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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Port Stanley Harbour Business Plan

by Doug Harvey
Port Stanley Harbour Business Plan

For years we have been hearing the same story, a business plan for the Port Stanley harbour that actually makes money. From the 2009 Mark Conway Port Stanley Port Facility Feasibility Study and Business Plan, to the recent Port Stanley Harbour Budget discussions, the talk is always about the money that were going to make if we do this, or that, but never promising success for whatever decision we make.

I take a walk around the Harbour quite often, and I can't help comparing the transformation that has been happening, to the vision laid out in all the public meetings that I went to, and to the Port Stanley Harbour Vision Committee Vision. Looking back to a 2010 headline on Portstanleynews.com, "After years of negotiations through two Councils and three mayors, Port Stanley harbour officially became the property of the Municipality of Central Elgin on September 8, 2010." From that day forward, I was naive enough to believe, that with all this public input, from the public meetings, Visions from the Port Stanley Harbour Vision Committee, to costly studies, that by this time, we would have had a business plan to follow.

After the need for a Port Stanley Harbour Secondary Plan was announced, the intentions of Council seemed to exhibit a lack of direction on what Council should be taking on it's path to making the Harbour self-sustaining. The recent Port Stanley Harbour Budget discussions provided another possible course correction on the business plan, with the talk of selling some of our Harbour land for High-rises', commercial and residential development. As for the Port Stanley Harbour transformation so for, as a resident of Port, I have been very happy to see the changes coming together, as this is a dream that I share with many other Port residents. Another statement from Councillor Dan McNeil that raised a flag, "by 2030, if we haven't spent all the money, we have to pay back what's left." And "got it all done." The resulting decision of the harbour budget discussions was to proceed with the 2017 Capital Projects resulting in the principal of the Harbour Divestiture Fund dipping to below $3,500,000. So sometime in 2017 we should see these Capital Projects completed, resulting in the majority of redevelopment that can be done on the West side of the Harbour under the Harbour Divestiture agreement completed, by spending over $10,000,000 of the principal, of the 13,500,000 received under the Harbour Divestiture Fund.

Instructions in the 2009 Mark Conway Port Stanley Port Facility Feasibility Study and Business Plan, plus the recommendations from Riggs Engineering provide information for the need to save money for future dredging costs of $1.5 million in 2021, and 2028, which are allowed under the Harbour Divestiture agreement. Harbour dredging is also scheduled for 2038, and 2048, with the need for a generated $1,000,000 from whatever business plan that's in place by then, to pay for needed 2038 harbour dredging.

My conclusion from all these events, points in an unknown direction, that because of fast-tracking the redevelopment of the Harbour, using up most of the money, that sooner, or later, options like selling off Port Stanley Harbour land to developers for Waterfront High-rises' or Condos will be on the table. Even though Councillor Dan McNeil said it's all done, I can't help but wonder, for who, and when comments like selling for "Windfall Profits" are discussed, only thirteen more years to go until 2030. Mayor David Marr also commented about the extremely high value of waterfront property, and the position that the Port Stanley Harbour Secondary Plan is the much needed business plan, the only way to plan for future revenue projections, is a way of looking for a rubber stamp for a plan finally going public to sell off Harbour land that has already been in place.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2017 14:01:00 PM EST

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