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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  News An Interesting Topic in the Upcoming Municipality of Central Elgin Election


by Doug Harvey
An Interesting Topic in the Upcoming Municipality of Central Elgin Election

Putting the Port Stanley Harbour in the hands of local government was a significant milestone for Central Elgin and Port Stanley. I remember that day like it was yesterday. 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. The announcement was made at 1:00 p.m. in Glover Park, Port Stanley, with the harbour as a backdrop, and Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Joe Preston making the announcement on behalf of Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Chuck Strahl.

Many dreams came true that day with hope that now that crumbling concrete harbour structure could be returned to it's former glory. The deal involved a transfer contribution of $13.6 million, "to be used exclusively to cover operational costs and maintain the port's infrastructure", and 64.5 hectares of land (of which 52.8 hectares are harbour bed), two breakwaters, two piers and a building. The transfer contribution that came with it meant it would take careful management to ensure it would live up to its full potential and would not become a burden on the taxpayer in the future.

It's been almost eight years since that day in September, 2010 when the Port Stanley Harbour lands that I remember were on a path to a much needed revitalization to fit in a new Port Stanley Harbour vision of the future. Many changes have happened since. On September 5, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Central Elgin officials held a ceremony at the entrance of the west breakwater in Port Stanley to celebrate the re-opening of the breakwater to the public. Saturday, June 24th, 2017 will be a date that will be forever remembered in the Municipality of Central Elgin as the day that Hofhuis Park was dedicated to the Hofhuis Family. Summer of 2018 brings a new look of green to the berm, an image that has never been available to Port Stanley, to show that the final stages of remediation are now complete ready for the next stages of that new Port Stanley vision.

There is point that becomes more obvious as more of the Port Stanley Harbour becomes part of that vision is the fact that there is still so much more to do. What about the east side berm, pier and breakwaters? With almost two-thirds of the money received from the divestiture plus accrued interest already being spent on revitalization projects to date, a plan to do the rest has to come from somewhere, but not from the taxpayer according to a promise made at the Harbour Divestiture ceremony in 2010. The remaining one-third from the divestiture funds are to be kept for recurring future harbour maintenance dredging.

For any new substantial activity to occur on the Harbour lands a method to pay for these extras has to be developed, and any delays in finding this solution only adds to overall price tag. Slowing Harbour development already seems to be showing it's ugly head with garbage piling up on the rocks of the west breakwater, poor maintenance of existing improvements, and complaints of Hofhuis Park overrun by weeds, and birds with their too frequent deposits. With the Port Stanley Harbour Secondary Plan Update completed, a better picture of the future for the Port Stanley Harbour has now been made available and is likely to become an interesting topic in the upcoming Municipality of Central Elgin election.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2018 12:22:43 PM EST

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