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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?

by Doug Harvey
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Taking a walk around the Port Stanley Harbour in November really shows how far we have come in the last eight years since the divestiture of the harbour to the Municipality of Central Elgin on September 8, 2010. It's hard to believe that it's been eight years, but those visions of how the harbour was, are still easy to remember.

Talk back then from the consultant and Council was that they needed the interest earned on that "large chunk of money" they're getting in order to make the deal work. The municipality was not required to spend the money they received for 10 years, and that they wanted to hang onto it for that 10 years to earn as much interest and compound interest on it as they could.

When the harbour deal was signed in 2010 Mayor Tom Marks said "It may not have been everything that everyone wanted, but it is what we needed." Though the deal does not afford such things as building a new Stork Club or a marina, he noted it was the best deal that could have been achieved. "It's enough to make the harbour lands an asset for community development without becoming a burden on the taxpayer. That was our goal from the beginning [and] that has been accomplished." Also Deputy Mayor Marr at the time said partnerships, private/public partnerships, are key to the success of the harbour. Central Elgin taxpayers were now in that precarious position where property taxes, prosperity and their hopes for the future would now rest solely on the decisions that any Council would make with the harbour lands. What Council will do with the harbour and how it's managed are what will determine whether it becomes and asset or a liability.

As with many plans, things evolve and at this time of year when tourists are scarce, it's easy to vision how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. Even though the west side of the harbour is almost finished, and the berm has been remediated, and ready for what's next in that Secondary Plan, the last piece of the harbour puzzle that still needs modifications and repairs is the east side pier. It was barely mentioned during the last election and will surely cost a more significant amount of money because of access issues different from the west side.

With a new Council almost ready to assume power, it will be interesting to see what direction our harbour will take next, keeping that promise of the harbour becoming an asset, not a liability.

Last Updated: Saturday, 24 November 2018 12:14:40 PM EST

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