it in 14.4 years (72 divided by 5 equals 14.4). By using this 5 percent interest rate example one can only imagine of all the things that would have been possible if we would have followed the plan that we originally paid for in the beginning.

    Take away all that political posturing which gave way to an early entrance into the ring of those never-ending costs. Costs which amount to less than half of the harbour being repaired and that half that is fixed is in need of additional modifications to control inner harbour water levels that occur because of strong south winds. My only question here is who's going to pay for all that east side breakwater repairs because back when the west side was fixed, it was in need of just as much fixing. Because of insufficient funds for all these repairs will that current proposed $500,000 solution of a new breakwater inside the inner harbour lead to a new reality that the east side breakwater will never get fixed and will be left in ruins.

With an evolving Secondary Plan one can only wonder what the future for the Port Stanley Harbour may look like as harbour property income seems to be firmly linked to pay for future harbour dredging, maintenance, and repair expenses without being a burden to the tax-payer!

Last Updated: Saturday, 25 January 2020 16:53:45 PM EST

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